Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Home remedy for hard mouth/lock jaw

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default Home remedy for hard mouth/lock jaw

    I have a yellow lab that has a hard mouth problem to the point of locking up and refusing to let go of things in his mouth, and I'm looking for d.i.y. options. This first surfaced last year when he retrieved a duck but then wouldn't let it go. He ended up eating the bird, almost on the spot, and puking it up later. Some of you may remember this dog as the "rescue" from last year with the bad indoor manners. (I suspect that this issues is why the original owner found a new home for this dog.)

    I took the dog to Baron out at Wetland Retrievers last year, and he immediately realized that the dog has had this problem for some time, but felt he could train it out of him-with no small effort. Baron has worked with this dog on other issues, one of which being food possessiveness, and, while money spent at Wetland Retrievers is money well spent and I've always been impressed with Baron, with the economy such as it is, there simply is no budget whatsoever for further professional training.

    We (my girlfriend and I) have successfully managed this food issue after a 2 week stay at Baron's in December, but the issue is still there. Last week, he broke into the kitchen and clamped down on a loaf of bread, and we couldn't get it away from him. He eventually won out and ate a good portion of the bread. I'm less concerned about his going for the bread than I am in the way in which he locked down on the bread. I foresee another episode of the duck issue from last year in the near future.

    I've done some of the ear pinch/force fetch thing as described in 10 Minute Retriever, and my son and I work with him on field work every other day or so, but I suspect that that won't address this issue. What, if anything, can I do to help this dog?

  2. #2
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Eagle River Alaska, United States,
    Posts
    540

    Default

    My dog had that issue for a little bit when he was a pup. Once we introduced the force fetch the problem was solved. You have to really work and enforce the "give" command. Make sure you train him with real birds or atleast dummies with real wings attached. Don't let him get possive with training dummies and only let him use them during training.

    There is hunt trial next weekend and I suggest you check it out. There will be a lot of good trainers and judges there that would be happy to give you some advice.

  3. #3
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
    Posts
    9,748

    Default

    If I were you, the first thing I would at least do is teach your dog the command....LEAVE IT...!!! It is a great command. My yellow knows it well. Does your dog walk on a lead? If so put some food out on the lawn and walk your dog on the lead. As soon as he starts going for the food yank him almost off his feet saying LEAVE IT...!!! Do this a few times. Then put his dog food on the lawn and do the same thing, but when he gets to HIS food say...."OK, good boy" and let him eat. Try this awhile and see what happens. He should start seeing the difference if you're diligent.

    Anytime I noticed my old chessie getting a little rough with a bird (or dummy) when she would bring it in, while holding it in her mouth, I would pinch her lip against her canines while saying EASY, EASY....

    As far as locking down on food and birds. Is he hard mouthed with the dummy? ...I've heard of guys putting either small nails through the dummies or lots of wire with the ends poking up. You could get a duck/bird, or like was mentioned a wing on the dummy, and do the same thing during training.

    Unfortunately him already eating a bird is a REALLY bad thing. It sounds like your dog is beyond aggressive so it may mean that you have to get really aggressive too. He has to learn who is the ALPHA.....and it's NOT him. If you just can't get a handle on it, you may want to try a shock collar when he clamps down. Along with the command "LEAVE IT!!!" that you hopefully have already taught him, you may get some results.....

    Good Luck...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    So shoot me but it looks like all the aggressive attempts have been made and what you taught the dog is if he can put up with pinching, pulling, burning, beating and struggling, he wins.
    The closest I've had to this is a dog who refused to fetch because she had been forced beyond all recognition of a Lab. This is just an idea that worked on that dog. I don't see that you have tried it.
    Start easy leashed up next to you to a pole or something solid so he can't get away. Set him up with something he sort of wants, if he is more ready to yield "give" on a dowel try that. A hair brush might work too, the bristle end. Get a high value treat, chicken, real bacon, hot dog. Put it the dowel in his mouth "hold", "Drop" (if you have to pry his mouth open do it) and immediately treat. 5-10 times or so and quit, no yelling, jerking or hitting. Try a few hours later, a few times a day. When you can get him to drop that thing, for a treat move to a more coveted thing like a bumper or a frozen bird. Repeat. NOW he wants to give it to you to get a treat! But this will not last forever.
    Move on to other places but never allow him to get away and keep the item and always reward. You can faze out the treat and fake the dog out by holding your right hand as if you have a treat a foot above his head. (that worked for me at a hunt test by the way). Receive the item every time exactly the same way, in the same position with the same commands at the same level of voice. It will probably take a long time for both of you to get into this routine. Praise, praise, praise.
    I'm not a total positive only trainer by any means, but when you've thrown everything at them adding more pressure, more "aggression" is not going to give you a dog that wants to do anything for you. I would hazard a guess this dog was FORCED to do before he WANTED to do. Get back to playing and having fun and he will want to do it.
    If that's not for you I'd say get rid of him. He may make someone a nice house pet but most labs of this level of possession end up euthanized.
    Linda and the Knik Duck Doodler, Jack

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    He knows "Hold" and "Leave It" (and "Drop It) as those were items on which Baron worked with him last December.

