Mouthing it canine fashion.

Another fascinating insight into the behaviours of dogs.

Every dog owner knows how dogs appear to have their mouths directly linked to their emotions. From licking to growling, from dribbling to holding stuff, we humans don’t really have a clue as to the role of the canine mouth over and above eating food.

Which is why this recent item over on the Care2 site caught my eye (not my mouth!) and I wanted to share it with you.

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Why Does My Dog Grab Something in His Mouth When He’s Excited?

1390782-largeBy Vetstreet.com September 26, 2016

About Vetstreet.com Follow Vetstreet.com at @vetstreet

Some dogs seem to love to entertain. When guests come to the door, these dogs become delighted hosts, racing to greet their visitors with something — anything — they find to put in their mouths.

What’s behind this amusing behavior?

Vetstreet checked in with Dr. Wailani Sung, a veterinary animal behaviorist, to find out.

There are several different reasons your dog might be doing this, she says. Among them: They’re offering a gift, they’re looking for attention or they want to show us they’re happy.

“I think some dogs are so excited to see a visitor because it may represent a new person who will play with him/her, so the dog grabs a toy to try to entice the person to play, whether it is tug or throwing the object,” Dr. Sung explains.

A Welcome Distraction?

For other dogs, it may be a behavior that the owners taught them or encouraged to give them something more appropriate to do in place of jumping on people or barking.

“Other owners have recognized that their dogs may appear anxious or worried, but if they get the dog engaged with their toys, they appear less concerned about new visitors in the house,” she says. “Some dogs may naturally grab a toy on their own, whether to solicit play or to have something to do.”

The dog may also be reacting to your own excitement and responding in kind.

Dr. Sung has seen the behavior mainly in Retrievers but said it’s something any breed might exhibit.

Avoiding an Embarrassing Moment

In some cases, owners report some rather embarrassing situations — like when the first thing their pooch spotted to grab was dirty laundry or other “unmentionables.”

Dr. Sung says it’s best to be sure those things are out of the dog’s reach. But if the arrival is a surprise and the dog does get something he shouldn’t have, the owner should try to keep calm and get the dog to exchange the contraband for another toy or treat.

“They should distract the dog, redirect to a more appropriate behavior, such as come and sit, and then ask the dog to drop it,” Dr. Sung said. “Sometimes people forget and raise their voices or go chasing after their dog and it becomes a game to the dog. Then the next time visitors arrive, the dog remembers how much fun he had last time people arrived and grabbed an item.”

It can be flattering to be the source of a canine host’s excitement — unless he’s so thrilled, he’s jumping or running into people. In those cases, Dr. Sung recommends putting him in another room or in his kennel or bed while guests arrive to try to avoid the excitement.

By Amy Sinatra Ayres | Vetstreet.com

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Anyone got any wonderful stories about what their dog has put in their mouth? (That you would like to share!!)

14 thoughts on “Mouthing it canine fashion.

  1. Great share Paul.. And no doggy stories, but my Dads cat used to play fetch with silver foil screwed up into a tight ball.. He would roll it and his cat would tap it with paw for a while and then pick it up and take back to Dad to be thrown again.. 🙂
    Have a good week See you soon Paul as I am taking a break away in Scotland for a while as from tomorrow.. Love to you and Jean.. take care.
    Sue 🙂

  2. Never had a dog with this behavior. But it sure is cute. My dogs bark when I have somebody knock on the door but that is what they were trained to do and then on cue they go back to their beds when told.

  3. If we go out and leave Maggie by herself, invariably upon our return after voicing her displeasure, she will run away and come trotting back in with a toy. This is one of her favorite things to do. She loves presenting us with her rope or her teddy bear. She just loves to play and have interaction with us. Terrific article, Paul!

  4. All caught up again Paul and loved every post.. 🙂 Wishing both you and Jean Sunny Skies and hope all of your much needed rain doesn’t come all at once.. Sending you both our regards from a Sunny day 🙂 yes its out today UK.. 🙂 Take care both of you.. Hugs Sue 🙂

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