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SabrinaG's picture
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Joined: 2014-05-07

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I don't believe Draco is worse than any other pup with his mouthing, but it is causing a problem for me as I am on blood thinners. He loves to nip at me; arms and feet are his favorite. He also will jump and nip then run before a correction can be made.

His trainer at his puppy class first told me to stop walking when he was biting my toes or playing tug with my pant leg. I gave that a try and ended up with holes in my feet. Finally she produced a can of air. This actually worked well. He has learned, however, that he doesn't have to stop mouthing until/unless I reach (he presumes I'm reaching for the canned air).

I have seen improvement at home. Probably because he is outgrowing this behavior. The park, however, is another story. His behavior has actually become worse. Sometimes I take my can of air with me. When I take it, he doesn't try to nip at all. He's no dummy ... he's too smart for my own good. The last couple of times we have been at the park, he will run up and nip my arm. If I flick at his nose, or slap at his muzzle, "hits" me back with his paw. If I tell him, sternly, "no biting", he "yells" (barks) at me. If I am able to grab him and have him sit, he will settle down; but as soon as I let him go, he nips and runs. I do not believe he is being mean at all ... it is just a game for him and he doesn't realize he is hurting me.

He's not too bad with my feet anymore unless he thinks I am getting ready to leave. I think it has become his way of telling me he isn't ready to go. But there are times that he does it as soon as we get there. Especially if there are no dogs around to distract him. I have very poor circulation in my legs, as well as other issues, so I don't want wounds.

When he is on leash, he also jumps and nips. I am using a martingale with him now. He has quit pulling so much, but when he starts jumping and nipping I have to hold him on a short leash at an arm's length away so he can't bite.

He has ruined my favorite leather jacket with his nipping. He has put several tears in it. I plan on cutting it up to make him a coat for next winter, so it isn't a complete loss. I have thrown away a sweater, two blouses, and a pair of pants that he has ruined with his antics.

I'm at a loss as to how to correct this behavior. It makes leash training him a bit difficult. I don't know if I should go to a pinch collar for working with him on his "heel" or not. I'm also considering the purchase of a training collar to use at the park. I have found one that has vibration and tone in addition to the shock setting.

I do get a kick out of him at bedtime, though. He will "yawn" and just happen to get my wrist in his mouth. He doesn't bite down hard initially, but he does put more and more pressure on my arm until I tell him "no biting". Usually it only takes a couple times of telling him this before he releases me. Sometimes its hard not to laugh at him. He reminds me of the teenage boy who stretches and his arm just happens to end up around his date.

Any advice on how to get him to stop this behavior at the park and while on leash would be greatly appreciated.

Max's Dad's picture
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Joined: 2013-01-16

Sounds like puppy syndrome to me! Just keep up with being stern. He needs to learn you're the alpha, and learn it quick. Don't say your commands gentle and fun sounding. You have to make sure they're like a bark to them. 

I had to find a noise that startled Max. I ended up having an empty water bottle with some rocks in it, and would shake it and squeeze it while saying no to him. He eventually learned that some behaviors have a scary noise that come with it, so he has quit doing them all together.

However, you could also have a puppy who is just bored. Get him some fun toys to chew on, and when he starts on you, change the direction on to his toy. Then, when he starts chewing on it instead of you, give lots of praise to him. 

He'll pick up what to do before you know it, and you'll miss his little antics. Max yawns and will put random things in his way so they end up in his mouth (arm of the chair, couch, my arm, my fiance's arm, our Shih-Tzu's head, the cat's tail). He never bites, just is a goon about it.

Best of luck to you!

Oz Dobe's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-25

Storm was a little nippy as a pup. I have a non verbal autistic daughter so it was imperative to stop any mouthing asap.

I noticed that between the nipping there would be a lick. A bit like when a dog chews on a bone, they'll take a few bites, then lick, then go back to biting.

I decided to try rewarding the lick and ignoring the nipping. Every time she would lick I'd tell her 'good' and give her a treat. Gradually, I added 'gentle'. If she nipped, I told her 'ah' then offered her my palm and told her 'gentle' and she would lick my palm and I'd give her a treat.

I just kept practicing by putting out my palm and telling her 'gentle'. Its up to you how much licking you want to encourage. I made sure it wasn't just a quick lick to be quickly forgotten about. She had to give my palm a couple of licks before she got her reward. Storm picked this up very quickly.

Dobes are so smart. They have the ability to figure out what gets them a treat faster than most breeds. Its amazing to watch the process.

SabrinaG's picture
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Joined: 2014-05-07

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Thank you both for your input. Draco knows he is not to bite. He minds pretty well at home ... hasn't broken the skin for a while. The dog park, however, has become another issue. I do think, though, that this is puppy behavior that will improve. I'm not known for my patience, though.  lol