    He is not at all hard mouthed with training bumpers. (Actually, I am likely using the wrong term; what he is doing with birds and food is freezing, then eating.) He retrieves like a dream using either training bumpers in a formal sense or a Kong chew toy in a playtime/backyard scenario. It's only the food or food-type items (anything he perceives to be food, including Legos) that he locks up on and refuses to drop or deliver.

    I just checked out the companion book to 10 Minute Retriever, Retriever Troubleshooting, but it doesn't have much of anything useful in it for freezing. However, I did notice that all of the training discussions and photos show trainers using dead birds. I've never tried to do any kind of work with him with an actual bird; it's always been bumpers.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    Linda,

    So it seems to me that your advice is to take a bumper or his Kong chew toy and make it something that he won't want to release (by adding some sort of food to it) and then reward him when he delivers (by giving him some sort of food treat). Is that correct? That sounds similar to what I saw out at Baron's. He was using beef jerky sticks and the like making the dog "Hold" it and then "Drop" it without letting him eat it.

    By the way, he does make a good house pet. He's great with kids. (My 10 yr old visiting fro FL loves him and plays fetch with every day.) Hyper like I guess most labs are. We've mostly been able to contain/manage the food possessive/addiction issue until the last week or so. (I almost wonder if this regression is related to our trip to the cabin.) My girlfriend and I actually discussed putting him down, as we didn't want to be as his previous owner and give him to some unsuspecting family with stories of how awesome he is, but we decided a while ago that, even if he never hunts, we'll keep him. He's got a lot better life here than he had before. If he doesn't hunt, I'll just stick to clay discs.

  7. #7
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
    Posts
    9,748

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    He knows "Hold" and "Leave It" (and "Drop It) as those were items on which Baron worked with him last December.

    He is not at all hard mouthed with training bumpers. (Actually, I am likely using the wrong term; what he is doing with birds and food is freezing, then eating.) He retrieves like a dream using either training bumpers in a formal sense or a Kong chew toy in a playtime/backyard scenario. It's only the food or food-type items (anything he perceives to be food, including Legos) that he locks up on and refuses to drop or deliver.

    I just checked out the companion book to 10 Minute Retriever, Retriever Troubleshooting, but it doesn't have much of anything useful in it for freezing. However, I did notice that all of the training discussions and photos show trainers using dead birds. I've never tried to do any kind of work with him with an actual bird; it's always been bumpers.
    Just to reiterate, the LEAVE IT command is different than the DROP IT command. The "drop it" to me means releasing something that's already in his mouth. The "leave it" is a command that I give is when the dog is going over to check something out that he shouldn't be.....as in anything you don't want him around, much less put in his mouth. That's why I gave the training scenario above on the lead. You want him to smell it and start after it, but you say leave it and give him a jerk on the lead just before he gets to it. This way, if he learns it, if he starts over to the "loaf of bread" and you say LEAVE IT, he'll stop before he ever gets to it. See what I mean?

    Believe me, I'm all for not being aggressive in training "IF" you don't have to be. But in my minds eye, because of what you've told us, I can see your dog and his behavior as I've seen it before. No, I don't particularly enjoy suggesting the shock collar, and I've never had to use one for training. But I HAVE seen them work wonders on hard to manage dogs. This is the ONLY reason I mentioned it.

    Linda, I think you think I want to "hurt" the dog. I don't "want" to....not in the least. But if he will not respond to different methods of inventive training, other than put him down as you mentioned, then I feel AS A LAST RESORT the shock collar could be tried. I only say this BECAUSE I don't see where he said aggressive training has been done. If a certain kind of dog needs to feel some bit of discomfort to learn something that is very important, where otherwise it is a good dog, then I feel it is warranted. I feel "hurting the dog would be to let him continue this type of behavior to the point the owner has no choice other than put him down.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  8. #8
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
    Posts
    9,748

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    However, I did notice that all of the training discussions and photos show trainers using dead birds. I've never tried to do any kind of work with him with an actual bird; it's always been bumpers.
    Also....if you decide to try real birds, then you can also use wire, or toothpicks, or whatever you can think of in the bird that would prevent him from biting down hard without hurting his mouth.

