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My puppy is aggressive


Sep 4, 2003, 12:57 AM

Post #1 of 4 (1646 views)
My puppy is aggressive Can't Post

I have a 10 week old rotti/german shepard pup, who we got from the pound. The first week was great but then he started biting us very agressively, causing us to bleed. We tried hold his mouth closed but not hurting him of course, laying on his back until he was submissive and yelling ouch, but nothing works. As soon as we let him go he lunges at us again. He has also started growling at other dogs and children and snapped at me when I was holding him. Is this normal? Can anyone help please?


Sep 4, 2003, 1:34 AM

Post #2 of 4 (1635 views)
Re: [dieselthepup] My puppy is aggressive [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello ... Smile ...

Need to know a little more:

(a) Where are your from? USA, UK ... from your use of the expression "pound" can we take it that you are not from Malaysia?

(b) Are you an adult?

(c) What do you mean the first week was great? ... How was the puppy behaving during the 1st week? ...

(d) Who do you mean by "us"? Do you have children? If so, how old are the children and how do they relate to the pup?

(e) Who has the pup bitten so far? What were the circumstances that led to the biting?

(f) Where do the "... other dogs and children" come from?

You ask whether it is normal? ... Unsure ... NO, it is not normal for a 10week pup to be aggressive.

The key is to try and find out WHY? ... Maybe you can start by doing the following:

(1) Answer the queries above - that will provide some background and may hopefully lead to some possible solutions.

(2) Go back to the 'pound' and check the circumstances under which the pup was brought to the pound. Get as much history as possible. Ask whether the pup has misbehaved before.

There is concern because your posting seems indicates a possibility that the aggression may have been triggered AFTER the pup was brought into your home. That possibility cannot be discounted at the moment.

In the meantime ... please be careful ... forceable handling of the pup without identifying why the pup is behaving aggressively can or may be counter-productive ... A 10week old pup (even a Rottie/German mix) is still a very young dog ... and can be handled safely by an adult without need for undue force.

However if you feel that the situation is an emergency (and you are best placed to know) then please seek advice/assistance/help from experienced dog owners, breeders or trainers where you are ... am sure the people at the pound can help ... Speed and prompt response can make a difference.

It would not be wise to rely entirely on this forum for immediate suggestions or solutions because it's very difficult to assess or suggest solutions with respect to aggression without being able to see the pup and its environment.



Sep 4, 2003, 2:24 AM

Post #3 of 4 (1634 views)
Re: [surchinmy] My puppy is aggressive [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll try to answer your questions in order, I am from Vancouver, BC, Canada and the pup came from the SPCA.

I am 25 years old and I live with my husband and cat.

The first week the pup was chewing our hands but more in an exploratory manner as opposed to when he became aggressive. He is a very smart dog and learnt commands quickly but it seemed when we were not paying all our attention to him, he would start with the biting, such as meal times. He is also worse if we are on the floor with him, which I know hear is not the best thing to do.

My husband has three children from his previous marriage, ages 9,11, and 13 that are only with us 1 or 2 night per week. They did have some interaction with the pup and he was not aggressive with any of them. He did start biting one of the kids hands but more in a playful manner, when she was laying on the ground.

The pup has bitten my husband and my hands to the point of bleeding and also the vets which he had to be taken to because he became aggressive with an adult lab/rotti who put him in his place.

The other dogs are ones that he sees while out for his walks, he seems fine with some of them but others he growls and snarls at. I had to pick him up one evening as he was acting this way towards a small dog and I was afraid he was going to hurt the other dog. While I was holding him the growling continued and he turned his head towards my face and tried to bite me. Another night we were out for a walk and a father and 3 year old were walking by, my pup started growling and snarling and trying to get at the child.

I have contacted the spca where I got him and his life so far consists of being found in the woods with his four brothers and sisters and mother who only weighed 25lbs. The mother had been abused and starved and was therefore unable to care for the pups. The foster mother who had all 6 dogs seperated the mother from them as she was being aggressive towards them and bottle fed the pups. They were taken to the spca for adoption when they were 9 weeks old. Our pup was the runt and was picked on a fair amount and the foster mother suggested that now he is in a home on his own he is trying to be dominant. None of the other owners have had similar problems with their pups.

The spca had me take our pup to them so the foster mother could work with him for a couple of weeks which we though was a great idea. To do this we signed over our rights to him. We have just found out that the foster mother does not have him and he has been at the spca for the past 4 nights. They won't tell us what's going on even though they know we still want this dog, and were just looking for some assistance. I'm going to keep fighting to get my pup back so I am trying to educate myself as much as possible as to how I can help this dog. Thank you so much to everyone for any input they have. If anyone knows of a good trainer in the Vancouver, B.C. area that could help us please let me know. We don't have thousands of dollars but we will get the pup as much help as we can. Thanks again.


Sep 4, 2003, 4:03 AM

Post #4 of 4 (1627 views)
Re: [dieselthepup] My puppy is aggressive [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi ...

Thanks for responding ... Smile...

Okay ... here goes ...

Without being able to see the pup or you guys ... or your interaction one with the other ... am going to have to make some assumptions and guesses ... will do best I can...

Dog aggression: Dogs become aggressive & bite for a whole host of reasons. It can be brought about by anxiety and/or fear (real or even just perceived by the dog) ... when a dog thinks it is threatened ... it bites.

