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I decided to post this question here rather than general obedience and training as I specifically want to ask those with hunting and performance Spoos. We have had to work extremely hard at training him to not inappropriately mouth and we are getting there, finally, so don’t really need advice but do want to know if mouthiness through the teens months is common in Spoos? I’ve have read that some retriever/gun dog breeds are pretty mouthy for a long time but most of the stuff I’ve read and learned makes me feel like he had a terrible problem because it’s taken so long to train him. I’m just more curious to know if this is normal for some lines. His breeder felt it was normal and she does breed for all around performance. He’s 20 months old and it’s way better and he generally just needs reminders now and then but I have to say, I’ve never experienced such a bitey, mouthy, puppy/young dog before. But we’ve never had a retriever before either. For so long we were feeling like failures and that our hopes and dreams of him being a therapy dog would never be realized because it just took so long and we were trying so hard to do all the right things. Anyway, we are more confident now as he’s improved so much as he’s maturing but would love to know others’ experiences. One of Bobby’s favorite activities is to help us carry stuff so he still, very much, loves, to use that mouth!😊
Thank you!
 

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I decided to post this question here rather than general obedience and training as I specifically want to ask those with hunting and performance Spoos. We have had to work extremely hard at training him to not inappropriately mouth and we are getting there, finally, so don’t really need advice but do want to know if mouthiness through the teens months is common in Spoos? I’ve have read that some retriever/gun dog breeds are pretty mouthy for a long time but most of the stuff I’ve read and learned makes me feel like he had a terrible problem because it’s taken so long to train him. I’m just more curious to know if this is normal for some lines. His breeder felt it was normal and she does breed for all around performance. He’s 20 months old and it’s way better and he generally just needs reminders now and then but I have to say, I’ve never experienced such a bitey, mouthy, puppy/young dog before. But we’ve never had a retriever before either. For so long we were feeling like failures and that our hopes and dreams of him being a therapy dog would never be realized because it just took so long and we were trying so hard to do all the right things. Anyway, we are more confident now as he’s improved so much as he’s maturing but would love to know others’ experiences. One of Bobby’s favorite activities is to help us carry stuff so he still, very much, loves, to use that mouth!
Thank you!
I look forward to seeing what others post. Our 3 year old Spoo is improving, but does get mouthy when excited. He doesn't hurt anyone but I don't like being slimed, and correct him right away. I'm just worried that people could misinterpret his playfulness as attempted biting, a legitimate concern when being around a stranger's very large, toothy dog.

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Normal? Yes. Desirable? Notsomuch. Lol.

Peggy's had high drive to retrieve since we first brought her home, and moderate drive in general (which can still feel like a lot).

My secret weapon is as simple as turning off the excitement, which includes avoiding seemingly benign behaviours like eye contact. Just flipping it all off like a switch.

When she was a puppy, this typically resulted in one final explosion before she settled. Now at 14 months the results are much faster and less dramatic. And on a good day she'll realize she's crossed a line and grab a toy to hold in her mouth (or whatever soft thing is closest, such as a blanket).

I'm just worried that people could misinterpret his playfulness as attempted biting, a legitimate concern when being around a stranger's very large, toothy dog.
This happened twice in a matter of days, and prompted me to take better control of her interactions. When she's past threshold (either because of excitement or over-tiredness) she has no business getting close enough to anyone to mouth them. And my lingering embarrassment from those two experiences is a good reminder.

Most days I feel like I've got maybe a little too much dog, like she's capable of learning so much more than I could ever teach her. I feel like I've got minivan driving skills and a sports car. When she acts like a lunatic at this point, it's usually because I've got my foot pressing too hard on the gas pedal or because I'm slamming on the brakes on a slippery road when she's already fishtailing.

Working with a good trainer helps, but covid plus Peggy's recent illness has done a real number on our class schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bobby was retrieving the first week we brought him home at 9 weeks! I was amazed as all I did was slide a toy across the kitchen floor and he walked right over, picked it up and brought right back. I was totally shocked.
We have worked hard to curtail and redirect his mouthiness and he has had a lot of classes and experiences and would probably be a great hunting dog. We do have plenty of rabbits in our suburban yard.😂😳
We just keep working on it. He’s come a long way and he’s maturing into a wonderful dog. I can’t wait for his training classes to resume.
Mouthiness is definitely not desirable and with some dogs one definitely has to work harder but it is encouraging to know it’s normal in some dogs and that it just takes longer.
 

