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I think I'm doing everything right with my puppy who is now a five month old Frengle (French Bulldog\Beagle mix), but he won't stop nipping and trying to attack me! Oddly enough, he leaves my wife alone or is cuddly with her, but with me he thinks it is always play time. Granted, I probably play with him more, but I scold him loudly and firmly when he nips me. I'm not sure that it's a dominance issue, but he continues doing it even after I scold him.

Any suggestions how I can stop this behaviour?

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    Does the nipping occur during play time, or is he nipping at your heels as you walk around the house, or nipping to get you to play with him, or something else? – Monica Cellio Nov 7 '13 at 1:29
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    There really isn't enough information to answer this question. On the surface it sounds like typical puppy play, but as other answers state there might be a dominance issue. – maple_shaft Nov 7 '13 at 20:18
  • Usually in the evenings. Its interesting, he's good all day, morning, when I come home to let him out and what not. But only in the evenings, he goes crazy. Whether we are eating dinner, playing with him, or not playing with him. It happens all evening until we go to bed. – user347 Nov 7 '13 at 21:17
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It could be an 'alpha dog' thing (he doesn't nip your wife because hes 'claimed' her). Try it with her scolding him when he nips you.

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  • Claimed her? I don't own dogs, so I am not sure what this means. Could you explain a bit in your answer? – Ash Nov 7 '13 at 15:28
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    Yeah its like the dog is the one 'in charge' of the wife. He could be nipping the husband as a way of saying 'back off she's mine'. So the wife saying 'no' should work in telling the dog that no it is not the one in charge. Bull dogs do the 'in charge' thing a lot and you want to make sure that they know you are in charge. – Nakiki350 Nov 7 '13 at 16:00
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There is not enough information in your post for a proper clinical assessment. However, there are some general things you should consider.

  • "Nipping" can be caused by excessive arousal or attention-seeking. Unless you're under-playing it, nipping shouldn't be classified as "attacking you."
  • Scolding your dog may sound like barking and amp up the puppy, or it may make him fearful of you. Either way, this is likely to lead to more, not less, aggression or guarding.
  • Your dog may be resource-guarding your wife. If so, this is a serious behavioral issue that requires professional intervention.

In the general case, rewarding your dog for low-energy behavior is probably your best bet. Spend some time in the evenings rewarding him with treats for sits or downs, give him a chew toy or raw meaty bone to keep him occupied, or anything else that is acceptable to your family and a relatively sedate activity.

If your dog behaves inappropriately, a good look-away will signal your displeasure better than a verbal scolding. While it may increase attention-seeking behavior in the short term due to extinction burst, this kind of signal should be instinctively interpreted as a calming signal and may stop the unwanted behaviors more quickly than you expect.

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