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Dominating behaviour from puppy??

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by Mrs S, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Mrs S

    Mrs S Member Registered

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    Hi all,
    I posted on here quite a while back about my friends puppy who has been causing her issues. Quick back story: puppy wasn't planned... He was dumped on my friend by her sister who couldn't cope with him. He was not toilet trained at all and was displaying aggressive behaviour which we hoped was just normal puppy play.
    Just over a month on from my last post and we have had a little progress with the toilet training. He is holding his toilet for longer and is having less accidents in the house. He is also starting to toilet in the back garden which is progress.... However the aggression has got much much worse and for some reason seems to be aimed solely at my friend. He's quite calm and well behaved with my friends mum but with my friend he is a different dog. Constantly growls and bites. My friend said it feels like he's trying to dominate her but is this normal behaviour in a pup?? (we think he's around 8 months) The biting is getting worse and is drawing blood now. He is also quite aggressive towards my husband and me when we see him but my friend seems to be the target. Clearly we are doing something wrong here??
    If anyone can advise? I'm aware we need to get him to classes asap but unfortunately things have been a little bit difficult of late.. My husband and I have been back in Essex as his dad is in hospital so my friend is trying to cope with the pup on her own, she's also a carer for her mum and grandad.
    Could his behaviour be a dominance thing or is it purely just normal puppy behaviour?? I'm not so sure now?
    Any advice welcomed!
     
  2. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    I would say a puppy using one member of the household as a chew toy is normal at 10-14 weeks but at 8 months?
    I think maybe its time for a trainer or behaviorist to step in..
     
  3. Mrs S

    Mrs S Member Registered

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    Do you think? Well we are heading back up to hers next week so we can help with training and getting him to classes. My friend is in a state at the moment because he's been relentless.
     
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  4. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    In a puppy's development they go through stages just like us humans, but what this age of a dog should have had is proper socialisation with other people and dogs, this is vital to get the best traits from your dog. It seems to me that this dog hasn't had any proper training or disaplinatry behaviour done by owners. A dog can be dominant but in my opinion I would say this is not the case, as I think the dog has fear aggression towards people due to a lack of socialisation skills when he was younger... Every dog has phases some less than others but every dog has them in their lifes so tell your friend not to worry, if she is nervous then speak to a vet they can give amazing advice and help... Hope this helps if you have any more questions then just ask :)
     
  5. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Dominance is pretty much a myth in dog behaviour. The theory of a dog trying to be 'alpha' was based on erroneous science and has now been disproved: https://positively.com/dog-training/myths-truths/the-truth-about-dominance/

    It's not possible to interpret the behaviour without seeing it, but I'd be looking for specific triggers - when does this happen? What happened immediately before? I'd also want to have a complete picture of the dog's daily life, to see if he was getting all the physical and mental exercise he needed. It could even be overexcitement, and your friend is a 'safe' person to take it out on (my dog only ever jumped up on me and OH). If it's overexcitement (and overaroused dogs can still bite quite hard) then it will be a case of channeling the dog's energy in different ways. The first step would be whenever the dog bites, to calmly turn away and leave the room to give him a timeout.

    Aggression often comes with a freezing of the dog, a baleful fixed look in the eye, and, unless the dog has been punished for growling (which you should never do as you really want the dog to let you know how he's feeling), he may growl first. Though play can also involve growly noises.

    At 8 months old, the dog will be entering into adolescence and if he's not neutered testosterone will be kicking in, resulting in behaviour rather like adolescent human males, so this could also be a factor.

    It would be worth your friend getting a behaviourist in to observe the dog's behaviour and work out what is underlying it. But bear in mind that anyone can call themselves a behaviourist, and some will still stick to the old dominance-style approach - steer clear of anyone who talks about dominance, alpha, status, 'being the boss' or uses aversives. CAPBT - COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers would be a good place to start

    Alternatively, if from this you think it doesn't look like 'proper' aggression, we may be able to help if your friend could give an exact description of what happens when and a full picture of the dog's day.
     
  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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  7. poptart

    poptart Member Registered

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    This is potential disaster. An anti social dog is a danger to people and can be destroyed unless something is done urgently.

