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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for what other people find successful. We have a 9-week-old sheltie which we are trying to housebreak/raise/enjoy.

Jake will often chew on (1) his toys, (2) our cuffs and shoelaces, (3) our hands. I do not mind that he chews on our hands when we are wrestling with him. My thought was to let him be a puppy, enjoy bonding with him, then work him out of the habit if it is a problem when he is a bit older.

We are working on the shoe/laces issue right now with an audible "CH!" and sometimes a claw-like poke. He usually backs off after two or three warnings - though he is audible in his displeasure (yips and dances around playfully).

I guess the issue is trying to balance letting him be a puppy by wrestling with him now, while not teaching him things which will be difficult to untrain later on.

If the suggestion is to always stuff a toy in his mouth, it would seem that doing that would hinder his socialization a bit with people.

Your thoughts?

Thanks,
John
 

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My thought was to let him be a puppy, enjoy bonding with him, then work him out of the habit if it is a problem when he is a bit older.
I would never allow a problem to develop knowing that we'd deal with it later. Prevention is the best medicine. It's not even fair to teach him that something is ok and then change the rules later on.

I have played with ALL of my dogs but never allowed a behavior that wasn't ok for the sake of playing. Use toys, an old sock, balls and other objects to play with him with. And teach him to wrestle with you without putting his teeth on you. It's very possible.

As regards socialization, playing with him with a frisbee or other object is fine socialization. He doesn't have to chew on you to socialize. Just my opinions. :)

Hopefully he has plenty of chew toys.
 

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You can play retrieve games, search games like Sniff & Find and basic obedience...yes, puppies love doing that. Socialization is teaching the puppy how to overcome his fears of strange sights and/or sounds...teaching confidence and building trust. Those 'strange' sights are other people, kids, new places, car rides, car washes, elevators, fireworks...the world of human activity.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, thanks. Jake does have plenty of chew toys and we are very conscious of introducing him to as many human experiences as possible. Will take the wrestling into consideration.
 

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Working a dog out of a habit is A LOT harder than it seems. Especially when the habit begins in puppyhood. I would suggest working on the mouthing right away.
 

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We've had our puppy for going on 2 months and he is still mouthy. It has been a long road for us, he still thinks hands are chew toys! It doesn't help my significant other plays kind of rough with him and I try my best to ignore the behavior, but now we are finally on the same page so I hope progress will come. I agree with Locke, puppy behaviors are hard to resolve, even when everyone is on the same page! Be resolute, don't give up on your little guy!
 

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I guess the issue is trying to balance letting him be a puppy by wrestling with him now, while not teaching him things which will be difficult to untrain later on.
Wrestling isn't something I do with a puppy, because more often than not, unwanted behaviors escalate and/or become a bad habit hard to extinguish. It encourages jumping on people, pawing, mouthing/nipping, all unwanted behaviors. Clicker training, fetch, search and find, hide and seek, are but a few interactive activities/games I play with my dogs - pupppy AND adult.
 
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