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I know I've posted this in the puppy section but I want to see what people here would say. My puppy is almost 8 months and he's over teething (nipping), but everytime someone comes over to pet him, he gets excited and opens his mouth. He doesn't actually bites down or tries to hurt the person, but he holds onto the person's cloths. I didn't see any aggression but I'm concerned about it. The nipping has stopped with him but he seems to think that its okay to mouth. I never taught him how to stop bitting because I didn't know how. I yelped and redirected but yelping seems to make him more excited. What do I do when strangers are coming to pet him? Is this normal?
 

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There is nothing more annoying to a guest (whether they say so or not) than having your dog bite their hands, arms, clothing, etc. - whether they are hurting/harming or not. It is not socially accptable, and the puppy needs to learn this.

Since you say you didn't know how to teach the pup not to mouth you, you might have your work cut out for you. But the alternative is going to be either, a) a worstening condition where the pup's behavior gets more and more aggressive or annoyingly playful; b) people no longer wanting to visit you; c) someone getting annoyed and smacking your pup.

At 8 months, you should have some basic obedience down, so you need to teach the pup that this is not acceptable. Ask the victims of the behavior to assist by staying calm and not acting like it is cute, etc. A firm "No!" might be enough, or you might have to pinch the upper lip into the teeth to release (along with the "no"), etc. Learn what works best for your dog.

Actually, the best thing to do is put the dog into a sit/stay or down/stay when guests are present until he calms down. Let him learn that petting and affection is initiated by the humans - not by him.

Best of luck! Post your progress....
 

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I would recommend something different. Gsds are naturally very mouthy and they often use their mouths to greet if not taught otherwise. I have used these tendencies as a positive thing and have taught my dogs to grab toys when they're excited. At first you'll need to have a toy with you. As soon as your dog shows signs of getting excited (before the mouthing starts) offer him the toy in a very positive way. Then praise him for taking the toy. He will very quickly catch on that this is the thing to do and your company will thing its cute instead of having to deal with a large alligator!
 

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Not to be argumentative, but just in case you ever encounter another person who does not happen to have a fun toy to offer your dog, you might want to consider teaching "no".

I think positive training is a wonderful "teaching" mechanism, but there are times when dogs need discipline - just like kids. Judging by all the two-legged and four-legged "brats" running around, I think too many people have lost sight of that.
 

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You can do that in a positive way though-no need to pinch a lip when you can teach a dog that if you sit politely and control yourself you get rewarded-calm petting, treats, praise. That is learning that transfers to other skills.

Then maybe when he knows he isn't to do it, and has been taught how not to do it, when he does do it, he gets a (start with) verbal correction. With a word or phrase he knows.

And actually, I was taught how to do Leave It in a positive way too. It actually seems to work-a Schipperke and a Chow mix actually left a bunny they were chasing and cornering when I yelled Leave It.

I would check out the CGC test and find a training class that works toward taking that as a goal (in a positive way). AKC Canine Good Citizen: http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/

I think it sounds like he has some nice bite inhibition that you want to build on. Mouthing without leaving a mark is something that shows some degree of sophistication in terms of using the mouth, I think, for an 8 month old.

But again, I would seek out a positive based trainer (I like the Volhard style classes I have attended) and not the jerk and yank types to work on teaching those basics and getting a basis for your communication with him.
 

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I repeatedly get the feeling from this forum that no one thinks there is anything between "crank and jerk" training, and "positive" training... how narrow minded.

Treats, praise, food, toys - these are remarkable ways to teach your dog behavior, obedience, and even tricks. I use each of them and get FAR better results than I ever could by old school forceful methods of teaching.

HOWEVER, once my dog has LEARNED what is expected and then refuses to comply, there needs to be a CORRECTION. The correction needn't be a baseball bat, and could just be a stern word... but the correction MUST MATCH THE ENERGY LEVEL of the dog to be effective.

If this makes some people cringe in fear and go running for the yellow pages to find someone to report me to, that's fine. But I have never seen a mother train her pups proper behavior by whispering sweet nothings and offering them treats. In the real world there has to be a "NO" and there have to be consequences for bad behavior.
 

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Originally Posted By: LedZepNot to be argumentative, but just in case you ever encounter another person who does not happen to have a fun toy to offer your dog, you might want to consider teaching "no".

I think positive training is a wonderful "teaching" mechanism, but there are times when dogs need discipline - just like kids. Judging by all the two-legged and four-legged "brats" running around, I think too many people have lost sight of that.
We are talking about a situation that is easily fixed with counter conditioning. The OP knows the dog will mouth new people coming in the house so the OP sets the dog up to learn a different, desirable behavior that is fun and rewarding for the dog and solves the problem. If the OP yells at the dog and tells them "No" every time a new person enters the home then pretty soon the dog will associate people entering the home with being yelled at, creating an even bigger problem.

I've been successfully training german shepherds to be good companion dogs for more than 20 years. I've had a wide range of temperaments and drives come through my home over the years. I've never had a bratty dog and my dogs are welcome in all of my family and friend's homes as well as in my workplace, which I thing attests to their good behavior.

I'm not sure what you mean by "discipline." My dogs have rules that they need to follow and I begin teaching them the day they enter my house and continue reinforcing them throughout their lives. If they don't follow the rules then they don't get whatever it is that they want (going outside, eating, etc.) until they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. I am a fair and consistent leader and they respect me for that.
 
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