    Clearly something has gone very wrong in the relationship between your friend and her dog. Since he is fine with others the clue to this must lie in her behaviour towards him. How does she react to him? If she is fearful it can encourage him to be more aggressive. Dogs like consistency and can become angry and confused by mixed messages. But it's difficult to assess this without seeing them both. I would tell her to get him to a vet for advice and possible recommendation of a dog trainer or behaviourist.
     
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  8. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    all that most vets can do is rule out medical causes [which IS indeed important, altho in his case, as his behavior is specific to a single individual, i can't see how it could be any of the Usual Suspects: pain, hypothyroid, etc].

    It could however be learned defensive behavior - how does yer friend "discipline" AKA punish the dog?
    If she snaps a finger at his nose when he growls, he may stop growling, but START biting - in sheer self-defense.
    As we aren't there to see what precedes his bites, we don't know what triggers them; we can only guess.

    Behavior is a conversation; it doesn't occur in a vacuum, it occurs in response to the behavior of others - we see a dog, we crouch, smile, pat our thighs, & call cheerily to them, & 90% of friendly dogs will either stop what they're doing to regard us curiously, or come on over.

    Behavior also follows a very specific pattern:
    Antecedent [what happens B4?], Behavior [what the dog does], Consequence [what happens After?] - A, B, C. // If the consequence is desirable, the dog does that behavior more-often. If the consequence is undesirable or nothing happens, the dog does it less often.
    Eliminating a desired consequence often extinguishes an unwanted behavior - e-g, the puppy jumps up on us when we 1st enter a room. The DESIRED consequence in this scenario is attn; if we pet the pup & chatter happily at her or him, score! - jumping up works, to get attn. If instead we turn & walk right back out the door, closing it behind us, then return 4 to a dozen times, until the puppy offers something NOT-jumping, the pup learns that jumping up makes us go away, & is less likely to jump up, even when excited by a reunion.

    BTW, just in case, holding a pup's mouth closed, smacking their nose or muzzle lightly, & other often-suggested punishers for biting that center on the dog's MOUTH or FACE only make biting worse.
    For an excellent how-to on puppy raising that includes very good info on teaching a soft mouth, download both FREE books on this page:
    Free downloads

    they're titled Before U Get Ur Pup & After U Get Ur Pup, & they're very trustworthy manuals - there will be no suggestions to confront, intimidate, roll & pin, smack, etc, but to teach desired behavior & reward it when it occurs.

    - terry

    .
     
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  9. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    I didn't see any mention of breed - What breed or mix is the pup, if known?
    All puppies mouth & nip until they are at least 3-MO to 16-WO; it's normal, but we can reduce it without punishing or scaring the puppy. Many breeds are mouthier than the average, as pups [BCs, BSD-Malinois, GSDs, etc], or snappier thru-out their lives [all the classic terrierrrists, plus Chis, Dachsies, MinPins, BCs, BSD-Mals,...].

    for example, IMO & IME:
    If i get up in the middle of the night to pee, & trip over the dog or tread on their toes in the dark, i have about a 90% chance of being nipped if the dog is a JRT; i have a less than 10% chance of being nipped if the dog is a "pitbull" [AmStaff or APBT, or a type / grade lookalike], if we assume that these are typical friendly, well-socialized dogs of either breed.
    Terriers snap 1st & then apologize; pitties rarely bite in response to an accidental brief pain, as they are both stoic & very human-affiliative.

