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7 months male staffordhire bull terrier
hello ok my dog ziggy is both me and my partner world we have had no problems with his behavior intill the last 2 month health he is in good health part from a pollon allergy which we give him a tablet everyday the last 2months everytime my partner goes and gets in bed he will mouth at him on legs and arms we think he is trying to play my partner or me will sternly say no which then he usally growls barks run around then bow the start mouthing again then which this time we put him in the bathroom for 5 mins the dog sleeps on the sofa and sometimes will come on the bed sometimes he is back and forth we live in a studio so bedroom living room in 1  then separate bathroom my partner goes out to work from 6am to 6pm and i am at home all day with the dog which i have no problem will him all day is good as gold if i tell him to sit cum leave it he will listen and the majority of time will listen to my partner some times he will mouth my partner when were sat on the sofa watching tv but if i tell him to leave it and stop mouthing my partner he dont listen and this is the only time he wont listen and again wont listen to my partner he has loads of toys he gets walked 40 mins a day he has bones every other day he is fed once in morning once at night which is kibble 80% of time he is fantastic its just the mouthing i would never give up on him just dont know how to solve the problem thanks for your timeandi willl eave feedback its at least what we could do

Answer
Greetings, and thank you for contacting All Experts,
This does sound like play/attention seeking behavior but it must be put to a stop as the more the dog is allowed to rehearse the behavior, the more it will establish and become a bad habit. Since this is happening in the bed, it sounds like an attention-seeking behavior. Your dog may be upset that you stay in the bed and he is looking for an effective way to "activate" you. In this case, he's looking for anything to get attention, even if it's negative such as scolding or pushing him off.

If you notice the more you scold him the more he comes back mouthing you, what's happening is that likely there is some sort of reinforcement at play. Generally, behaviors repeat because the dog finds some sort of reward out of it--and most likely it's the attention. Scolding, pushing him away may also increase arousal which may further fuel the behavior--which can in the long run become defensive as well. In many cases, ignoring the behavior works best, but if the dog comes on the bed and mouths, it's hard to ignore the behavior.

Since he is mouthing arms and legs, it may be a good idea to teach him to play alternate games that takes his focus away from using body parts as tug toys. You may find it helpful therefore to teach him to play tug with a tug toy or fetch. You may also find helpful teaching him to play "target". All these games are explained in the following article. Even though it tackles German Shepherds, it can apply to any other breed as well.
http://alexadry.hubpages.com/hub/German-Shepherd-Puppy-Bite-Inhibition-Games

Once he learns these games, it will help him find an alternate behavior to engage in, but what if you want to stop the game and chill out? In this case, it would be helpful to train your dog to not come in the bed but to lie on a mat near the bed. In this case, you may want to teach the "go to your place' command and make the mat a very rewarding place to be. Tell him to go to his place and then reward him with a long lasting treat that will keep him occupied such as bully stick or stuffed Kong. This video may come handy for teaching this behavior:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVGaslyGaGE

I hope this helps! It would be best though to consult with dog trainer/behavior consultant that can come to your home and observe the behavior. This way you could be shown exactly what to do and he/she can pinpoint any issues that may be contributing to the problem. Best wishes!


Disclaimer: this answer is not to be used as a substitute for professional behavior advice. If your dog is aggression seek out the assistance of a dog behavior specialist for a hands-on assessment.By reading this answer you accept this disclaimer.  

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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.

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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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Certified dog trainer (APICC, CPDT-KA)

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