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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My almost 11 week puppy growls and tries to pull away from me when I mess with her mouth. it is almost snarling. Teeth showing. Thankfully she does not try and bite yet, but I could see it happening if this isn't dealt with now.

I can rub the sides, but she will not allow over the nose contact or under the jaw. she simply does not want any part of it. Since I don't want a chance someone could get bitten by her as she grows bigger, does anyone have any non threatening, non painful ways of dealing with this? I'm not willing to do anything that could hurt her or make her distrust me This is really the only potentially serious behavior Tallie has
I HAVE wondered if it could be caused by tooth pain from teething, and might possibly be nothing to be too concerned about


Thanks in advance for any advice
 

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First, don’t work on this during the most exciting and energetic part of the day... but not when she’s exhausted and prone to being annoyed either.

Grab her favorite treat and give her 1 or 2, just for doing nothing (this step can be phased out within a session or two). Feed her treats simultaneously (handful of treats or kibble). Start with 1 second touches, next session 2, and so on... then a light hold (going back to 1 second, etc), then progress to a touch/hold before feeding (you’re now rewarding the behavior instead of luring/distracting). Only progress at a rate in that she’s successful, don’t be greedy and think “just one more”. If she growls / snarls even once, you moved too quickly... back to square one.

I’d start in the same area each time so that she knows what’s expected.... then generalize in other locations once it’s pretty much a non issue.

Might take days, might take months... throw your expectations out the door, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! She has several treats she really loves so i'll get them and do that. She's excited almost all day unless she's staring to fall asleep so i'll have to catch her when she's starting to wind down with a chew toy. It's really hard to annoy her since she's always happy. Even when she's tired. Unless you touch her mouth. Maybe I'll start in the area she has the least issue with and then go from there-maybe she'll realize it feels good to have her gums massaged!
 

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At 11 weeks she is most likely NOT teething & just a little bitey puppy! I taught my pup (now 5 months old & sable too) the "gently" command by feeding him one kibble at a time holding it between two fingers. Say "gentle" and then if he tries to bite fingers or go too agressively pull hand back until he is barely nibbling at your finger! This has worked wonders! FYI my boy is 5 months (barely) and is just now teething! Finding bloody teeth in my bedroom - YUCK!
 

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At 11 weeks she is most likely NOT teething & just a little bitey puppy! I taught my pup (now 5 months old & sable too) the "gently" command by feeding him one kibble at a time holding it between two fingers. Say "gentle" and then if he tries to bite fingers or go too agressively pull hand back until he is barely nibbling at your finger! This has worked wonders! FYI my boy is 5 months (barely) and is just now teething! Finding bloody teeth in my bedroom - YUCK!
What I gathered from the OP is that their pups issue is more of an avoidance of control, not hard food taking :thinking:

OP, great idea with introducing her to the “game” by starting with an area she’s comfortable with :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
What I gathered from the OP is that their pups issue is more of an avoidance of control, not hard food taking :thinking:

OP, great idea with introducing her to the “game” by starting with an area she’s comfortable with :thumbup:


You would be right, she isn't bitey, she just avoids the contact. In fact she is very easy to redirect from normal puppy nipping. Its really mostly I think she doesnt want her mouth forced open and that might be why she reacts by pulling away and growling when she feels fingers circling the top or bottom of her muzzle, But she has got to get used to it since at some time in her life it's going to be necessary

In every other regard, other than this, she is truthfully the easiest puppy I have ever owned
 

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Discussion Starter #7
At 11 weeks she is most likely NOT teething & just a little bitey puppy! I taught my pup (now 5 months old & sable too) the "gently" command by feeding him one kibble at a time holding it between two fingers. Say "gentle" and then if he tries to bite fingers or go too agressively pull hand back until he is barely nibbling at your finger! This has worked wonders! FYI my boy is 5 months (barely) and is just now teething! Finding bloody teeth in my bedroom - YUCK!

This sounds like my bloodhound puppy. she's almost 14 weeks old and she is a nippy little girl. stubborn as all get out. lol

I almost didnt get my silver sable puppy, but the breeder helped me there, since the lady that had first pick was torn between her and a black and silver bicolor. He just nudged her toward the bicolor a little bit, and I was able to get my little girl :)
 

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OP, in addition to @Fodder's good suggestions, I'd think about broadening your perspective from focussing on her mouth to focussing on her acceptance (and eventually enjoyment) of your touch. Focus less on her mouth and more on getting her to accept your touch/handling anywhere on her body. Opening her mouth for you or anyone else becomes less of an issue that way cause she's feeling good about the whole exercise. I'd start with light touches and strokes on her forehead, then down her cheeks, to her lips and gums, ending up under her chin and down her throat. You want her to enjoy your touch. It takes time, so relax and enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh, she does! :) she will let me pet and touch her anywhere else, even between her toes, and she loves snuggles and being picked up. My focus on her mouth is because that is the ONLY place she won't allow handling. I can take anything I want from her with no protest, and she loves belly rubs as well.
 

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First, don’t work on this during the most exciting and energetic part of the day... but not when she’s exhausted and prone to being annoyed either.

Grab her favorite treat and give her 1 or 2, just for doing nothing (this step can be phased out within a session or two). Feed her treats simultaneously (handful of treats or kibble). Start with 1 second touches, next session 2, and so on... then a light hold (going back to 1 second, etc), then progress to a touch/hold before feeding (you’re now rewarding the behavior instead of luring/distracting). Only progress at a rate in that she’s successful, don’t be greedy and think “just one more”. If she growls / snarls even once, you moved too quickly... back to square one.

I’d start in the same area each time so that she knows what’s expected.... then generalize in other locations once it’s pretty much a non issue.

Might take days, might take months... throw your expectations out the door, good luck!
This is pretty similar to my approach. My girl is a quick study, so I would say, "Mouth!", then move and touch her mouth for a few seconds, then reward. It was part of our training so that I could easily open her mouth to inspect it. She's trained to the point now that when I say it, she goes still and I can open her mouth and look at all her teeth, and it works wonderfully for brushing. If your dog is food motivated like mine, then it's a pretty easy process but definitely still expect to still get bites in the learning process, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can now touch Tallie's mouth and she opens it for me calmly now. I'm glad that she's never bitten me because of not wanting her mouth touched, so it was all about getting her to just not try and get away. The way I got her to allow it might seem weird- I added opening her mouth into her playtimes, rubbing all over her face and then when she opened her mouth going in for the actual mouth touching, and holding it open for a few seconds. It worked and now i can open it anytime I want to :)

Thanks everyone for your advice and help! Much appreciated!
 
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