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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19767
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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We got a 1 year old lab/shepherd from a rescue in June. He

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We got a 1 year old lab/shepherd from a rescue in June. He is neutered and well trained and very good around people and kids, however every few days in the morning he starts jumping and growling and mouthing my arms and hands and running around the kitchen. I put him in a timeout or outside for a few minutes and he calms down and reverts back to his old self. He is very obedient most of the time, except when he gets in this crazy mood that I can't seem to snap him out of. It scares my wife and kids. He only does it to me, never her or the kids. I haven't been able to tell why he does it. It usually starts in the kitchen when I'm sitting reading the newspaper and he will come up and mouth my arm. I will stand up to correct him and then he starts in. Is this some strange way of playing or is he being aggressive toward me?

Hi JaCustomer,


My name isXXXXX have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.


In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.


How old is your dog in months or as close as you can get it?

Is he neutered?

How much obedience training has he had?

Do you walk him daily?

If so, how long are your walks and when do they happen?

Is there anything different about the mornings he does this?

Is it always in the morning?How often is he fed?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is approximately 14 months old (this is a guess because he was a rescue, they found him at about 7-8 months old). He is neutered. We walk or jog him early every morning for 30-40 minutes. He went through obedience training at a prison for three months before we got him. He is fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. This behavior only seems to happen in the morning after he has been walked and fed. He doesn't do it every morning so it is hard to tell why he does it. Many times he will mouth me a little and I will command him to sit or lay down and and that will put a stop to it. But when he starts jumping and barking/growling and mouthing he doesn't listen and nothing works except timeouts.

Thanks for the additional informaiton. It is helpful. Usually dogs will mouth people as a way of passively showing dominance, but often they will do this to try and elicit play as well. He may not be getting enough exercise on his morning walks. If you are just walking him at a leisurely pace, then try giving him a fast pace 30 minute or longer walk. Or even a shorter walk with some serioius play time first thing in the morning such as a ball retrieval session or tug of war with an approved toy. I am usually not a fan of tug of war toys, but it may give him an outlet to get some of that excess energy out while pulling and tugging. You might think about a harness and let him pull a wagon behind him on walks or a backpack filled with cans or water on his walk.
I would definitely start more obedience training with him. His is becoming an adult and these breeds frequently test their owners around this age to see if they are strong willed enough to keep the leadership role. You can not allow this mouthing to continue. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
Keep his leash attached in the morning and teach him to lay down at your feet. You can slip the leash under your foot to keep him there and prevent the behavior. If he tries to do it anyway, you can give a reprimand in the form of a short tug and firm no. This teaches him what you do not want. You can also reward good behavior with some tasty hot dog slice. It should not be your food, but liver slivers or hot dog slices so he doesn't think he is being fed your food. This teaches him not only what you do not want but what you do want.
So often we tell them no but rarely do owners show them what they do want. He may even want to be let outside and knows the behavior will get him outside. Only you would know whether that is a possible reason. I would follow up the morning meal with a short playtime if you didn't already have a play session. By doing this, you give him something to look forward to after breakfast but only do so if he is good during the morning time.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. I'm confident that if you try these techniques and changes, he will come around quite quickly. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

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Hi Brandon,

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

Jane Lefler