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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My friend and I decided to take my dog Sydney to the dog park today. We were both talking and out of no where, Sydney nipped her in the back of her knee, she sort of circled and continued to do it 2 more times. The nips/bites ended up being bruises, and she even broke skin through her jeans. She's done this before a few times when she was about 7-8 months old, but i haven't seen her do it since over the summer and she just turned a year old. I have no idea why she did it. I don't think any of us did anything to provoke, but i feel absolutely terrible like a bad parent. She's also never done this to anyone else but myself previously.

I don't know what to do. I am thinking i should take her to a behaviorist, but then, she doesn't do it all the time so I'm not sure if that would help. It did not appear she did it out of aggression, more like she wanted to play or get attention, i'm not sure. In between the nips, she sort of got into play position where her hind legs were up but her front legs were down. A guy came up and asked if she was a herding dog, but to him, it appeared to him that she was trying to heard my friend. Sydney is a mixed dog and the vet said she's some sort of Shepherd Mix.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I don't think I should take her to the park anymore, maybe it's too much play stimulation.
 

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what your describing sounds a bit like a herding "grip" it's a thing herding dogs do when they want an animal to move. This may be misplaced herding behavior. if thats the case your dog is probably really bored and may be telling you she needs a job to do.
 

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Give the dog some job to do. Maybe this is getting her food out of a tug a jug or maybe this is taking her to a farm and having her herd sheep a couple of times a week. How often do you walk this dog and for how long?
 

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My friend and I decided to take my dog Sydney to the dog park today. We were both talking and out of no where, Sydney nipped her in the back of her knee, she sort of circled and continued to do it 2 more times. The nips/bites ended up being bruises, and she even broke skin through her jeans. She's done this before a few times when she was about 7-8 months old, but i haven't seen her do it since over the summer and she just turned a year old. I have no idea why she did it. I don't think any of us did anything to provoke, but i feel absolutely terrible like a bad parent. She's also never done this to anyone else but myself previously.

I don't know what to do. I am thinking i should take her to a behaviorist, but then, she doesn't do it all the time so I'm not sure if that would help. It did not appear she did it out of aggression, more like she wanted to play or get attention, i'm not sure. In between the nips, she sort of got into play position where her hind legs were up but her front legs were down. A guy came up and asked if she was a herding dog, but to him, it appeared to him that she was trying to heard my friend. Sydney is a mixed dog and the vet said she's some sort of Shepherd Mix.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I don't think I should take her to the park anymore, maybe it's too much play stimulation.
It really does sound alot like a herding behavior which may be natural for her. I would get a trainer involved and get her a 'job' to do aside from trying to herd humans.
 

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What you describe is a play bow (butt in the air, front legs down). That's an invitation to play. The nipping can be both a herding instinct and an attention device. When she nipped you previously the right thing to do would have been to walk out of the room....no attention at all for the nipping. If she got attention from you like telling her No!, looking at her, interacting with her....then, the nipping worked....it got your attention.
You have to teach her something nice....something that she can do that will always get your attention....a polite sit is one of the easier things to teach. That sit always earns your attention, praise, a scratch behind the ear, a game of fetch or maybe even a treat.
 

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My first pembroke welsh corgi, a male named Roscoe, did this when people would run. Great dog, though. I still have a scar on my knee from him(although now it's just a reminder of him) it's my love scar:p
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I'm am willing to put in any work/time necessary needed to help curb this possible herding behavior.
I've been walking her once a day for about 30 minutes. This may not be enough for her. She just turned one now so I can start walking her for longer periods of time. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to start waking up earlier so I can take her for two walks a day instead of one.

I also thought about getting her one of those dog backpacks, maybe that will help? My friend also offered me today that I can also drop my dog off at her house during the work week when its nice out and her dog (golden retriever) and my dog can play together while I'm at work. I also think the jug-treat toy is a good idea and I'll see if I can pick that up.

Tooneydogs, you're right about that not saying "NO!" at unwanted behaviors. It's a good reminder that doing that is really just giving her the attention she wants. Especially when all it does it cause her to wag her tail. In the case of yesterday when she nipped my friend really hard, that's exactly what she was doing, Wagging her tail. It didn't help that my friend was flailing about when she was nipped, but it wasn't her fault either.
 

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Just remember that with working dogs, it's more about mental stimulus than physical; chances are you'll never come close to physically wearing out a dog that was bred to run around all day herding a flock. You can, however, make her feel like she's done something useful, and done it well.

If you do get a dog backpack, you want to be sure that (1) the load is balanced on the left & right side, and (2) the load is borne primarily by the shoulders, and not the midsection. Over the long run, badly positioned loads can cause serious health problems.
 

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I'd put her into an agility or flyball course, make her brain work as hard (or harder) than her body. Yes play will help, but witha herding/working dog you've GOT to excercise the brain!!!!
 
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