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When Zefra gets excited she snaps, it's not a "snap snap snap" type of thing either, she snaps hard and if makes contact with something will CLAMP down and not let go (unless it's your body part which she is better at but when she was little it didn't matter). She is 9 months old today.

Zefra is also a jumper (she could bounce right over me if I let her) which I am still trying to teach her that jumping means no contact/interaction in regards to meeting people/when I come home.

Put those two things together and...

I have finally managed to train her to grab a toy when someone comes over or I come home so that her mouth is busy which is working out great.

Just wondering what others have done for a dog who does this?

What do you think causes it? I truly believe it is just excitement that comes out looking like this. It's not a nervous behaviour at all or an aggressive one... guess I am just curious is all.
 

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Amaretto also jumps at people in the hoping-to-meet kind of way. It's made worse by people who say "cute puppy" on the streets when she does this...some even PET her when she jumps. I thought the jumping GSD would be a deterrent enough but apparently not! I'm saying please don't pet, and also just taking her to the side of the road and working on watch me with people passing. I'm hoping she'll eventually ignore people.

Edit to add she also sometimes snaps when she gets VERY VERY excited. But not so much anymore.
 

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Dogs relieve tension by chewing.
They will do the kind of thing you describe if super-worked-up, as a release to the tension/excitement they feel in their bodies.
If they were shaped like humans, they'd probably run around in circles, stopping to hug you or something - this is the closest they can get, or a "dog version" of HELLO!HELLO!HELLO!, etc.

That said, it can be easily misconstrued by the general public and especially mothers with children, so it is good to teach a replacement behavior.
As you can imagine, it'll be tough to make a dog stop doing it, so the best you can do is replacement behaviors.
 

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To me, it means the dog is not clear in the head...Djenga can also be that way, I have a few scars from her! But my other dogs will not use their mouths out of excitement regardless of their level of drive or how excited they get.
It helps to tell people to just ignore Djenga, if they aren't paying her any attention or are calm she doesn't get too excited. But otherwise a ball or tug works wonders :)
 

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When Zefra gets excited she snaps, it's not a "snap snap snap" type of thing either, she snaps hard and if makes contact with something will CLAMP down and not let go (unless it's your body part which she is better at but when she was little it didn't matter). She is 9 months old today.

Zefra is also a jumper (she could bounce right over me if I let her) which I am still trying to teach her that jumping means no contact/interaction in regards to meeting people/when I come home.

Put those two things together and...

I have finally managed to train her to grab a toy when someone comes over or I come home so that her mouth is busy which is working out great.

Just wondering what others have done for a dog who does this?

What do you think causes it? I truly believe it is just excitement that comes out looking like this. It's not a nervous behaviour at all or an aggressive one... guess I am just curious is all.
Mine does all of the above also...she is 4 months and she has slowed down on the snapping in the air. She does it every now and then. I'm not getting to far with the jumping..I think she could jump right on the counter if I let her, but she cries for me to lift her onto the bed..go figure. I use the back toward her, a water bottle, and at school her teacher used the can filled with rocks--the can seemed to be the most effective. I am presently in search of lots of pebbles for cans all over my house:shocked:
 

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I see that behavior in Mals/Dutchies more than GSD's. And a ball or tug in their mouth is very calming!
 

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Sasha does the air snaps when she gets frustrated. Like if she's really really excited for a treat, and I ask her to "down" she might do little air snaps as she moans and goes down. She never tries to bite anything, and has never bitten anything when she's done this.

She does try to jump on me every time I come home. It's getting better, but it's really annoying. She doesn't really do it to others (very occasionally my mom).
 

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Shasta also jumps and snaps when she's excited to greet a person. She's trying to be friendly, but it's very intimidating for people! She's pretty good about running and grabbing a toy herself now - after she's settled down just a bit. So what I do now is put her in a down-stay. I have to be pro-active managing the down because she will pop back up out of excitement. But she's getting better and better at it. She is almost 2 years old. It's taken her that long to be able to exert that kind of self-control.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't believe it has anything to do with being clear headed or not to be honest. Can you explain why you think this? Very curious?

It's almost like she is leaking drive? If that makes sense. She gets super excited and then snap.

She has never made contact with anyone - when she was a puppy she did but not recently (say since 4 - 5 months old). I usually shove a toy/tug in her mouth just to be safe.

She will do this as well when training, if I show her the reward ball she will get super excited/jumps into drive and then she will snap once or twice until I give a command, once she knows we are "in work mode" she settles a bit.
 

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Zefra LOVES people and she doesn't snap hardly anymore (only with people who are super close to her - like Wild Wolf on this forum and her husband) but she will jump.

We all call her "wiggle butt" because she starts wiggling from the tip of her tail to the tip of her nose.. whole body thrusts of wiggles.. lol. And jumping of course.. which we are working on.
 

