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Thread: Aggression problem with a 10week old puppy

  1. #1
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    Aggression problem with a 10week old puppy

    (I would have added to cookiebaker's thread but I don't want to take away from her problem)

    Riley has an aggression problem. We have had her 3 weeks now and she is still fighting to be top dog. When she bites and we scold her (we've said NO!, squirted lemon juice in her mouth, ignored her, walked away, pushed her away, yelled OUCH really loudly, tried to make her sit instead, given her a distraction or toy and holding her mouth shut. We even tried flipping her on her back, standing over her and saying no and/or growling at her.) A lot of the times she growls back and won't stop fighting and resisting. She lunges at our faces and bites us all over.. she's giving me welts on my arms and even drew a tiny bit of blood today. I'm afraid that shes becoming too aggressive.. she will never back down. She bares her teeth and growls and runs back for more no matter how much you disipline her. If she was an adult dog she'd have to go away probably because she would be labeled vicious (IMO anyway). Most of the time if she gets "unreasonable" (i call it ATTACKING) we put her in her cage and ignore her until she wakes up from a nap.

    We've called her breeder (who suggested the flipping them over thing and our vet suggested the lemon squirting in the mouth but both seem to aggravate her more.) She's only 10 weeks old and 13 lbs but she thinks she deserves to be top dog. It doesn't help that most of our friends dogs are shy and run away from her (though today she played with a playful dog).

    oh yeah.. and today she was attacking me so bad while I was sitting on the floor that I took her and pushed her off of me pretty hard so she slid about 6 ft away. I think she was very surprised but she didn't bite me for a while. Now that is a last resort but we need to lay down the law here.. she should not still be fighting for dominance. We are very assertive and firm with her and she has been socialized very well.. someone is with her or playing with her 24/7.

    help help help help help
    Riley's Dogster page




    Thanks Ashely!

  2. #2
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    Eesh, I had to deal with this with Kaedyn too! He was just too darn dominant with us.

    First, get her started on NILIF, nothing in life is free. For every meal, she has to obey a command. For every walk, she has to obey. Every treat, every pat on the head, EVERYTHING has to be earned. This seems to help a lot of people since it's not a very pushy way of earning respect and you have total control. Also, don't let her on any furniture (for now at least).

    With Kaedyn, everytime he looked at me, I made sure to keep looking into his eyes until he looked away. Dominant dogs may keep at it for a while but no matter how long she looks, just keep on lookin'.

    Also, work on down with her. It's a submissive position for dogs. I saw that once Kaedyn started downing without a problem, everything went smoothly from there.

    I wouldn't do the alpha roll on her if she has bitten you. It's really risky doing that. I prefer to earn the respect instead of forcing it out of them.

    Make her realize that the sun rises and sets with you. Everything comes from you. When you do obedience commands, make sure you enforce it and have her do it every single time. I found that practicing obedience commands with Kaedyn really sped up the process.

    Kai [Sheltie], Kaedyn [Sheltie], Keeva [Malinois], Kwik [Malinois]

  3. #3
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    Thanks so much for responding.. yes, we have had her on the furniture while she's sleeping but we will definitley stop that.. I can see how that would be a problem.

    The eye thing is sort of weird because usually she doesn't look at me for very long then she starts making sounds for me to get off of her.

    Yes we do make her do a command for pretty much everything.. especially toys. She knows when we hold up a toy that if she wants it she sits.

    We've tried to teach her down ever since she learned sit but she doesn't care to learn it. if you go near her feet she'll bite you and if you pull the treat down on the floor she'll just get up and walk over to it.
    Riley's Dogster page




    Thanks Ashely!

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by luckilab03
    We've tried to teach her down ever since she learned sit but she doesn't care to learn it. if you go near her feet she'll bite you and if you pull the treat down on the floor she'll just get up and walk over to it.
    That's one stubborn pup you've got! LOL.

    I talked to a trainer once. She mentioned that you could teach it by just keeping on eye on the dog and everytime it's just about to down, you say down and praise like crazy. I don't know how effective it'll be but hey..might as well give it a shot.

