The famous Labrador “soft mouth”

9 Jan

The Labrador retriever is renowned for its “soft mouth”. This essentially means that it has the ability to hold something in its mouth with an extremely light grip, so not to cause any damage. The most common example is its ability to hold an egg in its mouth without breaking it. This is just one of its abilities that make it perfect for the role of a gun dog.

However, it is important that dog owners do not simply expect this from their puppy, but teach it to them.

Playing is extremely important to puppies when they are growing up.  One theory is that play enables them to develop the motor control required for long term survival. Another important aspect of play is that they begin to learn bite inhibition. Puppies are not born into this world instinctively knowing how hard to bite (or not bite), they have to learn it. When they play with their litter mates, and they bite too hard, the little mate will whine or perhaps stop the game, therefore letting the puppy learn that it has bitten too hard. Through this type of play, a puppy will learn how hard is too hard, but only regarding other dogs.

It is our job, as humans to teach a puppy how hard to bit other humans, or best of all, not  to bite humans at all. Again, this is done through play and human-dog interactions. As mentioned before (in the bite post about Maya), there are a number of ways in which you can teach your puppy that it is not acceptable to bite a human. I would also add to always remind your dog to be gentle when accepting a treat so that it grows up knowing not to get overexcited and no accidentally damages are caused to the human.

If you would like to know some more about Labradors and their soft mouths in particular there are a number of websites which have a variety of information both from dog experts and the general public.

http://www.lab-retriever.net

http://www.justlabradors.com

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