How to Stop Dog Nipping and Barking When Leaving the House

by Fiona

Hi everyone, so glad I found this site as really shows we are not alone in our newfound love for Jack Russell’s!

We adopted a 3 year old Jack Russell (Sophie :) just over a month ago. She is generally very well behaved and previously had a loving home. However we now seem to be through the 'honeymoon' period of dog adoption and Sophie has started playing up! She has stopped returning to us when off-lead, which we are addressing through obedience classes and recall workshops, but more worryingly she has started to nip and bark angrily when we try to leave the house without her.

This does not seem to be due to separation anxiety as she does it even when other one of us is staying in the house with her.

Any suggestions on why she is doing this and how we can address it please? (NB: we have tried turning our back on her but then she nips our bum! Also tried sending her to her bed, which works at all other times, but she leaves it as soon as we edge near the door)

Any help very much appreciated!!


Vet Suggestion on Barking and Nipping When Leaving the House

Hello Fiona,

Your story is a new one to me! I suspect Sophie is either expressing her displeasure at the thought of one of you leaving and/or trying to “herd” you back to where she thinks you belong. In either case, I recommend that you try instituting a fun routine with her whenever you are leaving to try to get her to look forward to these occasions. Lots of possibilities might work, but since you mentioned you have her in obedience/recall classes, try something like this.

• Allow her to accompany you to the door (if she tends to nip while you are heading in that direction, carry her as long as that stops the behavior).
• Ask her to sit and place a favorite treat or toy (one reserved for these times) on the floor a few feet away from her.
• Tell her to stay as you open the door.
• Then say “okay” (or whatever command you use to release her)so she can get her treat as you walk out the door.

My hope is that with time, your dog will calmly walk with you to the door and wait for you to hand out her goodies. If this doesn’t work, talk to your veterinarians or the trainers who are working with you in her obedience/recall classes. Since they’ve met her and have a feel for her personality, they are in a good position to make recommendations.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Let's Talk!.