Dog training - excessive mouthing

claud

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
843
2
162
PA
I have a 5 yr old ~80 lb dog who is friendly with everyone.
My problem with him is he gets so excited when people come - especially children - that he bites their hands/arms(in a playful way but way too rough). He does this with my older DD(teenage) too. Of course he scares the kids.
We have a squirt bottle and spray him when he does this which works(he doesn't like water) but it only lasts as long as the bottle is in view.
He never does this with me and once he settles down he's usually ok unless someone gets him excited such as running/screaming kids.

We do all the alpha stuff - must sit before he gets food, etc. I'd say he's a more dominant-minded dog and not the most trainable breed.

I know there are people with dog-training experience on here and am hoping to get some good tips on how I can break him of this. Any suggestions?
 

Cindiloohoo

Quiet as a Church Mouse
11 Years
Dec 19, 2009
7,471
56
326
Southwest TN
I make my dog heel and stay when we have company over, especially kids. Mine is very excitable as well. It's just about the only solution I have found other than putting her in another room, but then that sends the wrong message....so that's what I do.


ETA: My dogs are Pit Bulls, but we had a Chow that did the same thing...it's actually a show of affection for some dogs.
 
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Anianna

Songster
9 Years
Feb 28, 2010
959
15
143
N/E of Richmond, VA
We had this problem with our GSD and our four young kids. This is how we solved it:

The best way I know to deal with this is to get the help of some volunteers, starting with your teenage daughter. Any time he goes to mouth, she should cross her arms and turn her back to him. Her body language should show him displeasure rather than fear and she should make a stern face. As soon as he sits patiently, she should turn around and reward him with a pat on the head and some kind words that are not excitable (more conversationally sweet than something like "oh what a good doggy!!!!" type reward as an excited response can get him excited again). If he mouths again, repeat the stern body language and turning away. This will take some time and must be repeated every time he exhibits the behavior.

It will also help if she feeds him. Right now, he sees her as a litter mate he can play with, not as a better to respect. It is imperative that he sit and wait to be fed and only approach the bowl when she says, "ok". So, she should fill the bowl and slowly begin to set it down. If he gets up and approaches the bowl before she says, "ok" she should lift it back to where he can not reach it and she says, "sit" and once he sits she says, "wait". This may take some time and patience on your daughter's part, but this is what has discouraged our GSD from jumping at and mouthing our children. Once it is established that your daughter has control over his food, he will realize she is somebody he has to listen to and will be much more respectful of her.

If you have younger kids or neighborhood kids that are over frequently, have a few of them feed him, too, using the same method. This will establish a pattern that even young people are to be respected. If the kids are very young, this should be done with the dog leashed and an adult keeping the dog from overtaking the child for the food. The adult should only keep the dog from reaching the food in the child's hand. The dog must respond to the child's commands in order to get his food. Don't give up, it will take time and patience! You should also have the other kids repeat the stern behavior I mentioned in the first paragraph, since it reinforces the idea in the dog that just because smaller people are smaller, it doesn't mean he can chew on them.

It is important that the kids know not to scream or flail in response to the dog. The dog doesn't understand what that means and he will think they are playing with him, which encourages the bad behavior.
 
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claud

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
843
2
162
PA
Quote:
Actually, he's a Shar Pei which are generally not a mouthy breed. He doesn't chew on anything else except bones and kids.
lol.png
He even hates balls.
 

Skyesrocket

Songster
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
1,793
9
171
Shar-Pei are mouthers. It's a pretty common breed behavior and it is a sign of affection. When I had mine I would hook my index finger around their eye tooth and tug as a greeting. I did the same with friends Shar-Pei and I seemed to be their favorite person. Mine only did this with family though so we never tried to stop the behavior.
It isn't an ideal situation with kids though. Especially when the dog is excited. Hopefully Jamie will come along with an answer for you.
The only think I can think of is to have a toy handy and hand it to the dog when people come over. We did have a male that would grab a toy when we had company and carry it around for the first few minutes. Once he calmed down he would put the toy down. It was like he did it to stop himself from mouthing company.
 

Bluemoon420

The Rooster Queen
10 Years
Mar 27, 2009
2,180
8
181
Livingston County, MI
I've got a GSD puppy who is mouthy, and gets excited like you described. She thinks everyone wants to play, play, play. The food thing does work. I've been doing that with her for the past months. I make her sit, and stay. If she doesn't then no food. It'll take some patience, and persistence. She will on a occassion try it with DH. He is frequently out of the country for work, and the process with him usually has to be started over when he comes home. He'll be gone for weeks at a time. We also had a squirt gun when she was younger that we used too. That distracted her so we could redirect her to what she could play with.

Bluemoon
 

claud

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
843
2
162
PA
Thanks for the replies. We and the in-laws had Shar Peis for many years and we've never really had a mouther like Boris(my current Shar Pei) - a couple of lickers though if that counts.

I like the idea of the sit - wait command. I think we will work on it, and work on it, and work on it...... LOL... Boris needs a lot of repetition.

The toy distraction sounds good too. After being squirted with the squirt bottle he will often go and get his toy.

Keep 'em coming!
 

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