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New rescue mouthing(27 Posts)
I think I may be asking lots of questions.
New rescue seems to be settling but is nibbling at toes and is a bit mouthy. She’s only about 18 months and has had very little training.
What is the best way to nip this in the bud. It’s freaking the kids out so want to find a way to manage it quickly.
She does this when she greets people mainly.
Put something in her mouth - a tough toy or an old bone.
My girl is 10 and she still brings me her bone when she gets excited.
Divert attention to a toy as PP said. We did this too with our GSD who still greets us with a favourite toy when we get home. Jumping up, we taught the children to fold their arms and turn their back on the dog to ignore them and then only interact once they'd calmed down.
You need to train your kids to fold their arms and turn their backs on any unwanted attention from the dog.
Also forbid visitors from over exciting the dog.
I found it harder to train family and friends than the dogs - in the end I told them they would be asked to leave if they undermined my dog training.
Thanks. She’s not showing much interest in toys but will try and divert her.
Good suggestion re folding arms.
And should we say ‘no’ or just completely ignore?
No point in saying no - you need to offer an alternative.
If she's not into toys yet ( many rescues have never has a toy so you actually need to teach them slowly to play), then something good to chew like antlers, yaks milk chews, fish skin bars, nylabones etc
Even if she is not interested in toys - if you give her one and she takes it for a second or two then praise her.
Over time she will learn that holding a toy is one way to trigger some nice attention/a greeting. It also has the benefit of replacing one mouth sensation (nipping) with another (holding) so should be an easy switch for her to make.
Thanks for the hints. We are working on it. It’s a pain though as it scares the kids.
It’s not working sadly. Her mouthing has been awful today. It’s very stressful. In addition she is jumping on us when we eat.
It’s hard to ignore the mouthing as if you walk away she follows, nipping at our feet.
I’m willing to work at it but feeling pretty pessimistic at the moment. I feel stressed and am not bonding at all. She’s on a foster so I can return her and honestly just feel I want to (please don’t flame me). I knew it would be hard but did t expect this.,
The rescue didn’t advise she had this behaviour but don’t think they had her very long.
Any advice? Please?
What breed is she?
I’m wondering if she’s a movement motivated/droving type of breed or mix.
If she was mine; when you bring in food I would put some treats on her bed, put her on there and put her in a down stay.
If she goes to move off I would walk forward blocking her and keep moving forward until she moves back into the bed.
Every single time.
You have food, she down stays on her bed.
I don’t know if others will agree but for nipping, I would make a verbal sound, like ‘ah’ as deep and growly as you can then when she nips again I would silently put her another room either by picking up or if she finds that threatening by walking into her, blocking her and forcing her to move.
I’d shut the door and I wouldn’t let her back in until she’s calm.
Nipping = segregation
No nipping = play, petting, being with family.
It will not work in 48 hours. It will take weeks - as it does with puppies.
But if you want to return her then do so. It's ok to admit you are out of your depth. Be strong about voicing what you can cope with if you come to take on a dog again. These behaviours are not unusual dog behaviours so it might also be that a dog is not for you. Which is also fine.
If you keep her then, in short, if you reward all the behaviours you want then life with get better. Distract from all the behaviours you don't want. Or manage her environment to make those behaviours impossible.
Eg you don't want nipping so you give a toy and immediately reward with praise. You are rewarding toy carrying not nipping. If nipping is ignored and toy carrying is rewarded then she will carry a toy.
You don't want jumping up at food time so chuck trays into her bed every few mins and never treat at the table. Over time she will wait in her bed instead and you can reduce the number of treats down but by bit until there is just one right at the end of the meal.
Use a baby gate to keep her away when you don't have time for this. Or have guests.
Dogs only ever do what works for them. If she's doing something then she is getting something she wants from it.
Ok thanks. I am thinking she may well have some kind of herding dog in her.
Would a stair gate on the dining room door help? Put her behind that while we eat? We have been putting a Kong in her bed when we eat but she’s more interested in our food. I have put her in the lead attached to her bed to try and keep her in there but she really doesn’t like it and tries to bite the lead.
