Aggression in 9 week old puppy?

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by bnwalker2, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. bnwalker2

    bnwalker2 My house is a zoo

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,790
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Lots lol
    Location:
    Indiana
    I picked up a new foster pup on Saturday. The people that had her told me she is approximately 9 weeks old. Mom was a Rottie/Shepherd mix, that I met, very friendly and well behaved dog. They said they had no clue what dad was. I'm guessing Lab just cause she's black, fuzzy and there are lots of Labs around here, LOL.

    Anyway, she is showing some alarming behaviors for such a young puppy. She gets along with the other dogs, but she will attack any of them if they come near food, toys, blankets, or where she *thinks* something was (like where I fed her, even though the bowl has been put away for 2 hours). This is not playful puppy growling, this is a full on attack. When I attempted to separate them, she turned on me. I've been bitten by her twice, hard enough to break the skin and bruise my leg through my pants.

    I can stick my hand in her food bowl with no problems. And she shows no aggression towards people (other than the re-directed aggression when I am separating her). She is otherwise a healthy, happy, playful puppy that does play nicely with the other dogs when there isn't something she wants.

    I've NEVER seen aggression in a puppy this young. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    94,266
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    3, Bimmer, GSDX (m); Kharma, Fila Brasileiro (f);
    Location:
    Where the selas blooms
    Home Page:
    Sounds like a job for Doc . . . or Bimmer ;)
     
  3. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    64,812
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What a shame !!! Shows that she had no socialization at all and was probably taken away from the Mom too young . ( or did you get her from the litter ? ) I really feel for you ! Any pictures ??
     
  4. bnwalker2

    bnwalker2 My house is a zoo

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,790
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Lots lol
    Location:
    Indiana
    LOL. What surprises me most is that Thunder doesn't even correct her. I guess he's getting soft in his older years. ;)

    She was still with mom when I got her, so she wasn't taken away too soon. She was still comfort nursing even. She was with mom and one other adult dog (male, Husky, neutered so not the father). All of her siblings had been adopted and she was destined for the kill shelter. The shelter is crazy full right now, and she's absolutely adorable and I figured she'd get adopted very quickly if I took her. But I need to figure out what's up with this behavior before I even think about trying to find a forever home for her.

    I'll get some pictures up in a separate thread!
     
  5. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    64,812
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Glad that you took her .....hopefully she'll come around . Keep us to date .
     
  6. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,036
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    It sounds like that is just her temperament. It may prove difficult in a multi-dog house hold. That is awfully young and unusual to show that kind of thing so young, but it does happen. I guess the best thing is to try and reduce or eliminate things that trigger that behavior the best you can and reinforce her for "nice" behavior when the other dogs are present. You could make real exercises out of it for her. Other dogs near by (start out not too near by) and reinforce heavily. Kind of work it actively. It could be too, that once she learns the ropes of being a big girl and becomes more secure, she may simmer down a bit.
     
  7. bnwalker2

    bnwalker2 My house is a zoo

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,790
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Lots lol
    Location:
    Indiana
    I will definitely keep everyone updated on her!

    Thanks for the advice! I've started clicker training with her, one on one, out in the yard away from everyone else. I'm hoping that I'll be able to transfer that around the other dogs. She is SMART, and learns very quickly, so I still have high hopes for her!

    Right now, she's laying next to one of the other dogs. She isn't completely anti-social with them (luckily!), and I'll try to keep any triggers away for now.
     
  8. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is what I do.

    I would keep treats on me at all times and then shower them whenever the dogs got near each other.




    You can click the dog for looking at the trigger (the look at that! game from control unleashed) to countercondition the feelings the dog is having.

    My hunch tho is that the dog is young and confused and anxiety is through the roof... Many of my dogs guarded things in the first week and then never again once they settled.
     
  9. sammgirl

    sammgirl ACoops favorite

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I wanted to post on this earlier. I read a book by Patricia McConnell (whom I dearly love) and one of her stories was about a puppy that had very serious aggression issues.

    The puppy did not react like a normal puppy when Dr. McConnell did some normal socialization exercises, such as putting the puppy on its back. It just kept attacking and was trying to go for Patricia's throat.

    Eventually, she told the family to take the puppy back to the breeder, because it obviously was just not wired right.

    I was surprised when I read that, because who would ever think of a puppy expressing true aggression? Other then that story, this is the 2nd time I've heard of an aggressive puppy. It still surprises me, but I want you to understand that even while I say that, I do believe you and I have faith that as a dog lover you know aggression when you see it.

    Most posters here at Chaz seem to really know dogs.

