JRT Snapping teeth together ...meaning?

Farma

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Hi all :)
I have 2 jrt's and a baby due in a few weeks, the question I have is that one of them is a 14 month old girl, she is an utter joy, very loving and playful and never shown any aggression in any form (some jealousy toward the other dog but never nasty) BUT when she sits near you and wants attention will open her mouth and snap her teeth to make a sound, it isn't toward us to bite just seems like a habit but not sure if there is another meaning to that behaviour? She is usually wagging her tail at the same time. Any ideas?
 

chillipup

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My last JRT used to teeth-chatter the more excited he got. If he'd killed a rat he'd chatter for quite some time afterwards, with his tail furiously wagging. He'd also do it when playing with a new dog and if they became still, he'd poke them with his nose to play more, his tail wouldn't stop either.

If it's chattering your girl is doing, I'm guessing she's getting a bit excited anticipating getting a fuss from you.
 

Farma

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It seems from excitement but I am not sure, its not chattering its literally opening the mouth wide and snapping down once to make the sound, she does only do it when excited to get a fuss I just don't want to confuse this with her showing some sort of domination or aggression!
 

Bellasophia

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My 14 m schnauzer does this when she wants to initiate play..she will do it in my big dogs face and then they either mouth wrestle or find a toy together...so for me I see it as play. She has not done it to us unless we have the toy and are playing with her.
The chattering is different..usually a male does this and it is caused by excitement...the chattering actually stimulates a gland that gives the dog pleasure...some males will do this if they smell a female dog in heat,
 
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Alec Swan

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It seems from excitement but I am not sure, its not chattering its literally opening the mouth wide and snapping down once to make the sound, she does only do it when excited to get a fuss I just don't want to confuse this with her showing some sort of domination or aggression!

Would it be like a silent bark? If that makes sense!

It sounds suspiciously like she's trying to get your attention and initiating some sort of response. If I'm right, then you have nothing to worry about, it's only frustration.

Alec.
 

Farma

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Thanks so much for the replies that puts my mind at rest, with the baby coming I didn't want to misread her being aggressive!
 

Dry Rot

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I am sure I don't need to say this but I would never trust any dog with a young baby, no matter how much I trusted it otherwise. Two dogs would be even less trust worthy as you then have a pack. Maybe get them used to a kennel now?
 

Dobiegirl

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All my Dobermanns have done this, air snapping, its usually accompanied by a play bow but always with the tail wagging and its to instigate play. They will do it to me or each other.
 

Clodagh

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I am sure I don't need to say this but I would never trust any dog with a young baby, no matter how much I trusted it otherwise. Two dogs would be even less trust worthy as you then have a pack. Maybe get them used to a kennel now?

I am and was a very laid back mother, kids now teenagers so survived my careless attention, but the only dogs who ever bit them were terriers, two seperate JRTs and one border. Terriers can find the whimpering a baby makes very exciting. (Mine weren't babies when bitten, were small children). So, I would get your dogs used to a seperate room maybe now before the birth. :)
 

Farma

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I am and was a very laid back mother, kids now teenagers so survived my careless attention, but the only dogs who ever bit them were terriers, two seperate JRTs and one border. Terriers can find the whimpering a baby makes very exciting. (Mine weren't babies when bitten, were small children). So, I would get your dogs used to a seperate room maybe now before the birth. :)

Thanks, I have had them around babies and the male jrt tried to hump them incessantly which is a worry but I have bought a separator so they have their own area of the lounge and I guess I will just have to be very careful.
 

Clodagh

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Thanks, I have had them around babies and the male jrt tried to hump them incessantly which is a worry but I have bought a separator so they have their own area of the lounge and I guess I will just have to be very careful.

