Mouthing and Biting Hands

Training your puppy or dog to stop mouthing and biting your hands isn’t that difficult if you first understand why dogs and puppies bite and mouth hands in the first place.
There are a few reasons why dogs will do this mouthing behavior:
The most common reason is that the mouth is the main part of the body that dogs and puppies use during their natural behavior when they play. So other dogs do not see this as a problem. Even though dogs can bite much harder than they generally do when they are mouthing us in play it can still be quite annoying to many people and is generally not appreciated by the average person.
The next reason a dog or puppy may bite our hands is to get or demand attention. This can either be the result of a dog with a more assertive personality or it can be a learned behavior of even a more submissive dog that has learned that it can be a good way to get attention.
Another reason that a dog bites at the hands is to protest an action initiated by us. This can be anything from restraint, grooming, attempting to enforce obedience, or anything else that the dog wants us to stop doing.
This unwanted behavior is easily resolved when you follow the Foundation Style Dog Training System.  Concentrate on leadership exercises first.  Then, be sure to replace the behavior with an appropriate outlet, by studying habitation and the drive balance section.  Lastly, polish off with true obedience to easily command the dog to "leave it" or redirect with another command when the dog decides to mouth.  A full plan will form new habits quickly.

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  1. Some thoughts and ideas on this, and maybe some bad things i need set straight on. my thoughts are geared to hard dogs,,naturally aggressive shepherds etc..
    I am good with being corrected maybe my wife is a good trainer?

    i like the idea of directing that hand bite business over to a tug or rag not letting them hit the hands, but then engaging them hey–tug tug tug.. and when they release–give the out word-, they learn so fast…at young age, real young
    then re engage, with a positive command(yah)– when i was done with that game there still pulling,,
    i gave the hand signal and said “done”-usually let them have the tug or toy– then walked off- then we switched to a different game, as most of the time after a pause they figured out dad wasn’t there to play so… follow dad, dropped the toy-
    -that kept me from switching balls tugs etc..etc.. we could go to place or agility,,
    dad is always where i want to be,,
    so essentially i have a bite and tug game at 7-9 weeks that i can say the word and they release very very fast but the eyes are locked and they are engaged– then when i want reengage- “yah” is our verbal positive marker they are back at it,,almost instantly..
    i let them win the tug after a bit.. then say done and walk off as time goes when i say done they almost always hold the tug for a moment and drop it and come after me to go do a new game,,very consistent.. this might not work well with a perp that is wiggling or active noisey bitey critter, but it seemed to work at the time for me as the dog was bonded with me very young..
    your thoughts and comments

    I also saw where folks did the loud ouch or noise–which at first sounds good but some dogs actually get excited–even at 7-8weeks old, then your escalating..

    i have and this maybe wrong read where old trainers would put butter on their hands and turn it into a lick event instead of a bite event till the pup figured out hands were good, and left it petted and life went on.

    i also have the experience of converting that lick event which started as a good puppy bite,, to a marked soft event–essentially i give the command and the dog licks or cold nose the hand and gets a treat– but there is the item of what is expected and what is given, which is a foundation item so you have to be careful otherwise you have a lion that did not get his treat,,
    please comment

    I think that bitey period of the pups is a golden time in can set up a

  2. Great comment Mack. What you are doing is going with the flow of mother nature. You recognize that these particular pups have a need for this activity and you make sure that you are PROVIDING for them on your own terms with the appropriate modifications that will soon evolve to real work. After all, puppy play is practice hunting and fighting to prepare them for their adult lives.

    This is essentially what foundation style dog training is about. You started at a bottom foundation of understanding the normal behavior of your dogs, and then applied proper leadership through deciding when the the activities happen, next you use your ability to lead to balance the drive of the dog, after it will be easy to use all these foundations to your advantage in obedience versus fighting against mother nature.
    I also, like to take advantage of this time with the pup to set the pace for adulthood.