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Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs

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Bailey reserves the right to edit any posting for spelling, grammar, length, and inappropriate content. Only one question per person will be considered. Your question may or may not be posted with Bailey's reply. Bailey can take up to several months to reply to questions. He is extremely busy being a dog.

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Disclaimer: The material provided by Bailey on this web site is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only. The information presented is provided with the understanding that Bailey is not engaged in rendering medical or professional behavioral services. Such information should not be used as a substitute for behavioral advice provided by a qualified canine behavior therapist.

Please remember that Bailey's advice, comments, or opinions are solely Bailey's, and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff here at Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs.

Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs is not responsible for actions taken based on the advice provided herein.

Terrier Nipping

Dear Bailey,

I own a Cairn Terrier. He is 3 years old and is a very sweet guy. He has a bad habit of nipping me and I don't know how to correct him.

He has had several owners and I don't know his whole story. I have had him for about 6 months. Any suggestions?


Patti Stackpole

Bailey's Reply:

Dear Patti,

First, it's fantastic that you've rescued a dog and given him a "Forever Home"! Congratulations!

Now, to the nipping. It's difficult to say why he's nipping you, because you didn't mention in what situations he's most likely to nip. Some common reasons for nipping are:

  • Hyper-arousal. Often exhibited during play, greetings, or during periods of stress. Keep play levels low, as well as creating non-eventful comings and goings. Always have an appropriate item to redirect his teeth to while playing.
  • Attention. He nips, you give him attention, even when you're mad. Yep- any attention is good attention in your dog's eyes. Manage the situation so that your dog won't have an opportunity to nip you. You can prevent many nipping opportunities with good management. Rehearsed behavior is learned behavior.
  • Resource Guarding. If your dog is nipping you if you are trying to remove an object from his possession, then you need help! Contact a qualified trainer in your area for assistance with resource guarding. This can be a very serious problem that requires someone with resource guarding modification experience.

Good luck to you and your new family member!

Sniff ya later!


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