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Love bites


Uglyjeep
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Wondering if is is a cairn thing or just a jeep thing. When I pet jeep and she really likes it she holds her mouth on me, like a very slow and soft bite. If I stop petting her she always nuzzles closer to try to get me to scratch her more. Sometimes she will sit there with my hand gently held between her teeth for minutes at a time.

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i recommend, don't allow it. she may be gentle now, but if she thinks it is okay to put teeth on you and later is unhappy, it opens the door to things that will not be good. i think it makes it clearer if she understands that her teeth never belong on our skin. she has plenty of other ways of showing affection, if that is what she is doing. say "no teeth" or some such thing and if she doesn't let go the use your negative response whatever it is. it makes her more clear and less anxious if you keep it simple: no teeth on human flesh. 

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Probably good advise from PK, but I must admit Jock always nibbled on my arm when we were cuddling and I was scratching him in a favorite place. A bit like to monkeys grooming each other. :) my mare also does that with me when I scratch her on a certain part of her chest. Although I must admit given the size of her teeth I am always a little apprehensive of her"love bites"!

Until one has loved an animal, a part of  one's soul remains unawakened.  - Anatole France

Adventures with Sam &Rosie

 

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Funny you should mention this....our Betsy (1 1/2) does this to Sulley (8).  And then when we are itching or gently playing....Betsy does this to us.  It is kinda like her teeth are against the skin without taking the skin in her mouth.  Yet she does a biting motion....it feels like she is doing a biting action that itches the spot.  I always thought that when our kitties have done this.......someone said the were "love bites".....yeah.  Kinda funny getting it from a kitty.

Whether through our tone of voice or how we choose to play...Betsy gets it...NO hard bites.  Sulley will tell her if she has had enough and Betsy just goes on her merry way.

I do agree that you don't want them to think they are the top dog and CAN bite you whenever they want.  We initiate the play....and how the play will end.  So far...Betsy seems pretty happy...especially when squeaking a toy and we are chasing her....WHEW...she is a hand full. :redflag::D

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I have always thought mouthing was bossing. I don't allow it. Agree with pk-plenty other ways to be friendly. When Angus was young I told him 'no bite' . I stopped playing with him. He learned.

Now when we play tug or with a ball or whatever if his teeth come close he inhibits the bite/mouthing. Amazing what control he has.

I do think the mouthing can be part play but I just don't want to risk an accident if there was a misunderstanding.

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I know two dogs that will nibble gently on the hand or arm. They are forceful nibbles you can feel. Not bites though. They are gentle dogs, one a lab the other a neighborhood mix. The lab did it when he was young and playing. These are what I call love bites or love nibbles. Neither of these dogs will bite they are big old lovable dogs.

Malcolm on the other hand wants to bite anything he sees. There is no way I will let Malcolm put his teeth on me, we had problems with that when I first got him. That is Malcolm though he is not the typical Cairn. I would say discourage any teeth on your skin. A Cairn can be bossy and you don't want Jeep thinking she can use those teeth to get her way.

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Jeep is 6 and has done it for years. She has never bitten me maliciously. She is extremely submissive and friendly. She does "flea bites" when you scratch her too but often she leaves her open mouth on my hand. I've had her all of her life and she has never showed any aggression towards people (she doesn't always like other dogs) and she's great with children. I don't think allowing her to do this over the years has taught her any bad habits, or I would have seen them by now.

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actually i think malcolm is a whole lot like a typical cairn, or let's say he is not too far off the center mark. i forgot jeep is a mature dog. if there is no problem and everybody is happy, great. for a young cairn or a puppy, i wouldn't recommend allowing it. there's too many ways for a cairn to get confused about when it is okay to touch with the teeth and when not. 

