Big Problems Ahead

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by Elly, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. Elly

    Elly New Member

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    Zoe was having some snapping issues not long ago. I have followed the advice on here and also from reading etc. She is doin a whole lot better.

    When she was playing with my son(he is 20) while we were visiting him she did get rough and bite him and break the skin. I think on his part he maybe got her going a little too much. He did do the exercises for showing he was dominant over her though.

    Also she jumped a lot and when I moved my foot over the leash to shorten her down so she couldnt jump she lunged up and bit my leg before I could do it.. Didnt break the skin but I felt the pressure of that bite. I held her muzzle for a time and said no bite in a very stern voice.

    The other thing I noticed is that when she runs around and plays a lot of times the hair on her neck and back raises up a lot now.

    We were at a yard sale today and it happened to be a lab breeder there and I got talking to her about Zoe. She told me that I have a potential biter and an aggressive dog. She said also that I could have a dog that would initiate dog fights.

    She said that she shouldnt be trying to grab our hands or pants at all and I better be really tough with her or I will have big problems. Also gave me advice on what to do.

    I am feeling a little down about it:( as I always thought of labs as the most gentle breed around and never thought that it could be possible to have this problem.

    I am now looking into some obedience classes for her as she was too young before. She is 14 weeks old now. If all our training plus obediance doesnt help I am not sure I can keep her.

    I never wanted a dog I would have to worry about being aggressive . She is very sweet in so many ways and I would have a very difficult time parting with her even with the way she can be.
     
  2. mjb

    mjb New Member

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    I have heard from trainers that it is very unusual to be able to tell that a dog is aggressive at the young age of 14 weeks. When our dog was a puppy, we were having similar issues. We were trying everything to get it to stop and having people, trainers and non-trainers alike, telling us we had to get it under control. I think that made us nervous. We tried all the different methods of getting the biting to stop, but I think it was overwhelming and scaring our puppy. We finally got a behaviorist to come in. He was a no-leash, positive reinforcement trainer, and he came to our house for 6 weeks. He reassured us that everything the puppy was doing was normal play, and that he was unusual to see a truly aggressive puppy that young. He also told us that he was not trying to be dominant....just play. That made us much more comfortable, and we began immediately to see a change in our puppy's behavior. He had been playing, but he had not gotten comfortable with us and could sense our nervousness, too, I think. We did use, with the behaviorist's instruction, cans with pennies in them thrown in his direction when he would jump and grab our clothing or skin. It took 2 or 3 times of tossing them towards him without warning when he did this, and he quit. We really had no more trouble, but we could just show him the can after that, and he would quit before he got too carried away. He is the sweetest fellow, and we thought we were goin to give him up
     
  3. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    A puppy this young should not being showing any signs of aggression. Zoe is the lab in your signature, yes? Labs are a VERY mouthy breed, it has nothing to do with dominence when they grab at you in play. It's just part of the breed. Now if you try to react like she's being overly dominent, you can inadvertently cause those same problems you are trying to fix. Grabbing the muzzle and telling her "no bite" over and over has the potential to cause you grief when it makes Zoe hand-shy, because she won't know when you're going to pet her and when you're going to grab her muzzle. Most dogs, unless they've been acclimated and gently trained to accept it, hate having their faces messed with.

    What exercises was your son doing? I don't know what books you've read, so be specific.

    I'm guessing that her raising her hackles while playing is coming as a result of her not knowing when she's 'overstepping' her bounds and she's not sure when you're going to suddenly grab at her.
     
  4. Roxy's CD

    Roxy's CD New Member

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    I don't know about the statement, about not being able to help her or do anything for her...

    Roxy was very nippy as a pup. She'd grab my pants and rip them with her razor sharp pin teeth! Now what I should've done with her is the "bonding exercise", but I hadn't gotten into formal training classes yet.

    Your pup should still be young enough to do it with. THIS IS NOT THE ALPHA ROLL!

    1. Get the pup to lie down and straddle her, keeping most of your weight on your knees but allowing some pressure on her back and shoulders. (If she tries to get up say firmly "Brutus, lie down, your fine"

    2. After she stops resisiting, begin to rub her shoulders/neck. Massaging them. Move to her eyes (open them say eyes), nose (touch nose) teeth (look at her teeth) ears (look inside the ears etc) If she tries to move during any of this, authoratatively tell her to stay put and that she is fine.

