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Hello everyone!

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to have a dog. I have some mental health issues and this dog functions as my service animal. He is trained to wake me up from nightmares and distract me from compulsive rocking. Medication was not working for me so he has changed my life.

My dog is 1/2 Great Dane, 1/4 Lab, 1/4 Coonhound (Plott). He is big... will be upwards of 90-100lbs and is still very much a puppy at 20 months old.

He has an issue with mouthing, and I know labs have a soft mouth. He has carried an egg to me to ask my permission to open it, this is how gentle he is.. but he is a big tall brindle boy and people are NOT okay with him opening his mouth to them, as they should not be. I do not know how to remedy him of this behavior. Ignoring him doesn't work because he is willful. He will stop in the moment, but upon next meeting if I don't mitigate it he will try to play this way again.

On top of this.. if he sees a dog he wants to play with.. he will jump and bark. If the dog does the same, he will do so as well, despite being across the street. His best friend is a chi-rat terrier and his other bestie is an AmBullDog/Mastiff cross.. they 'bro' out together because they have a similar stature.. and he likes and greets other dogs just fine... when he is allowed to approach.

I see this longing in him to be more social, but it is hard to get an owner to understand that he is not aggressive, but excited.. because he is big.. his bark means business.. and people despite my reassurances shy away. I get it, and when he is working we are not okay to greet..

On top of this if he is obeying me he will cry and sob and howl and whine at another dog.. and I don't get where this is coming from and how to stop it..

I am not rich and therefore I am training him myself. He is so good at his psychiatric tasks on behalf of my health and he is an angel in the house.. and in structured obedience classes.. so what is going wrong here?

I am not afraid of him, trust him completely, I don't get mad at him for this behavior because he is a dog.. he has a very calming effect on me. I believe in positive reinforcement, rules, boundaries, and affection.. He has a Halti which decreases his ability to pull and a British style slip lead to keep his head up in the forest, because he is prey driven.

My dog also LOVES children.. loves them.. but he wants to play with them too rough and they are too small.. he will cry and bark to get to them, same way with dogs. I have a small child and she knows how to control him and follows my plan of direction for him, but on the street when children approach to ask I have to say "no, he is too excited" and its sad because I want him to get the attention he wants appropriately...

He walks 2-3 miles a day, training him now to run at my side on a bike lead.. because he is far more athletic than I am...

Any suggestions from other dog owners? Sorry for the giant essay, but I wanted to provide an accurate picture of everything I have noticed.

Thanks! :)
 

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I can relate on some of your issues. I have a 15 month old mastiff mix big boy who LOVES other dogs. When he was younger, he would get much too excited about seeing another dog while on the lead, he would pull...and sometimes jump if the other dog was near.

Bring treats with you on walks to distract him when a dog is near. Give him a treat while the dog passes. You will soon find that your dog will gradually get used to this and start looking at you for the treat, instead of looking at the other dog.

Another piece of advice - make it a habit to not let your dog meet other dogs while on the lead. When on a leash, your dog has to learn that the leash means business. Only allow your dog to play and meet other dogs when it is off leash. (This is a hard rule to follow for me though because many owners allow their dogs to come up to mine)
 

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Wow he is gorgeous in that photo!

Tonight my dog and I did some clicker training. He is very responsive indoors. I used some of his kibble as a treat, and he likes it inside fine.

Then we take a nighttime stroll, which I find more enjoyable for us both because no one is really out and we see a cyclist in the bike lane.. no problem, but 'watch me' went out the window. His kibble wasn't 'high value' enough to capture his nose and attention.

Today I will go get him roast beef.. which is his favorite.. and see if I can persuade him to continue the 'watch me' command. And you are right. Leash must mean work for us.

My goal is to get to a point where he will remain calmly while I explain that we don't greet or we are 'working.'

Thanks for your advice :) I attached a photo so you can see him.
 

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He's a cutie!

For impulse control, there are some really good exercises and video tutorials in this thread: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/impulse-control-calmness-168218/

The book Control Unleashed (either version) is also an excellent training resource for dogs who get a bit over-excited about things like bikes, other dogs, and strangers. Or a lot over-excited!

For mouthing, there are some good exercises in this thread: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/biting-mouthing-nipping-168082/

I liked the "falling treat" game that's in that thread, which helped my impulsive adolescent learn to be a lot more thoughtful about how she uses her mouth. She still sometimes puts her mouth on people when she says hello, but thanks to a lot of practice, she keeps it closed (or licking, but that's not really the same issue for most people!). The idea isn't to punish the dog for being a bit too mouthy, just to help get the gears in their furry heads engaged, making them think harder and control their big slobbery jaws a bit more!
 

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Hi. You are doing well. If he is not from a puppy mill, he grew up with you and he recieved the right training, its not your fault, that he behaves like this. Its more like his hormones. He is a young male, its normal that he is excited, unpatient, sometimes lacks of attention..... The problem is that, this behaviour is unwanted. If you cant correct is with training, you should ask the vet about neutering him. Guide dogs, service dogs are neutered as they need their attention, calmness, patience... /When are guide dogs neutered?

With the exception of breeding dogs, all guide dogs are neutered. Male puppies are castrated during the puppy-walking period at approximately 8 months of age./
 
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