Ask the Trainer with Beth Oppermann

St. Louis Critter Sitters

Q: My new puppy must have some herding dog in her because she is always nipping at my ankles and pants when I walk somewhere. I turn around and tell her a firm, “No,” but she only gets more excited and goes after my legs more aggressively. What can I do about this?

A: Puppies learn to use their teeth at a very young age; they use mouthing to determine rank amongst their littermates. What people must realize is when a puppy is mouthing, he is trying to establish dominance, and this is a behavior that needs to be addressed before it becomes a bigger problem. Nipping at the back of pants as the guardian walks away also a common puppy behavior. The puppy perceives this to be a game. You could try spraying lemon juice or bitter apple spray on the back of your pants. Using deterrent sprays on clothing and body parts make for a distasteful experience.

Beth OppermannABOUT the Trainer:

Beth Oppermann is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business, emphasis in Animal Science. She is well-versed in training with traditional and motivational methods, and is excellent at reading dogs and solving problem behaviors for optimal training results. She is also qualified dogs for narcotics and explosive/ordinance detection, search and rescue, cadaver detection, and Advanced Police K-9 and Protection including handler protection, field searches, building searches, deployment and area protection.

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