Tips to Stop a Newly Adopted Dog From Mouthing and Nipping

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 8, 2017

Athena is a one-year-old Chocolate Lab mix who lives a few blocks away from our HQ in Omaha. Her guardian adopted her a week ago and set up a dog behavior training session to get her to stop mouthing and nipping, listen to commands and stop acting anxious around new dogs.

I was surprised by the lack of mouthing at the door as this is usually when dogs are most excited related to guests and dogs who nip and mouth generally do it when over excited.

But as this in home dog training session progressed, I saw more of the unwanted dog behavior problems including the mouthing and nipping. To help the guardian dissuade Athena from getting mouthy, I spent a few minutes going over some dog training tips that should help her redirect the dog or communicate that behavior is not appreciated.

One other tactic the guardian can apply is referred to as a negative punishment, i.e. removing something from the equation the dog likes. In this case, the guardian. So if the yelp or redirecting techniques don’t work, immediately leaving the room and closing the door behind her is the next step. She should wait at least 1 minute or for at least 20 seconds of no barking or whining before returning to the room as if nothing ever happened.

A dog behavior expert once shared a dog behavior tip with me related to mouthing; playing tug of war with a piece of rope or other appropriate toy. Any time Athena’s teeth touch the human’s skin, intentional or not, they can use the yelp combined with stoppage of playing the game to help the dog develop good bite inhibition. If the dog continues, the negative reward would be the next step.

I made a number of suggestions for the guardian that should help redefine the leader follower dynamic like petting with a purpose or rewarding desired actions and behaviors via passive training. These positive dog training approaches will go a long way towards helping Athena see her guardian as an authority figure instead of peer or play toy.

I attempted to use the Leadership exercise I developed a few year ago to help with the leader follower dynamic but Athena was persistent and used her athletic ability to get around the guardian. After reflecting on the situation for a few moments, I suggested she practice this kennel training exercise until the dog stays in the kennel until given the release command before resuming practice at the leadership exercise.

We wrapped up the session by shooting a roadmap to success video the includes a number of free dog training tips. Feel free to watch the video and use these dog training secrets and exercises with your own dog.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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