    You can do it on either side of her too, examining for any lumps or cuts that you might not normally see.

    This is asserting your dominance in a physical way, but your not hurting her, or being overly aggressive. Because she's so young she should get used to submitting to you, and allowing you to examine her. By placing yourself on top of her and not allowing her to move, your showing your dominance.

    Many people told me that Roxy was aggressive. And she was. I did not do this exercise with her as pup. I did with my pit. He was unsure and nervous at first, but by the third time, he laid still and allowed me to touch him all over while straddling him. Because your dog is so young it should be very easy to curb this habit quickly. If she ever breaks the skin again, "firm no, flick on the nose! Maybe even make her have a time out, no toys, no treats...

    Also, if No isn't working perhaps your using it too much. Like a kid that always gets told no the word loses it's meaning. Either cut back on "no" any only use it for serious situations or make up another corrective word, "Ah!" is what I use.

    Don't get too discouraged she is still very young, it's good that your admitting there is a problem though, now you can do something about it.

    Instead of stepping on the leash give her a quick pop, or leash correction.
     
  5. Elly

    Elly New Member

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    Yes Zoe is the pup seen on my signature. She is a lab.

    The exercises my son was doing was to lay her on her back and straddle her .. He was not rough on her or anything. I do the same thing with her much like advised here ..

    I have been told to hold the muzzle and say no bite to her when she was nipping and snapping at us so this is what I have done. The snappiness is not as bad as it was.I was also advised when she bit our hands to instead of pull the hand away to push the hand forward into her mouth. That seems to stop her as well without hurting her..

    I am mainly concerned about her quick reaction to bite . My hubby had her for a walk one day on the leash. She ran to grab a butterfly and it got away on her. She turned and jumped up and bit his arm and left a mark. It came out of nowhere. He hadnt done a thing to bring it on. I worry that she is just too quick to bite . .

    The breeder I talked to told me to take her by both sides of her face and pull her up so her front paws came off the floor and tell her no. I thought that was a bit too hard on her.

    Anyway I really appreciate all your help and advice.
     
  6. Roxy's CD

    Roxy's CD New Member

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    What does she do if you freak out, like "AHHH! NO ZOE! WRONG!" like really mad... usually if I freak out my guys will bugger very quickly... I take on a very strong standing position, very confrontational towards them...

    You have to be serious though, they can tell if your not, and they think its a game and whatever behaviour your trying to stop usually gets worse!
     
  7. mjb

    mjb New Member

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    Alot of people say they have had success with yelping as if it hurt (and it probably does) and then leaving the puppy isolated for a couple of minutes. Come back after 1 or 2 minutes, but leave her again if she nips again. This is supposed to work if you do it every time she nips, but it might take a couple of weeks. It's so natural to playbite.
    Before we got the behaviorist in and we used to cans with the pennies, everything we had tried just made it worse!! Of course, sometimes if it's ignoring them and not giving them attention, it will get worse first. They seem to have to try even harder to get you to play or get your attention before they realize that you're not going to give them attention when they do the behavior.
    She probably just got very excited when she saw the butterfly and was trying to initiate your husband into playing the game, too.
     
  8. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    This is what is known as an "alpha roll" and is considered to be an outdated and potentially dangerous method of training. I'm curious as to who advised you to do this, as most of the trainers here abhorr this technique.

    Your best bet is to find a good, postivie-reinforcement oriented behaviorist or trainer in your area. The advice you get on here and out of books is a good place to start, but is no substitute for a hands-on session with a good trainer. We can only tell you what to do based on what you tell us, and you may be missing some key signals that your dog is giving off.
     
  9. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    To me the alpha roll would do nothing but frustrate a dog unless introduced at a very young age.... I always did this from 2 weeks on... it wasn't an aggressive move , but a conditioning move. I believe maybe 1 out of 8 may have lightly fought for a second or two. This was done gently and none of my pups left their litter without loving to be put on their back and stroked . Folks... look into the breeders !!!! There are no reasons for aggressive pups !!
     
  10. Elly

    Elly New Member

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    Thanks all. The breeder or actually breeders that told me to roll her on her back was her breeder who did it to all the pups since they were really little and also the lab breeder I ran into at the yard sale.

    I can try the freeking out on her as . I did that one day quite some time ago and she ran into the corner with her tail down. I felt rather sorry for her but it did look funny.:)

    It is wierd cause one day I was so busy painting in the other part of the house I had little or no time for her at all. That day she was so gentle and sweet and did nothing but lick my hands and legs and didnt even jump when I finally did spend time with her.

