Dog Biting at Ankles
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Thread: Dog Biting at Ankles

  1. #1
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    Question Dog Biting at Ankles

    Our 8 month old lab mix Tom gets really excited sometimes when he's running around outside and he'll jump up at us and bite at our shoes and ankles. We are working on the jumping, and so far it is going well, but we aren't sure what to do about the biting at the feet. We are using the turn around and ignore method, which makes him stop jumping right away, but then he comes over and knaws on our feet. Any suggestions as how to get him to stop? He has already ruined a pair of boots.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Dog Biting at Ankles

    The life goal of a Lab is to chew... your objective is to make sure that he has appropriate objects :-)

    Check out the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here in the new owner section.

    Basically, you have to teach the dog Bite Inhibition - how to control the strength of his bite. The training takes persistence, b/c it can take 3 days before your Lab understands what you're trying to teach him. Then, it can take another week or two before you understand how to communicate to him what is OK to chew and what is not.

    Also, it is your responsibility to puppy-proof the house :-) All of us who own Labs and mixes have dealt with this, and it does get better with training. After you read the sticky, let us know what happens... and we'll help with the next step:-)

  4. #3
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    Re: Dog Biting at Ankles

    It's not that kind of biting; he's not chewing. It's more like he's playing like he would play with another dog. He thinks we are playing back whenever we try to make him stop, cause we do things like shove him away. We now realize that the shoving is only intesifying his desire to play. We just don't know what we should be doing to make him stop.

  5. #4
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    Re: Dog Biting at Ankles

    Redirect his play to an appropriate toy. Always remember to bring one with you.

  6. #5
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Dog Biting at Ankles

    If he is biting and you want to teach him to stop, then you want to teach him Bite Inhibition.

  7. #6
    Senior Member workerant's Avatar
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    Re: Dog Biting at Ankles

    My mutt (probably part Border Collie but we don't really know) does this occasionally. She did it a lot when she was a puppy. I interpreted it as a herding effort; after all,this is why Heelers are called Heelers!

    I approached it like any other unwanted behavior. Redirect! My dog usually nips my ankles when she's overtired and wanting to play and I'm walking around doing something else. I stop walking, turn to face her and put her in a sit. After a moment I'll release her and we'll spend a few minutes working on obedience commands or chasing a tennis ball. She wants my attention and nipping surely gets it. I try to turn it from a negative behavior to a positive interaction with training and play.

    And mostly, she grew out of it.

  8. #7
    Member JLeighL's Avatar
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    Re: Dog Biting at Ankles

    I have the same prob with my lab mix. She is only 15 weeks so i can't expect too much training right now but we are working on it. We have stopped most of the jumping by telling her NO! very firmly and she stops, however, when she gets really excited she will run and bite the back of my ankle really hard and then as if she knew she did something wrong she will run away. LOL I definitely dont condone this kind of behavior so as soon as she does it i grab one of her toys (that are always lying around the house) and give this to her instead. She also knaws on our hands when we hold her but i try to have a plush toy around and redirect her biting into the toy. She is learning but its basic lab upbringing. They chew EVERYTHING! Good luck on training and remember patience bc they are just babies and new to everything. Always have toys around to redirect and reward, reward, reward when doing right.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Laurelin's Avatar
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    Re: Dog Biting at Ankles

    Trey, my last sheltie, would heel very often, even up to old age. Honestly, the best thing for me was to stop it before it started. The behavior and desire to control motion was so strong in him that we never got it 100% fixed. A lot was observation and learning how to tell when he was over excited. He would bite when he was overstimulated and there would be signs leading up to the biting session.

    A bite would mean all fun would stop. Turning away/ending things BEFORE the dog starts the biting is what I did/would do. Like I said, with observation there were signs leading up to it that would be a tell he was going to start trying to bite. Give him something productive to do then and to simultaneously get his head on a little clearer.

    Honestly, though, your biting sounds a little different since he's gnawing. The herding dog type of biting I've experienced is usually a quick grip to the heel.
    Mia CGC - (5 year old papillon)
    Summer TG2 TBAD - (10 year old papillon)

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