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Playing - Mouthing

April 26th, 2006, 01:52 AM
When Declan is really HAPPY he gets bouncy and frisky - with play bows and spins, leaps in the air, flings himself on the ground and does The Declan Dance and so on. It's very sweet to see in an 8 year old and I don't want to discourage him. The problem is he gets mouthy - grabbing a hand or coat sleeve (or coat collar !!!) in his mouth - no pressure, it's a very loose grab and he's smiling the entire time. He'll stop when I stand still and withdraw my arm behind my back with a firm "No". He'll give it a couple more tries but then stops playing altogether. This only happens when we're across the street from home after we've had our speedwalk (which lasts for 1 1/2 to 2 hours so you would think he'd be tired!) Any thoughts on how to stop the mouthing but encourage the playfulness ?

April 26th, 2006, 01:46 PM
Teach him!

Set him up (on leash) - and be prepared for the mouthing. When you are home from the speed walking he is trying to keep you from stopping the fun by controlling you with his mouth. So, be ready and when you see him just thinking about getting mouthy say 'quit' or 'leave it' and give a small leash correction. Then go back to happy and set him up again. Try not to let him get too energized - he can have fun at level 7 without having to go all the way up to level 10. If you control things then he will learn the boundaries he can play in without having to get so crazed.

It might be that what you are doing now to correct him shuts him down which means you might be using too much energy to correct him.

Also try to create play that doesn't center around returning home. Take a break during the walk and play for a few minutes and then back to walking.

April 26th, 2006, 10:42 PM
Thanks - I think you are right in that he is trying to avoid going home (like a kid at bedtime "Just 5 more minutes...Just 2 more minutes...Just until I finish this chapter..."). He always starts his 360 sproinging at about the same place across the street from home. The only thing I'm a little confused on is how to "set him up" as I don't start the playing - and it's not really play in the sense of a game of tag or tossing a stick - he's pretty much indifferent to balls and sticks, he's just...sproingy.