    At 8-MO, he's also well-into puberty & quickly approaching his testosterone peak, when he'll secrete 5 to 7 X the testosterone found in the bloodstream of an intact, 12 to 15-MO or older, M dog.
    This particular phase of development is, so far as i know, unique to dogs, & it's believed to serve a social purpose by triggering nasty intolerant reactions from older pups & adult dogs - the teenaged M dog simply reeks of androgens, & other dogs respond by picking on him; the intolerant & harassing behavior prompts the teenager to appease them, & teaches him self-control & to mind his manners around his elders.
    But he's not going to be a free-roaming semi-feral dog, meeting other street dogs - he's a pet; the super-male period of being a teenager isn't mandatory except for Ms who are destined to be sires, & he doesn't sound like a good candidate for "making more like him". :oops:
    I'd neuter him, ASAP - desex alone is not a cure for aggression, but does tone it down, & makes B-Mod easier to accomplish, plus she can skip the more-obnoxious aspects of owning a teenaged M dog -- the 9-MO thru 12-MO period, when all sexually-driven behaviors are intensified - among them, leg-lifting, mounting / humping, escaping to roam, posturing at other Ms, pestering Fs, etc.
    Sexual behaviors that are learned during this period are not going to vanish without help, even after desex, so if the dog is neutered, for instance, AFTER he's learned to dart out the door or jump the fence & roam, he won't simply cease escaping once neutered; he's learned to do that.
    But if he's neutered B4 he learns to escape & roam the neighborhood, he's less-likely to do so, once neutered. :)

    - terry

    .
     
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  10. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Please recommend a behaviourist to your friend. This dog doesn't need training classes this dog has got a problem a real problem so this needs to be sorted ASAP. As I have recommended you should not do training classes that won't solve the biting a behaviourist will be able to observe and then give your friend help and support. Dogs get put down for this sort of behaviour so it needs to get sorted as it could end up with someone on hospital and I know it seems harsh but it's true. Please take this into consideration and advise your friend.
     
  11. Mrs S

    Mrs S Member Registered

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    We aren't sure on breed, I think he's a Pug cross terrier. I'll suggest a behaviourist to my friend but I dont know if we can afford it... Are they very costly? As I said we did not plan for this puppy at all.
    We considered neutering but I have mixed feelings on this as I have heard from some people that neutering too young can make them worse as they don't mature properly.
    As I said we are going up to hers next week so I'm going to observe how he is being with her... It could be that she's reading his behaviour wrong. She's become quite nervous of him now which I imagine doesn't help.
     
  12. Mrs S

    Mrs S Member Registered

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    As for puppy's routine. He is walked every morning by my friend then given his food. My friend then goes to work for a couple of hours and the pup will chill out with her mum. He's generally pretty relaxed, happy to amuse himself with his chew toys or snooze. Then my friend comes back and walks him and tries to spend some time with him. She's been working on teaching him commands and he's picked quite a few up. However he's normally so relentless with the biting my friend can't cope with him so her mum will generally have to take him into a room with her where he will instantly calm down. It upsets my friend because she wants a relationship with him.
    It confuses me though because from what I've seen puppy does seem to want to be with her. He'll get all worked up when he knows she's nearby but yet when they are reunited he'll just bite her to bits??
    He's generally walked twice more, once in the evening then last thing at night before everyone goes to bed.
     
  13. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    To me the above doesn't seem like aggressive behaviour it seems to me like the dog gets overexcited and it is expelled in the motion of biting.
     
  14. Mrs S

    Mrs S Member Registered

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    I hope it's this... As I feel this could be easier to overcome then real aggression.
     
  15. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    I haven't seen the dog and his behaviour but from the way you describe it, it seems as if it's eather excitement or fear. Fear is harder to get over, if your friend is fearful and stiff them this will be passed onto the dog. You can improve this by giving the dog treats when he hasn't bitten or growled and you could also try some mental exercise by playing hide and seek with treats as just physical exercise isn't enough for a young/old dog. You can go to training classes for other things but they won't really be able to help with biting. Some behaviour trainers charge a lot but some not too much and I totally understand if your friend can't afford it but if this happens you can always enquire with the Dogs Trust and they can help. Please don't castrate him at his age as he is too young and he isn't mature, I reccomend waiting until he gets help for castrating him as he probably will keep his behaviour instead of getting rid of it.
     