    How old is the dog again?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  9. #9
    Member power drifter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Down wind of 2 Glaciers
    Posts
    1,088

    Default

    For sure I think you need to work with real birds or at least a wing at first. A few wraps of barb wire around a bird will get the soft mouth idea across.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    Seven years old (so he is probably at least half way through his hunting life already.) The "leave it" "drop it" commands you describe are just as we use them here. "Leave it" works more often than not. In this specific scenario (the bread raid) there wasn't anyone to stop him at that critical moment. He is very opportunistic; he is always looking for a chance to get food. We manage and control this through (almost) constant supervision, keeping a clean home/camp, and/or keeping him on a short lead. I'm less freaked about him getting the bread as I am the way in which he wouldn't release his grip on it.

    I've read through the Retriever Troubleshooting book, but didn't find much useful info there. I think for the near term I'll continue to use "Leave It" as you discussed; he mostly responds to that anyway. At the same time, I think I'll go back and modify our "Fetch/Hold" drills as Linda suggested, by adding in beef jerky or something.

    On a side note, I recently starting using grouse scent on my bumpers, and he gets much more "interested" and aggressive on bumpers with the scent bands on them.

  11. #11
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    4amerguide I did't read you wanted to hurt you dog, I see other posts as old school punishment. Those methods work on some dogs but not ones that know how to shut down . Those are the dogs they throw away. When you rehab a few of those you learn a lot. Barbed wire, nails, etc do not bring them back. I had to get one dog off of the floor to retrieve and we did it playing with her kong at night, sometimes with treats mostly with pets. Its really conditioning responses to do the same thing every time to the same stimulus. its boring to us but once they learn there is a reward at the end, a treat, a kind word or best, another retrieve they will do it every time.
    Linda and the ruffed retrieving noodlehund.

  12. #12
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Forgot this, I wonder in the training with treats could Baron do it 2-3 times a day and if it worked but they quit before it was a conditioned response the owner just needs to keep doing it. It took me 2 years to recondition a ruined Lab to retrieve all with play from both of us every day, usually while sitting watching tv to fetch her kong or a ball. Have to make it fun, not work for everyone or people and dogs quit.

  13. #13
    New member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    14

    Default

    If he's freezing up and eating the bird before you can get there you need to keep him on a leash while you practice. If you can't force him to do what you want you can't give a command...that's a golden rule in training. Put him on a short leash, put a bird in front of him, let him grab it and then force him to give it to you. No screaming, no yelling, no hitting, no repeated commands. Be assertive, not angry and again, DON'T repeat your command. He has to give it to you because he has no choice. Practice this over and over and over until the dog figures out that giving the bird to you isn't a negotiation. As he gets better keep giving him a longer leash. After he manages that let him roam out to get one and use an electronic collar to make sure he complies. It will take a while because he already has bad behavior figured out, but he can learn this.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    Gone4now,

    He has only eaten one bird and that was after retrieving it during last season. He did the retrieve beautifully-a blind retrieve at that, and brought the bird right to me, then wouldn't let it go.

    One of the problems we have is that, once he freezes on a piece of food, we haven't been able to physically force it from him; we haven't had the physically ability to pry his jaws open with our hands. Well, that's not totally true. Most times, if it's not food (a Lego for example) he'll let me open his mouth and do a finger sweep, but if it's food, we just can't get it from him.

    I agree though, I need to find a source of dead birds.

  15. #15
    New member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Ahh, I missed the part about it only being one bird, but bird or food or Lego, it's all the same. It's only his if you say it's his. If you tell him to drop it, he drops it. Granted, there's always "that dog" that will figure out that if he runs away you can't take it from him and that's another whole story, but for most dogs the following usually works. Assuming you're right-handed, pull the dog close and put your left thumb on one side of his upper jaw, and the remaining 4 fingers on the other side of his upper jaw. You're effectively putting a clamp over his upper muzzle. Once you have that figured out use your thumb and index finger to pinch his upper lips in against the points of his teeth. Start with just a bit of pressure, but don't be afraid to increase it. I've never met a dog yet that couldn't be forced to release using this approach (but I'm sure there's probably one out there somewhere). It can be quite painful for them, if they choose it to be. Make sure you give the comand "DROP" or whatever you choose right as you begin. If the item they're holding is large and sticking out of their mouth (like a bird) use your other hand to push it back into their mouth as you use your left to pinch. Pushing it into their mouth will generally cause them to shift their grip which will make your pinching even more effective.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •