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Old 12-04-2013, 10:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2013
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Default Too Rough Mouthing & Off Leash Skills 1 Year

Hi All,

I am brand new to this forum - also pretty new to dog ownership.
Atlas is my first dog ever - yup, I realize I took a big leap! However, I am doing my best to be a very educated owner and also working hard to ensure my dog is well trained and well behaved. I'd appreciate any constructive advice you can give!

Atlas is a rescue - we live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in Canada. He is about 1 year old - and he's likely a GSD and Husky mix - tall and large!
I have had him since early August (about 5 months). He is very docile for his age and a very social and friendly dog. Can't wait to meet other people and dogs - and likes to sleep on his back legs in the air. He is very calm in the house and mostly on leash - sits, lies down, rolls over, shakes paw, high fives. He jumps occasionally, but stops when asked. I don't know much about his first 6 months of life, although I am confident he was not maltreated as he came from a small arctic community and shows no signs of timidness or any real aggression.

He gets about 2 hours of exercise each day (40 min walk in AM, 1.5 hour walk in PM, short walk at night). We live in a place with no back yard, but I work from home so I can pay attention to him during the day with short play sessions.

I have two issues I'd like advice on:
1) Biting - I am not one to enjoy mouthing or engage in play-biting. Whenever Atlas puts his teeth on me, I say ouch or no and stop the interaction. He knows now that he cannot mouth with me.
However, he does try it with other people - often, including nipping passersby as they greet him, or nipping mittens. Occasionally, he has chomped accidentally when he gets too excited. What should I do to curb his mouthing with strangers/other people?

2) Off leash skills - he started with 85% off leash recall. Now he's at more of about 30%. I want him to be able to run and enjoy himself in our many safe off leash areas, but I also want him to come back and not learn bad habits. If I call and he doesn't come, I usually continue walking and start to leave the park. He will come when it's clear I am leaving. If there are other dogs he is friends with, he will come when they are called. He also comes sometimes when called but takes his time. I have tried carrying treats with me (out of sight) and rewarding when he has a speedy return - however this doesn't outweigh his desire to play with other dogs or run around like a crazy dog in the bushes.
Advice on re-working my off leash training style to ensure a better behaved dog in the future?

Thanks for any help you can give!
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