Would a crate help? I’m at a bit of a loss but will preserve with the suggestions. Thank you.
It’s the small, short legged herding breeds like corgis and Lancashire heelers that tend to be really terrible for nipping as that’s how they herd, though you can get nippy collies and shepherds too.
You could use a baby gate, I suppose it depends whether you want a long term solution or quick fix management.
In the early days, you’d be constantly walking into her and forcing her back into her bed or constantly tossing treats into the bed as pp suggested, but in time she should learn.
A baby gate solves the problem instantly because she can’t access the food but I bet the second the gate is removed she’s be right back at it.
It’s management not cure imo.
But if it works and reduces stress it’s fine.
Crates are great but the idea is they are a safe space, a little den.
They shouldn’t be used as punishment.
I feel terrible for even considering returning her but I can’t have the kids fearful of her. I have to balance this against the fact her behaviour will take weeks to change. It’s such a dilemma. She’s on a months trial so the rescue know she might return.
Anything will work as long as it's presented as a nice thing.
Eg if you suddenly put her on a lead that prevents her getting to food at the table then it is punishing.
If you put her on a lead and straight away pop a treat down. Then another. Then wait ten seconds and another. 20 seconds and another. 30 and another. Then let her off. She will link the lead to good things and accept it.
The same will be true if gates and crates. A little pot of treats on the table. Spend time you sitting there tossing a treat into her bed as above. If she believes that treats appear in her bed and not at the table she will stay in her bed.
If she has experiences of jumping up at the table and getting food she will do that.
A gate can be used in a similar way. If just put behind it she is likely to protest in some way. Bark, chew etc. Over time she would get used to it but if she is put behind the gate and rewarded liberally then she will see it as a good thing.
You then reduce the treats. Slowly give less and less until you give one or none. If you want.
If doing something 'naughty' is boring and doing something 'good' gets a treat then she will do the something good. In time.
Patience/perseverance is the biggest skill required in dog training. It all takes longer than you want.
I’d return her, if I were you. One of mine does this and I’ve never got him to stop. He’s a mix of two HPR breeds and i think it’s him trying to bring me something as he’s so happy, but he doesn’t want to leave me, so tries to give me my own hand. It’s fine when you are an adult but I wouldn’t want him doing it to kids. I’ve never got mine to redirect onto a toy either. I went to see my friend this afternoon and her dog does the same thing but with more jumping up. Again, I’m fine as I love her to bits but she’s a big dog and would knock a little kid over.
Thanks for all the replies. I realise I’m not going to sort this quickly so need to decide if I can continue for the long haul. That feels like a big ask when she’s causing the kids stress.
We had a Springer spaniel that did this when we rescued him. It only lasted a couple of weeks until he calmed down. We were just very firm with him. Folded arms and ignored until he was calm. Give him toys to mouth. It wont last forever if you commit to helping your dog stop it.
Have the rescue offered any advice?
Please contact a reputable trainer for advice. This absolutely does not need to take more than a couple of weeks to sort out. A good trainer will show you some kind, sensible techniques to fix this but it would be best for someone experienced to see her in action to make sure that it indeed just mouthy puppy-like behaviour and not something else.
Definitely put up a gate and prevent her access to you when eating. You can give her a nice Kong or something similar to keep her happy and occupied. You need to build the habit for her that humans eating = occupy yourself quietly
For the mouthing, for now I would leave a lead or house line trailing on her so you can get hold of her easily. Immediately she mouths, pick up the lead silently move her to another room and shut the door. A short time out will give her the message that humans do not appreciate such advances. Or leave her is the place you are and leave, shutting the door behind you. Don’t involve the kids with that part, if the dog mouths them, make them stand like a statue and you go get the dog and exclude her
Obviously don’t leave them all together unattended
Rescue have given similar advice tbh
There's no shame in admitted it's more than you can cope with, but this is one of the reasons rescues are often reluctant to place dogs in homes with children.
What can seem perfectly normal behaviour to people who are used to seeing it can be overwhelming to the uninitiated.
Stairgates are your friend = get them up now!
Knowing the breed might be helpful?