Increasing working puppy drive and question about "snarling"

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Increasing working puppy drive and question about "snarling"

This is a discussion on Increasing working puppy drive and question about "snarling" within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I just adopted a 7 month old mixed breed puppy. Right now I'm guessing Black Mouth Cur with something smaller (he's only 23lbs right now). ...

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Old 10-22-2013, 02:43 AM
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Increasing working puppy drive and question about "snarling"

I just adopted a 7 month old mixed breed puppy. Right now I'm guessing Black Mouth Cur with something smaller (he's only 23lbs right now).

This little guy has a big future ahead of him: Dog Sports competitions and SAR. I've never had a puppy I planned to "raise up" to work. I know at this point he is more an adolescent than puppy, but still more malleable than a fully mature dog. He's a bit barky, mouthy and very much an explorer. I chose him from a few other puppies because I felt like he had the potential to be successful. He likes tug toys and tennis balls so we've been doing a lot of tug-training where I let him win and playing fetch (he naturally fetches whatever I throw, which is awesome).

I want to increase his drive, both play and prey, as much as I possibly can. He's medium-drive right now. What can I do right now to increase his drive and confidence?

Also, random question because I am curious--he is very into making a "snarl face" during play with and without toys, where he lifts his front lips all the way up and shows his teeth. He goes in for the "bite" sometimes ( I allow mouthiness in appropriate situations with my dogs) and is actually incredibly gentle with his teeth. Its like he really wants to just "hold" my arm/hand/finger in his mouth. I can easily pull my hand away. He doesn't even leave the little red welts a lot of puppies do. He is NOT like that with toys, he grips hard and play growls. I just want to make sure I am not missing something by thinking the snarl is simply play (as in, not an impending warning he secretly wants to rip my flesh off )

Thanks!
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Old 10-22-2013, 04:26 AM
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About the snarling thing: Interesting, Charlie does this snarling thing during training and has since he was just 6 weeks old. At first I was a little concerned, just like you, but I've come to realise it's just an odd expression of playfulness, excitement and effort (effort, like in trying to do something that is hard for him or trying to figure something out like when we play some free shaping game). I wouldn't worry about it.
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