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Thread: Mouthing & rough play with small child

  1. #1

    Default Mouthing & rough play with small child

    Help please. Has anyone got any tips or had experience with a 2 yr old staffy boxer cross constantly mouthing a young child? Our dog is 2 yrs old & is a rescue dog which we have had for 7 wks. He has stopped mouthing me (I tickled the roof of his mouth each time he mouthed me which made him stop) but I can't get him to leave my child alone.

    Is this behaviour a dominance thing, an anxiety display or could it also be lack of enough exercise/stimulation? He seems to be a bit highly strung but we are the 3rd family that he has lived with that we know about. His original family, the foster family & then us.

    I need to get this behaviour in check before it escalates to actual biting.

    We are seasoned dog owners, having both had dogs all our lives but obviously we now have a small child which changes things dramatically. I feel like I have been rash & irresponsible by adopting this dog but I trusted the info given to us at the time & in hindsight I should of insisted on more than 1 meet & greet & for a longer period of time.

    I can see that he would be great with older/bigger children but Definately not smaller kids.

    What can I do to stop the mouthing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Where do you live? There a good trainers available and I would want an expert eye on the situation. I know forum members make recommendations sometimes.
    Are you sure you haven't answered your own question by saying "definitely" ? I would go back to the organisation he comes from in that case.

  3. #3


    We are in Redlands in Brisbane Qld & you are right, I have answered my own question but I really want to ensure I have given this every resource/ opportunity for correction, without having my child get hurt. I have never unadopted a dog before ever & it doesn't feel right but I also need to do what is right for us all. Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it

  4. #4


    When I raised kids and dogs together I treated it more like 2 kids- always supervising and interupting behaviour from either if it wasn't appropriate.

    Uh Uh in a growly voice, then a collar grab if still needed and repeat the Uh Uh! then "gentle" before releasing. If the behaviour was repeated, we would start again, removing the dog further away each time and not releasing till settled.

    If the baviour persisted when I didn't have the time to do that, kids and dog were separated untill I could. Kid would get the same if they were too young to understand more.

    It worked for me. That, and toys to bite instead.
    Last edited by Strange fruit; 07-19-2015 at 06:51 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Hi Scoobs01

    These are the two trainers that I've seen recommended in the QLD Brisbane area.

    Jane Harper
    Dogs On Track - Home Page

    Craig Murray
    Craig A Murray Dog Training Brisbane - Results, not excuses!

    You definitely want to supervise and interrupt anything that you don't like and promptly give him something else to do like a drop down. I would also be tempted to dab a little bit of vicks vapour rub on any bit of the child he puts his mouth on to take the joy out of it.

    I would look up "its yer choice" and "collar grab" on youtube and kikopup on youtube and play those games with your dog.

    You train collar grab first, and then you use that to play the "it's yer choice" game with you and your child - ie anything he does you don't like - you grab his collar, hold and wait for attention on you, release - see what the choice is, if he behaves nicely praise lots, if he repeats the undesirable behaviour repeat the collar grab, hold, release - if he repeats again - I'd be removing him from where the child is ie adding some "response cost" to the situation.

    I wouldn't scold or yell at him but I might say "oops" or something like that in a neutral tone to let him know if he keeps doing that, the game will be ended.

    Teach him behaviours you do want him to do around your kid. Like an nice drop stay on a mat. And if the kid harasses him, teach him to leave the room (kid's fun ends and he finds safety).

    PS videos on Its yer choice and collar grab are here for free for a while - not sure when the free sign up ends, but once you have I think you get six months access to the "critical core" part of the course which includes IYC and Collar Grab.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 07-19-2015 at 09:25 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Western Sydney


    Hi Scoobs01 welcome to the forum,

    Good on you for saving a life...some rescue dogs are a little harder to handle and train as you are finding out now but this doesn't mean they wont make great family dogs because it's all up to you.

    Have you considered the possibility that the mouthing is a sign of affection and if you don't want him to do it...just say "No" or "Barrrrr" which sounds like a growl. If your child does something wrong you say "No" why not do the same with the dog and point your finger at him too...simple but you must be firm and this will take time.

    Sounds like he's an active dog who likes the attention but I would never leave him or any dog unsupervised with a small child because it's an accident waiting to happen. Forget the Dominance thing it doesn't exists...the term was invented by some guy in the 1940s who put two strange wolves together and they started to fight because they didn't like each other so he is trying to "Dominate" the thing you know it's being used as an excuse for everything they can't understand.

    As you've only had him 5 can't expect miracles as it can take 6 months or more for him to bond and settle in to your way of doing things. Does he have toys...Do you walk him...Is he allowed in the house to be with his family...Do you give him treats to reward him when he does something right...Will you be taking him to dog training to socialize him...all of these things do help.

    The size of the dog is not important as Rotties and GSDs get on well with kids of all's how you raise both dogs and kids...Rescues are harder because they have not been raised you must start training them like a puppy...well that's what I did with my two rescues and it seemed to work for me and I'm no expert.

    My Chloe was a rescue...she was dumped in the pound at 6 mths of age and I got her from GSD rescue when she was 7.5 mths old. I knew nothing about her background but it was clear she'd been kept in the backyard by herself...having raised two GSDs I didn't think it would be much trouble...was I in for a shock.

    Chloe because of the way she had been treated was a real handful and I found her very difficult...she was a biter and she would jump up on us and bite and scratch at the same time...If you bent over to pat her she would jump up and hit you in the face which hurt like hell and nearly fully grown was a nightmare to teach how to walk on a lead. I had to house train her...teach her how to react around other dogs and she had to learn a few house manners as well.

    I don't know what was worse...jumping up and scratching or playbiting...she also would use her front teeth to pinch me which hurt and left many bruises...also because she was very strong willed and stubborn wouldn't do as she was told. Chloe wasn't scared of I know she had not been bashed...she's not scared of thunder or fireworks either.

    When I started her at All Breeds Training she freaked out...started screaming and started biting the lead and me trying to get away. I had to take her to the vet every month to get her claws clipped because she wouldn't let me...she wouldn't go in the door at the vets so I had to drag her in...when the vet went to clip her claws she bit him too. It took over 6 months for her to bond with us but over time and the patience of a saint...several actually she started to come good...she is now 3.4 yrs old still very strong willed and stubborn but a very much loved member of our family. I hope this has helped you...good luck with your boy.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

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