I've been reading up on it and I'm a little confused about bite inhibition. I've read that you're supposed to "yelp" at them and then get up and ignore them, but I don't know whether I need to do this EVERY time Jasper puts his mouth on me or only when he bites a little too hard. He doesn't bite hard very often, but he does love to use his mouth. I'm confused about whether I should allow the "mouthiness" since it's a normal puppy trait when they are young. I feel like I won't be playing with him for very long before I have to correct him if I have to correct him every time he uses his mouth, but I'm willing to be persistent if it's what's best for him!

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I yelp whenever LO puts his mouth on me, it will probably be better in the long run.
Thanks! I had a feeling that was the better solution.
I personally allow my dogs to mouth me, as long as they stop when I tell them to. I've heard from several reputable sources, including a packet of information that was given to us with our adopted pup Scout, that the absolute best thing you can do, is rather than keeping your dog from using their mouth at all, teach them appropriate behavior. A dog's mouth is like a toddler's hand, it's how they interact with their world around them. You wouldn't try and keep a toddler from touching everything? So why would you try to stop a dog from doing what comes naturally to them as long as they understand their limits?
Atlas has learned that when we are playing it is perfectly acceptable to mouth me, as long as he does not use much force. When he does bite too hard (which is extremely rare) I stop playing with him.

Did you ever watch the show Living with the Wolfman on animal planet? One of the first things the girlfriend had to do when she was introduced to the pack, was allow the wolves to come up and investigate her, and that included some of the wolves actually mouthing her neck very gently. This was not a sign of submission on her part, but actually she was showing the wolves that she trusted them.

The same thing goes for barking. When Atlas is outside at the park and playing with other dogs, or I am throwing the ball for him, barking is allowed.
When he is inside or on a walk, barking is not allowed. Meg's landlord has had to come into the apartment during the day to do some maintenance on several occasions, and he has commented that he hasn't even noticed that the dog was there, Atlas doesn't make a peep when he's crated.
This is what I was having a dilemma about. I know the mouthing is a natural action for him so I didn't know if I should try to terminate it completely. My issue is that I want him to be well socialized and gentle with children. Do you think if I let him mouth people this might cause children to react negatively towards him?
I want to echo what Ross said because I took the same approach. Ein only mouths when we're rough house playing and it's appropriate but he will never apply any pressure even when we're playing. There have been plenty of times, we play a lot obviously, where he is moving fast or gets carried away and puts a little pressure and I make a louder "OW" and act startled. His ears then instantly go back and he walks into me to cuddle me or lick me where he knows it must have happened and then we go back to playing.

I've never had Ein use his mouth when playing with a kid and haven't even had him jump on them.
My general rule is that they do not use their teeth on my skin. Pups explore the world with their mouth and it is frequently in use for several months. Bite inhibition refers the pressure they use while using their mouth. Consider when giving dogs a treat how some will darn near take your fingers off and others take the treat very gently. This explains the difference. Dogs need to learn to be respectful with their mouth. This is one of the great reasons why it is often a good idea not to take pups too young. Their mom and siblings teach them so well.
I let them know if they are hurting by using a firm "ah ah" noise and tell them no teeth. They all have learned quickly to be gentle. They do need frequent reminders as a pup but they all have learned. A few things to consider is not to engage in play using your hand to their mouth. Always offer a toy. Do not engage in tug until they have good control. Teach your pup to "drop it" with items so he learns to have control of himself. Much of the mouthing they grow out of in time. Those little razor teeth hurt like the Dickens!
Thanks! I know...sometimes I feel like he's a furry little barracuda!
Firstly, make sure your puppy has the opportunity to play with other puppies. They learn bite inhibition wonderfully that way and other puppies teach them things we cannot.


I love using the game of tug to teach proper mouthing. If your pup likes to tug on toys this is a perfect way to teach them "no teeth on human skin". While you're playing tug and their teeth are on the toy, lots of praise, excitement and tugging action is going on. If their teeth touch any part of your skin (arms, hands or whatever) tugging stops. Gently grasp your puppies collar, stop tugging on the toy and they will spit it out. Then wait 30 to 60 seconds before the game starts again.

Game stops if teeth touch skin - this is a consequence. You can stop it for a few minutes or a few hours - up to you. You control the tug toy, not the dog. This doesn't mean YOU should win the game all the time though! Let your puppy win the tug game too (where they get to get away with the toy) because who wants to play a game they always lose?

Eventually you can pair "drop it" as a cue to have your dog spit the toy out. Then let them play the game some more after they spit it out. Make sure you don't always end the game each time you ask for "drop it" or that will become unreliable since the dog doesn't always want to stop tugging.

Redirect your dog to appropriate toys. The first 9-12 months most puppy owners need to carry around toys with them so they can redirect mouthing onto something appropriate. Yelping to some dogs doesn't do anything and they won't understand what you are doing. Some dogs get it and others are clueless as to what you are doing.
Thanks for all the advice! I started doing the yelping thing and it seems to work pretty well so far. It startles him so he stops and then when I walk away he follows me and looks up at me like he knows he hurt me. I'm looking forward to trying the tug technique!

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