Describe biting and nipping
 
 

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Describe biting and nipping

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  • Why does my yearling horse nibble on my sleeve
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    01-22-2012, 09:55 AM
  #1
Yearling
Describe biting and nipping

Odd, but would you please describe what you would call a horse biting or nipping. In another thread regarding aggression people wrote about this and how he or she would discipline.

In my opinion, My 5 yr QH doesn't nip. But does he?

While I am caressing his neck he will sometimes GENTLY grab at a coat sleeve or my scarf. The hood attached to my coat. He is mostly lipping these items and may grab I tiny piece of material. When his teeth does connect with the material he doesn't swish his head.

I usually extract any cloth and laugh. To me it is bonding. But am I wrong?

There is no aggression in his posture. His eyes are soft and droopy. One back leg cocked.

Is this the start of a bad behavior? Otherwise he is completely submissive. Great, no excellent tying and ground manners. If I move my position while grooming he will respond by stepping away from me (if I am near a wall) always to respect my space.

It's soooo cute when he sniffs me and nuzzles my scarf the mouths it. Is it bad?
     
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    01-22-2012, 10:03 AM
  #2
Showing
I don't tolerate either. I'm a stickler when it comes to this issue. Mouths and especially teeth aren't allowed on any person, period. Nipping/lipping when allowed generally will escalate at some point.
     
    01-22-2012, 10:07 AM
  #3
Yearling
What people have exclaimed to me is its dominance.. wether it seems like it or not.. he is trying to let him see what you will let him get away with before he gets punished.. if you don't correct it.. he may ramp up sometime.. and bite or pushy.. that's why I don't tolerate any of it.. I was told to not let them invade your personal space... if you go into theirs and start giving them affection and they respond with it back that's ok.. but they shouldnt crowd me
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    01-22-2012, 10:35 AM
  #4
Foal
My horse is nippen everytime he dose he gets a elbow in the face. I would describe nipping and a small bite with no teeth. He dose it to play with me but he still get smacked. A BITE on the otherhand is when the use there teeth. If he would do that id sock him in the face because that hurts and no horse should do that. He's only biten me a few times. I think he's just trying to see what he can get away with. But don't put up with it because theyll just keep doing it
     
    01-22-2012, 10:44 AM
  #5
Green Broke
Im with MH...this "cute" behavior is the precursor of a bite. It will eventually get there.
I don't feed my horses "treats" either form hand...they have to put their lips on you. Well I don't feed treats period, but I just don't allow it. I would rather take the measures to prevent a problem rather than try to fix one later. The best way to fix a bad habit is not to allow one to form.
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    01-22-2012, 10:46 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by AQHSam    
Odd, but would you please describe what you would call a horse biting or nipping. In another thread regarding aggression people wrote about this and how he or she would discipline.

In my opinion, My 5 yr QH doesn't nip. But does he?

While I am caressing his neck he will sometimes GENTLY grab at a coat sleeve or my scarf. The hood attached to my coat. He is mostly lipping these items and may grab I tiny piece of material. When his teeth does connect with the material he doesn't swish his head.

I usually extract any cloth and laugh. To me it is bonding. But am I wrong?

There is no aggression in his posture. His eyes are soft and droopy. One back leg cocked.

Is this the start of a bad behavior? Otherwise he is completely submissive. Great, no excellent tying and ground manners. If I move my position while grooming he will respond by stepping away from me (if I am near a wall) always to respect my space.

It's soooo cute when he sniffs me and nuzzles my scarf the mouths it. Is it bad?
My gelding used to do this too, until he grabbed my hood and pulled.. He choked me a little and wouldn't let go for a minute. Now I just tell him no because I don't want him to hurt me accidentally. He still LOVES to lick my jacket though :)
     
    01-22-2012, 11:10 AM
  #7
Showing
If you are grooming him around his withers, neck area that is where horses mutually groom and he may be trying to return the favor.
     
    01-22-2012, 12:04 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by AQHSam    
Odd, but would you please describe what you would call a horse biting or nipping. In another thread regarding aggression people wrote about this and how he or she would discipline.