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I guess it is how I learned to describe it, just some dogs need to "leak" drive and others don't. For example - Djenga never nailed me under normal circumstances, but if she was very amped up in bitework and got a correction she'd just bite whatever was in reach. It was not handler aggression or anything like that, she just was in a state where she was not thinking clearly. I have seen quite a few dogs who acted this way in varying degrees...mals but also some GSD's.
Kessy has just as much drive (or more), but she can still think when in drive and wouldn't use her mouth on me regardless of the circumstances. There is never a point where she isn't in control of herself.

But maybe I am picturing something different with your description of Zefra...it's very hard to get an accurate idea of behavior over a forum.
 

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When you put it like that, yes, it is very similar.

She doesn't "think" what's she's doing - it's all drive.

Hmm.. interesting.

I will try to get some video of it next time.. but I think you are on to something.
 

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Some dogs are external and others are internal - referring to how they manage their excitement/drive. I would haz
ard a guess and say it is drive, prey drive.... and maybe she is an external dog - one that physically can't help but show her *joy* through her actions.
 

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Rafi used to do this when I first adopted him. He would get so excited about going out or going for a walk that he would jump straight up in the air and snap in my face. He never made contact but it obviously wasn't a behavior I wanted him to continue! I taught him to grab a toy when he's excited and that's exactly why you see him with a ball in his mouth 100% of the time when he is out and about. Worked like a charm--when he gets too worked up he will automatically grab a toy and chomp on it to calm himself down.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Rafi used to do this when I first adopted him. He would get so excited about going out or going for a walk that he would jump straight up in the air and snap in my face. He never made contact but it obviously wasn't a behavior I wanted him to continue! I taught him to grab a toy when he's excited and that's exactly why you see him with a ball in his mouth 100% of the time when he is out and about. Worked like a charm--when he gets too worked up he will automatically grab a toy and chomp on it to calm himself down.
Yes, this is exactly it.

Ruth, what do you attribute that behaviour too?

I always considered it drive leakage? She is a very intense girl - on and off the field - and is almost always "on" - she is calming with age but is still quite "in your face" about everything. She even cuddles intensely if that makes sense.. .LOL.
 

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Rafi used to do this when I first adopted him. He would get so excited about going out or going for a walk that he would jump straight up in the air and snap in my face. He never made contact but it obviously wasn't a behavior I wanted him to continue! I taught him to grab a toy when he's excited and that's exactly why you see him with a ball in his mouth 100% of the time when he is out and about. Worked like a charm--when he gets too worked up he will automatically grab a toy and chomp on it to calm himself down.
How do you go abouts teaching this?
Amaretto only snaps when she misses something she's going for, but when she gets hyper she bites and tugs my pant legs pretty hard to initiate play. I'd like to teach her to grab a toy instead.
Thanks!
 

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Nadia gets wound up with excitement-it can be over someone coming to visit, over knowing we are going somewhere, over having snow to play in, over being restless. Anything really. In the description about leaking drive I would have to say Nadia is very leaky. A toy in her mouth seems to be quite soothing and keeps her mouth busy so she is not intimidating people or harassing Zisso.
 

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How do you go abouts teaching this?
Amaretto only snaps when she misses something she's going for, but when she gets hyper she bites and tugs my pant legs pretty hard to initiate play. I'd like to teach her to grab a toy instead.
Thanks!
We used to just stuff a toy in Shasta's mouth when she got into that super excited mode. Eventually we noticed she was looking for a toy to grab on her own when she got excited. She's still not quite there yet when greeting strangers; the excitement is too intense so at first she'll still jump and snap but she's improving with age.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Same! ;)

Grab a toy, stuff it in and you can even engage with them a bit (tugging) to let them know that this is what you want and that it's fun! ;)
 

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I don't think its an unstable behavior by any means, I just think its a way to leak drive.

I'm not sure if this is the same thing but my puppy does something similar.

I have a little 4 month old puppy who LOVES biting the necks of the adult dogs as they run around playing, or chasing a ball.

If I tell the little 4 month old no and either hold him back, put him into a sit, or put him on a lead, he will stare at the dog he wants to bite and without pulling or lunging or making any other movement, he will clack his jaws "at" the thing he wants to bite.

When he is excited to see me he will jump at the cage door and clack his jaws in excitement. Occassionally he will latch onto my coat arm and "escort" me out the door to go potty.

He has always been like this since he was like 5 weeks old. Always clacking his jaw. He just never gives a "bite" or an attempt to "bite" without full pressure of his jaws.

His mom doesn't do her jaw clacks randomly, but when she goes to bite something and misses she certainly clacks her jaws.


His sister is a huge jumper. Not that he isn't, but she is exceptional. She insists on jumping great heights.. (not just down from them which most of my dogs would do anyways) but she actually jumps VERY high for her height and insists on continuing to do so.

She is only 4 months old and she will already jump straight in the air, bounce her front legs off my stomach and lick my face while she comes up.
I have a feeling her bark and holds are going to be a lot of jumping, and her brothers bark and holds are going to have creepy clacking sounds in between his barking LOL.


I think these are just ways these little guys have found to leak drive because I haven't taught them how to cap it yet. I personally like the behaviors and don't intend to discourage them until they are adults and then they will only be allowed to do it with me but not with strangers.
 
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