Mouthing another dogs head/neck...

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Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 1:22pm PST 
Most of you know Trigger isn't real fond of other dogs lol, I suppose that's putting it lightly.

For whatever reason however he and pupper Hoyt are getting along famously. He's been extremely tolerant of Hoyt getting in his face, of his puppy nips, of him jumping all over him etc. And actually, for the first time in his life (that I've seen) Trigger is actually TRYING to and ENJOYING playing with another dog. He does play bows and races around and they tussle sweetly. I think he actually LIKES him lol, WOOHOOO!!! For that I am infinitely grateful as obviously there was initial concern that the two would ever be able to cohabitate peacefully.

My ONLY concern, and actually it's more SO's than mine, is that when they're playing Hoyt will roll over (on his own accord) right between Trig's front legs and bite at his face (playfully), which usually "inspires?" Trig to bite at his face and neck. Trigger's mouth being gigantic compared to pup he'll often times put his entire mouth around Hoyts neck, and he can get much of Hoyts snoot and head in his mouth. He never bites down, just sort of mouths around it quite a bit. It all seems very controlled and for the most part calm in nature, but SO is concerned that it's something that'll escalate as they're playing rougher and rougher each day. It'll go on for a good 5-10 minutes gently and then Hoyt will start to get a little feisty biting back and growling. Trig typically ends up over stimulated over the ordeal and it turns pretty wrestle-y, but again, still in a gentle controlled way. Sometimes if they catch each other in the wrong spot one or the other will give a yip and retreat, they always back off each other then for a few minutes and resume play calmer.

To me it seems they both have good bite inhibition, and reasonable respectful restraint, but I need reassurance. With Trigger having the drive and attitude towards most dogs he does neither one of us want this play to escalate into something else later on. We certainly don't want to continue allowing it if it could cause problems down the road.


On another similar note, Hoyt does the same thing Trigger does, but with Cooper, him being the neck mouther. I DO have concern there as he seems to have zero respect for Coopers limits. I do have to separate them regularly as Hoyt tends to get pretty pushy grabbing Coopers neck wrinkles, even going so far as to try to drag him around. He does hurt him sometimes and Coopers yips don't seem to concern him much, certainly doesn't cause him to back off any. Neither do my protests, he gets that into it. I fear that in regards to that pairing it's almost becoming a prey drive issue...Fynny is a lot faster than Cooper so he doesn't have to deal with it as much but there's going to come a point when Hoyt will catch up speed wise. He definitely gets more amped up once they get running around him.

I don't want to punish him for it, but it's got to stop. The bigger he gets the more concern I have he's going to hurt either one of the littles one of these days. Cooper being the good sport he is refuses to correct him himself.

So my questions would be, is what Trig and Hoyt are doing just fine as far as their play goes? With Trig mouthing his neck and head the way he does?

And how do I help Hoyt to learn to not play so rough with the littles?

Much thanks for any suggestions/advice!!!
Bella and- Daisy CGC

I'm a Meanie
Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 1:29pm PST 
As long as boundaries are being respected between hoyt and Trig, I wouldn't worry. If you do see Trig getting way over excited or worked up, just go in and call a time out and separate them. But, I'm not sure by your description of they are getting too worked up. B&D play wrestle, growl, bite throats and legs and ears. But they haven't ever drawn blood, they are both good at agreeing when its over with so I haven't stepped in with them.

That is what you should do for Hoyt and the littler dogs too. When he gets too rough, or won't listen to signals from the other dogs just step in and remove him for a few minutes until everyone calms back down. It might take him a bit to learn how he plays with one dog is not how he can play with another.

He'll learn playing rough makes the fun end.

A lesson in- unconditionnal- love
Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 1:29pm PST 
Hey Trig

from what you describe it sounbds wonderful between the 2 labs... if they get too aroused and intense you can just seperate them for a short while so that they cool off...

can you post a video? so we can really know how they are playing?

