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Chickenleg - mouthing another dog's back leg?

26893 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  revolutionrocknroll
So, what does "chickenlegging" mean to a dog? When my dog plays with puppies, sometimes she'll mouth the puppy's back leg. I've seen other dogs do this too. Are they trying to engage in play? To stop play? To herd or direct the other dog? Is it a form of discipline?

I haven't been able to find information about this.

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What breed? You see it a lot in herding dogs and Cosmo is guilty of chicken legging. He isn't allowed to play with other dogs when he does this though because it is a form of rough play that can result in injury. It's when the dog grabs the back of another dogs ankle and pulls them to get them in a down position like sitting or laying down, like a dirty wrestling trick haha.

The part of the leg dogs who do this usually grab is the thin fragile skin on the ankle by the small bone on the back. It can cause pain and is easily injured if yanked or jerked in a certain way. It makes dogs irritable and can cause fights and problems.

Another common behavior that sometimes goes along with this is grabbing the tail and holding on to pull the dog in places or towards them. Cosmo does this as well as collar pulling and it's not tolerated. He's a real herder that's for sure!

I would suggest immediately ending play and giving a 15 minute time out when chicken legging occurs to avoid injury and scraps.
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My dog is a miniature dachshund. She's never pulled or tried to force a dog to sit or lie down and she has excellent bite inhibition. She's never grabbed another animal's tail. I haven't seen the other dogs pull or yank either, my dog and the other dogs just wrap their mouth around the other dog's leg for a moment and then let go.
Oh I see! Chicken legging can still cause problems though regardless of the size or breed of the dog. Even if your dog has good bite inhibition, a dog twisting their leg in your dogs mouth against his teeth is still enough to injure them. It can also be annoying to some dogs who don't play that way and if continued can cause problems. I still wouldn't encourage this kind of play.

Also I didn't mean to suggest your dog yanks tails or anything, I was just saying it happens among herding breeds and mine does. Wasn't sure of your breed, a dachshund certainly isn't a herding breed or prone to herding behavior but if your dog is biting the backs of ankles I personally would discourage that behavior. Even little dogs can damage. I personally wouldn't want my dog getting that area gnawed on by any dog, and I know he wouldn't either which is why I don't let him do it to other dogs.
Okay, thanks. I was just wondering whether it's play, herding or something else. Good point about that part of the legs being sensitive, if I see her do it again I'll discourage it.
Agree with Cos, ime it's a form of play, and if they're doing it to a dog that's not playing with them, it's trying to get attention.

We're not allowed to let them bite legs at work because once a dog severed another dog's achilles tendon playing that way (long before I started working there thankfully).
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