Puppy Aggression

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by mvotcdogs, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. mvotcdogs New Member

    Not sure how to handle this one. We’ve got a 4 month old English Shepherd.

    For the most part he minds well, but there are times when there’s something he really really wants or wants to do, he does not take direction or correction from us. For example, coming in from outside, he passed the recycling bin and waned to investigate the contents. I placed my hand on his collar to gently guide him away from the bin and into the house. He growled and snapped at me. On another occasion, he was caught stealing food from the table. When I took the food away, he jumped and snapped at my face. He pulled over the coat rack and was dragging one of the coats across the floor, when my daughter went to get the coat away from him, he threw a “hissy fit” growling and snapping. When our older dog corrects him, he’s very vocal in his response to the correction making it clear he does not appreciate the correction. He reminds me of a two year old throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store because mom wouldn’t let him have what he wants. I want to make sure we handle these episodes of aggression correctly to avoid more serious problems as he gets older. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. Mutt Experienced Member

    I'm assuming the dog has been with you since 8 weeks?

    First I don't see this as agression, he clearly has a strong character ;)
    Are you going to a dogschool with him?

    This is how I would handle the given situation, but keep in mind that I only now what you wrote and I am no expert ;)
    First of all I would go less for physical manipulation. So in the first situation I would have called the dog, personally I don't see harm in a dog sniffing (they are afterall 'nose' animals).
    Taking food away (or any item) can be done best with trading so take a nice treat and give that treat in return for taking the object. Second be consequent and set rules. Also preventing is better than correcting.
    How old is your daughter? I wouldn't let small children handle/correct wrong behavior.
  3. Mutt Experienced Member

    I'm forgetting the most import question:
    What does the average day of your pup look like?
  4. mvotcdogs New Member

    It sounds like we’re on the right track then. We’ve been trading treats for inappropriate items. There have been a few instances because of safety reasons we’ve had to forcibly remove an object from his mouth (he’ll eat anything and everything if given the opportunity). We do our best to have a few treats on our persons at all times just for such occasions, but occasionally he catches us unprepared. We have three other dogs and have been training in obedience, rally, and agility for five years, but this was the first time we’ve come across one that snaps and so visibly shows his displeasure. His character and will does appear to be stronger than our other three.
    (Learn something new with each new dog.) When he does snap (not puppy mouthing, he can get very emotional – angry when his inappropriate behavior is interrupted), we stay calm, give a strong no or no bite and with one hand hold the side of his neck or scruff (to avoid further bites) until he settles down then release and walk away. I don’t like rolling him over on his back unless he offers this position himself. Is there any other method that is better to use when he does bite?


    To answer your second question “what does his average day look like,” the first part of the morning before feeding is play time. He gets one on one play time with us (fetch, tug, etc. indoors and outdoors) or sometimes he prefers to play rough house with the other dogs. After chow time we minimize physical activity, he settles in for a nap. Throughout the day we work on basic obedience commands – come, sit, stay, etc. mixed with play. Three nights a week we attend obedience classes with all four dogs. Evenings seem to be his highest level of energy which most of the time he burns off playing with the other dogs.
  5. Mutt Experienced Member

    Also the best way is to prevent (so put stuff away when you are gone/things you think are likely to be snatched).
    Biting I would ignore, but since you are saying its no puppy mouthing but actual 'biting' I'd go for a sit/lie down/stay/go to your mat.

    Is the obdience intense? or because you do it with all four, not very long per dog (he's quite young so he sure needs his rest). Though with him being your fourth dog, I don't think I'm telling you anyting new ;)

    Maybe I'm misreading but do you walk your dog?

    Also the dog in your profile pic looks like sweety (and handsome too)!
  6. kassidybc Experienced Member

    Sorry, not much help on the aggressive half, but hopefully i can be of some help with dogs taking stuff they shouldn't have! I don't know if you already tried this or if he already knows this, but a good drop it works wonders! First teach it with toys and stuff, then practice having him drop items he's not supposed to have. Remember to reward him big time when he drops it himself!

    Is there anything specific that he tends to steal?
  7. danibdo Member

    Hi!
    And what do you do when the puppy only respond for the food? I've tried redirect her biting with play time and toys but she can't snap out of it.. She keeps lauching over me and biting (though she ' s only 59 days, she is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier) she is not neeping, she is biting (even shaking her head). Finally I have to leave the room or take her somewhere else and lock her in for a while...

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