What to do if your Dog Nips at your Heels?
When we lived in Pasadena, we had a neighbor with a cute bull terrier named Lucy who would come over for play dates with Sally & Tino several times a week. They would race around the front yard for 30 minutes or so chasing each other or chasing a ball or playing bite face.
One of Tino’s favorite things to do was nip at Lucy’s heels. We didn’t allow him to do it too often, but sometimes he’d get so excited with their chase game, he’d go for the heels. He only did it to Lucy, never to Sally or any of the other dogs he would play with. I don’t know if it was her size or shape or what.
Heel nipping is a herding behavior and even though Tino looks like a Shepherd mix, the DNA test we did on him told us otherwise – mainly Doberman and Afghan, so I guess he got the herding behavior from the Afghan in him.
It’s not really a behavior you want in your family dog, especially if they do it to humans. Here’s some tips to help prevent heel nipping:
- Redirect your dog to a different activity – use treats or toys to distract them when they start nipping.
- Limit the chase games and the excitement levels to avoid the nip from starting.
- Teach your dog to heel. If you teach the heel correctly, you can get your dog to focus on that correct behavior while still running by your side.
I know many of you have herding dogs – what suggestions do you have for preventing unwanted heel biting or herding behavior?