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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18811
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 7 mos. shep/lab/probably healer mix. I am having

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I have a 7 mos. shep/lab/probably healer mix. I am having problems with him jumping and nipping badly when playing and or walking on the leash. It's like a switch goes off and he gets very aggressive with his mouth. What can i do to curb this behavior?
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

Are those the only things you have tried so far?Are you forcing him to the ground?Is he neutered?Does he only wear a halter or a does he have a neck collar as well?About how much does he weigh?When you say he is nipping, do you mean he is nipping your arm, legs, heels or some other part of the body?Does he draw blood?Is his tail up or straight out from his body when he does that?Does it seem to happen at any specific time during the walk? At the start, end, etc.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, I have forced him to the ground. He is neutered. He has a halter as well as neck collar when walking. I have also walked him with just neck collar and he does the same thing. He's about 35 pounds. There are times if he's off the leash that he will jump and nip at my butt. Never draws blood, but sometimes it's quite a pinch! Tail is not straight up or out. I truly think he is frustrated with being confined to the leash. He usually starts out with this behavior, I am able to stop it and then we walk along fine for a while, then he tries it again. It is accompianied with growling, but I never feel like he is trying to hurt me. Today on our walk, we were almost finished and we encounter a dog in his yard across the street. Dylan wanted to get to him and started with the behavior again. I took him by the halter and directed his walk until we were away and he was distracted again. I always give a firm, "no" and try to remain calm. i also try and let him know I am not going to tolerate this behavior.


Thanks for the additional information. It does sound like he isn't getting enough exercise and may be getting frustrated. There are some things we can do to help with what you are experiencing. One thing is to make the walk a very fast paced walk that doesn't give him time to jump up. He shouldn't be given time to sniff or investigate on the walk. You should walk to a destination where you will allow him to walk around, sniff, and eliminate for 10-15 minutes before again walking home at a fast pace.

I am also going to recommend that he wear a back pack that you can add rocks, bottles of water or cans to. this will add additional weight and help tire him out faster and keep his feet on the ground. The other thing you should do is practice obedience training daily. I have a great site that help teach obedience. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.


Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Once he is listening consistently, you can use this to stop his jumping up and nipping by commanding him to sit or lay down. I recommend a high value treat like a hot dog slice or liver sliver. Until your dog is obedience trained, there is a method I've used for over 15 years and is very effective and not cruel for a dog that jumps on people. It cures even the most stubborn large dog. However, everyone in the family will have to be consistent until he learns it is not acceptable.

What you will be doing is putting one knee up to waist level any time you see the dog start to jump up. Put it up before the dog is close to you, so he sees it. YOU DO NOT KNEE THE DOG. Instead you put your knee up long before he reaches you and he jumps onto your knee generally hitting himself in the chest as a result. Since your knee is up and you aren't moving when it happens, he does not interpret it as something you are doing. At the same time you need to say in a low toned firm voice, NO JUMP. He'll learn that when he jumps, he ends up hitting his chest and will associate NO JUMP with that feeling and learn to not jump on people. He may still dance around on his hind legs, but they do usually learn not to touch the person. Again, I want to stress that the knee should not be used to hit the dog, but instead let the dog run into the knee.

Your dog may try and come at you from the side, but just shift position until he learns that he can't jump. You can stop nipping from behind by adopting an exaggerated walk bringing your heels up high in the back. When the dog tries to jump up to nip, they get a heel in the chest. They don't think of it as you kicking because your back is turned and you are just walking. They learn pretty quickly to not do that.

The instance where he is getting frustrated because he can not get to another dog is often referred to as misdirected aggression. I think you handled that pretty good. The obedience training, pack along with the "NO" and quick tug should help with this situation. If you carry some of those high value treats, and get your dog's attention before he fixates on another dog, you may be able to keep his attention on you and help prevent it as well. Just remember to only give a treat when he is acting the way you want and do not give it to stop the behavior. Reward desired behavior.

Remember that the behavior did not start overnight and will take time to stop as well but these techniques and tips should help. Also you should not force a dog to submit to you physically. It just teaches a dog that physical reprimands are acceptable. A reprimand might be a nip to let you know the dog finds your behavior unacceptable. Now if you command your dog to lay down and stand over them and they submit, that does show the dog is submissive to you. An obedience trained dog usually just obeys.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your suggestions. I do use the knee when he approaches. It doesn't seem to stop him at all. We did go through a puppy obedience class called, "Pups grow up'" but I had to miss several of them because of work etc. My husband and I are also both ordained ministers and that takes us away a lot. I do try and spend good quality time with the dog daily and try and make sure he gets some good running in. He loves to chase the ball. He's not so good at letting go, and it is usually during these times that he also gets worked up and starts jumping, biting and generally behaving badly.


That is good information to have. Teach him the leave it command. Or a drop it command. Here is a site on leave it.

Have him come to you for the ball, command him to sit and then give a command like drop it. Then show him a treat. He has to drop the ball to get the treat. He will start associating the drop it with the treat and drop the ball automatically. This may stop the jumping and nipping if it is excitement oriented and part of his playing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much!




You are very welcome. Thank you for the positive rating.

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