    It is like the more you ignore her the nicer she is. Maybe I am spoiling her I dont know. Maybe she needs to be on her own more.. I love to be with her so maybe that is the problem.

    LIke I said though she has improved with me more on the snapping and biting except for that day with my son when she bit my leg.. I feel I dont know how to control her when with other people too well though. I am afraid she will grab someone or nip or chew on them.

    I warn people that she does try and chew on hands and can be rough.I am working on making her sit when people do come over to her.

    I am going to call some trainers tomorrow (mon.) and try to get into a class with her. She go's nuts when around other people and dogs so I hope she will be able to settle down long enough to learn something.
     
  11. Roxy's CD

    Roxy's CD New Member

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    It doesn't sound like it's the alpha roll at all... It sounds more like the "bonding exercise" that I mentioned. It's a more up to date version of the alpha roll that it most effective with pups who quickly get used to submissing and allowing you to feel/touch/rub them all over.
     
  12. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I agree. Puppies this age aren't aggressive. It's play and they haven't learned how humans play. They're rough. We're not. They're animals and they don't come pre-wired to know how to live our way. We have to show them. Alpha rolls, grabbing the muzzle and any rough stuff conditions a dog to be on the defensive and that's a dangerous place to be. The hackles up may be either a fear response or a "practice/play" response for the real thing when she grows up. They do funny little instinctual things as pups; play growls, wrestling...all their play...it's all practice in the form of play for when they grow up and need to "hunt." LOL.

    Your pup is trying to get your attention and trying to get you to play by this behavior. If you don't want this behavior, don't react. Get up, walk away and ignore. Find something else for the pup to do. When the pup IS playing nicely, even for a second, reward with a treat and your quiet attention.

    Don't react in any way to every action or demand your pup puts on you. You do most of the instigating. You can start teaching your pup some basic obedience skills....very short sessions and even in between doing other things in your house. Instigate a sit while you're doing the dishes or a "let's go" while you're walking down the hall. Lure, make a fun, happy voice and reward for compliance. Only reward will reinforce a behavior and cause it to be repeated again in the future.

    When you take charge of when it's time to play and when it's time to sit, down etc...and you are the one who is providing the pup's resources, her food, treats, attention...then that IS what makes you her leader, not alpha rolls, dominance and other things which make a pup distrust you. She must earn what she likes by performing some little thing. She'll learn in time that rough biting hurts human skin and that all playtime ends when she bites too hard or jumps up....and that soft mouthing is what gives her attention. It takes time. She has to learn our ways.

    Be consistant and make sure that everyone who interacts with her is doing the same thing....ignoring her, removing either the human part of the equasion or the pup....social isolation is a good teaching tool.
     
  13. I strongly urge you to read this post very carefully.....

    VIOLENCE begets VIOLENCE.

    Please, this very instant, STOP being harsh with your puppy. STOP making physical corrections, rolling her over, and manipulating her physically.

    Please visit these links for good help on how to TEACH your puppy BITE INHIBITION. This is a fun exercise for you and your puppy, and it works...


    http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_BiteInhibition.php

    http://www.phsspca.org/training/puppy_biting.htm

    http://www.jersey.net/~mountaindog/berner1/bitestop.htm

    http://www.crickethollowfarm.com/biteinhib.htm

    http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/archives/bite.txt

    http://www.doglogic.com/obedienc.htm#biteinhib

    http://www.aylmer-hull-spca.qc.ca/biteinhib_e.html

    This is RIGHT NOW, the SINGLE most important thing you need to pay attention to with this puppy. Work on this SEVERAL times each day.

    The next thing to do is give her a positive way to EARN rewards....

    Start with the RECALL GAME.....

    COPYRIGHT 2005/2006 Rebekah L. Pless * all rights reserved
    Free for use or copy by anyone as long as author info remains intact

    The Recall Game

    Having a dog who will reliably come when called is one of the best
    things in life. This means FREEDOM for your dog. Here is how to teach
    your dog to RUN to you each time you call it.

