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Before my question . . . a little background so anyone with some thoughts can know what we are already doing. Gracie is 17 mos. and we have been in formal obedience class pretty much non-stop beginning at 3 1/2 months. She is impressive during training sessions; she learns new commands rapidly, and works very well off-lead, however . . . she remains a highly energetic pup and has a reputation for being a ball of energy and a bit of a clown. I have no doubts that she will mature and settle down and I am very pleased with her progress. BUT . . . we have (stupidly) allowed her to fall into an attention-seeking routine that we are having trouble breaking. This routine usually occurs at around 7-8 o'clock when we are both "done for the day" and ready to just sit and gel. It is at this point that Gracie would prefer that we be paying attention to her instead--she lunges and grabs at us and tugs at us (hands; arms; clothing) and paws at us. She thinks of us as her play toy and we are obviously not the donimant player in this game. "No," or "wrong," accompanied with a quick shake are not working. As soon as I release her, her mouth opens again. What I have begun to do is this: For the mouthing, I rap her sharply on the snout with a couple of fingers; or I have even gently and carefully extended a finger into her mouth so that she gags on it. I follow that with an open hand for her to lick, and when she does that I praise. (Both of these techniques are recommended by The Monks of New Skete who I think I may just idolize!) I have also put her into a down-stay for a few minutes or have done about 5 minutes of heeling work around house. Those things do distract her, but I don't seem to be making much of a long-term behavior change. As for the pawing (which can really hurt!), I don't have a clue about how to give an immediate correction for that. Gracie gets brushed and massaged every day, she has a yard to run around in and we throw a frisbie for her to chase. She gets a 20-30 minute walk on weekend days and on most week days. I realize that she likely could use two walks, but at this time of year, this is the reality of what we can do. I should probably add that we keep a supply of small frozen marrow bones on hand and if we give her one of those, that pretty much ends it. I don't mind doing this, but feel that it is a cop-out and not a good solution for the long term. And finally . . . there is no crate. We stopped closing the door at 10 months. Gracie has never destroyed anything in the house, and when we saw that she didn't adopt it as her den, we folded it up and stored it. So, after my typical long-windedness . . . any suggestions??

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Comment by Mitzi, Sunny Ray and Justan on March 13, 2012 at 9:46am

It's like Sunny's lacking in socialization skills. He attacks our golden, but not in a bad way.... he just tries to get him to play with him. Justan doesn't want ANY part of it, but he also won't put Sunny in his place. Justan looks at me like "MOM, DO SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR BOY!" Hahaha! Still working on the grandkid situation. Feel like I'm in a Catch 22. Our daughter comes over to take Sunny and Justan out while we're at work. She brings the grandkids with her.... and he LOVES kids. He will sit or lay down while they pet him, but as soon as they get up and start to run around (they're 12, 9, 6 and 3) Sunny goes wild. Wants to run with them and that's when the mouthing starts. Although he won't even come close to mouthing our 3 year old grand-daughter. It's like he KNOWS... he will just chase after her and try to herd her back to the adults. I might have to try the walking into him thing. Anything that will help is a good thing. :)


Gracie head butts? HAHAHA! Sorry... had a visual of a dog acting like a billy goat. LOL! We don't have that problem... instead we have a weird issue. Sunny will rub up against you like a cat and use his weight to push you. I know he's just being a bully... puppies... got to love 'em! Hahaha!

Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on March 13, 2012 at 6:57am

No, no, no . . . didn't mean that ANY of this is acceptable and that we are expecting it all to change on its own over time . . . I just meant that she's young and training takes time :)  And thankfully, she doesn't actually bite our ankles--she just bangs into them with her nose. The herding instinct is in her genes, so that may be a part of it, but it's still not okay. I haven't tried the walking toward her--thanks for the suggestion!

Comment by Lois - Izzi on March 13, 2012 at 12:49am

thumbs up to Mitiz..   whatever choose you make... just stick with it...   Gracie will understand in due time....   Grand-kids are off limits... period..

Comment by Lois - Izzi on March 13, 2012 at 12:44am

the ankle thing and butting is just to let you know she is in charge..  Walk directly toward her and she will realize her position....   Don't  wait for a couple of yrs or you will have a nipper.

Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on March 12, 2012 at 8:05pm

Mayyybe Gracie's a little better. The finger clamp to the jaw does seem to discourage her, but she still gets the zoomies every night and I think that's just something she's going to have to outgrow. The best help is a distraction ie - frozen soup bone :) Usually by the time she finishes working her way through that, she's ready for a nap and then it's bedtime! Gracie has an ankle thing too, and she butts us with her head. I chalk that up to the aussie and to her age. We do a lot of obedience training, so I know she's smart and very trainable. I figure in a couple of years, she'll be a grown up girl with exemplary behavior!! Ha!

Comment by Mitzi, Sunny Ray and Justan on March 12, 2012 at 12:36pm

I'm just checking to see how your progress is going? Sunny Ray has gotten better, but he still gets mouthy with the grandkids when they run. He likes to grab their ankles to stop them. He never bites down, just grabs.... UGH!

Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on March 1, 2012 at 7:16pm

We've been trying a little of all of your great suggestions, but like Mitzi, I too am having some success with the thumb in jaw technique. It's kinda funny. Gracie will struggle a little and try to pull away, but I hold on for a little bit and say no bite and after a few seconds she just stops and shifts her eyes all around with a sort of "okay, so how long are we going to do this for--this is a little awkward" kind of look. Then I let go and she's not so quick to open her mouth again. Sometimes I have to do it a couple of times, but it definitely is discouraging her. And Jill, your post rang a bell. Gracie definitely finds almost any contact to be great fun, so I've started to cross my arms over my chest and turn my back to her when she starts pawing and am finding that she tends to go away.

Comment by Lois - Izzi on February 29, 2012 at 9:55pm

Blue Sterling posted this earlier this month :

Comment by Mitzi, Sunny Ray and Justan on February 29, 2012 at 11:51am

Ok... I have to share... Last night Sunny Ray started getting mouthy with me and I tried using the thumb in mouth and holding onto lower jaw technique. WOW! Sunny just looked at me.... then kept trying to look around the room (with my thumb in his mouth)... and then I said "no bite" and let go. He shook his head and went over and laid down by Dad. YEAH! Then this morning I had to do it again. Our grandkids come over and get on the school bus from our house. Mind you, these are SUNNY'S kids and he thinks they are his toys. He got mouthy with our grandson and I used the thumb in mouth technique again. He didn't mouth again all morning. I'm sure he will try again and this isn't the end, but any improvement is good! Thank you so much for the post! I love that everyone on here shares their stories and helpful tips :) 

Comment by Mitzi, Sunny Ray and Justan on February 28, 2012 at 10:56am

I am so glad you posted this! I'm having the same issues with Sunny Ray and am soaking up the info and advice :)

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