Make Sure Your Dog Does Not Nip Your Heals
I was in West Palm Beach last Thursday installing a new Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® system for a client and his Border Collie named Jamison. Jamison loved to jump the fence and chase after all the neighbors. Being a herding dog, he then loved to “herd them” and play with them. Most of them didn’t find this as fun as Jamison and they were excited that we were doing something to curtail the problem. The great news is that the installation went quite well and Jamison quickly learned that it would be better to stay on his own property. My client was quite pleased that we had taken care of the escaping and angry neighbor problems, but he had one more thing to ask. What is the deal with Jamison’s heal nipping and is there a way to curtail that? Luckily, I am also a Dog Behavioral Trainer as well as a Dog Guard Dealer. I had an explanation and solution.
Border Collies are herders, and because of that, tend to be alpha dogs. This means that they believe they are the leaders and require the focus and respect of the rest of the animals around them. As herders, they are naturally bread to do this with the flock. They chase them around, nipping and nudging them in the right direction; their right direction.
Their job requires that they get focus from “the rest”. They naturally assume that “the rest” will focus on their actions and follow their rules. Jamison’s heal nipping is a natural extension of his breeding and is the way he naturally “comes out of the box”.
Because Jamison naturally wants to lead does not mean that my client had “to live with it”. Just like his mother did when he was a pup, she guided him to understand that she was his leader. When she was around, he needed to follow and obey her. All we need to do is to “remind Jamison” who is boss and what his role must be when around us.
In order to accomplish this specific behavior, my client needed to become the Alpha in the relationship between Jamison and himself. This did not mean that he had to become a bully or physical with Jamison. He simply needed to communicate that Jamison should focus on his rules.
In order to accomplish this, I gave my client a simple exercise. The goal of this exercise is to let Jamison know that it is not right to nip his heals.
- I asked my client to slowly walk towards Jamison. As he approaches, he is going to walk about three to four feet in front of him and then stop.
- He will stand tall and face Jamison. If Jamison begins to approach or become adrenalized, he needs to correct with a stern NO.
- Once Jamison has stopped and is calmly giving him focus, he needs to continue to walk past Jamison.
- As he passes, he needs to turn and face Jamison as he backs away. It is important to face him during this timeframe because facing him indicates determined leadership on my client’s part.
- If Jamison starts to come after him, he stops, verbalizes his low toned NO, and waits for the respectful focus that shows Jamison is now submitting to him.
- He continues to back up, observing that Jamison is calm, non adrenalized, and focused on him.
- Once is about 20 feet away from Jamison, he can turn around and continue walking.
I asked my client to practice this exercise five or six times a day. In four or five days, he should notice that Jamison is no longer coming after his heals and providing him consistent, respectful focus. He is now in charge and has established his leadership role with Jamison.
Once your dog understands that you are the one in charge and you are the one telling him what to do, the attention seeking actions including heal nipping will quickly disappear. Please ask us anything about dogs by visiting Dog Fence Training Help West Palm Beach South Florida. Contact us directly through (954) 472-4724. We have a great deal of information about Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® and overall dog behavior at Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers West Palm Beach South Florida. We are excited to have been your South Florida dog professionals for over twelve years in West Palm Beach and all of South Florida. Our systems really work in keeping your dog secure and on your property. We have trained nearly 4,000 dogs to be great and loving pets. Please learn all about our Dog Obedience and Behavior Programs by visiting Home Dog Training West Palm Beach South Florida.