Loki LOVES other people. A lot. Especially when they come to visit us in our home.
Unfortunately, we have to keep him either on leash/in his crate/or in the backyard when we have guests because he is very mouthy. He turns into a little wiggle worm and just can't control himself. He nips mostly at their hands.
It's definitely not aggression... but I'm concerned because he tends to bite a bit harder, and mostly I'm worried he's going to go for somebody's hand, and when they pull away, his teeth will drag on their skin and scratch.
We've tried different approaches, but mostly the only thing that works is if somebody either does the "yelping" thing when he mouths (which some people don't get) or if they let their hands go limp - then he goes into full licking mode, which obviously not everybody is keen to.
It's hard for us to train the behavior out of him because he does not mouth or nip either me or my husband. He knows we don't appreciate it. He only displays the behavior for guests!
Does anybody have any tips or tricks?
I guess I should mention that we did have a friend come over and help us train him. It worked, and he no longer mouths that friend.... but anybody else? Forgettaboutit.
Luckily, it's definitely a quirk I can deal with, but any advice is welcome!
How old is he? It might be something that he will eventually grow out of. When our puppy did the same thing (she loved having guests over!) I would hawk eye all her interactions with the guests especially the children. When she would get even a little mouthy with someone I would say a stern "NO!" immediately pick her up and put her in a time out either in a crate or another room with a shut door. She quickly learned that if she nibbles on guests' hands she doesn't get to interact with them anymore. Just warn people when they come to your house that you might all of a sudden shout "no" at the dog, that way you don't scare them too! I scared my mother-in-law once really bad (but then again that might have been on purpose).
He'll be a year old next month. Thank you for the advice! The time-out idea is a good one.
I wouldn't stress about it, we worried a ton about the exact same problem and we tried the yelping, squirt bottles you name it, the best trick that worked for us was just having plenty of toys he really liked and basically putting those in his mouth instead. Gus is 11 months old now and never ever does it, I think it is just something they naturally outgrow if you don't encourage it.
Loki is also 11 months, with no sign of growing out of it. The toy thing somewhat works, sometimes it doesn't. I think I'll try the time-outs. Thanks for the advice!
Guests always mess up dogs, lol. If you aren't already, tell them even before they come over that you're training him and what you want them to do when Loki behaves that way.
If guests don't want to do the yelping thing kindly tell them to shove their hands in their pockets and walk away from him. The mouthing behavior is self rewarding. The yelping might even lose its effect as he gets older (and Loki is almost a year old). I've seen it happen before.
Use what you have. Loki loves people and wants to play rough, teach him he doesn't get what he wants until he's calm. Teeth on humans means play stops immediately and he gets ignored until he's calm again. If you react immediately and consistently I guarantee he will do it less. It's the same concept for mobbing people at the front door, they don't get attention until they calm down. It's no fun for them when humans are ignoring them. I've even had guests turn around and leave until my dog was sitting and calm. People coming in the door was exciting and rewarding. Turned that around and made it a motivator for my dog's self control. Yelling at them (dogs not the guests! lol) is not always a good idea because some dogs are excited and reinforced by any response, even negative (just like some human children).