In my opinion, My 5 yr QH doesn't nip. But does he? Yes, he does.

While I am caressing his neck he will sometimes GENTLY grab at a coat sleeve or my scarf. The hood attached to my coat. He is mostly lipping these items and may grab I tiny piece of material. When his teeth does connect with the material he doesn't swish his head.

I usually extract any cloth and laugh. To me it is bonding. But am I wrong?
Yes, this is wrong. You are allowing him to get away with nipping you.

There is no aggression in his posture. His eyes are soft and droopy. One back leg cocked.
Doesn't matter. A nip is a bite and a lip is a nip. I have a zero tolerance policy. I don't care if they're sleeping. If they nip me, they will be disciplined for it.

Is this the start of a bad behavior? Otherwise he is completely submissive. Great, no excellent tying and ground manners. If I move my position while grooming he will respond by stepping away from me (if I am near a wall) always to respect my space.
Yes, it is the start of bad behavior. If you let the little things go, it will progress.

A few years back I trained a young horse for a guy that described the same thing. He thought the lipping, licking, and nibbling was so cute. That colt was the WORST biter I ever fixed. Very dangerous. But you can be sure as rain that he didn't dare do that anymore after I had him. And I clearly instructed his owner to do the same, because he had no idea how dangerous it could become.

If you feel that you are going to "break your amazing bond" with your horse, think about this. When horses are out in the pasture, there's usually one that is the leader. When any of the other horses get out of line, what does the leader do? He might warn them with pinned ears or a turned butt, but when push comes to shover, that lead horse has no problem giving a good hard KICK or a huge BITE to the horse that is getting out of line. Does the horse take his punishment personally? NO. He knows what he did wrong because he was disciplined for it.

Same with your horse. You need to show him discipline in order for him to respect you and to trust you. He needs a leader. You can't be buddy-buddy.

On the football field, do you think the coach feels bad for chewing out a player who made a poor block? No. Do you think the player feels bad for getting chewed out? No. He knows he did a crummy job of making the block, so he's going to get out there next time and do it right.

It's soooo cute when he sniffs me and nuzzles my scarf the mouths it. Is it bad?
As described above, YES, what you are allowing is bad behavior. And it's going to come back to bite you someday (quite literally).

Answers above.

I just also wanted to add that I do hand feed treats to my horses. But they do not lick me, they do not nip me, they do not bite me. They've learned and they know what is allowed and what is not.

Also, it does not seem to sound like it is a "gromming return the favor" as was mentioned. Any time there is teeth involved, that's stepping over the line. Zero tolerance.
themacpack and csimkunas6 like this.
     
    01-22-2012, 12:18 PM
  #9
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHFoundation Quarters    
Nipping/lipping when allowed generally will escalate at some point.
How long will it take to escalate? Just curious here. :)

I always roll my eyes that feeding treats always teaches them to disrespect of bite. May be for some yes, but so far I didn't come across the one that would learn to bite from getting treats.
     
    01-22-2012, 12:28 PM
  #10
Trained
With a well trained, respectful gelding I'm a little more relaxed than I am with a stallion. Stallion, mouth my direction even with no contact, correction. Gelding depends on the personality. I had a QH that LOVED to lip me. He did what I call 'the cookie duster' with his upper lip and would swish it back and forth on some part of me when I'd be grooming on his favorite spots. That's all he ever offered to do, so I never corrected him and we were fine for 30 years. He's also the only horse I've ever allowed to rub his face on me, he understood the boundaries. After a ride, after the bridle was off and the halter was around his neck, I'd brace myself for a good rub on my back. He'd rub his itchy face and crack my back after a good long ride, at the same time. We both loved it. I have NOT found that level of trust with any other horse, so beware.

I think 98% of the time, the mantra of, "A lip leads to a bite" to be good advice and I'm also wary of hand treats, though I do feed them to horses that demonstrate that they understand the etiquette. Anyone who gets too carried away and demanding.....cut off. I think generalizations with horses and people can be a little too cut and dried and you need to take your horses actions and personality into account.
     

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