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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19590
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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We have a Doberman that we adopted at eight month of age through

Customer Question

We have a Doberman that we adopted at eight month of age through a rescue. Hunter is now a year old (April 1, 2015). We have been able to completely house break him as well as teach him a variety of commands; however when he gets over excited he becomes extremely mouthy. This was not the case for about the first two months (maybe the honey moon period). It's almost like he gets to a point where he does not no what to do. Needless to say this has cause much angst in our house. Any help or insight into this challenge would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I 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.
Can you tell me what obedience training are you doing with him?
Is he neutered?
What recommendations did the trainers have?
How often do you practice obedience commands with him?
Is he just putting hands etc in his mouth but not biting down (typical mouthing)?
When does it seem to occur the most?
Is it done to specific people more than others?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Basic traing twice, sit, down, stay, name recognition, here etc.Training is usually no more than ten minutes once a day.It start as play bowing but then escalates to lunging and trying to bite, rarely breaks skin. This can happen any time during the day.One trainer suggest no more free time in our yard always on a leash. Another stated we would need to wear him out to complete exhaustion three time a day.Hunter only does this to myself or my partner.Hunter is neuteredThanks,Tom
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
It sounds more like he is trying to get you to play as that behavior is how he would illicit play from another dog. However, I want to give you some suggestions to help with the biting.
One is extensive obedience training. Even if he knows the commands, he needs to work on them every day. 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. It also has links to other pages with other activities like tracking.
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.
10 minutes at the most twice a day isn't enough. All family members should be involved with training. Typical mouthing is when the dog puts your hand or arm or leg in the mouth and holds it for a minute or two. This is often a way of showing dominance or pushing a situation. When they are younger we suggest stopping all play if they start nipping and mouthing. We also recommend redirecting the biting to an appropriate object such as a large rubber tug-of-war toy.
You have the option of also having him wear a basket style muzzle as well to help discourage his nipping.
It sounds like he may not have learned bite inhibition. This can happen when a pup is taken from its mother too early and doesn't have much interaction with other pups as well. One thing that might help is to have some playmates for him. I suggest a female close to his size and age. Have the dogs meet in a neutral area like a tennis court or other enclosed area where there are not a lot of dogs. Keep them on leashes initially to see how they do with each other.
Having a playmate that he can let off steam with a few times a week will help calm him down a lot. This will give him lots of opportunities to play which it wounds like he is trying to do.
You, as the owners, should keep up with daily training. Nice long walks are also suggested. They should not be leisurely strolls allowing the dog to sniff. They should be fast paced walks not allowing him to stop and sniff or socialize. You should have a stopping point half way through the walk where you do allow him to sniff, eliminate and socialize if there are other dogs and people around before turning around and heading back home. Leisurely strolls don't provide as much exercise since it is stop and go. A brisk walk tires them out which is what you want.
He should calm down a bit once he reaches 2-3 years old, but at 18 months that mouthing may get to be more of a challenge to your authority, so I do want you to do obedience training as much as possible so he isn't tempted to see what he can get away with.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. 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 .
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Just a quick follow up to see if you had a chance to try any of my suggestions. I hope you found my suggestions helpful.

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