My Dog Won’t Stop Mouthing Me!

Some dogs are very “mouthy.” That doesn’t mean they talk or bark a lot. It means that they use their mouths on everything, trying to taste things, or put their mouths on things. Usually these dogs have not been completely taught bite inhibition. Bite inhibition is when a puppy is taught that nipping and biting others hurts and that they shouldn’t go around using their mouths on things. They generally learn it from their mothers and littermates, and later from their owners. Singleton pups (one-puppy litters) may have a harder time learning bite inhibition since they don’t have littermates.

Dogs can also be mouthy as a way of showing affection. Wolves tend to show affection to each other by mouthing muzzles, necks and paws.

Whatever the cause, mouthing people’s hands and feet, or any other part of their bodies, can be annoying. Your dog may not use his teeth, but it does tend to cover you in dog slobber. Having a dog grab you with his mouth is also simply not very good manners.

There are a few simple methods for teaching your dog not to mouth you.

Some people like to use Bitter Apple, a spray or cream product. You can put this on your hands if that’s where your dog grabs you. Most dogs hate the taste and your dog should stop grabbing at your hands.

Another method of dealing with mouthiness is to turn to stone whenever your dog grabs you with his mouth. If your dog gets no feedback he will likely lose interest.

You can also use clicker training to teach your dog not to be mouthy. When your dog grabs your hand or wrist being mouthy wait for him to let go. Wait for a couple of seconds and then Click and tell him he’s a good dog. Give him a treat. Keep clicking and treating when he stops the mouthing behavior. He will get the message.

If your dog is mouthing other things in your home, such as walls or furniture, you can try the Bitter Apple on them. The bad-tasting product usually discourages dogs from mouthing and chewing things.

Remember that puppy nipping and mouthing are normal behaviors up to a point. If you have a puppy who is nipping and mouthing you can work on bite inhibition. When your puppy nips or mouths you all you have to do is make it perfectly clear that it HURTS when he does it. Let out an OUCH to curl your puppy’s hair. Leave him in no doubt that what he did really hurt you. This is the same thing that his littermates would do if he played too rough with them. If he does it the next time you play with him, get up and leave. Puppies don’t play with a puppy that is too rough and you shouldn’t either.

For mouthy adolescent or grown dogs, the tips offered here should work. Give them a try and it should stop the mouthiness.