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Old 11-29-2010, 11:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Aggressive puppy

Ok, I've got a very aggressive puppy on my hands. She not old bites a great deal, she has actually nipped at me in anger to get something from me. She will growl when playing tug -o-war like she does with her sibbling. I let the toy go when she does this and say no growling. How can I deal with the aggression without making her afraid of me?
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ok, I've got a very aggressive puppy on my hands. She not old bites a great deal, she has actually nipped at me in anger to get something from me. She will growl when playing tug -o-war like she does with her sibbling. I let the toy go when she does this and say no growling. How can I deal with the aggression without making her afraid of me?
I don't recall the age of your pup - It's best you don't play tug with a pup until after their 6 mo. birthday. It tends to make them aggressive!
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You did not say how old your pup is--but ,I havefound that playing tug seemed to enhance agressive behavior--and really just confused the dog--they get excited and become protective of the object. Wouldn't you!!!? I would just try lots of praise and treats and maybe increase the walks--if she is young just a few minutes several times a day with a soft harness. Also how often are you feeding--a hungry dog can get irritable-I found that 3 times a day worked wonders and also I made a big fuss when it was dinner time! Good luck and let us hear from you.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Mine growled too when playing tug a war. So I stopped it and I had to tell all visitors not to do it. It is the most common thing people do I noticed. I just say no to him when he nips (i dont really mind the little growl) and immediately lift my hands. I have to give him a command. When I stop and he still does not let go of the toy, I stand up and then he drops the toy so I won't leave. or you can just walk away. I am setting the rules, it just takes time.may be harder when you have more than one puppy. I read to correct them if they put teeth on. Some times I just have to walk away and start over after he stops playing with the toy. Now he will drop it in front of me and bark for me to play again. a lot depends on her age.

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Old 12-01-2010, 08:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think it might be worthwhile to invest in private lessons with a trainer at this stage while she is still a puppy. If it were me, I would feel more comfortable knowing that I was training the right things now and for the long term. Good luck!
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bandit my shih tzu was aggressive when I first got him home. He didn't have all his shots so I couldn't take him to a trainer so I called a trainer and this is what she told me. Do Not play tug of war and if u do which she doesn't recommend you always have to win because the dog is try to be dominant and if you want something from the dog you should not be afraid to take it away because you need to show the dog you are in charge . She also told me dogs learn better from positive praise vs. Negative. Don't ever hit your dog. I took all her advice and Bandit is no longer aggressive. Hope this help .
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think it might be worthwhile to invest in private lessons with a trainer at this stage while she is still a puppy. If it were me, I would feel more comfortable knowing that I was training the right things now and for the long term. Good luck!
What great advice!
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't recall the age of your pup - It's best you don't play tug with a pup until after their 6 mo. birthday. It tends to make them aggressive!
I completely disagree - Luna plays tug-of-war all the time and has since she was little. She growls and nips in a very playful way - her teeth may touch our hand but NEVER hard (she has a very soft mouth). Playing tug-of-war is actually very valuable in helping timid puppies to come out of their shells and learn how to play.

I do agree that you shouldn't give it to her when she growls - I would take it away or start playing a different game. You letting go reinforces that she growls and she gets what she wants... the toy all to herself. I would distract her with another game if she starts growling or end the game by taking the toy away.

There is a MASSIVE difference between play growling and AGGRESSION.

To girlygirls - how old is your pup? how long has she been doing this? Is she nipping in a playful way?

Alot of young puppies growl and nip and get over excited - it's part of being a puppy. They should learn however not to nip hard and what is acceptable behavior in regards to growling. Growling and Nipping is not aggression in a young puppy - they are playing, learning the boundaries etc.

I have found that if a puppy is nippy and it hurts the best way to teach them to use a soft mouth or that biting is unacceptable is to yelp (try and aim for a puppy in pain yelp), then turn around (or face away) from the puppy and ignore them - you are ending the game and attention from you when they bite or growl. Do not growl back at the dog, hit the dog etc these all reinforce any aggression or make the dog scared.

When the puppy plays without nipping or growling - the way you want - praise them and give them treats.

Do not let playing get to the point where the puppy is overexcited and starts to growl or nip hard.

Of course - there are other opinions and people with more dog training knowledge than me - JMM in particular. I look forward to seeing their responses
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Just wanted to add - that Luna even growls when you take the ball from her mouth - but this is more of a "grrr lets keep playing I'm so excited" growl than I "oi get off me and leave me alone or I will bite you" growl.

I have only heard an aggressive/dominant growl from Luna once and that was when she decided to tell a puppy off for jumping on her when she didn't like it.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I completely disagree - Luna plays tug-of-war all the time and has since she was little. She growls and nips in a very playful way - her teeth may touch our hand but NEVER hard (she has a very soft mouth). Playing tug-of-war is actually very valuable in helping timid puppies to come out of their shells and learn how to play.

I do agree that you shouldn't give it to her when she growls - I would take it away or start playing a different game. You letting go reinforces that she growls and she gets what she wants... the toy all to herself. I would distract her with another game if she starts growling or end the game by taking the toy away.

There is a MASSIVE difference between play growling and AGGRESSION.

To girlygirls - how old is your pup? how long has she been doing this? Is she nipping in a playful way?

Alot of young puppies growl and nip and get over excited - it's part of being a puppy. They should learn however not to nip hard and what is acceptable behavior in regards to growling. Growling and Nipping is not aggression in a young puppy - they are playing, learning the boundaries etc.

I have found that if a puppy is nippy and it hurts the best way to teach them to use a soft mouth or that biting is unacceptable is to yelp (try and aim for a puppy in pain yelp), then turn around (or face away) from the puppy and ignore them - you are ending the game and attention from you when they bite or growl. Do not growl back at the dog, hit the dog etc these all reinforce any aggression or make the dog scared.

When the puppy plays without nipping or growling - the way you want - praise them and give them treats.

Do not let playing get to the point where the puppy is overexcited and starts to growl or nip hard.

Of course - there are other opinions and people with more dog training knowledge than me - JMM in particular. I look forward to seeing their responses
I'm not going to get into a whizzing contest with you. Since I lived in rural Massachusetts and a trainer was purely a concept, I bought a breed specific book written by a highly esteemed breeder here in the U.S. She clearly stated not to play tug-o-war with a pup before they turned 6 mo. for the very reason I stated. Six months is still a young pup. Every pup is very much an individual - believe me, Star didn't need any coaxing to be more confident for he was the litter bully!
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