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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16069
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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we own a ridgeback he is 8mos old.he has been fixed.he is very

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we own a ridgeback he is 8mos old.he has been fixed.he is very protective of my wife and i.he is very stubborn and has a problem with biting at anytime he does not get complete attention.he nips at you. how can we cure him of this.will he mellow out as he gets older? we love him dearly and we can see he is!!!
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Mouthing is a very, very common behavior in puppies and young dogs. They have deciduous (baby) teeth that are becoming painful and needing to come out to make room for their grown-up teeth (just like in human children who lose teeth). Every breed has different times when this teething period happens, and in some breeds, it can last upwards of a year! Every breed goes through this period, but herding and/or hunting breeds have been bred to move or retrieve animals with their mouths, so they're just naturally more mouthy and will continue this phase much longer than some other breeds. Additionally, young dogs who weren't taught to not mouth while in this period will continue this behavior even once they're adults...simply because they don't know any better. This could be what is going on with your dog.

As I'm sure you know, Ridgebacks were originally bred to be hunters/retrievers, so it's not surprising that Paul is using his mouth on your when he wants something. There's more information on Ridgebacks and their origins here:

Regardless of what breed of dog it is, being bitten/mouthed is painful. Deterrents such as Bitter Orange or Bitter Apple (found at most pet stores and your vet's office) can be effective because it tastes awful. Most dogs won't continue to put your hand in their mouths once they get a taste. Of course, nothing is 100% and there are exceptions to every rule (I have a Husky who doesn't seem to mind the taste and will actually lick things that have Bitter Apple on them). You could also try dabbing your hands with dill pickle juice. The juice contains an ingredient called's used to keep the pickles fresh tasting, but is very bitter. You could try this option if you don't mind smelling like a giant pickle.

That being said, it's actually a better plan to train your dog not to mouth you instead of relying on deterrents. Your dog is bonding with you, and he needs to learn that this behavior hurts you. One of my favorite suggestions at this point is to get him into a basic obedience class. Not because you want him to learn to sit and stay (although that's pretty great too), but because this will help him view you as the top dog in the house and as top dog, it would be disrespectful for him to put his mouth on you.

It's also good to remember that puppies are taught bite inhibition within the litter. When one puppy bites another too roughly, his litter mate will yelp. This teaches the biter to soften the play bite. So something you could try would be when your dog uses his mouth on you, you should yelp loudly (or use a stern "NO!"), stand up, and walk away from him. This will send the message to the dog that what he's doing isn't okay with you and when he does it, it ends playtime. Your dog is going to want to do things with you, so by walking away when he puts his mouth on you, he'll figure out that mouthing you ends the fun.

That being said, it's definitely possible that your dog is simply at an age where he really NEEDS to chew on something. So when he gets mouthy, substitute something appropriate for him to chew on. Rawhides,rope toys, or Kongs (indestructible chew toys that you can fill with peanut butter) or any other chewy toy are all perfect alternatives to chewing on your hands.

I'm sure you're not doing this, but please make sure you never smack his muzzle or hold his mouth shut as a way of disciplining him. These behaviors can actually cause a dog to bite more, and harder!

I hope this helps!!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

we will give bitters a try.and schooling.I forget to mention he hates to be left alone for even 5 min.too much barking

It definitely sounds like he's a handful!!

Please do me a favor...even after you rate/accept my answer, please let me know how he's doing!
Lisa and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Robert,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Paul. How is everything going?


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