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Things in the dogs mouth

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I have had a heck of a time with one my BC's who doesn't naturally retrieve or like having anything in his mouth. Because I am new at dog training I assumed he would be like my other two BC's who don't have to be taught to take or retrieve. Well after hours of working with him I almost made the mistake of thinking this was related to his intelligence. For fun I decided to free shape with him for the first time with a behavior that did not involve putting anything in his mouth. I saw the pet star trick where the dog puts all 4 feet in a tiny vessel. I was able to teach him this in record time. I have got him so he will pick something up and flip it.

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Boyden is like that. He's not a retriever and doesn't like to put things in his mouth. I can get him to tug just a little bit.


I'm training him to be a service dog and I'll need him to bring objects to me.


So, using his rope toy and trying everything else with no success, I gently opened his mouth and put the rope in there, then praised and treated. Did this a few times and now he will do it on his own, albeit only for a second. This is not something he likes to do, so we're taking it slow. I'm focusing on him comfortably holding it for a full second.


I've never had a dog who was averse to retrieving or mouthing objects before either, so this is a challenge for me.

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My boy is another who doesn't like holding things in his mouth, and gets very anxious about things very quickly, so putting things in his mouth wasn't going to work. I found this article really helpful.



I now have a dog who is keen about the dumbbell, and will grab it, and pick it up from the ground. Now my challenge is to convince him that it is possible to walk or even run while carrying the dumbbell! :rolleyes:


I can also now get him to play tuggy, although he's not all that keen.

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Boy hasn't gotten to the point of picking the rope toy off the floor yet. He really doesn't like it (putting it in his mouth) so I'm focusing now on getting him to look forward to it and not just do it because I tell him to.


Looks like our dogs are at the same point in tug.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My BC bitch (aged 4) has been trained to herd sheep since she was a puppy (mostly not by me). She doesn't do toys full stop, won't mouth and will only tug (grip) a particularly stubborn sheep and then only the way she was taught.


I don't want to train my pup to enjoy tugging as I guess that could mess up sheep work. But is it OK to teach a herding dog retrieving? My older dog won't do that in any form either.


Presumably neither is needed to do agility work with a herding BC?

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