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Annie is also incredibly mouthy. The trainer I go to suggests I should learn to be less in control with her and be more willing to let her play and reward her with toys without asking for behaviour and control (sit, down etc). But if I do that, occasionally she nips, and it hurts! I know this, because I was running in the yard with her yesterday, she got overarroused, and nipped my butt. Grr!

So... I keep stopping play, and asking for down/sit, stay, etc, to make sure her brains are still fully there, and in that way, we manage the mouthing. I do occasionally reward her by letting her gently mouth my hand. She is also about 20 months, and eventually, I am sure, she will grow up more.
 

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Normal? Yes. Desirable? Notsomuch. Lol.

Peggy's had high drive to retrieve since we first brought her home, and moderate drive in general (which can still feel like a lot).

My secret weapon is as simple as turning off the excitement, which includes avoiding seemingly benign behaviours like eye contact. Just flipping it all off like a switch.

When she was a puppy, this typically resulted in one final explosion before she settled. Now at 14 months the results are much faster and less dramatic. And on a good day she'll realize she's crossed a line and grab a toy to hold in her mouth (or whatever soft thing is closest, such as a blanket).



This happened twice in a matter of days, and prompted me to take better control of her interactions. When she's past threshold (either because of excitement or over-tiredness) she has no business getting close enough to anyone to mouth them. And my lingering embarrassment from those two experiences is a good reminder.

Most days I feel like I've got maybe a little too much dog, like she's capable of learning so much more than I could ever teach her. I feel like I've got minivan driving skills and a sports car. When she acts like a lunatic at this point, it's usually because I've got my foot pressing too hard on the gas pedal or because I'm slamming on the brakes on a slippery road when she's already fishtailing.

Working with a good trainer helps, but covid plus Peggy's recent illness has done a real number on our class schedule.
Seems to me you are doing a great job of teaching Peggy when I see the long list of your young dog's accomplishments! Charlie has virtually no "retrieving " genes. He will make it obvious that he is humoring the Old Gal by fetching a few balls or toys, but soon runs to the toy, picks it up then stares at me as he drops it and walks away.

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Annie is also incredibly mouthy. The trainer I go to suggests I should learn to be less in control with her and be more willing to let her play and reward her with toys without asking for behaviour and control (sit, down etc). But if I do that, occasionally she nips, and it hurts! I know this, because I was running in the yard with her yesterday, she got overarroused, and nipped my butt. Grr!

So... I keep stopping play, and asking for down/sit, stay, etc, to make sure her brains are still fully there, and in that way, we manage the mouthing. I do occasionally reward her by letting her gently mouth my hand. She is also about 20 months, and eventually, I am sure, she will grow up more.
Ow!! Our Charlie is also very partial to butt nips when over excited. He gets a smack - if I can land one. He has lightning fast reflexes and easily dodges me

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Seems to me you are doing a great job of teaching Peggy when I see the long list of your young dog's accomplishments! Charlie has virtually no "retrieving " genes. He will make it obvious that he is humoring the Old Gal by fetching a few balls or toys, but soon runs to the toy, picks it up then stares at me as he drops it and walks away.

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Ha! I believe poodles have a sense of humour, or at least they enjoy getting a laugh out of us and will repeat behaviours that get this response.

And thanks for the encouragement. The longer Peggy's trick list, the easier it is to drain her brain. I also view it as building up our shared vocabulary: The more efficiently I can communicate with her, the less likely she is to get frustrated and mouthy.

Even her silly tricks have practical applications and that's usually how I decide what I want to teach her next. Or I think, "Hmmm... What behaviours would I like her to offer up, unsolicited?" Chin down has been a great recent addition.

Jumping over my arm was the worst. 😭
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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That is a good observation. I'm now speaking angrily and turning my back on him. It's helping

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I'd even take it a step further and skip the angry talk. Peggy's taught me the best cure for overexcitement is to become a boring statue, removing yourself to the other side of a barrier if necessary. They might ratchet up the silliness a few more notches, but be strong, silent, boring. No eye contact. Nothing. They burn themselves out faster and faster each time, but only if you don't give in.
 

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I'm starting to worry about mouthiness too. Sisko will try to mouth my youngest brother's head sometimes when they're playing and no amount of telling him no has solved it.
 
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