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Old 06-01-2010, 06:58 PM
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Sweet72947 Sweet72947 is offline
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Default Help with extremely mouthy dogs

I work at a rescue shelter, and as you can imagine some of the dogs there were never taught that you shouldn't use a human as a chew toy. There is one dog in particular, named Mori, I believe he is a cur/hound mix or maybe feist/hound mix, and he almost gets himself into a frenzy, and mouths so hard it hurts, a lot. We have a fenced in area around each line of the runs, and each dog gets out into this area at least once a day for 20+ minutes at a time. I have successfully taught Mori not to mouth me when I let him out, as I would grab him and throw him back into his run, and then let him out a few minutes later (rinse, repeat), and he learned that mouthing = end to out time. My problem is when I walk back into the fence to put him back after his time is over. Mori gets excited and goes into that mouthing/jumping frenzy. I still have some marks on my arm from yesterday (I did not work today, day off). Throwing him in his run isn't going to work for that, he knows that he's getting put back anyway!

Does anyone have any tips for working with a dog like that? Other staff members have used the "kneeing in the chest" method (that I don't like and don't use), which has only created a dog who mouths and jumps on your back/sides so that he cannot be kneed! He's a smart dog, lol. Help?

Oh, and this is him, to put a face to the crazy creature. He's really very sweet when he isn't biting the crap out of you.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:28 PM
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What if you try giving him a toy or chew bone to carry back to the run? That would keep his mouth busy.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:28 PM
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Bite Inhibition Article

If you have time to work with him more in a quiet place.

Carrying something in his mouth is a good idea.

Or teach leave it. I'll give you instructions to that if you want.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:04 PM
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My first piece of advice would be to teach him to hold and carry a toy to and from the kennel.

If that wasn't possible (don't listen to me unless someone else thinks this is a good idea, I am NOT a trainer) I would try running a line from the play area to the kennel, clipping him on it (like a running line) and walking with him back to the kennel, but if he bites, walk away and ignore him (leaving him on the line) until he calms down.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:46 PM
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The toy idea is a good one, but he's going to be leaving the shelter some day. I would put a sit on him. When you go to his gate, have him sit before opening the door, and wait until you say out. I would use treats to get him started on this, then use the freedom as his reward. When you come back into the run, again ask for the sit, using treats. He needs to run up to you and sit nicely. If you have to make him sit after every two steps, then do so. He should also sit and wait for you to open the door, then cut him to go through it. Once inside the kennel, he gets another treat. Over time, he gets the treat with the first sit, then once he is inside and sitting nicely.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:11 AM
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You can try clicker training him. Click him for walking calmly with you to the kennel. Kind of like a heel. Can you go into the cage with him? That way you can go in and cuddle with him or play with him with one of his toys for a few minutes (depending on his mood) and then toss some treats on the floor and leave. That way he looks forward to the time right after you put him away and then won't maul you when you try and leave because you threw treats on the floor to occupy him.

Or you could see if he'll keep up a game of tug all the way back to his cage so he has a toy in his mouth the whole time. Tug for a second then walk a little, tug and walk (tugging is mainly to keep him interested in his toy so he doesn't drop it) until you get him back, then one more tug session before leaving him. That is if he likes tug. Might not work but it's worth a try.

If he does mouth during any of this either stand stiffly and ignore him and then turn right back on when he stops for a few seconds, or if he bits too hard for that you can try hooking him to the fence a walking away. In fact you might want to have on leash permanently attached to the fence that you can just hook him to when he does this.


You can also try and make going back to the kennel a fun game, much like you'd do for a dog that won't come when called because he thinks he has to go home/back inside. Go into and out of the kennel several times during the outing so that he never knows whether he is going to be stuck there or is just going in and coming back out. When he goes in toss treat on the floor and close the door while he eats them. When he's done eating open it up and let him back out. Then the last time you'll toss the treats, close the door and not open it again. However after this you probably shouldn't use going back as a punishment for mouthing, going back to the kennel would have to be kept positive.
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