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Anyone got experience of herding dog mouthing?

(11 Posts)
Obsessedalready Fri 24-Feb-17 11:17:13

Rescue dog mongrel, almost definitely got herding breed in him but don't know his breed. Beautifully behaved and relaxed generally but he has developed a very frustrating habit and wondering how you would recommend dealing with it?

When we have people over and we are all in one room and say one guest decides to go to the loo he will follow them and mouth their trouser leg. It's not a bite, he doesn't break clothes/skin doesn't leave a bruise etc. I think he is trying to 'herd' them.

How do we channel this behaviour so he doesn't feel the need to herd guests. We had a behaviourist in who didn't really help. Her suggestion was distract him with treats, but it doesn't work, he isn't very food motivated and doesn't do toys. Basically she ended up recommending we restrain him so he can't follow people. Not ideal really. Just to clarify I am not at all concerned with him hurting anyone, it's not at all aggressive or anxiety based as far as I can see (mostly people don't even notice he is doing it).

Any suggestions for channeling this behaviour?

georgedawes Fri 24-Feb-17 12:13:40

I think I'd manage it so he doesn't get the opportunity to do it. So either keep him on a house lead when you have guests and make him sit etc when someone leaves , hen reward. Or teach him to go to a crate for the visit and have a chew or similar.

I'd be concerned that the more he practices this behaviour the more ingrained it gets. Does he only do it with visitors? Could you practice as a family rewarding an alternative behaviour e.g. sitting when someone leaves the room?

If he is clicker trained this could be a big help. So keep him on a lead, have a stooge leave and click and treat for him staying. If he's clever he should cotton on quick.

Obsessedalready Fri 24-Feb-17 13:04:47

Thanks!

Only with adult visitors (mainly men/tall women). We can prevent him doing it by sending him to his bed and telling him to stay, and he will do that. But we have to be in the room policing him. He is well behaved/responds to commands etc. It seems to be quite highly rewarding for him, chews/food are just not enough to prevent him wanting to do it. He would much rather herd than get a treat if you see what I mean!

Basically we can manage the behaviour fine (as in prevent him doing it) but it's frustrating and makes us a little on edge when we have guests as we can't leave him unattended at all. He goes to other people's houses/out and about etc and never displays this behaviour anywhere else.

I guess I was wondering if there is some sort of activity we could do with him which will channel the 'herding' so he doesn't feel the need to do it at home.

georgedawes Fri 24-Feb-17 20:17:22

Im no expert but think it is probably just a case of managing it and then hopefully it'll disappear. If he does it I'd exclude him straight away so he gets the message it's unacceptable.

Slightly different but my dog used to mouth arms in play when we got her, also typical herding behaviour. We stopped all play and ignored her for 30seconds every time and it stopped fairly quickly.

Obsessedalready Fri 24-Feb-17 20:45:26

Ok, good idea - a bit like a doggie time out? We haven't tried actually removing him from the situation if he does it. We could definitely start doing that. Hopefully he will get the message soon!

georgedawes Fri 24-Feb-17 20:48:58

It works well for our dog because she hates being apart from us. I don't shout or anything like that, just remove her or myself and she soon got the idea. It stopped the mouthing in play very quickly which we were glad about because we have a child and visiting children here often.

Obsessedalready Fri 24-Feb-17 21:02:13

Our dog is the same, he hates being in another room to us. I actually never thought to remove him. Usually we would just make him stay on his bed, but then maybe he quite likes not being left unattended grin. He knows what a firm 'no' means but no shouting. We will try it! Thanks for the idea!

georgedawes Fri 24-Feb-17 21:14:15

Worth a shot, hope it works! Be consistent though as whatever you do it'll probably get worse initially before stopping. And also only do it for a short period so he knows why he's being put out.

roastpotatoesandsprouts Fri 24-Feb-17 21:42:32

Interesting - Sorry to jump on your thread, but I have a rescue staffie/border collie cross. She nips the back of DS (19) ankles if he runs and she is off lead and, when he came back from uni last weekend, did the same thing when he left the room. Fortunately, she doesn't do it with anyone else. Is this herding behaviour?

Obsessedalready Fri 24-Feb-17 21:57:33

Sounds like it!

Obsessedalready Fri 24-Feb-17 21:58:17

Will do George

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