    1) NEVER call your dog unless you are CERTAIN you can enforce
    the command. Each time you call your dog and he does not immediately
    come to you to receive a food reward, you take a step backwards in
    his learning to come when you call. It is important not to make
    mistakes when teaching the recall. DO NOT CALL YOUR DOG if there is
    ANY chance you cannot enforce the command. EVER.
    2) NEVER call your dog to you for anything unpleasant. If you
    need to interrupt a play session, or you are going to trim nails, or
    if you are about to do anything to your dog that he does not enjoy,
    GO GET THE DOG. Do not call him to you.
    3) FOOD REWARD every single recall. EVERY SINGLE ONE. This
    means keeping treats in your pockets at all times.
    4) Smiles are required equipment when calling your dog. NEVER
    EVER call your dog in anything but a praise tone of voice. Correction
    will NEVER help a recall. Your dog must WANT to come when you call.

    To play the game you need at least 2 people, and several is great.
    Each person is given a handful of very small soft treats. I prefer
    tiny pieces of hotdogs or string cheese. Pieces should be VERY small,
    even for a larger dog or puppy. I slice a hotdog in half and cut the
    pieces the size of a nickle. Once people have their treats, they
    should take a seat around the room with as much room between them as
    the room will allow.

    One person takes the puppy or dog and points him towards the person
    who is going to begin the game. This person may do anything to get
    the puppy to come towards him except say the word COME. Clap hands,
    smile, laugh, show the treat, call PUPPPY PUPPPPY PUPPPPY, or the
    dog's name. When it is CLEAR that the pup is committed to going to
    the person, and ONLY THEN, say the pup's name, and come. For example,
    Bailey, COME! It does not matter if the puppy is almost to you, as
    long as the pup hears his name and the word COME while he is going
    TOWARDS the person calling.

    Hold the hand with the food right up next to your body so that the
    puppy has to come all the way up to you and touch you to get the
    treat. Do not feed the treat until you are holding the puppy's
    collar. This prevents the "snatch and run" game. Praise and pet the
    puppy cheerfully while he is getting his treat. Once the pup has had
    his little tiny treat, it's time to point him towards another person
    who does the same thing.

    It is extremely important that the participants understand they are
    NOT to say the word COME unless the puppy is already doing just that.

    Play as long as the pup is interested. Main rules, Do not say COME
    unless the puppy IS coming, hold the treat up CLOSE to your body, and
    you must be holding the collar to feed the treat.

    This simple game does more to build a reliable recall than any other
    training you can do. Your pup will quickly learn that his name and
    the word come means TREAT. Each time you call the pup and reward him
    for coming quickly to you, you build a more ingrained and reliable
    response. If you are consistent and train this game at least 2 to 3
    times per week, you will have a dog who will ALWAYS come when you
    call it. Most owners list this as a top priority for their dogs. Here
    is a fun and simple way to attain this goal.

    Practice often! Your pup will love this game, and so will your friends.

    -----------------------------------------------

    You can work up to longer distances, and in addition to helping your pup learn to RUN to you when you call her, you can get her some good exercise this way. :D

    Next, Get this puppy into a training class IMMEDIATELY!! She DESPERATELY needs something to do with her brain. You can help her, and build with her a bond of love and respect at the same time. Get out your yellow pages, and find a class TODAY, and sign up.

    Then I want you to go print out this article.

    http://www.sonic.net/~cdlcruz/GPCC/library/alpha.htm

    Your family and Zoey should live by this for a while, to show her exactly where she fits in.

    Puppies who are excessively mouthing and nipping as yours is should NEVER be played with in an inciteful manner. NEVER. YOU must control this. No slap boxing, etc. YOU control the games, and when you play with her, play gently, and LET her mouth your fingers, so she learns to understand what hurts you and what does not, and how terrifically gentle she must be in order not to hurt your tender skin.

    Your puppy is headed down the wrong path at this moment, at a high rate of speed.

    You can change ALL of that, but you must really be determined to learn, to control her interactions with others, and to change the methods you are currently using.

    Good luck!

    :D
     
  14. weylyn

    weylyn New Member

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    Great post, Redyre.
     
