Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Dogs Nipping at Visitors

Question from Pete from Hockessin:
Why does my 7 year old American Eskimo still nip at visitors to my house and what can I do to change her behavior?

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
This is a serious problem not to mention a liability for you. Nipping at home visitors can potentially be a sign of fear (an abusive past) or lack of socialization during the first few months of life. Aggression problems are best handled by animal behavior specialists. A behaviorist will be able to ask the appropriate questions in order to gain a better understanding of your dog's psyche.

In the meantime, I recommend keeping your dog confined when you are expecting visitors. Once your guest is settled, allow your dog to come out. If she still displays aggression, she may be guarding her territory. You can also try having your guests wait outside and take your dog out of the house on a leash to greet friends. Some dogs will react more favorably to visitors when everyone enters the home together.

Posted March 23, 2006

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