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January 16, 2012
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In Nosework Training: How Long Can You Train?

In Nosework Training:
How Long Can You Train?

Ed Frawley and Andrew Ramsey discuss the length of a nosework training session, as well as some of the factors that may effect your training session.

January 16, 2012 | 4 Minutes, 19 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A

Question: My dog can sit for hours constantly mouthing a stuffed animal toy. Can you shine some light on what we might be seeing? Is this a nervous tic or a precursor to guarding?

Hello Cindy. 

I am hoping you can help shed some light on a particular chewing behavior our dog has. He’s a 7-month-old male Malinois who has grown up the Leerburg way and he’s a great dog with no real problems. However, he can sit for hours constantly mouthing a stuffed animal toy. If there’s no stuffed animal, he will do this with his dog bed. By mouthing, I mean he chews on the toys. He’s not tearing it or trying to destroy it, just repetitively “mouthing” it and he looks like he’s zoned out. He is not possessive of, but it’s like his pacifier.     

Can you shine a light on what we might be seeing? Is this a nervous tic or a precursor to guarding? Is this the dog’s version of a horse “cribbing” or is it natural behavior to not worry about? I don’t want to encourage an obsessive behavior or one that may lead to some other unwanted behavior.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you


It’s a “nursing” behavior so your pacifier reference is correct. You are fortunate he isn’t doing this to himself, some dogs engage in what is called “flank sucking” where they do this to their own side and it’s almost impossible to stop.

There are different theories about it but I’ve noticed it runs in families, I know Malinois, Dobermans and German Shepherds that do this.  Some of them are big tough working dogs, so it really is just a quirk within the dog and it doesn’t seem to compromise working ability. :)

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Behavioral Problems.


We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Search Engine. This search engine was written specifically for Leerburg by our in house IT manager. Our search engine is specific to Leerburg and only searches leerburg.com and the Leerburg web forum. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at cindyr@leerburg.com. If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

For Mr. Frawley:
My family of five democratically adopted a Shih Tzu/Maltese female a year ago. I had the single no vote, because I knew the work that was going to be required. Thank goodness I found your website before the dog came home! I can't resist telling you that the information on pack structure, crate training, and housebreaking was invaluable to the yes voters, and limited the "I-told-you-so"s. 
Yes, we've had a few "accidents," but fortunately we had something to reference, so we knew whose fault they were (ours), and that all hope wasn't lost. Patience, common sense, and application of principles have made our home a happy one for us and our dog. Thank you.
Cheyenne, WY

Leerburg's Video on Demand
Leerburg's Video on Demand Tutorial



Leerburg's Video on Demand Tutorial
6 Minutes, 0 Seconds

A tutorial on how to use Leerburg's Video on Demand program. We cover the basics on navigating the website, finding free and paid videos, including troubleshooting issues that you may stumble upon. We want you to maximize your experience here on Leerburg's Video on Demand and take advantage of the features we have to offer.

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The MES Immersion Program is a comprehensive education in multiple aspects of dog training, with plenty of opportunity to delve into the theory behind our system, and as much supervised practice as each student wants to take on. This program is for the students that can completely commit themselves to learning the art and science of dog training over a 5 month (22 week) period. The course involves, in part, taking each of our core courses twice, private training sessions with Michael and his staff, shadowing our instructors during private lessons and personal training, assisting in class demos, working with shelter dogs, visiting local clubs and training groups, learning the business of dog training, and generally immersing oneself in our world. There is no more diverse and thorough program in the country. For students with the time and commitment this is our flagship program.

Read more about the MES Immersion Program.

More details on courses, course content and dates available on Michael's website.

Openings are limited! Register now!

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