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At 6 I don't know if I would change it, but I do agree if it's a pup - no mouthing.  Elsie sometimes gets carried away when we play outside and when she does I say "No" and walk away.  She never does it any other time so she gets over stimulated.  ..... little love bites. :)

Elsie, Max, Meeko & Lori

 

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Idaho Cairns

I'm with PK and Hills--no mouthing of any kind, pup or adult dog.  I would stop the practice if I could--dogs simply can't decern the subtle nuances between play and assertive behavior well enough for me to be comfortable with the situation.

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Packy gives me a nibble and a kiss whenever I come home.  He's always done this and the nibble is just putting his mouth on my hand for half a second, immediately followed by a lick.  It's done very tenderly and it's the only time he does it.  at almost 10 years old, I don't think I'll both trying to stop him, plus it's kind of sweet.  No way would I allow it in a puppy though.

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Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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Packy gives me a nibble and a kiss whenever I come home.  He's always done this and the nibble is just putting his mouth on my hand for half a second, immediately followed by a lick.  It's done very tenderly and it's the only time he does it.  at almost 10 years old, I don't think I'll both trying to stop him, plus it's kind of sweet.  No way would I allow it in a puppy though.

I'm with you, it's very sweet and done in a loving nature. Jeep also licks after the... I wouldn't even call it bite, she gently rests her teeth on me mouth wide open lol.

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Our Acorn does the same thing - likes to mouth our hands during play and in an affectionate manner.  I know intellectually that it's wrong and I should discourage the behavior but I actually kind of like it and think it's sweet.  He never does it with anything but hands or my forearm - if you put your face near him he will just kiss you like crazy and it's only when he's in a playful mood.

 

Occasionally he'll get a little exuberant and it'll be a tad uncomfortable on the thin skin on the top of my hand, in which case I just say "gentle" in a correcting manner to try to teach him to ease up.  I do worry about this behavior if he were to do it to my elderly mother, but she doesn't really play with him (only gives him tasty treats) and he has never done this to her, almost like he knows that it's not OK for her.  

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On an dog to owner basis this may not be a big deal. But the time that you have visitors over who have no clue about this and Jeep mouths one of their hands and that person pulls away and leaves Jeep with some skin and in fact there is no bite, just a pull back due to something sharp touching skin, you are asking for a lawsuit. Imagine if it is a child, that child may end up scared of dogs for life because of it. And it will be because of a misunderstanding. The perception will be that it was a dog bite not a mouthing, try explaining that to the judge. And your dog could be considered dangerous and put down by court order. Do not let your dog mouth you in any way. Please stop that practice.

Sassy Jan 22, 2005

 

AM. CH. THARRBARR LITE MY FIRE ZOMERHOF

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On an dog to owner basis this may not be a big deal. But the time that you have visitors over who have no clue about this and Jeep mouths one of their hands and that person pulls away and leaves Jeep with some skin and in fact there is no bite, just a pull back due to something sharp touching skin, you are asking for a lawsuit...

Not only that, it becomes a feedback loop where the non-family human is retracting hand and pup wants to pursue all the more...in some

cases.  (Cairns don't like to have their toys taken away.)

Max and Nelly
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It may not seem important, even loving, when your buddy mouths you but in whatever context it happens including play, mouthing is a dominant behavior. Watch any litter of pups at play. 

As long as you are quiet and let this happen fine - your cairn is happy but if you pulled away quickly and unexpectedly you might find him/her grab hard with consequent loss of skin and blood.

 

I think I  would be anxious if someone's dog did that to me.

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It seems like most pups naturally stop the puppy mouthing at around maybe six months or so. I would worry if a dog older than that did play biting. But there is a way some dogs do an affectionate kind of soft mouth that is not at all like a bite and more like a kiss and is clearly not aggressive. Dogs are more subtle with their mouths than we are, in some ways. Thet use them like we use our hands, sometimes. If you doubt this, let them work on your loose toenail sometime - they are remarkably adept!

Taffy, Reuben, Annie, Moondoggie, Lexie, Walter, Joey, Tonto, Earl, Beebo, Fuzz.  And a whole bunch of cats.

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