I think it is wonderful that Trig found a buddy and also that you are so concerned about everyone's well being smile

as for Hoyt grabbing the little one and being too rough with him and dragging him around and what not... how about a short time-out each time he does those things?


Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 1:49pm PST 
Thanks for the super fast responses guys! I can't wait to show SO this thread, I hope it'll help calm his nerves.

As for the video SO has Hoyt up with him the next few days, I'll definitely snag one though come the weekend, it'll help reassure everything is a-ok. I dunno, maybe because I've seen Trigger when he means business that I know this is very different. His entire demeanor is so gentle and sweet. Perhaps he is mellowing with age, or just knows Hoyt means him no harm. Either way it's been AWESOME to see him so happy with his new friend. As great as he is with the littles he's actually *enjoying* Hoyts company and they seek each other out. Makes my heart happy big grin

As for Hoyt and the littles initially when I tried separating them we'd just go and (literally) pull Hoyt off of Coopers neck rolls and try to distract Hoyt with a toy. When we couldn't get him to "unfixate" we started putting him in his kennel for a few minutes. When he comes out he's fine as long as they're just like chilling up on the couch, but once the littles get moving or worse yet start playing or running around themselves he goes bonkers after them. I can't call him off, can't distract him, the only thing that stops his insanity is pulling him off and kenneling him once again. The littles used to be able to escape him by hopping back up on the couch or bed again but he's just conquered getting up on the couch himself now and the bed isn't far off. Which leaves them no safe places left to retreat to.

I don't want them feeling like they have to retreat lol.

Recently having the three out together has turned into a bit of chaos either with constant separations or him needing to be kept on a tether. Still then he latches on like a barracuda when one of them goes wizzing by. Fynny doesn't put up with it. He gets pretty nasty snapping him back in line and he DOES respond to that but Cooper doing nothing has almost made him a sort of target if that makes any sense. He definitely seeks him out most and gets roughest. Again, I don't want to punish him but he's getting so mean about it. The last thing I want is to create issues for Hoyt with other dogs like Trig has but I also don't want Cooper becoming fearful or eventually defensive/aggressive in response.

You think just continuing on with the time outs will eventually squash this? I'm so concerned it won't and I'll have to be worried about him terrorizing Cooper indefinitely :9

I'm your new- best friend! Pet- me!
Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 2:11pm PST 
Mya and my uncle's Lab will do this to each other all the time when they play. They are both the same size, though. But they always seem to be gentle and just playing when they do it. I would (hypothetically) feel safe sticking my hand in between them doing this because of how soft they are.
Mya does this to other dogs as well but mostly it's longer hair dogs and I think she's just not sure what to make of that hair. laugh out loud

I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 2:14pm PST 
We had a similar issue, but with Rexy fixating on the cats. smile

We used time outs. Over. And. Over. Ad nauseum.

She'd try to lunge and chase, or get into playing "bitey face" with one of the (increasinly upset) cats, not cool.

And because one of the cats is so mellow and won't smack her when she gets out of line (I wish!), she'd target that cat for extra attention and ignore the angry yeowling and hissing.

There were days when I swear I put Rexy in TO 10-15 times, easy. It got to the point where as soon as she would start up, all I would have to say is "time out!" and she'd head for the crate!laugh out loud

It took several months, but she definitely mellowed and came to understand that any messing around with the cats would not be tolerated.
Shane DEC- '08-JAN '12- RIP

In dreams I walk- with you..
Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 2:19pm PST 
I agree it sounds like Trig and Hoyt are testing and respecting each others boundaries, no worries there.
As for Hoyt's interaction with the littles you may need to train an "easy" cue. Watch them closely and just before it escalates too much get between them and say "easy" or the cue of your choice then immediately retreat. The idea is to interrupt but not stop the playtime. You may get really tired of doing this but eventually Hoyt will learn to dial it back when you give the cue.
Shane likes to play with pups and small breed dogs and I successfully taught him ease up, but he was a little older than Hoyt and probably had a skitch more impulse control.

