No Teeth On Skin, Thank You Very Much!

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by brodys_mom, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Brody was a mouthy little so and so when we got him, but he had never been taught any manners, so we didn't hold it against him. After a few months of training, most of his nipping had pretty much stopped. He still uses his mouth quite a bit to "communicate" with us. Sometimes, if he needs to poop and no one is paying attention, he will come up to me and very gently take my hand in his mouth and pull me a little. I don't really mind this, as I would rather him get my attention this way than bark, or just give up and poop on the floor. Sometimes, he just seems to want to hold our hands in his mouth. No pressure is applied at all, but he will take someone's hand and just hold it. This is a little weird, but not really troublesome.

    The problem comes in when he needs to communicate something of a more serious nature, and uses his mouth to do so. Last Sunday, Brody was lying in the middle of the kitchen floor (one of his favorite spots when any cooking is being done) while my husband was cooking. All was fine, until hubby needed to toss something into the trash inside a cupboard. In doing so, he accidentally stepped on Brody's front paw. He was wearing shoes, so he had no idea he had done it, but I saw Brody lift his head and put his mouth around my husband's ankle, then remove it quickly without him even feeling it. A few minutes later, hubby moved quickly toward Brody, and Brody went for his ankle again, same as before, but he got caught that time. Hubby was surprised, and I explained to him what had happened, that he had stepped on Brody's foot and now he was scared it would happen again. Yesterday, Brody was lying on the kitchen floor in front of the cabinet where we keep our microwave. Hubby stepped over Brody to get to it, and Brody stood up and took his hand into his mouth. Hubby was very disgusted (he HATES dog saliva on his hands!) and loudly asked "Why did you bite me?" Now I know Brody has a history of biting, but this was a very different scenario, and he didn't cause any pain whatsoever, it was just the "hold". He does the same thing to me when I try to get him to back up when we are walking side by side, as I have stepped on him a few times when his back end curls around behind me.

    If I can't teach Hubby to respectfully get Brody to move out of the way when he wants to use the kitchen, then I need to teach Brody not to use his mouth this way. (I know I should probably also teach Brody not to lie on the kitchen floor, but it is the only floor in the house, other than the bathroom, that is not carpeted, so he likes to lie there when he is cooling off after play time.) With the nipping and mouthing he used to do, it was so frequent and bothersome that it was easy to remember to pull our hands out, stand up and turn our backs on him. Everyone was on board and it sent a clear message. The way he uses his mouth now, it's so subtle and gentle that we hardly realize he's doing it until a few seconds have gone by, so pulling away isn't as effective.

  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    That sounds really cute.
    In the book Click to calm it suggest to teach your dog "excuses me" when you say this the dog is to get up and move somewhere else. I'll post how to tomorrow(got to go to bed)
    brodys_mom likes this.
  3. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I think I've read this. Jean Donaldsen also teaches something like this too. All of the rest of us are fine with nudging Brody gently and telling him to go to his bed or something. Hubby tends to just work around him, rather than politely asking him to relocate.

    I was thinking about how Sue Garrett plays "Smack da Baby" when she is teaching tug to her puppies. She starts with gently smacking the dog on the nose or the shoulders in order to get them used to this kind of contact when they are doing weaves in agility. As the dog gets older and more comfortable with the contact, the "smacks" can get a little harder. I have done this with Brody to get him to tug harder and it's really effective. I decided instead of his nose or shoulders, I would try gently stepping on his toes to get him used to the pressure. I had to do a collar grab first, because he would just back right off or jump up to mouth my hand when he saw my foot coming toward his paw. When I had him held tight, I could start with gently putting a toe or two on his paw, feed him treats, gradually increase the pressure or the amount of his paw that is being contacted. This will take some time as he is very protective of his paws. I still haven't managed to trim his nails!

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