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Dr. Ellie
Dr. Ellie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 303
Experience:  emergency and critical care resident
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I have a 7 month papillon who plays with her mouth open and

Customer Question

I have a 7 month papillon who plays with her mouth open and often causes scratches by mistake. How do I stop this?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Dog Trainer. What is the dog training's name?
Customer: scratches humans, not herself.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Dog Trainer should know about the dog training?
Customer: She sometimes reacts angrily without warning.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 3 months ago.

Im sorry you are having issues with your puppy acting out. I hope I can help. In addition to a verbal correction, you can discourage unwanted behavior during play by putting an end to the playtime and ignoring her or turning your back and not giving her attention until she is sitting politely. Stopping playtime will signal to her that she has gone too far and that something she is doing is not appropriate. Eventually she will learn that when she uses her teeth you do not play with her and that in order to get you to play with her she needs to be polite and keep her mouth closed. The old model of dog training involved dominance and the idea that dogs need to have a "pack leader" and a hierarchy. Newer thought is that dogs are less hierarchal than previously believed and do not need to be "dominated" to be trained properly. Dogs learn best when people use a combination of positive and negative reinforcement. Pushing her off, talking to her and otherwise giving her attention when she is doing something that we don't want her to do we are inadvertently reinforcing this bad behavior. Alternatively, when we ignore her we are clearly telling her that her behavior was unacceptable which causes her to change her behavior. I recommend working with a trainer in your area for the best results but in the meantime you can implement these suggestions to get started.

You can also read training and behavior books by Sophia Yin. She is a veterinarian and behavior specialist who has published several books and hosted videos on various training and behavior topics.

Here is a link to her website: Although she has passed away, she has left quite a legacy in the world of dog behavior and training.

I hope I have been able to answer your question. If you have further questions or need clarification, please feel free to let me know. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate me as this is the only way the website will know that I have been helpful and credit me for my time. Best of luck to you and your puppy!! Dr. Ellie

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