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Discussion Starter #1
We just rescued our beagle/shepard mix before christmas. Sometimes when she wants to initiate play or to prevent us from taking her back inside she starts growling and blocks me with her body, nips and yanks my clothes or starts yanking at her own leash.

How do I break this bad habit. She can't be calling the shots on when playtime begins or ends.
 

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We believe she is around 16 weeks now. We do not have a fenced in yard, we are looking for a place currently. So i take her to a tennis court by my house. When we enter the court, I have to shut the door behind me and then walk to the other side of the gate with her and shut the other side for her safety. She always bullies me the entire walk to close the other gate and I know she is excited to play but it often escalates because I can't have her biting my clothes and ankles and tripping me as I walk.
 

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She's not trying to call the shots and she's not bullying you. It may FEEL that way to you, but, she's simply not doing that. Sometimes we, as humans, mistakenly assign human characteristics to dogs, it's pretty common. But, you have a puppy that is excited, needs stimulation, and doesn't know her manners yet.

The growling, nipping and yanking sounds like an invitation to play, not calling the shots, just an invitation. You do not have to accept that invitation every time. Turn your back, fold your arms so she cannot try to nip or yank your arms, and ignore completely. The second she has all four paws on the ground (if she tends to jump up at you) or is calm, you can praise her and turn around and reward her with a treat or a toy or a quick cuddle or even a quick game. That way, she will see the hyper invitation to play gets her nothing, but calm behavior does.

When you take her to the tennis court, do you initially have her on a leash? If so, you could hook her leash to the fence of the tennis court once you get inside, so that she cannot follow you while you go to the other gate to shut it. OR, if you want to use this situation to start teaching some manners, you would simply stop EVERY single time she bites and trips you up, and turn your back, folding your arms, etc.

Aside from this, I would look into teaching some guidelines for her behavior. There are some great stickies at the top of the forum pages here, like "NILIF" (Nothing in Life is Free) or "Doggy Zen". These will both outline some strategies to help your dog follow some simple rules and to help your dog learn impulse control. You also might want to check out the sticky "The Bite Stops Here" which will help teach bite inhibition.

Keep in mind, 16 weeks is still a pretty young puppy, and you've only just had her a couple months.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you. I know she is not really bullying me, I only used it for lack of a better term. We have read those awesome articles on bite-inhibition. We are at the stage now where she is almost completely biting without any pain and the next step will be to teach her to go even softer. I DO need to remember that she is still young. I am just afraid I am allowing her to manipulate me now and that the habit will last into adult hood.

I do use the technique of turning the other way when she is behaving inappropriately but she just circles around me or bites my ankles and naturally I reply " No!" Then she barks back like "Whats your problem? I thought we came here to play?" I think tying her to the one side is really a helpful idea.
 
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