Close your darn mouth, dog! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-26-2013, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Close your darn mouth, dog!

Our chocolate lab is about a year old, she has pretty good manners and has never bitten or nipped but she has ALWAYS got her mouth open. When you're playing with her she'll bang into you with her mouth and of course the teeth are a no-no but the biggest issue is the drool. Gross.

We've tried everything, yucky tastes, pops on the nose, jabbing her in the tongue, we were instructed to poke her hard in the back of the tongue, make her gag and she'll get the hint after a couple issues with her mouthing but NOTHING works. I tried to tell mum she's just plain stupid but she doesn't believe me.

She's a sweet dog and like I said, she has very good manners but I would like to break this habbit, there's no menace, but it's still annoying and a no-no.

Any other suggestions? Anyone had the same problem?
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 12:10 AM
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She's only a year old, lots of dogs I've owned and known took a while to grow out of the mouthy stage. You do want to discourage any teeth on people, and if the play is rough enough to get teeth involved then it's time to stop. However if the biggest issue is drool, then honestly IMO that is your issue, not the dog's. Some dogs produce a lot of drool, and you cope with it just like you cope with shedding.

Please don't ever hit/pop/jab a dog, especially not in the face and not for a harmless quirk. If you don't want drool on you, find a way to play that involves less close contact (she's a retriever, try fetch), and/or wear clothes you aren't worried about getting drool on during playtime.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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We fetch, we don't play rough (I tried, she sat down on my lap, no fun dog). The issue is that she has her mouth all the time, walk up to you and have her mouth around your hand / arm / whatever no biting, no 'mouthing' action, it's just the mouth open that's a nuisance. Yes, dogs drool, that's fine what's not fine is when the drool is coming from having part of you in her mouth.

I'm not going to get into training method arguments here, though. We actually did a course with her with one of the top trainer in the lower mainland, he's the one who gets to determine the fate of dogs in court cases, has done a lot of work with 'professional' dogs. You cannot 'gently' deter biting (she did when she was younger).
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 01:58 AM
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If you want training suggestions you are going to get some you don't agree with. Take it or leave it, I stand by what I said - you can most definitely deter biting without causing pain when it comes to a young mouthy dog. I make a point of keeping my hand out of their mouth, if their mouth comes in contact with me then playtime is over and I demand my space. One of ours was notorious for mouthing and didn't fully grow out of it until he was two years old, patience and setting him up for success went a long way. Others got over it much sooner.

"Top" trainers are a dime a dozen in the lower mainland - that kind of status is purely subjective. Some are nutjobs whom I won't let within 50 feet of my dogs, others have given great advice as well as some advice that wasn't effective for my situation. An open mind is a good thing. Best of luck.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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You're right, I apologize. What are your training suggestions then? I would like to hear them. I would just like to clarify that the drool is not the problem- as I said it is the way in which the drool comes in contact with a person. If she were 'drooling' on me as is normal for dogs to do that would be fine, however it is not okay to have her mouth on me. In what way can you deter mouth / biting behaviour gently? You didn't give me a suggestion, if you do have one I would like to hear it.

I do not agree with you on the terms that I should never give her a pop on the nose or a jab to the tongue. Dogs do understand tone and commands, however to learn tone and commands you cannot treat them like little humans and explain rationally why their behaviour is 'bad'. If you can agree to disagree with me, then I can agree to disagree with you and hopefully benefit from a training suggestion?

And I agree "top" trainer is purely subjective, however, as I said- the man we used is 'the' man called in when there are legal cases involving dogs. He is the one involved in retraining and rehabing dangerous animals, and making the calls on whether they are safe to be rehomed. I believe he was also involved in competitive training prior to this gig, so yes I do believe he is a "top" trainer, thank you.

Rudie is good with giving us our space, we do not play rough (I don't think she quite knows how to play rough, we have a poodle and a cockapoo who have 'put her in her place', they're old and cranky) so she is very submissive, excitable but still submissive.

