When I first got Loki nine days ago, his human parents warned me that he liked to bite.
While I didn’t experience a lot of biting, I noticed that he does like to snap the air. He seems to like the sound of his teeth clicking together and he was using his mouth a lot.
When I praise him, pet him or hug him, if I get too effusive he goes berserk-o. He can’t handle a lot of affection; it just overstimulates him. He wants to jump up and hug me and bite me. He may think they are love bites — but it’s too much mouth.
Therefore, while training, I have used exercises that keep him off my person. We don’t have a lot of physical contact, although I do pat him now and then and tell him, “Good boy.”
This seems like a shame; after all, who doesn’t want to hug their dog? But I think it will pass. As he learns new habits, and calming behaviors, he will not feel the need to explode with joy anytime someone gives him a little attention.
With the teeth gnashing, I started encouraging it by doing a quick imitation “play bow” while he was in the down position. He loved this! He would immediately stretch his legs and snap, snap the air.
I started clicking him for that, and then put it on cue with the words, “Tell me!” (This could be changed to the traditional “Speak” if his owners want to, later.)
Today, for the first time, he actually barked out loud, instead of just snapping the air. And, the snapping behavior is already beginning to decrease at other times.
Most folks think that tricks are just for fun, but many times, they do begin with a purpose.