But in your case ... it does sound a lot more like the pup is trying to assert dominance rather than fear aggression ... but at 10weeks, it's a bit early for that to happen (could the pup be older than you think?) ... but it does sound very much like dominance ...

Dominance aggression is a complicated process that occurs in dogs - female or male, but most often with male dogs ... being the runt in the litter may have aggravated the situation. Now, free of older bigger dogs - the little fella is flexing his muscles ...

But your situation does sound a little serious ... and really needs immediate attention.

Start training immediately.

Get a good training manual ... Will suggest you do not use the "clicker" method of training for now ... think you need a more hands on method ... using leash and slip collar ... Delegate one person to do training (need to get the pup to recognise one master quickly) in the beginning but as soon as possible - for all members of family to take part ... Take the dog through the usual standard sit, heel and stay routine. Be extremely diligent with training ...

Have little discussion amoug family and follow recommendations in training manual and for all family members to be consistent in method of command, praise, reward & reprimand ...

Training is often recommended by experts as a means of reestablishing "pecking" order in a reasonable way without resorting to physical punishment.

Cautions: Together with the usual commands & training ... you have to deal with the mouthing, biting & growling in a consistent manner ...

(a) No mouthing is to be allowed at all.

(b) For sure no biting at all.

(c) No growling either ... whether at you or family or others or other dogs.

Reprimand: Even as you see the pup is about to (try and catch it before it misbehaves, catching it as it is thinking of misbehaving is best and most effective ... not easy to do but can be done) mouth, bite or growl ... emit a low growling sound from base of your throat ... and go "NOOOOOOOOOOO" ... keep tone low and fierce ... immediately hold the pup by the scruff of its neck and hold pup place ...

Keep a firm grip, strong enough so that dog cannot beak grip. You must show dog that you are stronger.

(Do not shake the pup or hit the dog ... just grab it by the scruff and hold ... you can lift pup slightly off the ground to reduce struggling ...)

I am (personally) not convinced that the Alpha Roll (rolling dog over on its back) does much good - unless you are experienced and can execute the Alpha Roll effectively in one quick movement ... executed wrongly - it can makes things worse, 'cos the dog then learns you are not as strong or quick as he is.

(Also remember, it is not repeated "NO NO NO" but one long "NOOOOO" just like a growl a mother dog would do when displeased with pup ...)

If the pup responds by stopping unacceptable behaviour. Praise & treat ... At this stage - the only praise is a cheerful "good dog" and a pat ... or a little biscuit ... but no playing with the pup ... do not go overboard with the praise ... there is still a long way to go ...

But if the pup continues to misbehave - then your reaction must be immediate - take the pup to a corner of the house and leash him on a short leash - just enough to sit or lie down but not to move. Leave him there alone - everyone is to ignore him. If he cries or struggles - leave him there ... until he is quiet.

Once he has been quiet for a while - put him through his sit, heel & stay routine ... and then release the pup ...

This ought to be the routine for the pup until he learns that the whole family is "above" him in the pack.

Please watch the younger children - kids can get over enthuiastic over disciplining a dog - that may not be good - you do not want to frighten the pup either.

You have to be firm - don't feel sorry for the pup - don't give in ... be firm but fair - above all everyone must be CONSISTENT.

General: Until the misbehaviour is undercontrol remember the following points

(a) Not not pet the pup when he comes to you. You decide when he can be petted. You have to establish yourself as pack leader. You lead he follows.

(b) Restrain all over-affection until the pup responds consistenly to commands and signals.

(c) When feeding the pup. Feed yourself and family first then feed pup. Let the pup see you guys eat. Let him sit and wait. No treating at your table.

(d) When feeding him ... DO NOT let him become possessive over his food ... Check the training manual - most manuals will have a chapter on "food possessiveness" ... apply and practice. Let pup learn you control his food.

(e) When walking him ... use a slip chain ... if he even thinks about growling at another dog or person ... jerk the slip chain quick and sharp - shock him ... (remember to jerk & immediately release) ... Emit low growl "NOOOOOOO" ... and get hand on his scruff and hold tight ... he is not to be released until he quiets down. Trying to protect you from other dogs is a sign of dominance - he's the protector. You need to reverse the role.

(f) Some experts say to avoid all tugging games ... I am not so sure - I think tugging games is okay but if you do play tugging games ... win more often than you lose. But no playing until pup learns to behave reasonably.

(g) Do not let him try to hump you or any other member of the family. Humping is rewarded with an immediate growl from you.

(e) When one person reprimands - the others keep quiet. Let one command be the general nature of things.

(f) Keep your low growl handy always and be ready to use. Expect and demand immediate cessation of bad behaviour.

I know it can be hard but don't feel sorry for him now ... you have to train him first. Your training is done with love - you are helping him become a good member of your family. Feeling sorry for him makes him worse.

Do not underestimate the difficulty of your situation. A Rottie/GSD cross is going to be a big dog - and if it thinks its the pack leader - you will have problems.

There are more severe and harsh methods for controlling dominance aggression - but I'd rather you try the above first ... Smile

But please remember - cannot tell or explain everything over this forum ... please look for (a) good training manual and (b) a good book on dog behaviour ... it will be worth every cent.

Good luck Smile

not sound like anxiety o

(This post was edited by surchinmy on Sep 4, 2003, 4:05 AM)


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