12 week old basenji nipping my 5 year old

  • I have posted on this before but we are at our wits end. Our new girl has a nipping problem, she nips at everything hands feet clothes. My 5yr old son had been very good with her, doesn't tease her or get mad at her when she nips him.. We have tried saying firmly no biting, stopping play and ignoring her. Today my husband and son were playing outside with her, my son was just standing in place and she ran up to him ,my son, and jumped up and bit him on the back, I am not sure if this was an attempt to get him to play with her or if she was looking for a treat he had in his pocket or just aggression. We are about ready to get rid of her although that's not what we want. Can anyone help? She is not aggressive in any other way. She greets people and other children in the neighborhood with a wagging tail. What are we doing wrong???

  • What are you doing to reinforce correct behavior and impulse control? Are you enrolled in a puppy kindergarten class? Have you discussed with your instructor, if you are enrolled, the issues you are dealing with. It hasn't even been a week since your last post, how much could have implemented and practiced since then? What is your time frame for results? It is not realistic to expect results in 48-72 hours.

  • We are firmly saying no bite every time she nips and then ignoring her. I have told my son to stop moving when she bites his clothing, no tug of war.. When she licks instead of biting we praise her and tell her good girl.. I am trying to decide between a trainer or a class at pet smart..we are not looking for instant results, we are just wondering if we are doing things wrong or not doing something we should be so I am going to take your suggestion about the classes. I am hoping that this was just her way of getting him to start playing again, as she doesn't seem to be agressive in any other way.

  • It doesn't sound like aggression at all but an attempt to induce playtime. Plus, as said in your post you were playing so she was already excited. Oakley does this from time to time when very stimulated…it's a correction but to be honest.... You got a puppy, I would think you would be prepared for this... And I only say that because I'm surprised to hear you say you already want to get rid of her. A puppy is a lifetime commitment and some things just take time to learn, if you aren't ok with that then maybe your breeder will take the puppy back and perhaps see if she has an adult to place

  • Puppies mouth, not just in play or out of aggression, it is how they explore their world and build jaw strength. I have not found the word "no" to be very effective, "ow" or a yelp in pain gets seems to get their attention more and using clear body language that you disapprove, which means turning away from the dog. I also use the 3 strikes rule, after 3 "hard" bites the pup get a time out, usually they are overly tired but don't know how to calm themselves down and sleep.

    I also teach It's Yer Choice, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipT5k1gaXhc

    I would recommend finding an CPDT trainer in your area that offers classes if possible, http://www.ccpdt.org/index.php?option=com_certificants&Itemid=102

  • And have you talked to her breeder?….. I might have asked that before, but your first line of defense should be a conversation with your breeder...

    I agree with the advise given by lvoss... especially with the response to a nip... or mouthing... believe me a firm "no" is really not going to make an impression... you need a sound that STOPS the behavior immediately... a loud "scream" or any sound that makes them stop "in mid stream"... so that you then have their attention... and then can redirect...

  • We have tried the yelp but not consistently , it didn't seem to work but maybe we gave up on that too easily. I do the turning away all the time and it works but that doesn't work so well with my son. When you say time out do you mean in the crate, we haven't tried that.

  • Well my son definately screamed, I heard him inside the house. I think the playing situation is very hard because my son runs around the yard and she follows, I am starting to think this type of play is not good, maybe she wanted to get his attention to play some more and that is why she jumped up and nipped him like to say hey here I am play with me.. I do think I need some advice from a trainer, do you recommend classes or someone coming to the house?

  • Yes I did speak to the breeder, I forgot to tell you that before, she said everything you all are saying.

  • Basenji's, being very prey driven, will have the desire to nip at things that well, look like prey. Kids like to run around, flail their arms and look 'prey-like'. Not saying that the B should then nip at the kid but maybe this is the reason, the type of play the child is doing with the dog. I know when both of my B's got very excited during play they would nip. That was it after that, if they nipped playtime was over. They soon outgrew it.

  • sounds like you pup is trying to play, but getting overstimulated.
    I'd try some mat work. Google Overall's Relaxation Protocol.

  • Thanks for all the advice everyone we appreciate it

  • @Benti:

    I think the playing situation is very hard because my son runs around the yard and she follows, I am starting to think this type of play is not good, maybe she wanted to get his attention to play some more and that is why she jumped up and nipped him

    I think you have identified the problem. I would totally avoid any play involving chasing. Yes, your son likes to run around, but don't allow it when the pup is with him. You are right that this encourages the nipping behaviour. You are dealing with a sight hound and instinct. You can train them not to do this, but it is asking a lot from a pup.

  • If you can establish a default behavior, such as a "say please by sitting" approach, you can then build off of that and teach him how to calm down when aroused and build impulse control. Sophia Yin's approach is called "suddenly settle". There is a similar Control Unleashed approach, called the Off-Switch game. They have to learn how to think through arousal. That in combination with the other recommendations should help build better behavior.

    As an FYI, my 4 month puppy still nips (he is teething too) but the frequency and the pressure is significantly less than early on. So, you'll get there. Your puppy is still really young.

  • Thanks you guys I will try that also. We did play outside today just chasing a ball without my son running around, there was a lot less chasing and biting. We are also getting trainer to the house

  • Good for you for being proactive about the situation!

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