A lesson in- unconditionnal- love
Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 2:30pm PST 
"but once the littles get moving or worse yet start playing or running around themselves he goes bonkers after them"

sounds like it's triggering his prey drive? sounds like youre gonna have fun harnessing the prey drive in this pup! lol but I think you'll see results if you put Hoyt in time-out as soon as he is being inappropriate and the other dog shows discomfort. Or, when he is playing with Trig, if either Trig or Hoyt gets overly aroused.

how about some impulse control exercises? leash him and have him watch the little ones play. once he shows any self-restraint and self-control, mark and reinforce. so at first he's getting reinforced as soon as the leash is slack (stops pulling and whining or whatever he will be doing), then for turning back to you, then for orienting to you and offering eye contact and then you can build duration on the eye contact. then you can start working recalls while little ones play. soon you may be able to redirect pretty easilly with a recall. what do you think?

ETA Can't WAIT to see a video of the 2 labbies playing!!! puppy

Edited by author Sun Jan 2, '11 2:31pm PST


Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 2:46pm PST 
Rexy - I bet we get 10-15 time out's within a few hours time lol

So far they don't seem to phase him much but we've only been at it about a couple of weeks so far. Even when I'm walking up to him he's too far in the zone, doesn't even notice I'm coming. I can be picking him up and he'll still be latched on and raring to go. Sometimes I actually have to stick my thumb in his mouth to get him to release poor Cooper. Thankfully the neck skin of a pug is thick and copious so he doesn't usually hurt him. Hasn't drawn blood or anything like that...yet shock

Shane - I'd love for him to learn easy, holy martha would that uncomplicate my life lol. Making dinner with all four of them out is turning into such the feat! He's doing fairly well with other things as far as impulse control goes. He sits and waits nice when we go to let him out of the kennel, same thing by the front doors, before we throw a dummy or ball for him and before we set grub down for him to eat. He actually shows more restraint as far as that stuff goes than any of the other boys did even when they were older than he is. Just seems to be the puggy that givin him problems...

Laila - I had no idea there were such things as impulse exercises! That's exactly the sort of stuff I was looking for. To teach Trig to leave the cats, birds, bunnies, ...insert any other small critters we've kept in the house as pets here... I just used his tennis ball obsession. He'd go to take off after ___ and then I'd simply throw one of his TB's in the opposite direction. Ball always won. Eventually he stopped going after any small critters in the house altogether, he'd just go get a green fuzzy every time he got in the mood to chase. Have tried that same technique with TB's, dummies, toys with Hoyt but the connection just isn't there yet. To the contrary I'm pretty sure though if he went to go after anything else throwing Coop in the opposite direction would win silenced laugh out loud

Right now Cooper IS the ultimate TB to Hoyt party

I think I need to find a crabby pug to step in for a few days and take care of this business for Coop since he doesn't have a mean bone in his body...a few grumpy snips from a flat faced fawn boy fill in would probably do the trick just like it's worked for Fynn. Does such a thing exist...an intolerant grinch of a pug I mean??

I can't wait to get video of Trig LOVING on another dog period! LOL. I never in a million thought I'd see that. I was fine with him tolerating others but to see him enjoying the time has been awesome. I cannot wait to share it smile

Well, at least I hope it's loving, that's why I'm asking and perhaps ya'll's opinions will change once you see for yourselves ha! I'm pretty sure it's harmless but SO will feel better if there's video and feedback of specifically what we're talking about here.

Edited by author Sun Jan 2, '11 2:53pm PST


A lesson in- unconditionnal- love
Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 2:51pm PST 
"To the contrary I'm pretty sure though if he went to go after anything else throwing Coop in the opposite direction would win "

oh LOL! laugh out loud

and ya, I've met a couple of unfriendly and grumpy pugs smile

So essentially you taught Trig to redirect on his ball...

I'm sure once you get Hoyt's focus with the help of impulse control exercises, you could redirect with a prized toy.
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