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Discussion Starter #1
We have a 9 week old australian cattle dog and for the most part, she behaves as well as any other 9 week old pup would. We have a serious problem when we attempt to go on walks with her. My husband and I will be walking and she will visciously attack our legs by biting our calves hard and pulling/shaking/ripping our pants and she will growl and snarl. It is not playful in any way. We've been on walks before and she didn't do it the first few times. The past 3 times she has been doing this. We can't get her to stop. We pick her up, shake/nip her scruff, say no...nothing helps and this must stop asap! Usually a firm no works for all other problems, but we're at a loss on this one. Any ideas? TIA
 

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Take my word for it, its definately play. I'm surprised she doesn't do this at home. The normal way to stop this nonsense is to use timeout but thats pretty much impossible while out on a walk. As you have learned, picking her up, ahd doing bad stuff to her while you are holding her is not going to work. She is getting what she wants. Attention. She is doing that stuff to you to get attention and it works. As long as it works the behavior will continue. I will have to think a while to figure out a way to stop this while out on a walk.

How long are the walks? Does this behavior begin immediately or after you have been walking a while?
 

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I agree with Trainer that this is just play. What has worked for me in the past is to stop and COMPLETELY ignore them - examine the sky for a while until she stops. The minute she stops, turn your attention back to her and continue the walk. This is going to take some repetition, but it will work if you're consistent. The key here is to ignore the behavior you don't want and reward the behavior you do want. Dogs do what works for them so if her attempts at demanding attention are left unfulfilled, she will try something else that is rewarding - in this case it will be calmly walking at your side that will get her the reward.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The walks are only 10 minutes for now and she starts this behavior as we are leaving our driveway and she will continue for a couple more minutes. Then she'll begin to walk with us and not resist too much. We've tried stopping and ignoring her but she bites even harder and it hurts too much to ignore. We will have to wear old pants & armor so she can't destroy every pair we own :p Thanks for the advice.
 

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Before you leave for a walk trying doing a few minutes of training inside. Teach her some impulse control exercises such as letting her see, nibble, paw a treat in your hand until she finally backs away from it and at that second you say "good" "yes" or something like that and give her the treat. This will help you get her focus on you and/or the treats in your hand.

Then when you take her on the walk have the treats in the hand closest to her and try to get her nose to focus on the treats. She will probably snap and jump at the treats but don't give it to her and ignore this until she stops the unwanted behavior and then mark and treat (say yes, good, or click with a clicker at the VERY INSTANT she quits the bad behavior and calms down or backs off).

After this starts going smoothly you can make it a little harder and demand more than just a treat seeking missle dog. Do the same impulse control exercise before you leave for your walk, but don't give her the treat until she not only stops trying to solicite it from you, but she actually makes eye contact. This may be just a tiny split second and you have to be ready to mark and treat the eye contact. A second to late and you are reinforcing the bad, not the good. Then incorporate this into your walk. Eventually fade the treat.

Also, this is a puppy thing. She will definately grow out of it but this kind of thing will help you along the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We tried the impulse control exercise and it actually calmed her down before the walk. Hopefully it wasn't just a coincidence. We'll try it again tonight, thanks!!
 

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First, your puppy is super cute! And second, you will go through a lot of nipping with an ACD, so it's good that you're starting to work with her now. My ACD mix is 3, and he'll still occasionaly start biting the leash when I put it on him. They're a hyper breed, and very smart. I'd recommend teaching her anything and everything you can. Good luck.
 
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