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Canine Behavior/grabbing pant legs

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Question
We recently adopted a male 2 year old Rottweiler/Pit Bull mix.  He is mellow and friendly with the family and very playful and congenial with our 4 year old Akita/German Shepherd female.

Several times with visitors, as they walk across the room, he will quickly move in and attempt to grab their pants leg.  He has not left any marks on his "victims", but they do get pinched by his teeth AND it is frightening.  Why does he do this and how do we stop this behavior?

Answer
Greetings, and than you for contacting All Experts,
This behavior can have different causes. I will list some possibilities, but please understand that writing from a keyboard without actually seeing the behavior, entails some guesswork. Since he seems to do this mostly with guests he doesn't know it could be triggered by fear. Many dogs aren't comfortable in having strangers on their turf. They may therefore, lunge and bark one day and since the intruder most likely moves away, these dogs' need for space is rewarded. However, with time they may decide to escalate the behavior. It's almost as if these dogs were saying "what part of my "go away" behavior don't you understand"? they may therefore proceed to biting.

However, if your dog's body language is not fearful, and your dog appears quite confident, it may be a form of play or predatory drive. Question to ask is "does his behavior seem to want to increase distance between himself and the visitor? Is he trying to send the visitor away? Or is he wanting to engage with visitor and decrease distance? Does he enjoy visitors? You may find this read interesting:
http://alexadryhubpages.livear.com/hub/-Distance-Increasing-and-Distance-Decreas

Since this dog has been recently adopted we know little about his history. Regardless of the cause, I have found that this method works pretty well and I have used it several times for cases as such. You can find the step-by-step guide in my article below:
http://alexadry.hubpages.com/hub/Dog-Behavior-How-to-Stop-a-Dog-From-Nipping-at-

If your dog appears too focused and you cannot distract him, you need to work more under threshold. To understand threshold levels better please learn more about thresholds:
http://alexadry.hubpages.com/hub/Dog-Behavior-Understanding-Threshold-Levels-in-

I hope this helps! Best wishes and kind regards!
Adrienne


Disclaimer: If at any time your dog appears aggressive, please consult with a dog behavior professional that will guide you through the most appropriate behavior modification method.

Canine Behavior

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Adrienne Janet Farricelli CPDT-KA

Expertise

I can answer questions pertaining dog psychology and general dog behavior. Why is my dog doing this? And what can I do about it? are common questions I am asked. I will not answer questions concerning health problems as this is out of my spectrum, but I can recommend a vet visit if there are chances behavioral problems may stem from a possible underlying medical problem.

Experience

I am a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA) that has attended seminars on dog behavior. I am acquainted with behavior modification programs and have read several books from reputable authors such as Patricia McConnell, Turid Rugaas, Nicholas Dodman and Bruce Fogle to name a few. I have rehabilitated dogs affected by moderate to severe behavioral problems.

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Suite 101 Examiner.com Daily Puppy

Education/Credentials
Certified dog trainer (APICC, CPDT-KA)

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Over 800 fans on my blog offering tips for training dogs and treating behavioral problems

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