Now that I'm reading into this it seems wrong to describe it as 'mouthy', more often than not she is approaching with her mouth hanging open, bumping into a hand or an arm or a knee with mouth rather than nose. It isn't mouthy in the sense you would expect 'biting but not' if that makes sense.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Gremmy View Post
If you want training suggestions you are going to get some you don't agree with. Take it or leave it, I stand by what I said - you can most definitely deter biting without causing pain when it comes to a young mouthy dog. I make a point of keeping my hand out of their mouth, if their mouth comes in contact with me then playtime is over and I demand my space. One of ours was notorious for mouthing and didn't fully grow out of it until he was two years old, patience and setting him up for success went a long way. Others got over it much sooner.
Bolded is what I do - I use a firm "No" and shoo the dog out of my personal space until they settle down. If they are approaching me with their mouth open and are in a mental state where that mouth is going to come in contact with me, that's not a level of excitement I want close to me. If they keep coming in my space, I keep sending them away, until they stay away and settle down. Repetition and patience.

As I've said, from what I've seen they seem to grow out of it as long as it's not encouraged.

I'll add that I have zero qualms with physically reprimanding a horse under the right circumstances, but dogs don't respond to intimidation the same way, and we can do a lot more damage to a dog. I'm not a dog trainer, I don't deal with aggressive adult dogs, but I've yet to see the need in using that kind of force to raise a well behaved dog. I do personally believe that it can contribute to aggression - the only dog I've ever owned that had a tendency to snap was my first childhood dog, who had been raised by a heavy handed family member.

Again, best of luck.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 04:55 AM
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The problem with the whole 'tapping' or 'jabbing' thing is that some dogs take it at playing. I know one dog that I tried that with - I'd give him a two fingered tap to the muzzle, not enough to hurt but enough for a 'whoa, what was that?'. His problem that what came next was lunging forward to nip.

I now treat him similar to what Gremmy says - he mouths, I growl at him and ignore him. It took a while, but it started happening less often. Didn't stop completely, because his owners encourage rough play, but I won't stand for it so I won't let him do it to me.

I have noticed that it is a very labrador trait though. Our current labrador, who is 12 years old, had more of a licking problem, though he did mouth occasionally. The tapping method helped him, but so did the ignoring. Another labrador we had for a little while, a 2 year old, wasn't deterred by anything. Tapping brought on more mouthing, ignoring brought on jumping up and barking.

It definitely does depend on the dog, but in your case I'd suggest trying the ignoring. She sounds very affectionate, and by ignoring her she would probably realise that she's done something wrong. Give it a shot, it can't hurt.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by alexischristina View Post
I would just like to clarify that the drool is not the problem- as I said it is the way in which the drool comes in contact with a person. If she were 'drooling' on me as is normal for dogs to do that would be fine, however it is not okay to have her mouth on me. In what way can you deter mouth / biting behaviour gently? You didn't give me a suggestion, if you do have one I would like to hear it.
Quote:
When you're playing with her she'll bang into you with her mouth and of course the teeth are a no-no but the biggest issue is the drool. Gross
I guess I'm confused. At one spot you say the biggest issue is drool and another say that is not the issue.

Either way - I agree with others - there are gentle ways to handle most issues.

I would like to clarify something - So the issue is not that she is mouthy or that she drools, but that her mouth remains open while playing and it happens to bump you while she moves around? So she is not actively trying to be mouthy or nippy?

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #9 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat View Post
I guess I'm confused. At one spot you say the biggest issue is drool and another say that is not the issue.

Either way - I agree with others - there are gentle ways to handle most issues.

I would like to clarify something - So the issue is not that she is mouthy or that she drools, but that her mouth remains open while playing and it happens to bump you while she moves around? So she is not actively trying to be mouthy or nippy?

This ^ as I am also confused.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 02:42 PM
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Labs love to carry objects in their mouth, always have a toy and/or have them laying around for her to pick up. It will take awhile to grow out of. Even my 12 year old carried around a bone when someone came to visit.
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