Puppy mouthing - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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Puppy mouthing

After about 6 weeks of trying to find a rescue GSD who is good with kids and our cat with no luck, I finally found a GSD (likely mixed) 9 week old puppy at our local SPCA and am first on the list to adopt! I have to bring the whole family to meet him tomorrow (per SPCA rules) tomorrow, and, assuming all goes well, we can bring him home! I did some of the “puppy tests” listed in my training books when I met him today (reaction to holding him on his back, following me, loud noises, throwing ball, etc) and my main concern is how mouthy he is. Really, every test I did, he mostly just wanted to chew on my hands and, especially, my watch. I know this is totally normal for a puppy his age, but how do y’all recommend discouraging this behavior in young puppies? I tried a sharp “no!” and removing my hands for a moment, then petting and praising him for not biting for the one second that he isn’t, but he goes right back to biting my hands and watch. The “Monks of New Skete” book recommends putting a finger down his throat to cause a gag reflex every time he chews fingers, but that seems harsh for a young puppy to me.
Any other ideas that have worked for you?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 06:34 AM
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Our girl is 4 months old and we're only just starting to see some moderation. She still loves to put her mouth on us but at least now she's not applying as much pressure. We tolerate gentle mouthing because the alternative is never being near her. That's how central mouthing is to her existence. Excessive pressure or nipping/leaping at us with mouth open earns her a time out in her crate. I haven't found anything that works to persuade her to keep her mouth off us. We had to deal with a couple of months of torn clothes and bloody scratches on our hands and arms to get to this point.

That said ... when she's really overexcited and persistent and I'm struggling to even get hold of her collar without getting chewed or nipped, shoving my hand farther into her throat does seem to discourage her. It's not an actual finger down her throat, rather pushing into the bite so it becomes uncomfortable for her. It works in the moment and lets me handle her so I can get her into her crate, but I wouldn't expect it to work as a long term solution.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 08:58 AM
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Teething is perfectly normally, especially at his young age. I would just discourage him from doing it on you. Get him some ropes and hard toys. They're in pain when their teeth fall out and grow back in, so they teeth to alleviate the pain. Just make sure to discourage him from teething on any human or other dogs and give him a hard toy in it's place. He'll keep going for your hands unless you give him a proper alternative. The leather center console in my car was destroyed by one of my dogs due to this haha.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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I know it’s normal, just hoping I can keep it to a minimum! I plan to go to the pet supply store as soon as they open today, before we go pick up the puppy (he doesn’t have a name yet; we’ve been arguing about name ideas) to buy some toys and chew things.
We had an English Mastiff who died about 2 years ago, and she was a terrible chewer as a puppy, too. It was so long ago, I can’t remember what we did about it, but it seems to me that she mostly had to grow out of it. She destroyed a couple of shirts, a couple of chairs, and actually chewed up my iPod! We have a 2 yr old cat who’s super mouthy, too, and also loves to chew my watch. I don’t know what it is about my watch! I guess the gold shiny band attracts them.
Plus, I’ve been reading that allowing them to chew on you can make them think they are the alpha. Some of that establishing dominance with your dog stuff I take with a grain of salt, but some I think has validity.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 11:39 AM
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Congratulations on the new puppy!

When my puppy was little I kept the floor littered with recycle materials, milk jugs, soda and juice bottles, etc. (with the little plastic ring that stays on them when you open them removed!) for my puppy to chew on and play with. She'd just destroy and eat the traditional "toys" I bought!

The great thing about using recyclables is that you can easily swap them out when they start to get frayed. Not only will it save you money, puppies seem to like them more because the make awesome crinkly noises when played with!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 01:21 PM
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This will fade away after teething is over around 6 months or so.There's nothing wrong with making puppy uncomfortable when he mouths your hands.I used to make a fist and push into my puppie's mouths gently until they were uncomfortable enough to let go and back away.Then immediately redirect to a toy and praise for the good choice!


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 06:43 PM
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I brought my pup home when he was only 7 1/2 weeks. I could only start petting him without him nipping or turning his muzzle on my hand when he was 3 months. He drew blood at my hand, and then I literally held on to his ear and directed it to the blood, I said, 'No more.' and for some reason it worked for him, he NEVER nipped me from then on, it was a catalyst for us lol. That being said, it took him a while longer to not nip at other people. I suppose the main reason he didn't dare to nip me was because that's when he really started to see me as his Alpha.

And same as Tim, my apartment was basically a recycling place, plastic bottles all over the floor, combined with rope toys and chew toys! It went on until he was about 6 months old. He just chewed and chewed and chewed and chewed, he couldn't just lie down and chill. So yeah, puppies go through a lot of pain when they're teething. Make sure you invest in some good toys! NO CHEAP toys that don't last, that's a waste! Go with Black kong, Goughnut, Ruffwear.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-02-2018, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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He’s ours now! He is as cute as he can be, and the chewing seems to be an off-and-on thing. I bought a variety of chew toys and have been trying to redirect when he goes into a chewing frenzy, but he doesn’t have much interest in the toys. He is distracted by them momentarily, and then goes back to my hands and ankles. Anyway, he has been letting us pet him when he tires out, and when I pick him up, he gives me puppy kisses ❤️ ❤️. So he’s a lover, not just a chewer. He enjoys chasing a ball, though I haven’t convinced him to bring it back yet. He does usually let go when I take it from him to throw again (usually).
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