Mouthing/biting

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Touchwood
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Mouthing/biting

Postby Touchwood » Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:48 am

Our spoodle, Jazz, is now 6 months old and delightful apart from one problem which I had hoped would have stopped by now.  She still mouths everyone in the family and we are all sick of it!!  Normally, she does stop when we tell her off but just recently she has started trying to snap at us when we are telling her off for biting.  She doesn't growl but the biting seems to be getting worse.  The dog groomer had to muzzle her to clip her because she kept trying to snap at her hands.  Any advice would be most welcome as I have never had a dog with this problem before  :(
Jazz

Emma
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Re: Mouthing/biting

Postby Emma » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:41 am

I have never had any problems with Coco mouthing or biting but I know that Riley's mum did - I am sure she will see this post and give you some advice on what to do :)  

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amymac
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Re: Mouthing/biting

Postby amymac » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:38 pm

Hi. I'm definitely not an expert on mouthing or biting but Riley did mouth constantly when we got him home at 9 weeks. He is nearly 8 months old now and has mostly grown out of this. He still likes to mouth children's hands (why???) however he does not hurt them at all.
I think the theory behind stopping mouthing is that puppies are teething (either getting new teeth or their teeth are settling) for the first year of life and have a strong desire to chew. We have to teach them not to chew us or if they do have teeth in contact with our skin they need to learn bite inhibition - eg they can give a warning nip if a child is pulling their tail and the teeth should not penetrate the skin.

The best way to teach bite inhibition is to let your dog play with other puppies - they will instinctively teach your dog to curb its bite by yelping when bitten too hard or by retaliating or submitting.

You can mimic this teaching by yelping whenever your dog puts its teeth on your skin. The kids can have fun with this too. If my dog actually hurt me I would do a really big yelp and get up and walk away. If your dog is in a really mouthy mood and just wont stop also get up and walk away or put dog in time out (our puppy teacher recommended 3 strikes your out for time out). We also did things like substituting a toy for our hands.

Try and resist big loud telling offs for your dog when it bites. It will spark a retaliation as your dog feels threatened. Our dog responds to "ahah" as a no command. Also check the kids aren't teasing the dog without your knowledge. Believe me we tried the loud telling off with Riley when we were desperate and it achieved nothing (except parental guilt)!!

We used to do an alpha roll to the dog like Cesar Millan when he was getting possessive of toys but I'm not sure this actually did anything. I think it just scared my dog and we never do this anymore.

Make sure you teach your dog some other fun games he can play with the family like soccer! Also some basic obedience training teaches your dog self control and this will translate into other areas.

If your groomer needs to muzzle the dog I would probably change groomers and take the dog when he wasn't needing a clip for some gentle training about what is expected. Just practising being on the bench getting brushed is enough. If the groomer is patient he will get the idea. My dog had problems at the groomers but she spent hours with him helping him relax. That is dappa dogs in Orewa. Would recommend it. Now Riley is a groomers dream. A snapping pup is usually a frightened pup so I can't see a muzzle helping at all.

I imagine you've already been doing lots of these things but I hope its helpful. If things are really bad you may need a dog behaviourist.
Best of luck from Amy and Riley. :D

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Re: Mouthing/biting

Postby Teddy » Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:50 am

is Jazz getting enough exercise? otherwise what Amymac said. I think chewys are quite important but also making sure your dog is set rules. Basically your dog bites you because it believes it is more dominant than you. If it didn't think that it wouldn't bite you unless it views it like a game. Inwhich case it sees it as playing. There is no telling off in the dog world like there is in the human world. You can call its name it all sorts of angry tones, and show alot of emtion however a dog wont understand that. They are pack animals, what they do understand is heiracy. Most of the time people will treat them like another human in the family and we have been taught to tell dogs off etc etc in the only way we know how to which is usually with emtion and voice. It works with kids but it will only mess with dogs.... I would think 99% of behaviour problems are from the dog not understanding or having to assert itself as it doesn't believe you are captiable. The simplist way is simple use the Ceasar hiisssst sound with a small nip from your hand, whenever it does something you don't want it to do.... theres no emotion and it stops it straight away. If you want to stop the biting its basically that simple, teach it, it can't do that.... don't get angry or show any emotion, a dogs not dumb, they just don't understand.... if you are consistant with not letting jazz dominate you ... i.e. don't let it jump on you, etc etc ... then you should see the behaviour change pretty quickly.... I think the key is consistant.... and its an ongoing thing


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