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Discussion Starter #1
We need to stop this! The problem is that Snowball is 8 years old and is the sweetest dog you ever saw! EVERYONE loves him and that is the problem. Sometimes they will try to pet him and he is OK. At other times he is still nice and adorable but when a person gets too close he will bark and go to bite or nip. We have no idea why he does this often but not always. Is there any way to stop this? We do need to do something!
 

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Is this a new behavior with Snowball or has he been doing this for a long time? To start with I'd rule out any health issues and have him checked out at your vet. If he doesn't have any health issues then I'd try behavior modification. I'd hire a behaviorist. If can't afford it, I'd read books and dedicate myself to modifying this behavior. Until this behavior is corrected perhaps use a basket muzzle on him when he's around people that you think trigger his biting. Also, make sure Snowball is getting lots of exercise.

Others here on SM may have addition helpful advise. Please keep us updated on your progress with Snowball - He's a cutie! :wub:
 

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Thank You. His health is fine. He does go to the Vet regularly as well. He has always been a bit this way, but seems to be getting worse. Not sure why, but we can ask about a behaviorist as you said. In the past we were told that barking and/or biting/nipping are things they do not try to fix. Can look at the muzzle too but prefer not to go that route! It is funny as he takes to some people right away, but we are afraid to chance it.
 

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Sometimes dogs will get a bit aggressive if they have low thyroid issues. Something to consider especially since he's getting older.
 

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The reason I suggested the muzzle is that you do not want to take a chance of Snowball biting anyone. If that person files a complaint Snowball can be taken away from you. I had a neighbor that had a "friendly" dog. I trusted him playing with Abella. But one day he bit the neighbors kid and they filed a complaint and their dog was confiscated. I went to bat for them by going to court and vouching that the dog was not a nuisance or vicious. When the dog was released back to the owner I made them promise they would get correction behavior modification for him. They didn't follow my advise and their dog bit another child. This time the dog was taken away and put down. So frustrating as this was avoidable. :smpullhair:

If there is any chance Snowall could bite someone please opt for a muzzle. Also, I really think you should follow through with a behavior modification trainer. :wub:

I'm hoping maybe some more will chime in on this topic.......:whistle:
 

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Snowball nipping/biting

As a retired Certified Dog Trainer/Behaviorist I would first rule out any physiological issue. Talk to your vet specifically about this on your visit. Have your vet run blood test for underlying issues. A physical exam to rule out any type of pain from the joints, spine or abnormal abdomen. X-rays May be indicated.
If you can take him for long structured walks, that will help in letting him release bent up frustration/toxic energy. Simply take the lead in refusing to let anyone reach down and pet him without signals from him that he wants to be touch. Pet only under the chin or down the chest. Absolutely no petting the top of the head. That is a dominant gesture and will trigger a bite with strangers, people he doesn’t like or if he had alpha behavior. Keep him leashed around people to control him. Have them sit on the floor so they are less intimidating to him. No staring in eyes. That can be perceived as a threat. Allow him to completely smell the people without reaching out to pet. Dogs need to know what your smell tells them in order to understand who you are.
Keep us posted
 

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As a retired Certified Dog Trainer/Behaviorist I would first rule out any physiological issue. Talk to your vet specifically about this on your visit. Have your vet run blood test for underlying issues. A physical exam to rule out any type of pain from the joints, spine or abnormal abdomen. X-rays May be indicated.
If you can take him for long structured walks, that will help in letting him release bent up frustration/toxic energy. Simply take the lead in refusing to let anyone reach down and pet him without signals from him that he wants to be touch. Pet only under the chin or down the chest. Absolutely no petting the top of the head. That is a dominant gesture and will trigger a bite with strangers, people he doesn’t like or if he had alpha behavior. Keep him leashed around people to control him. Have them sit on the floor so they are less intimidating to him. No staring in eyes. That can be perceived as a threat. Allow him to completely smell the people without reaching out to pet. Dogs need to know what your smell tells them in order to understand who you are.
Keep us posted

Thank you Mare for chiming in on this topic/thread.
:goodpost:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I am back again! He has now started barking when we put him in his xpen at night to go to bed.

For 8 YEARS we would do this and then we would go into the bedroom and watch TV for LESS than an hour. No problem. Then we would get up ant see if he had to pee. He would go back into his xpen where his bed is and then not hear anything until 6 AM or so.
Now for the last week he has decided that when we put him in his XPEN he barks when we go to our bedroom. He will not quit! We can see what he wants...which is usually nothing and then after listening to him bark, we will see if he has to pee. After that he will bark...sometimes almost to 12:30 or 1 AM! Do any of you think just using a Basket Muzzle at bedtime would help? He sees a VET often and is in great health. He just wants to be in OUR bed all of a sudden!
 

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No, do not use the muzzle! He could vomit and choke to death. Muzzles should only be used under direct supervision!
 

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I'm also curious for an update of how you are handling people approaching him. Mare gave you great advice. I would NEVER let anyone just come up and pet Zooey. It's only on her terms. It is normal for a dog to growl or bark as a warning that they are not comfortable and owners always need to listen to that.
 

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I wonder if the change in behavior might be because everything has changed because of Covid and they feel the change and anxiety.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, if anything he is getting worse. People do not have to be doing ANYTHING at all. When we go for a walk, he will try to go after anyone. We keep his leash tight when we see someone, but he still goes crazy even if they are across the street! Today he somehow got out of the leash and he ran to a guy and Snowball was very aggressive...my wife did catch him again and he did not bite. This is no longer an issue of people trying to pet him...they were ignoring him. We would not keep him in a muzzle, but I believe that it is an option when we go for a walk.

Is there a Basket Muzzle that would allow him to drink and pant when we walk? Also, what brand and what size would an 8 lb 9 year old need?

Thank you all!
 

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Well, if anything he is getting worse. People do not have to be doing ANYTHING at all. When we go for a walk, he will try to go after anyone. We keep his leash tight when we see someone, but he still goes crazy even if they are across the street! Today he somehow got out of the leash and he ran to a guy and Snowball was very aggressive...my wife did catch him again and he did not bite. This is no longer an issue of people trying to pet him...they were ignoring him. We would not keep him in a muzzle, but I believe that it is an option when we go for a walk.

Is there a Basket Muzzle that would allow him to drink and pant when we walk? Also, what brand and what size would an 8 lb 9 year old need?

Thank you all!
The problem went on too long and now he doesn't trust. Keeping the leash tight is a problem--instead, immediately walk the other direction! A tight leash increases the tension. He is very anxious. And I'd put him in a harness (maybe one with a front clip) so that you can maintain control of him. I would still not recommend a muzzle (but I understand where you're coming from), but if I were to buy one, I'd ask my vet for a recommendation.
 
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