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Sheltie Following and Nipping Small Children

Discussion in 'Behavior' started by Giant Spruce, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. Giant Spruce

    Giant Spruce Forums Novice

    Nov 9, 2016
    Our 10 month old Sheltie, Poppy, follows small children around and will often jump or nip them. Though she is very well behaved around adults and other animals, toddlers and infants always elicit this offensive behavior. Is this caused by aggression, curiosity, or herding instinct? Also, how can we correct it?

    Thanks for the support!
  2. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

    Nov 13, 2014
    Absolutely herding instinct - that is what they are created for - she brings the pack together.
    Giant Spruce likes this.
  3. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    You might consider working on this behavior -- maybe with herding classes if they have them in your area. Then she can learn where this behavior is appropriate!
    SKNerissa and Giant Spruce like this.
  4. Cleo2014

    Cleo2014 Premium Member

    Jun 23, 2015
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    My Cleo does this to my 5 year old son. Also, just so you are aware, I do not allow running in my house. The kids do get in trouble when they do run. However Cleo has developed the strangest thing. This happened after she ran after my son when he ran through the house. She accidently bit him and it upset her greatly. It didn't puncture him but he cried which upset her. She knows it is hard to resist and not chase him, so now when she does, she quickly looks for the nearest toy or blanket to put in her mouth and THEN runs after him so she has no way to bite him. It is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. She cares so much to not hurt him that she make sure she can't hurt him anymore. They do get a stern talking to when this all happens though however sweet it may be that she does that.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  5. Cara Sandler

    Cara Sandler Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 11, 2015
    Definitely herding instinct. That being said, you can absolutely train your pup not to nip. Spirit got put in "time out" (the bathroom - NOT her crate) when she did this. She now does what Cleo does - she will still jump around, but she will grab a toy or even my comforter instead of nipping.
    Giant Spruce and Cleo2014 like this.
  6. mimiretz

    mimiretz Premium Member

    Oct 14, 2014
    I love this!!
    Giant Spruce likes this.
  7. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    The reason she's doing it is because she hasn't been taught how to act around small children. Small children have fast jerky movements, high pitched voices and are generally always excited. Poppy gets excited and defaults to instinct - to nip and herd.

    First I recommend removing her when the kids are really excited, when there's a lot of squealing and running around. It will be too hard to get her focus with that much going on and prevention is the best cure. You don't need to put her in time out if she hasn't misbehaved, snap on a lead or put her in a gated area where she can watch but not run after them. If she getting to silly there's nothing wrong with a time out. Just remember with a dog a time out isn't to get them to think about what they've done, dog's don't work like that, it's to
    let calm them down, so let her out when she's calm and quiet.

    Honestly, I would not let her around visiting small children unless the behaviour is under control. You can't really train other people's children, and you also don't want her to accidently get skin or have a child tell their parent your dog bit them.

    With your child/ren teach 'be like a tree'. When Poppy jumps or nips the child stands very still and crosses their arms across their chest. I know it's not exactly like a tree, unless the branches are gnarled and crossed, but it's the recommended method for teaching pre-school children to deal with a jumping dog.

    Also sounds like she needs to learn 4-on-the-floor, so that means no jumping allowed at all, with anyone - that means adults too.

    Redirect. Keep a lot of squeaky toys handy and shove one in her mouth every time she gets excited, with or without kids around. As Brittany and Cara said -you want your dog to put something else in their mouth when they feel the need to nip and this way you're teaching her excitement=toy in mouth. I did the same thing for my male. Throw a toy in with her when you've separated her from the kids and when you introduce her back with the kids around make sure there's always a squeaky toy around.
    Giant Spruce and Cara Sandler like this.
  8. Vera Hallam

    Vera Hallam Forums Regular

    Feb 1, 2017
    Kitchener,On. Canada
    Mandy also knows she gets into trouble nipping our kitten, benji. So she'll also put a toy in her mouth while they play. Awww
    Cleo2014 likes this.

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