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As the title states I am having a rough time keeping the playing boundaries in check. To give you some background I currently have a 2.5 year old doberman/heeler mix. His name is Pete and he weighs about 45 and the stature of a heeler but the look of a doberman. So the situation is this, he listens to sit,stay,come, and down commands along with the calm command when in play mode to stop it. All commands he follows really well and i have no complaints. The main problem i am having is when he was younger about 3 months old when i got him from the rescue shelter we would play and 'rough house' and me being an adult can handle it and when i want him to stop i give the command calm and he will stop. What he doesnt get now that he is 2.5 and recently introduced to 2 kids ages 2, and 4. He cant destinguish between when it is okay to 'mouth' bite playfully and when it is not acceptable with the kids. There is two incidences that have happened within 2 weeks where the kids "sneek" up on him and he is startled and his instant reaction is to bark and then he nips, not an aggressive bite but more in defense. What i am affraid of is that from me playing with him this way has resulted in him to over react this way or if it is just a defense mechanism and we need to teach the kids to be more 'aware'. This is my first dog and have never had any problems beisdes the past 2 problems. I dont want to have to constantly worry about if the dog is going to handle the situation with the kids well and if he will nip them again. Pete has had no official training but has been socialized in a controlled environment and a noncontrolled environment and does well. Any help with discipline or training things that help him distinguish between when it is okay to playful 'mouth' and when it is not acceptable. if that is even an option or if i have to take out the playful 'mouth' all together.

I have done some research here and i cant find anything to specific on this topic and i would really like to stop it now before it gets to become a behavior. Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

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Mouthing IMO is when I am playing head on with my dog. A kid sneaking up on him is not him playing and mouthing IMO. That is kids doing something they shouldnt be doing. I also dont think he is necessarily over reacting. If someone snuck up on me and scared me my responses would be; I will be scared, then I'd be pissed and then I would think its funny.

First I would teach the kids not to sneak up on him. Teach them if the dog is sleeping or laying there to make some regular toned noises so he can tell they are coming. IMO you cant really teach him if your laying around relaxing or sleeping and someone sneaks up on you....dont do anything.

ETA: I dont think it has anything to do with the way you play/played with him.
 

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Kids need to be trained in proper ways of being around any animals.Would not be the dog's fault if a kid was bit but the dog will pay for indiscretion of the kid. The dog always pays required by law even if you do not want the dog to get in trouble for something the kid did the law never see s it that way.
 
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