Training A Dog To Mouth Items

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by georgeypudding, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Dotty isn't naturally a mouthy dog, and so I'm having to train her to put things in to her mouth before I can train her to pick things up off the floor for me.
    We went from rawhide chew to a chop stick very easily, but getting her to open her mouth on the dumbbell is more difficult as she doesn't seem to understand it. She is making lots of nose/closed mouth contact, a little licking and 2 very small teeth touches today but I was wondering if anyone might have a few tricks or tips to offer to us? Or even just some sympathy, I've never met anyone else with a dog who won't mouth things :p

  2. blacknym Experienced Member

    Just keep shaping the mouthing she does. Maybe a touch of something yummy on the object. :)
  3. Linda A Experienced Member

    My dogs do pretty well with taking and holding things but at times I ask them to hold something and there is no way. Some things they just don't like the smell or feel of.
    Mutt likes this.
  4. JazzyandVeronica Experienced Member

    Veronica had a difficult time learning to mouth and pick up various things. As Linda mentioned, some things she just doesn't like the feel of; but the more objects she experiences picking up the more she tries to pick up other, different objects. So my advice would be to just keep working at it, if she's having a hard time with a particular object leave it alone and try something different. You can always go back to the objects she is having difficulty with when she has more experience and try again.
    Mr-Remington and blacknym like this.
  5. Mutt Experienced Member

    I haven't succesfullly taught a hold while staying (so the boring one ;)), so here they will only hold/pick up objects if we are going to do something with it (putting it in a box for example).
    I once read that it is easier to learn holding after you have learned retrieving.

    When you was teaching Boef to stack her (metal) food bowls, I would click for every interaction with the bowl with her nose. after that I started asking her for a pull/saying get it, as soon as she touched it with her teeth I'd click. It took us some time, but now she will happily drag the bowl around, just have patience and click for the smallest teeth touching.
  6. Anneke Honored Member

    How are you teaching this? Do you hold the object in front of your dog and wait for any interaction?
    In that case, try moving the dumbell arond, just drag it back and forth over the floor and see if she will chase it. Tease her with it, so to say.
    If she really won't go for the dumbell, try with something soft, like a plush toy or a dummy(tetrieving dummy)
    I had trouble teaching my dogs to hold things(they still can't hold for long) and neither liked the plastic dumbell. So I started out with their favorite toys. Both plush toys. When they finally understood, I started to ask for different things. And now we are at the dummy stage.
    blacknym likes this.
  7. thanks all, yesterday we got 2 open mouth touches on the dumbbell! She isn't a very toy orientated dog and has no real interest in chasing anything other than a tennis ball and only if she can pull the fluff off it afterwards!

    I am holding it infront and waiting for interaction yes, I think she's cottoned on to what I want from her now. Not bad for 4 days work really
    Anneke likes this.
  8. 648117 Honored Member

    I taught Holly to "hold" using a short piece of garden hose. Once she could hold it (started out holding it out for her to grab then slowly lowered it to the ground until she picked it up herself - but she's never had a problem putting her mouth on things so it was pretty easy, I just held it out to her and she immediately put her mouth on it) and didn't release it until I said then I started getting her to retrieve it.
    Once she could do the formal retrieve with the piece of hose then I changed to a wooden dumb-bell. She transitioned fine.

    I think starting with the hose meant that she could make all the mistakes while learning and then when she had the dumb-bell only a minimal number of mistakes were made (and the mistakes had nothing to do with holding the dumb-bell, the only issue I've had was she wouldn't sit straight if one side of the dumb-bell hit my leg).
    I also chose a wooden dumb-bell because she has plastic chew toys but no wooden toys so I thought it would discourage her from mouthing it if she has never chewed wood before (she's never chewed anything wooden at all actually). Holly doesn't mouth the dumb-bell at all.

    I could then use this strong hold and retrieve to teach her to bring scent clothes back to me (she doesn't mouth these either - but she does shake them a little which is fine).

    Good luck teaching your dog :D

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