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First let me say this isn't my dog. But I work at a boarding kennel and this dog is here Tuesday trough Saturday every single week. He is the dog of the person who owns the business.

The dogs name is Oliver and he is a 3 year old standard poodle. I'm pretty sure he has been coming every week since he was a puppy but I'm not sure. I started working here last May so coming up on a year now and when I started he didn't behave like this but it started about 2 months later. Basically, when we take him outside, he gets into "jump and nip" mode. He jumps on us and nips at our arms, our stomach, our back, basically whatever he can reach. He doesn't do it so much with me but I think this is because I like to play fetch with him, his favorite game. My coworker started working here 2 months after me and that's when this behavior began. Prior to her arrival I played fetch with him literally every time we went out but she is left handed and can't throw as well as me so he started the nipping with her and now it's become a daily thing. As long as I throw for him I'm fine but she is covered in bruises and he has broken skin several times. Occasionally when my arms are tired I don't throw and he does it to me too and you can't ignore it, even if you try walking away he follows you and nips harder. We've tried everything we can think of an his owner knows of the problem and has tried making him stop but he doesn't listen. He is a good dog at home she says and doesn't know where this behavior has come from. I know he is good most of the time too because he is a perfect angel as long as you play fetch with him. We are all baffled by this behavior an aren't sure how to make it stop. I think itight be boredom from being here all the time but I don't know for sure. Help??
 

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Poodles are so, so smart. It's hard to provide them enough mental stimulation.

I would handle it by playing fetch until he nips. Then the game stops until he obeys a sit and sits nicely, no nipping. Nipping ends the game, sitting nicely continues it.

Recommend more mental stimulation to the owner. Invite her to watch kikopup on YouTube and start clicker training him. Feed from a toy. Join an agility class anything to work his mind.
 

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Amaryllis had good advice.

Maybe ask for a sit before he jumps up. If he jumps up, she should cross her arms and turn her back and walk away. If he is a very persistent jumper you might want to have him drag a leash so it can be stepped on or grabbed if needed.
 

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I wouldn't consider that a behavioural problem. When Neeka was a puppy, she nipped like MAD. All the time. Luckily she eventually grew out of it (I think it was when she started to calm down at about 5 years old), but like this dog (what I think, anyway) that was just her way of trying to illicit play.

Does he enjoy roughhousing or other games that aren't fetch? If he does, I'd put a muzzle on him so you can ignore the nipping and reward when he stops nipping with play, praise and/or treats.

Having Neeka, I know how much nipping can hurt. I was young when she nipped, and I couldn't have her out when my friends were at our house because she'd nip them so hard they would cry. Like Oliver, it was too painful to ignore. I think that's part of why she bit so hard. Now she has a very gentle mouth and I think she always had decent bite inhibition, it's just that we could ignore her bites until she escalated so much it hurt and we couldn't ignore it anymore so in a sense we were rewarding hard bites with attention (albeit negative attention)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would handle it by playing fetch until he nips. Then the game stops until he obeys a sit and sits nicely, no nipping. Nipping ends the game, sitting nicely continues it.
I'd try this, but not playing fetch is what gets him into it in the first place, and he seriously does not listen to you once he gets going. I was caught up in it once when I had a really bad sunburn and it hurt my shoulders to throw and I tried to get him to sit, but it's like he just goes deaf and nothing you say or do will get him to stop aside from beating him to the ground, which I can't do. I started to panic (if he nipped my sunburn I would have screamed, god that would've been so bad) and I even tried sticking my knee out but he just rammed into it to try and get at me and about knocked me down, and I'm not a small person. You can't let him nip in the first place because once it starts you're lucky if you get it to stop....unless you make it to the porch, because then he knows you'll try to take him in and he doesn't want that. Problem is it's hard to walk with a dog leaping at you the entire way.

I guess I'll recommend more mental stimulation, but I don't know what she'll think of that. She's there every day to groom dogs, not sure if she has the time or energy to do something like agility with him. But we might be able to find things to keep him entertained at work, we have kongs there and stuff.

Does he enjoy roughhousing or other games that aren't fetch? If he does, I'd put a muzzle on him so you can ignore the nipping and reward when he stops nipping with play, praise and/or treats.
When we have dogs in that can handle his amount of energy we let them out together, and he doesn't roughhouse with them but if they try to ignore him he does the nipping with them too, and for most that will initiate a game of chase, but I don't remember him ever roughhousing. And we can only play fetch with him, he ignores any other type of play. He is obsessive over fetch, he will go until he drops.
 

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When we have dogs in that can handle his amount of energy we let them out together, and he doesn't roughhouse with them but if they try to ignore him he does the nipping with them too, and for most that will initiate a game of chase, but I don't remember him ever roughhousing. And we can only play fetch with him, he ignores any other type of play. He is obsessive over fetch, he will go until he drops.
Btw, love your user name!

You know, those details make me wonder. For one thing, it seems like among other dogs, this behavior is rewarded. He nips, he gets a fun game. Which is fine, but he's not distinguishing between proper behavior with dogs and humans, which dogs absolutely can do.

Then there's the obsessiveness with fetch. Dogs can suffer from OCD, and it's just as painful for them as it is for humans. I'd suggest a behaviorist. It's not fair to the dog to suffer from OCD and it's not fair to you guys to be at the receiving end of his obsession. I really feel bad for everyone.
 

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I'm not sure if this will work, but its one of the things I did with Caeda when she used to do that to me (including bruises, broken skin etc):
Plan in advance, make sure wherever you are going that there will be something to tether to nearby, set up something if you have to, a tree with something to clip to, etc, anything that will work for temporary tethering. Once the nip jump starts tether as fast as you can and walk out of reach, turn away (well...as much as you can and still see enough to be sure the dog isn't going to get hurt by any temporary tethering setup). Wait until it stops, approach, if it starts, walk away again. Once there isn't jumping and nipping for a few seconds untether and play fetch! Try to extend it to a good minute or more before you untether and play. It kind of sucks if there is an obsession with fetch, but IMO dealing with the jumping nipping is a bigger problem! Try getting other people at the kennel to do the same so if it does help it isn't just with you that the dog behaves better. Later on can come some dealing with the possible OCD. That would be more on the owner's head though....either way you need to do something to make it more manageable for you in this situation.
I agree with the others too.....add mental stimulation if you can, or get the owner to, the kikopup vids are an absolute must for the owner too IMO, they're all great! Good luck, I know how frustrating and painful the jumping and nipping can be!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I wasn't sure at first of it was OCD after reading your post, Amaryllis, but after a few more days observing his behavior it actually might be. Like today, I was playing fetch with him and once he brought the ball back and started shaking it (it had a rope attached) and he accidentally lost grip and it flew a few feet away and instead of going to get it he immediately started jumping and nipping at me. I have some good bruises from it too. That just doesn't seem normal behavior to me. What do you think?

Also, I have a "safe spot" that I use when outside with him. If I get on the middle step on the deck he leaves me alone because there is no room for him to jump. I used that today when I tried to go into the yard. If I stepped on the ground he'd come and try to start jumping and I'd just turn around and get back on the step. I don't know if there is any way to tether him out there, but do you think using my "safe spot" may help him learn?
 
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