Stop Your Dog Nipping at Your Heals

Every time I walk past my dog, he lets me pass and then nips my heals or pant legs after I have walked by.  This is annoying and putting holes in my pants legs.  I don’t think it is right to kick him.  What should I do?

When a dog is overly playful or demanding of attention, he will try to do whatever he can to have you pay attention.  Nipping at your heals gets your attention.  You now stop doing what you were doing (walking down the hall) and turn to address his “request”.  You have now responded to your dog’s demand for attention and have submitted to his authority.

You cannot yell, hit, or scream in response to your dog’s nip.  These actions will often escalate the situation to where your dog will start to jump, bark, or even bite.  You must deescalate the situation and address the issue before it actually occurs.  You must show leadership to your dog in a consistent and repetitive manner.  Here is what you must do to correct the situation:
  • As you approach your dog in preparation of passing him, stop, face him, and (in a very low tone) say “No”.
  • Begin to slowly pass him.  As you are doing this, constantly face him.  When you are facing another person (or animal), that portrays dominance or assertiveness.  If your dog starts to move towards you, stop, continue to face him, and say (in a very low tone) “No”.
  • Continue to move away from him and continue to face him.  This means that you will probably be walking backwards.  Do not practice this near a stoop or stairs.
  • Once you are about ten feet away from him and he has not approached you, give him one more (in a low tone) “No”.  Turn around and continue walking.  Now you will be walking with your back to your dog.
  • Just to be on the safe side, glance back to make sure that he isn’t making his move to nip.  If he is, correct him again while facing him.  Back away from him while you are facing him until you are another ten feet away.  Repeat this process, if necessary.

Practice this little exercise five to ten times a day for a few weeks.  Very shortly, you will notice that this “let’s nip daddy’s heals” has vanished.  Every family member that is experiencing this issue should perform this exercise.  If you have any questions, please contact us at The BestDog Trainers in South Florida.


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