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Thread: Aggression advice

  1. #1
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    Jun 2004
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    Aggression advice

    I'm just wondering if anybody has any advice on aggressive puppies. Eleanor can be a terror and has been since I got her. She bites so much and I know at 5 months old puppies can be nippy but she's worse than that. She plays with my other dog Sully and he wants to play "chase me for this toy" but she ignores the toy and just plays by biting him. She bites at his infected ear and his eyes, which I'm really worried she will hurt him doing, and just about any other part of him she can bite. She is a resource guarder toward other animals and will take her bone into the other room and then come and attack him for his bone too if I give them anything. She sometimes bites at people, mostly me, especially hands, when she's excited but does not resource guard for people which makes it hard for a person like myself to correct because she doesn't do wrong when I take her stuff or put my hand in her food bowl. She is socialized and gets along with other animals except my sister's dog whom she will attack if we bring her to their house. She hates him for some reason but at the dog park she is too occupied to attack him so we've been having them play together there so we can work our way to them getting along in a less exciting place like at home. I already make her sit and wait for food and am working on waiting at the door. She will be enrolled in obedience classes once she is 6 months because I don't want to do the puppy classes for dogs younger than that as they only teach a few things she already knows like sit and lay down. I'm at the point where I'm looking at muzzles so she can't bite, but that doesn't solve her desire to bite constantly. I'm not really even feeling a bond with her because she has such a bad temperment. Sometimes I look at her and think how much I never would have picked her out of a litter if I had gotten her from a litter of puppies because she can be so nasty. I'm hoping working together in a structured obedience class helps a bit.
    "There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion."

    Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

  2. #2
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    I was going to suggest training classes, but you ended with saying you are headed that way.

    Do speak with the class trainer about her specific issues -- even feel free to print what you posted here, and share it with the trainer. She is young, now is the time to intervene.
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  3. #3
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    Besides classes, and of course having a toy to shove in her mouth if she tries to bite your hands, or remove your hands from the area ... my one piece of advice is persist, this is probably the worst it will be, she will learn, and class will help, and don't give up! This of her as a 12-year-old human - at her most awkward physically, and most challenging emotionally! This too will pass, with some work, but it will pass!
    I've Been Frosted

  4. #4
    Dog exercise burns the dog's excess energy and helps maintain the dog's healthy state of mind. This is important because, in order to talk to the mind, you need to remove the energy from the body.

  5. #5
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    Oh she gets exercise. I live a short drive to the dog park, we can even walk there but not in winter. She's getting a little better but still very possessive against other dogs, especially Sullivan and my sister's dog if we are at their house. If they step on her or run over her while playing, she suddenly goes from play to total off the handle defensive in a split second and runs them off, but then she's fine again a second later. With strange dogs at the dog park she is pretty well fine. If they run her over playing she'll bark at them and let them know "hey be careful" in no uncertain terms, but her reaction is like a normal dog, not a sudden switch.

    She has a very similar temperament to my mom's cocker spaniel. She has a tendency to fly off the deep end like he does if she gets yelled at for something and then I try to reach for her. Like if I tell her sternly no chewing on something then I go to get her to put her in her kennel she may react very violently. My mom's dog will get so defensive he'll break skin if we try to get him to go outside and he doesn't want to then we go to get him to bring him outside (he doesn't like to go outside much, we suspect he may have a grass allergy but my mom hasn't gotten him tested). Neither dog has been abused. We've learned to live with it with Wallace and I know enough to let it go if Ellie starts to get to that point so its not like I've lost fingers or anything. Its just a concern of mine that she flies off the deep end so fast.

    We had to pass on the January classes. We had a scare with her getting sick before registration for the last classes and the money went to the emergency vet. We never officially figured out why she got sick, but she's better now so we will sign up for the next classes that start in March. Its probably for the better anyway because its been so cold this winter that the winter classes have a few make up days because the dog club closed a few times. She already knows sit, stand, down, shake a paw, dance (spin in circle), come, front, wait, drop it. We're working on the over command for jumps.
    "There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion."

    Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by IRescue452 View Post

    She has a tendency to fly off the deep end like he does if she gets yelled at for something and then I try to reach for her. Like if I tell her sternly no chewing on something then I go to get her to put her in her kennel she may react very violently. My mom's dog will get so defensive he'll break skin if we try to get him to go outside and he doesn't want to then we go to get him to bring him outside (he doesn't like to go outside much, we suspect he may have a grass allergy but my mom hasn't gotten him tested).
    Stop reaching for them. Don't 'man handle' them to get them to do what you want.

    Instead, use positive reinforcement. Yes, she is chewing something and you tell her to stop. Do you have treats in your hand? Do you praise and reward her when she drops it, releases it, or walk a step away from it? Keep baggies in the fridge with high value treats: cut up bits of hot dog, Cracker Barrel sharp cheddar cheese, and boiled skinless boneless chicken breast. These are SMALL treats. One hot dog can make 88 treats (I've only ever made 62, but either way, this tells you how small the bits are.)