    I really don't have any advice for you, since the puppy isn't human aggressive, but dog aggressive. It is possible that if the pup came from a large litter, that maybe she's used to having to fight for her food.

    I do know many people that have to feed their dogs completely separately from each other, because they fight. And these are show/working dogs that have to pull sleds together and they get along just fine while pulling a sled. It's only during meals that they get aggressive.
     
  10. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,036
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    I remember that story Sammgirl. It was in the book, For the Love of a Dog, wasn't it? Very interesting and yes....rare. The puppy very early on resisted any of the normal things the vast majority of puppies will tolerate easily.

    I hope that it is not the case with this puppy after some good training. But it might be.
     
  11. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    When I worked for a boxer breeder, we had a puppy that was very food aggressive at about that age. He was completely fine with his littermates, with the adult dogs, with people otherwise. As far as anyone knew, there had been no cause for the guardiness - it was just his temperament, but he needed to be separated for feedings and as a precaution, he was separated when no one was there to supervise. The rest of the time, he continued to be with his littermates and with adult dogs for socialization.

    I would think that if you did the standard stuff that's done for food guarding, it won't hurt - hand feeding, a little bit of food in a bowl and then toss more in there so he sees that goodies come from you, feed him away from the other dogs and his forever home should probably have him as an only dog.
     
  12. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    55,166
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    48
    WAs he ever starved for food? I had a cat that was locked in an abandoned house for 8 days..she came back far different than she left. SHe was a food horder and very gaurding about her bowl. Seen a dog that way too but 9 weeks is awful young to have had such an experience. I would hand feed. I would really work on it with the other pups around as well. I think circle treats is a great way for learning my turn your turn..my food your food. I might do that with a couple. Hand feed two at the same time to get him use to it. Pups learn really fast and it would be a behavior i would want gone before he goes to the forever home.
     
  13. Mach1girl

    Mach1girl New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    877
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A 9 week old puppy freaking out over her food and such-sounds normal for a puppy who probably has never had any or much obedience or training. And most likely nothing to worry about as far as how the dog will be in the long run.

    Number one-in a nine week old puppy-you CANNOT predict temperment, so I highly doubt this is a true temperment issue.

    Number two-the pup may have been the alpha of the litter-thus explaining its actions

    I am confident that you can correct this and this is just a non-training issue rather then temperment. Because I foster and have fostered puppies from ages 4 weeks and up, that were abandonded very young and have literally been "wild" per sey when I got them. I have a multi dog household (7 dogs, 5 are pitbulls) and every one of them comes in, "aggressive" of his food, toys, space-and I have never had an issue with correcting the behavior. It is just lack of the poor baby being taught anything.

    I do not consider it "giving in" however I recommend always feeding seperatly anyways. Dogs seem to have a natural"fear" if you want to call it that, of losing their meal if they come from a possibly hard place. I think it is every dogs right to feel comfortable that no one is going to steal his meal.

    As far as behavior, your other dogs should put him in his place, if they are not, then they arent taking him seriously, but to avoid any incident, correct him yourself immediatly, he will catch on.

    Good luck. And thanks for helping him:)
     
  14. hugapup

    hugapup New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Good luck she is lucky to have you to work with her!
     
  15. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,089
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    My advice is going to be completely opposite to everyone else :eek:

    I would not remove the pup especially at feeding time. Feeding this pup alone at this stage imo will only re-inforce the unwanted behaviour.
    Hopefully you have a multiple dog household and hopefully you have dogs that will disiciple the pup. But your adult dogs have to know that they can and that they wont be punished or corrected in anyway from you for correcting the pup.

    If your other dogs wont then you have will have too, at feeding time, feed them all together, (their own bowls of course) and relatively close together. If the pup goes after the other dog, see what happens, does the adult stop the pup or back off? If they back off, then you have to step in, step between them and force (gently) the pup back with your legs. I force them out of the room but they can still see into the room. Here is the key, the other dogs are allowed to eat the pups food. It will not harm that pup in anyway to miss a meal or two.
    A few lessons like that (usually only one or two) and the pup will change and learn that guarding the food only results in what they were trying to do in the first place. It didn't work. And we all know that dogs only do what works for them in most cases.

    For the other resource guarding issues, I would litter the house with so much stuff the pup couldn't guard it all. And I would also put out items that my other dogs highly value, again I wouldn't interfer if the adults correct the pup.

    Clicker training is good and so is capturing/rewarding a positive response to the other dogs in regards to the guarding etc.

    Good luck
     
  16. Squishy22

    Squishy22 Guest

    Sounds kind of like duke, but he was food aggressive towards people as well.

    Good luck with him!
     

Share This Page