    Kai [Sheltie], Kaedyn [Sheltie], Keeva [Malinois], Kwik [Malinois]

  5. #5
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    Eeek.. Hmm.. are you planning on taking her to Puppy Classes? None of my 4 dogs have been to obedience school, but none of them have ever had aggression problems like that.. Maybe Puppy Obedience would help her? Not sure how old the pup has to be to enter classes though..

    I've noticed that Labs seem to be getting more aggressive. There was a 5 month old Lab puppy at our dog park once, and she was attacking the other dogs at the park pretty aggressively. Even I had to pull her off this other pup once because the owner was too far away from her to grab her. It may be over-breeding that's causing the problem though. Makes me sad..

  6. #6
    I would not recommend using the alpha roll. You may be strong enough to over power her now, but you may not always be. Using force is not a way to get what you want from a dog.
    Definitely look into using the NILIF program.
    Here are a few links for you:
    http://members.aol.com/dplantier/nilif.htm

    http://www.k9deb.com/nilif.htm

    http://www.k9force.net/nilif.html

    Some tips for teaching down are when you are trying to lure her place your hand on her rump when she is sitting so she can't get up and slowly lower the treat to right in between her feet. You may have to at first just reward her for putting her head to the ground and not a full out down at first.
    Another thing you can do with luring is kneel on the ground with one leg stretched out in front of you. Have her on one side of your knee and the treat on the other and lure her under so that she has to lower herself down to the ground to get the treat.
    Another way is to stand her up on a table where she is unsure of jumping off and lower the treat to the edge.
    Teaching the down from a stand may also work for her. When she is standing lower the treat to between her legs. If she goes into a "bow" stance you can give her the treat and gently press on her rump.

    One final tip is to teach down after she's had an especially hard play session. If she's tired she's more likely to want to lay down.

    Good luck!!


    *Thanks Ashley*

  7. #7
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    Yes, we've been talking about puppy kindergarten but she has to be a little bit older I think.. she gets her third/last set of shots in a month I think, I'm not sure.
    Riley's Dogster page




    Thanks Ashely!

  8. #8
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    I'm so glad you are trying to correct this now instead of waiting until she's an adult and a lot bigger. I don't have any advice, though. Sounds like you've gotten some good stuff that I'll have to remember for the future. Duke's been a wonderful dog so I haven't had any of those problems.

    9/3/13
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  9. #9
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    Hi luckilab03!

    First, you need to nix the aggressive tactics, as you've found out they're making the problem worse.

    Second, you need to pick one tactic and stick with it. There's no instaneous fixes. It takes calm, consistency over time for puppies to learn things. Bouncing from one thing to another isn't teaching her anything, except for maybe that her leader's indecisive and that there's no order to the pack, so maybe she needs to step up and put things right. I've got a 15 week old Collie puppy, Gully, right now and if he bites me, I just say "No bite" and then give him something appropriate to chew on. Eventually I started to see some improvement. It did not happen over night. You also mentioned she won't let you touch her feet without biting. Gully didn't like me messing with his face. Here's a lil' trick that worked really well with him. Put some peanut butter on your finger or if she wants to chomp on your finger, then put it in the palm of your hand. You're wanting to promote licking here, not biting. As she's licking the peanut butter, say something like, "Give me kisses" and with your other hand, touch and massage her feet and any other places she's not comfortable with you touching. Keep doing that everyday. You should be able to incorporate this if she starts to bite you too. Just say "No bite", then "Give me kisses". You may wanna make sure you've got treats in your pocket at all times, so that when you get the kisses vs the bite, you can reward it immediately.

    Third, you mentioned playing with her 24/7. I know you don't mean that literally, but it does sound like you're maybe playing too much with her. That's way too much attention and stimlui for a puppy. She needs to learn to be calm too. Put her on a leash. Tell her "Settle", then just step on the leash near her, to where the only comfortable position is for her to lay down. No yanking on the leash or yelling at her if she goes nutz jumping around. Just ignore her. When she finally lays down, say very calmly, "Good Settle", then go back to ignoring her. Since she's so young, start with just having her settle for maybe a minute or two and slowly build up the minutes. Give her a release word, like "Okay", then have her reward be a play session.

