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Hard Mouth in Gundogs

-Why it exists (Genetics vs Environment)

-High predation (drive building)

-High possession (tug o war)

-High independence (lack of early social development)

-Competitive aggression (Aggressing game in the presence of handler)

-Resource value (value games)

-Resource guarding (in tandem with hard mouth) not uncommon


-Why it doesn’t 

-Why do we see some dogs that are high in prey without problematic predatory behaviors.

-Handler engagement

-High in socially appropriate attributes

-“Retrieve drive”

-Natural retrieve development

How to “fix” it

Trained retrieve (conditioned and disciplinary)

-Condition retrieve of unsatisfying objects then transfer appropriate behaviors to satisfying objects.

-Neutralizing prey triggers (working in different drives or lower states of drive)


-Reward based 

-Condition picking up/carrying/delivering

-Neutral delivery target (place board) to alleviate handler conflict

-May fail as value of prey item increases

-Spiked harness, wire bristle brushes, etc

-Force Fetch