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How To Decrease The Frequency Of Your Dog's Mouthing Habit
Once your puppy has been taught to mouth gently, it is then time to reduce the frequency of mouthing. Your pup must learn that mouthing is okay, but she must stop when requested. Why? Because it is inconvenient to drink a cup of tea or to answer the telephone with fifty pounds of wriggling pup dangling from your wrist. That's why!
It is better to first teach "Off" using food as both a distraction and a reward. The deal is this: Once I say, "Off," if you don't touch the food treat in my hand for just one second, I'll say “Take it" and you can have it. Once your pup has mastered this simple task, up the ante to two or three seconds of non-contact, and then to five, eight, twelve, twenty, and so on. Count out the seconds and praise the dog with each second: "Good Dog One, Good Dog Two, Good Dog Three," and so forth. If the pup touches the treat before you are ready to give it, simply start the count from zero again.
Your pup quickly learns that once you say, "Off," she cannot have the treat until she has not touched it, for say - eight seconds, so the quickest way to get the treat is not to touch it for the first eight seconds. In addition, regular hand-feeding during this exercise encourages your pup's soft mouth.
Once your pup understands the "Off" request, use food as a lure and a reward to teach her to let go when mouthing. Say, "Off," and waggle some food as a lure to entice your pup to let go and sit. Then praise the pup and give the food as a reward when she does so.
The main point of this exercise is to practice stopping the pup from mouthing, and so each time your puppy obediently ceases and desists, resume playing once more. Stop and start the session many times over. Also, since the puppy wants to mouth, the best reward for stopping mouthing is to allow her to mouth again. When you decide to stop the mouthing session altogether, say, "Off," and then offer your puppy a Kong stuffed with kibble.
If ever your pup refuses to release your hand when requested, say "No Bite!" rapidly extricate your hand from her mouth, and storm out of the room mumbling, "Right. That's done it! You've ruined it! Finished! Over! No more!" and shut the door. Give the pup a couple of minutes on her own and then go back to call her to come and sit and make up before continuing the mouthing game. By the time your pup is five months old she must have a mouth as soft as a fourteen-year-old aging dog.
Once completely trained, your puppy should never initiate mouthing unless requested, she should never exert any pressure when mouthing, and she should stop mouthing and calm down immediately upon request by any family member.
About the Author: Author: John Edwards
John Edwards is a long time dog lover. Visit his website for dog constipation remedy and many more tips at: