Dog Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We got our 3 year-old dog from a shelter about 3 weeks ago. He is brilliant but gets sooooo mouthy, especially when excited. The moment you engage with him he gets immediately mouthy and bity.
All the resources on the internet seem to address puppy biting, but what do you do about an adult dog? It's become a bit worse lately because once he gets very mouthy and you turn round to walk away, he'll nip at you ankle, as if saying "please don't go". It seems to be so engraved in him as a behavior that it inhibits pleasant interaction, and makes me uncomfortable when having guests over.
Any help will be appreciated. He is a small kokoni (terrier-type dog).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,177 Posts
I'd suggest the same strategy as for a puppy - teeth on skin = end of engagement.

Some people find a sharp 'ouch' works but it can just ramp up the excitement. Some people find putting a toy in the dog's mouth works, others find the dog is still more interested in nipping hands. My preferred method is to teach him that teeth on skin equals end of fun. So as soon as he makes contact, walk out of the room for a few moments. As long as the whole family is consistent - do it immediately and do it every time - he will learn. You could use a house line to draw him away, which keeps your hands both out of reach and also keeps hands for only good things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
I found you only need to leave the dog in 'timeout' for a very short time - even just 5 or 10 seconds. Otherwise, he could get so upset he'd forget what it was he did just before the fun stopped. Similarly, I suggest using a stairgate rather than shutting a door on him as it can be less stressful (it will still be effective as the fun has stopped).

Staying calm is very important - wearing old clothes can help so you're not concerned about them being damaged - and you may need to keep him on a house line, or confined to a play pen or some other area when you have guests over. And I second JoanneF's advice to be 100% consistent, even if you seem to spend the whole time putting him in and out of timeout at first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
We tried it for a couple of days now. It's going to take time but as you say, key is to be consistent. That's the hard part, especially with young kids. Dog seems to get it though, even though it's early days. Fingers crossed!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,177 Posts
Remember that at first it may seem like things get worse instead of better. This is because you may be seeing something called "extinction burst". This happens when a behaviour that used to get the dog attention no longer does, so for a while he tries it even harder to get you to react. This is a good thing because it means that what you are doing is starting to work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
T
Remember that at first it may seem like things get worse instead of better. This is because you may be seeing something called "extinction burst". This happens when a behaviour that used to get the dog attention no longer does, so for a while he tries it even harder to get you to react. This is a good thing because it means that what you are doing is starting to work.
That's good to know, and it certainly seems to be happening!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
I found you only need to leave the dog in 'timeout' for a very short time - even just 5 or 10 seconds. Otherwise, he could get so upset he'd forget what it was he did just before the fun stopped. Similarly, I suggest using a stairgate rather than shutting a door on him as it can be less stressful (it will still be effective as the fun has stopped).

Staying calm is very important - wearing old clothes can help so you're not concerned about them being damaged - and you may need to keep him on a house line, or confined to a play pen or some other area when you have guests over. And I second JoanneF's advice to be 100% consistent, even if you seem to spend the whole time putting him in and out of timeout at first.
I agree. My 10 month old is still learning not to be mouthy when excited. He's gotten tremendously better since puppyhood, but we're always looking for strategies that work. I've heard great things about "ouch" or Yelp training, but it doesn't work for us; just gets him more amped up.

Best thing I've found is a time out behind our baby gate. I calmly say "no biting" and take him behind the gate. He stays there until he is visibly calm. Within a few seconds of calm behavior he is let back out and calmly praised for being nice. If it happens again, same thing.

Now I know he's thinking about it because sometimes he'll run at me with mouth open and then at the last second turn and mouth the couch or something. I can tell he's thinking uh oh, better not bite mama...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Having observed him the last few days, he does seem to have second thoughts before getting really mouthy. What we do when be does get like that is to remain calm and quiet and just turn our backs for a few seconds. Most of the time he'll calm down (a bit). When he doesn't stop we leave the room for a few seconds And we also praise him loads when he allows us to pet him without biting, or when he is licking instead if biting. But he does get a loud NO when nipping at ankles or fingers hanging to our sides.
I guess it's all about impulse control. Not an easy task!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top