  16. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    Getting qualified help with behavior issues does NOT have to cost millions - honest. ;)
    U can go to a vet-behaviorist, who will be the gold standard & can prescribe Rx meds which can help make B-Mod easier [or even possible, in some cases]; U can hire a CAAB / Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, which is the next step down in qualifications, & while they cannot Rx, they usually partner with a local vet who can; or U an hire a trainer with all 3 needed credentials, academic, professional standing / certification, & experience with the specific issue.

    the trainer will probly be the least-costly option, but they are not guaranteed to get results. A CAAB might be the most cost-effective option, as they're highly qualified, but more affordable than a vet who's Board-certified in behavior as a specialty.
    Also, many APDT-uk trainers are additionally qualified - look for a trainer in Ur home area, & see what their specialties are, & their listed credentials.
    APDT

    As just one example, the 1st 3 trainers listed under 'Berkshire' are all CCAB [the UK version of CAAB, in the United States] - Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourists.

    HTH,
    - terry

    .
     
  17. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    @leashedForLife please never give medication for behaviour!! :( it's only rehabilitation that is medication.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  18. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    2 Qs, Violet -
    on what do U base the statement that "he's not mature enough" for neuter,
    & 2nd, when would he theoretically be sufficiently mature? - When he's 2-YO?

    To be blunt, odds are excellent that if this behavior continues, the biting will escalate in intensity & cause worse injuries, & the dog won't live to reach 24-mos age. He might die intact, but i can't see that it would help him.
    In the USA, public shelters & rescues desex pups of all ages, breeds, & both sexes BEFORE they are adopted, as any puppy or kitten over 2# weight who is healthy can be safely neutered [both sexes], & in fact, pediatric neutering - done between 7 & 12-WO - has proven safer than at any later age.
    They bleed less, heal faster, have fewer complications of all kinds, & are under GA for a briefer surgery.

    3rd Q, why would he "keep the behavior" if he's neutered at 8-MO, vs at any other age?
    I've never seen any research to support that statement.

    - terry

    .
     
  19. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I agree with Violet - this doesn't sound like aggression. However I'm not an expert and I don't think an expert would be willing to rule it out without seeing the behaviour and obviously if there is real aggression, it needs to be addressed immediately. It might be enough for an accredited 100% positive dog trainer to see him, which could be much more affordable is she's planning to take him to training classes anyway.

    However, the fact he's showing aggression to you and your OH is worrying as it suggests lack of good socialisation and this makes me feel that she does need some professional help.

    Assuming his behaviour is down to overarousal, I think your friend should maybe back off from the training just a little and see if she can find games the dog likes to do that involve a degree of interaction and make his brain work. The sort of thing I have in mind is toys like these: Nina Ottosson Dog & Cat treat Puzzle Toys I know you said she's not got a lot of money but possibly they can give ideas (and I'm sure we can give more suggestions).

    When he does bite, I wouldn't return him to her mum, because this could be reinforcing the behaviour. I would use timeouts, whereby she either removes him from the room or (often easier) she leaves the room herself. She should leave calmly, without yelping or saying anything. She only needs to stay out for 5-10 seconds, then she can return and if he starts biting again, she leaves again. This can be absolutely exhausting, and there may be an 'extinction burst' when he gets even more frustrated and bitey, but if she can be totally consistent, it should pay off.

    She could also ask her mum to get more involved in training, particularly in encouraging calm behaviour, learning 'wait' and so on - it won't automatically translate into good behaviour with your friend, but it might just reinforce to him that he can be good and that it gets him rewards.

    Also, get her to look at the It's Yer Choice impulse control training video on YouTube which can really help with teaching a dog self-control.

    If she's nervous - which is perfectly understandable - then she could wear knee-length boots and thick long-sleeved tops in the house which might help her feel more confident.

    But again - adding his aggression towards you suggests there could be a bigger problem here. Chances are your friend hasn't done anything wrong, but that he missed out on good socialisation as a pup. Unfortunately, that can affect the dog for the rest of his life.
     
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  20. Mrs S

    Mrs S Member Registered

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    OK, so I think the best bet is to seek professional advice next week when we go up. Will either take him to the vet or to a trainer who can advise us on the best course of action. In the meantime will continue with what we are doing... Reinforcing positive behaviour and trying to ignore the negative (very difficult to do as he bites so hard) although I'll be honest we have got absolutely nowhere with that so far.
     

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