    What type of games are you playing with her? I wouldn't do any rough housing, wrestling, chase or tug games with her. I'd only be playing fetch and catch type things with her right now. She's a Lab, so it hopefully it shouldn't be too hard to teach her to fetch. Gully learned this pretty quickly and being a Collie, it's not real high on the list of his instinctual traits. Go into a small enclosed room, so she can't run off with the toys. Have 2 that she's interested in. Throw one and tell her to "Go get it", once she picks it up, make a big deal about the second toy in your hand. If you do it excitedly enough, she should come back for the second toy. Hopefully she's still holding the 1st toy. If she is, say "Bring it here". Stay excited about the 2nd toy in your hand, so she'll want that one enough to drop the 1st toy. As she's dropping it, say "Drop it", then quickly toss the 2nd toy and start the whole process over again. Make sure you stop the game before she gets bored with it. Oh and make sure you're not leaving the toys laying around for her to play with whenever she wants. Chew stuff is fine for her by herself, like Kongs, but toys need to be only when she's interacting with you, so you and the toy stay exciting for her.

    Finally, it looks like you're having some major leadership issues. I'd definitely go with binka_nuggets suggestion of NILIF. Also, make sure you're going through doors first, eating first, ignoring her for about 5 mins when you first come home, stay consistent with rewards and punishments, and keep her off the bed and furniture.

    Good luck!
    Par...


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  10. #10
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    Hi Luckilabo03-

    I can't add to what has already been mentioned, but, your puppy isn't too young for classes. Call Queen City Dog Training Club at 772-3340. I can personally 'vouch' for the club- my dad and stepmom are both members!! They have a brand new facility in Sharonville (which I have yet to see), and have classes geared to the puppy dogs.

    Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Well, I can tell you the way I'm teaching Major to do a lot of stuff. Before he ate, I would make him sit. I fed him three times a day, so I would not give him the food until he sat. After a while he would start sitting so I would just say "Sit!" and after a couple days, he knew what it meant. He's had some real problems with down, so what I have done is just take him to the yard, make him go down, and give him the treat. By making him go down, I make him sit, pull the treat down near his paws, pull it out a little, and then move it up a little so he is in down but his head is up. Once he got comfortable with that, I would hold the treat for a few seconds, about 5 inches from his face, in my palm hidden, and then I'd give it to him. Now I started making him go down for food. It took a while, but not he is finally learning it. I can say down and he will go down.(for food, we're still working on other times)

    If she's anything like Major, you probably can't get real close to her face, and sit by her. Well, I could never get to close to Major's face, even when I was standing and bending over to pet him. I would always have to watch out because he'd jump up and "bite" my nose. And sitting next to him was out of the question. Now I can sit by him and usually he's great, but sometimes he still likes to lick a lot, but not as bad as before. The way he learned that was actually accident. While I was teaching him "shake" I'd go down to shake (once he was sitting) and he knew the treat was in my hand so he'd jump up at it. I just stood up, walked a few steps, and did the same thing again. Every time he jumped, I stood up. Pretty soon he was offering me his paw.

    You could aslo try to ONLY give her attention when she is calm. If she is calm, sees you coming over, gets all excited, you could just turn away and come on Pet Talk!

    Sometimes you sure can get impatient with puppies, eh? I would know, Major. But you just gotta keep on trucking, listen to some good music to keep you upbeat, and if you get really aggrivated, you could just stand up, walk away, and count to 10.

    And I agreee, have treats with you all the time. I've taken to wearing a sweater/vest/jacket all the time, and all of mine have little dog treats I've cut up in them. Whenever Major does something, I give him one. It's useful for things like that.

    -thank you Poppy for the avatar.


    R.I.P. Hanson. You will never be forgotten, and we await the day to see you once again. The imprint you left on my heart will never fade - your big beautiful brown eyes, your big soggy kisses...

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