    So she is chewing something she shouldn't . As you give the command to "leave it," in a calm, quiet, stern voice (NO YELLING!!), move to the fridge and grab a baggie of treats. Return to within 6 feet of her and get her to 'come' and praise and reward! The first few times, you want to really reinforce this, so JACK POT! 5 treats!! After she seems to be getting the idea, you can give her 5 treats when she is fast to respond, and taper down to 3 if she takes 20 seconds to respond -- but this comes LATER.

    Want her to go in her crate? Use the command and treat her. The crate should never become a punishment for the dog. It should be a calm serene place.

    As for Wallace not wanting to go out, can't say as I blame him with this winter! Still, forcing him, pushing him, is NOT the proper way to treat a dog. Positive reinforcement. Put on your jacket, grab a baggie, and use a command. (Mine is: who's coming outie side with Mummy? Yeah, any trainer will tell you that is much too long but heck, it works!). Go out WITH Wallace, move away from the door, call him to you and TREAT TREAT TREAT. Then let him wander a bit. He's a boy, he most likely wants to at least mark something. Take that as a 'business' for now and praise and TREAT TREAT TREAT. And yes, you are going to have to do this EVERY TIME, snow, rain, cold, middle of the night. Do this consistently for 3 weeks. He will get to the point that he will reluctantly, slowly but surely, go out WITH someone. Next you start training him to pee on command. Mine is: do busies. All mine will pee on command, which is really handy when I have to go out for an appointment and know I will be gone 2 hours or more. (I have small dogs, they generally have to pee every 3 to 4 hours)

    Positive reinforcement training WORKS.

    Good luck with both of them.
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  7. #7
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    She knows the command for kennel. I was just giving an example of when she might get overly defensive. I don't normally put her in her kennel except when I have to work. I told her no this morning for chewing on the couch and took a piece of foam from the cushion from her no problem, its only at random times she gets like that. She gets praise when she drops something. I train with positive reinforcement. As I said, she will also get mad in a split second while playing with Sully and then go back to playing again. She also has to control when he has a toy, even if he's in another room she will come and take it and chase him into a corner so he can't have the toy. He puts up with it completely. And Wallace does go out better in the snow than in the grass. He's been like this for life, he's almost 7 now. He will sit inside all day without going out and when you offer him to go outside he hangs his head and runs under a chair like its a punishment. This is also only at random times. It seems to work best to pretend you aren't interested in him anymore and then go scoop him up and put him out. He's trained to go on command to a point where he will fake it to get back inside. Its funny because we know he has to go but he will still fake it and go back in. He might as well pee while he's faking it. Other times he's fine. I used to think he had rage syndrome because that comes with low serotonin levels and he could fall asleep in the middle of running around at the dog park, while other dogs would be too excited to just drop to a dead sleep, but he does have a trigger so its not truly idiopathic.
    "There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion."

    Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by IRescue452 View Post
    He's trained to go on command to a point where he will fake it to get back inside. Its funny because we know he has to go but he will still fake it and go back in.

    First thing in the morning, I get up and get my dogs up and OUT. When they come in, they get a treat. Tasha will go around the corner so I can't see her, then come rushing back and inside for her treat. Three minutes later, she has to go out and pee. So once, I crept over, she just goes around the corner and pauses a second, no business getting done. THEY ARE TOO SMART!!!!
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  9. #9
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    How old was she when you got her? Is she a Cocker? Where did you get her from?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by IRescue452 View Post
    I'm just wondering if anybody has any advice on aggressive puppies. Eleanor can be a terror and has been since I got her. She bites so much and I know at 5 months old puppies can be nippy but she's worse than that. She plays with my other dog Sully and he wants to play "chase me for this toy" but she ignores the toy and just plays by biting him. She bites at his infected ear and his eyes, which I'm really worried she will hurt him doing, and just about any other part of him she can bite. She is a resource guarder toward other animals and will take her bone into the other room and then come and attack him for his bone too if I give them anything. She sometimes bites at people, mostly me, especially hands, when she's excited but does not resource guard for people which makes it hard for a person like myself to correct because she doesn't do wrong when I take her stuff or put my hand in her food bowl. She is socialized and gets along with other animals except my sister's dog whom she will attack if we bring her to their house. She hates him for some reason but at the dog park she is too occupied to attack him so we've been having them play together there so we can work our way to them getting along in a less exciting place like at home. I already make her sit and wait for food and am working on waiting at the door. She will be enrolled in obedience classes once she is 6 months because I don't want to do the puppy classes for dogs younger than that as they only teach a few things she already knows like sit and lay down. I'm at the point where I'm looking at muzzles so she can't bite, but that doesn't solve her desire to bite constantly. I'm not really even feeling a bond with her because she has such a bad temperment. Sometimes I look at her and think how much I never would have picked her out of a litter if I had gotten her from a litter of puppies because she can be so nasty. I'm hoping working together in a structured obedience class helps a bit.

    Thank you for giving advice. we thought on this topic.

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