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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, my toddler was playing in the yard with our Dobe, Duke. He was definitely JUST playing with her. They are very used to eachother, they used to fall asleep on the couch together. He was jumping around and licking her face then suddenly, he bit her arm. It wasn't hard. She didn't cry and it didn't leave a mark. But just about her entire arm was in his mouth and my heart sank to the ground! I've never seen him do that before, and he is still a very goofy puppy and they were just playing, but should I be concerned? I'm almost scared to let them play together right now. He's taller than her and weighs almost three times as she does. So, I'm just little anxious about it.
 

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I don't think you need to be concerned but I definetly would not allow that type of behaviour to continue. No mouth on skin is my motto and you as a parent need to be there to reinfore that along with making sure your child is giving the dog the same respect.

Your dog is still a puppy and was probably just playing but a childs skin (even an adult skin) is no match for those teeth and accidents can happen so it is better to teach this now than be sorry later. NO rough housing with the dog that means everyone in the family.
 

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What was she doing at the time? Could he have been gently (in his mind) "correcting" her? Or did he seem like he was forgetting his manners and being mouthy during play? (As you said, he's still a puppy - and he could also be reaching that doberteen stage where he suddenly forgets he has manners and a brain.) How did your daughter react?



It's hard to say over the internet, you really might want to see a behaviorist who can help you identify what precisely is going on so you know how to address it?
 

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Dobes stole my heart <3
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Sometimes the dog sees himself as the guardian or protector of the little ones and as mentioned above he could have been correcting her or wanting to get her to follow him or move away from something, we never really know what is going on in their minds. If it was a gentle grab, and he seemed to guide her away chances are he was being watchful of her. He should be taught that you are her protector though and not let him have mouth contact with her because his jaw is very strong and he could grab too hard.
I cannot rough play with my girls right now because they are still learning what "gently" means, but my other girl Mysti knew how to grab lightly with her mouth when we played, and we could rough house on the floor safely. She was always mindful of her teeth and would not bite down very hard at all. You might want to try to teach him that as well, and that "enough" means playtime is over, no matter what game it is you are playing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
she was just playing in the yard with her bubbles. I THINK he was trying to get her attention and trying to get her to play with him because he licked her face and then jumped back and barked and when she didn't pay him any attention, he bit her arm. And then she just looked at me like "Mom?! Are you going to let him do that?" And then I fussed at him and told him "No, Duke! Calm down!" And he sat down with his ears down and I seperated them. Like I said, he's never done that before, and I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. Shoudl I maybe try taking him to obedience classes? Or is too late for that?
 

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It's never to late for obedience classes!
 

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Dobes stole my heart <3
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Its never too late for obedience class. And by all means he should not be allowed to demand attention like that. When mine try to get my attention by nipping they are told no, and made to sit down while I go about what i am doing, when I am done they get attention. If they get away with that they will try to demand other things and think they are in charge. Simply correct his behaviour by telling him no and make him wait for her to go to him to give attention.
Obedience class would be good for him if he hasnt been trained formally, it will give him something to do, and teach him valuable lessons, as well as help you to manage him. (Not that he is unmanageable but it will give you some good tools to use to teach him awesome manners).
 

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Agreed that it didn't sound like an "aggressive" thing to worry about, but also something that shouldn't be permitted. These dogs have amazing control over their mouths (and sometimes, we do play like that with Elka), but excitement can cause mistakes, and that would be awful.

Obedience class is definitely a great idea! Maybe also keep an eye on other times when he acts like this, to get attention (mouthing or no) and think about what you want him to do instead, and how you should act.
 

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I would get a professional evaluation, if it were me. Definitely get into classes, but it wouldn't hurt to get a professional one-on-one to observe how he interacts with your child. In the meantime, I would be extra careful about how they interact.

My boy, Simon, is an eight year old dog that we adopted in May. He's generally an awesome dog, but we've learned that he was never taught the appropriate rules for playing with people. He likes to play rough with other dogs and tries to play the same way with people if you get him riled up. He will mouth, and it hurts, so we don't allow him to play that way with us. We can roughhouse with Shanoa and she absolutely won't put her mouth on us, but Simon just never learned that so we have to be more careful with him.
 

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she was just playing in the yard with her bubbles. I THINK he was trying to get her attention and trying to get her to play with him because he licked her face and then jumped back and barked and when she didn't pay him any attention, he bit her arm. And then she just looked at me like "Mom?! Are you going to let him do that?" And then I fussed at him and told him "No, Duke! Calm down!" And he sat down with his ears down and I seperated them. Like I said, he's never done that before, and I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. Shoudl I maybe try taking him to obedience classes? Or is too late for that?
Sounds like you handled it just fine and also that he responded to your correction in a very appropriate manner. Just remember to always supervise young children with any dog.

I would avoid a "behaviorist" because you may not have the experience to know if you're getting some crackpot AND may not be able to say "Stop, I'm not comfortable with what you're doing." Someone like that could really screw up your dog and I just don't think it's warrented at this time.
 

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Sounds like you handled it just fine and also that he responded to your correction in a very appropriate manner. Just remember to always supervise young children with any dog.

I would avoid a "behaviorist" because you may not have the experience to know if you're getting some crackpot AND may not be able to say "Stop, I'm not comfortable with what you're doing." Someone like that could really screw up your dog and I just don't think it's warrented at this time.
The way to be sure you are getting a skilled behaviorist is to get a board certified veterinary behaviorist, which is a vet who has had extra training and passed boards specifically in behavioral medicine. There aren't that many of them. You can find the one nearest you here: Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB
 

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I would never advice anyone to allow a large dog of any breed and a toddler to play freely in the yard together. After all, it only takes a moment for the dog to playfully jump up or play bite or run into a child to hurt them, and then you have a whole different situation on your hands.
Just an opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I would never advice anyone to allow a large dog of any breed and a toddler to play freely in the yard together. After all, it only takes a moment for the dog to playfully jump up or play bite or run into a child to hurt them, and then you have a whole different situation on your hands.
Just an opinion.

It's not like they were in the yard with no supervision and I was in the house messing around. I was right there with them. I mean really, I'm not a freaking idiot. Besides she wasn't just "some child". Shes MY child. So if he was to jump up or play bite or run into her to hurt them, no I wouldn't have a whole different situation in my hands. And actually that's exactly what he did. No different situation here.
 
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