I am sure you will be fine, it just take sa bit of common sense. Good idea to get them used to it now though. I wonder if the male was dominating them? Wierd!
 

alliwantforchristmas

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If the male is a humper you need to take action now. he may be humping for a number of reasons, not nec connected to dominance (infact unlikely to be dominance) more likely to be general over arousal/excitement and 'doesn't know what to do with himself'. i would be setting up baby gates to ensure they can be kept in another room if needs be, as well as your room divider, and training a strong 'on your bed/settle' so you can keep the dog out of the way when you need to. There are lots of resources on the internet for preparing your dog for the arrival of a baby, and the more you can do before the baby arrives the better. Doggone Safe has lots of good info http://www.doggonesafe.com/baby_safety_around_dogs and also ASPCA dogs and babies http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/dogs-and-babies (although the picture accompanying the text is not of a comfortable dog!). Family Paws also has lots of good advice http://familypaws.com/resources/ check out the blog as well. The tooth clacking is a form of communication and not a problem, however as others have said JRTs have strong prey drive and the cry of a newborn (not so bad when a bit older) can be very triggering for them. There are noise desensitization downloads you can get for free - check out Dog's Trust Sounds Soothing.. However, with the downloads, some dogs don't react to those, but do to the baby ... so be aware of that. Some recommend recording the cries of your own particular child, but I think much depends on the quality of the playback.

bottom line is though that none of us can second guess how safe a baby and a dog will be together so arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible and be prepared to get in a good trainer or behaviourist who specialises in child safety with dogs if you feel you need to. The only dog I ever felt I needed to recommend re-homing for with regards to his response to the newborn was a JRT, there was no doubt in my mind that dog would have killed the baby if he had gotten to her. I don't want to scare you but please don't automatically think everything will be OK - do your reading, and prep your dogs, and be prepared to get help if in doubt - without seeing your dogs it is impossible to give any specific meaningful advice regarding safety.
 

Farma

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If the male is a humper you need to take action now. he may be humping for a number of reasons, not nec connected to dominance (infact unlikely to be dominance) more likely to be general over arousal/excitement and 'doesn't know what to do with himself'. i would be setting up baby gates to ensure they can be kept in another room if needs be, as well as your room divider, and training a strong 'on your bed/settle' so you can keep the dog out of the way when you need to. There are lots of resources on the internet for preparing your dog for the arrival of a baby, and the more you can do before the baby arrives the better. Doggone Safe has lots of good info http://www.doggonesafe.com/baby_safety_around_dogs and also ASPCA dogs and babies http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/dogs-and-babies (although the picture accompanying the text is not of a comfortable dog!). Family Paws also has lots of good advice http://familypaws.com/resources/ check out the blog as well. The tooth clacking is a form of communication and not a problem, however as others have said JRTs have strong prey drive and the cry of a newborn (not so bad when a bit older) can be very triggering for them. There are noise desensitization downloads you can get for free - check out Dog's Trust Sounds Soothing.. However, with the downloads, some dogs don't react to those, but do to the baby ... so be aware of that. Some recommend recording the cries of your own particular child, but I think much depends on the quality of the playback.

bottom line is though that none of us can second guess how safe a baby and a dog will be together so arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible and be prepared to get in a good trainer or behaviourist who specialises in child safety with dogs if you feel you need to. The only dog I ever felt I needed to recommend re-homing for with regards to his response to the newborn was a JRT, there was no doubt in my mind that dog would have killed the baby if he had gotten to her. I don't want to scare you but please don't automatically think everything will be OK - do your reading, and prep your dogs, and be prepared to get help if in doubt - without seeing your dogs it is impossible to give any specific meaningful advice regarding safety.

Thanks for taking the time to write this, most helpful. I honestly am not one of these people that is oblivious to the fact my dogs may not react favourably to the baby, the male is not a humper in general just around very tiny children (very bizarre) he is however, extremely sensitive and obedient if I tell him to leave/go to bed/ whatever so he is not out of control and I will be sure that they are not able to get to the baby and certainly wont be left alone with him.
The idea of desensitising them is definitely something I will do over the next few weeks before he arrives, thanks so much x
 

alliwantforchristmas

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no problem, you are welcome :)

the reason for his behaviour around tiny children is probably because he has had limited experience of them, and tiny children do behave in ways that dogs find confusing and bizarre! he probably doesn't even know exactly what they are but he is getting over-aroused in their presence (not sexually, just in general terms of excitement) and doesn't know how to respond to them or how to contain his excitement. That kind of behaviour always rings a bit of an alarm bell for me, as something to just be a bit more aware of. You sound very sensible and I am sure you will manage things well. good luck :)
 
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