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bella, king and other lovely puppy behaviour experts

(18 Posts)
doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 12:47:16

(It's the experts who are lovely, not the behaviour)

I am feeling a little bit despondent about my pup's mouthing.

She is 16 weeks, border terrier. This week we finished our course of puppy classes - we are working on obedience with her. She got her good citizen certificate hmm

I have never owned a dog before so this could all be totally normal.

She is still v v mouthy. She will nip and chew and munch, all forms of mouth action really, when she's excited and we are playing. She will jump up and snap if I stand with my hands by my sides (expects a treat to be in there no doubt)

She doesn't do it to DH. She does it freely to me and DD and has once or twice nipped DD quite hard.

doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 12:51:55

Pressed post too early...

We did the yelping thing. That gets her more excited (I'd heard that about terriers and it proved to be the case with her)

We stand up and turn away, ignore her - doesn't really put her off.

We leave the room and go back in when she is calm. she resumes immediately!

When I'm playing with her with a toy, she will not discriminate between the toy and my hand at all. I got some sore nips last night trying to dry her and she was biting the towel - she doesn't make any attempt to avoid hands IYSWIM.

Yet she clearly knows not to try it with DH.

bella21 Fri 31-Jul-09 13:05:20

A bit like KC's dog. Sounds like she has a high prey drive so she will love to grab things and tug.chew on them. You need to take a two-fold approach: let her know your hands are not fair game but at the same time allow her plenty of opportunity to bite and chew other things.

Get a rope toy or a thick piece of old cloth. Play lots of tug of war with her. Ignore the rubbish about not letting them win. She'll love this game and go all growly and snarly palying it - don't worry, that jsut means she's having fun.

If she bites your hands then instantly walk away. Shut the door on her if you can and return to her only if she isn't barking/yelping/chewing the door down grin

Remember what she was bred for - keeping a tenacious grip on small prey. This is her nature so allow her to express it wink

Never give a treat unless she is sitting nicely (or lying down, whatever). When you go to give a treat close your fingers round it - she'll try to snatch but back off when she sees it's not instantly available. Give the treat at that point - this teaches them not to grab.

HTH & that KC gets off her arse and comes on here too grin

doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 13:11:40

Thank you! High prey drive is right.

I'd read (argh too much bloody reading I think blush) that tug of war and letting them win is fine, as long as you have the obedience down - ie they will stop and drop when you say, and not start the game again until you give a command. (I got this from Culture Clash)

We are nowhere near that level of discipline yet so I have not been doing much tug of war with her. I had also read (can't remember where) that growling when playing is not good and they should play nicely without getting too worked up. Is it ok for her to really go for it when playing?

We've been doing "off" with hand closed round the treat, then giving a treat with other hand when she backs off - she is very good at it when she is calm. Goes out the woindow when she is all excited though.

doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 13:13:06

I have no idea what a "woindow" is

KingCanuteIAm Fri 31-Jul-09 13:37:08

Lol - as bella says I have my own thread asking Bellas advice on this one!

It sounds like your pup is being a bit more determined than mine - mine has learnt to stick to the toy in games at least grin

Our problem seems to be when he wants attention so slightly different to you, pup demands attention with teeth or toes (claws) which would be a bit different if he were smaller - but his feet are nearly the size of my hands grin

So far we have all the dc doing a high pitched shreik whenever his teeth touch them (straight away) they vary the noise pitch, volume etc it makes him stop and look at them and takes the focus away from biting them. That is not enough though as he goes straight back to it so I have to remove him as soon as they break his behaviour IYSWIM.

Anyway, bellas advice is great so good luck with it, I hope you get some progress soon smile

bella21 Fri 31-Jul-09 13:41:56

Haven't read Culture Clash. Probably the only one I haven't, apart from everything by Cesar Millan and Jan Fennell grin

<dusts embarrassingly large shelf of doggy books>

You won't be able to have that level of obedience in a young pup. I've always played raggy games with my pups, be they terriers, labs, dobermanns, mongrels and they do get excited. Never had any problems with aggression. Honest. It's totally unreasonable to expect a small pup to stay calm during play. The key thing, if you want to stay in control, is that you decide when the game's over, and you walk away. That's what an older dog would do.

Does that answer the question or have I rambled? grin

And what is a woindow? Are you from the West Country?

doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 13:42:22

Thanks KC I will have a nose for your thread too smile

she is certainly a little bugger persistent

doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 13:47:02

I wouldn't waste my eyesight on Cesar Milan books grin

I loved culture clash. Funny, and great insight into doggy thoughts. I like her approach because she says it's good for dogs to be dogs and express prey drives etc as long as you are in control (just like wot you said bella)

Anyway thanks that does answer my q.

Pup will be sooo happy - she's about to get more games of tug with me...

KingCanuteIAm Fri 31-Jul-09 13:47:50

It is the "my puppy just discovered" thread. grin

My pup does release etc in games - but my pup is 6 months now so he has had loads more practice than yours! We taught him it during the training classes, did they not cover that with you?

Basically you just redirect them to a treat when playing tug games, when they let go you say "leave it" and give the treat - repeat ad infinitum until you can say "leave it" she lets go and then you can bring out the treat for her IYSWIM

doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 13:51:37

We did "leave it" in class but the practice was more just getting them to walk past interesting stuff and trying to get them not to pick it up.

I've been doing what you describe with toys and offering treats in return for her dropping the toy. Problem is, she swallows the treat in a nanosecond and then grabs the toy again just as I am taking it away (she is much faster than me)

Cue teeth scraping flesh <ow>

I will read your thread thank you!

bella21 Fri 31-Jul-09 13:54:49

She's still very young - don't worry too much, just enjoy her wink

<struggles to type with 12 week old dobermann curled in her lap>

doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 14:01:42

Oh yes - enjoy her...

I forget that bit sometimes. Then I go out and play with her in the garden and she is so cute and funny and she is so attached to us all already, even DS who tries to grab her ears and poke her in the eye (she wags her tail madly the whole time)

I'm going to start agility with her. I think we will both enjoy that - the puppy class lady runs mini agility classes for wee pups.

doggiesayswoof Fri 31-Jul-09 14:02:19

How is your pup bella?

And how BIG is she?

bella21 Fri 31-Jul-09 14:03:48

Good idea. I'm hoping to do that too. Have asked dh if I can have a tunnel for Christmas grin

bella21 Fri 31-Jul-09 14:06:27

x post - she's lovely and fab, thank you. Getting very leggy now, and quickly catching up with my big dogs. She'll end up the same weight as my lab, just taller and finer in build. She's snuggled in now, fast asleep on me and I need a wee! grin

KingCanuteIAm Fri 31-Jul-09 15:05:15

Lol, my little one now weighs the same as my friends full grown (large) lab and is taller than him too.... [scared face]

bella21 Fri 31-Jul-09 19:17:47

And btw, doggie, I am not an expert.

I just need to get out more...grin

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