  15. mjb

    mjb New Member

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    Yes, we had our puppy so confused. He was trying to play (but way too rough), and we were trying every method we could come up with to get him to stop biting. We were so scared he was going to be an aggressive dog that we were going overboard on corrections, too. It was a lifesaver for everyone that we got a behaviorist to come in and show us positive ways to work with him. It also was reassuring to get with someone who knew dogs who could reassure us that everything our puppy was doing was quite normal!!
    We never hit him, but we grabbed his muzzle, sprayed him in the face with water, gave him leash corrections......everything except popping him that we were told to do. All this did was make him come back with even more biting. I think he was confused and unsure of why we were behaving that way and trying his best to get us to play!!
    We were on the verge of thinking that it would never work out with this puppy. Two years later, he is the happiest, friendliest little guy in the world. Everyone who meets him absolutely loves him. And to think we were about to call a perfectly normal, happy, playful pup aggressive all because of our lack of dog knowledge.
    And when he gets very excited during play, even now he will still like to mouth. It is always VERY gentle, though, and even then, we just have to say Uh Uh, and he immediately quits. He's a terrier mix, and I've been told terriers are naturally mouthy. He also knows who will allow it and who won't. He never even attempts to put his mouth on me, but he will with the 'men' in the house who like the rougher play. They no longer let it get out of hand at all, though. They all know how hard we worked on this!!
    Hopefully, you're feeling more at ease that your puppy is quite normal and not overly-aggressive after reading all these posts, though.
     
  16. Elly

    Elly New Member

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    I appreciate all the good advice here but.....

    I have to make it clear that I am not grabbing Zoe's muzzle every single time she trys to chew my hand or nips.

    Many times I just tell her no bite. I have also just got up and left the room many time also. I am extremely good to this dog . I do not in any way believe that we have been "violent or harsh " to her.


    . I have seen advice on this very forum advising hitting with a newspaper and thumping on the nose or pinching which I do NOT CONDONE.Someone on here told me to hold my finger under her tongue and hold her under the muzzle.

    I got my advice from the breeder and then from another lab breeder just the other day and on this forum.

    I was taking advice from what I thought were people who knew about dogs.People who work with them every day. They are ones who told me to hold the muzzle ,hold her down and straddle her,and even her hold up off the floor by the sides of her face which I havent done at all.

    What is a person supposed to do when they are told by breeders what is the right method of training.

    Also we do never play rough games and never have.No tugging or any kind of wrestling including with my son. All we ever do is to throw a ball or toy and she runs to fetch it. This is when I notice the hair up on her back. There is no reason for her to be afraid or nervous as we never have a bad time when we play this game which she enjoys with us.
     
  17. Roxy's CD

    Roxy's CD New Member

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    Oh Elly I don't think anyone is flaming you persay. Just everyone has their own thoughts and opinions regarding how to stop biting. Some people have a more aggressive approach and others don't. Some methods will work for your dog and others won't.

    Some people are calling the exercise I described as the "alpha roll". After seeing how vicious people got on another thread I asked my trainer about it. She showed me a video of the alpha roll, now what I suggested is in no way similar to the alpha roll, except the fact that you are straddling the dog, and this is even done in a very quiet, calm matter of fact manner to ensure the dog does NOT feel unsafe or uncomfortable. They learn to like, and it also helps a lot at the vets office.

    No matter where you go your always going to get different opinions. All trainers are different. It's not your fault at all. It sounds like what you've been doing is great.

    I think everyone's main concern is that since your dog is so young anything aggressive or physical will only teach your pup that that is the way to deal with problems. Physically.

    I play rough games with my dogs all the time! We wrestle and play tug of war, but they've been taught since they were young that when I say "enough" the game is over. You can play rough with your dog as long as you can always control the environment and their behaviour. In your case it seems as though she just doesn't know her bite yet.

    If ignoring her isn't working, just lock her up. Crate her. You also mentioned in a previous post that when you got really angry with her, she buggered of and lied down in a corner. It's funny dogs know when you are serious or when your just annoyed. Ex) Roxy is licking a guest in my house. I'll nag her a few times to stop and come lie down, but when I'm really serious, stand up, speak firmly/loudly and point to the floor, she does it, instantly. They can tell by the tone of your voice if they can get away with the behaviour some more. With this biting you have to be serious all the time.

    Sorry it got long... LOL
     
  18. PLEASE please read the links about bite inhibition, and the link to the article on dominance.

    Hackling up can be an indication of excitement, but most of the time it means the dog is, for what ever reason, feeling INSECURE.

    I agree with very few corrections on puppies under 12 weeks of age. Mouthing can be curbed without them in most cases.

    Puppy class would be a GREAT idea, just as soon as you can get into one.

    :D
     
  19. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I really doubt that you have some big problem looming up over the horizon. This is a puppy and it's what puppies do. Some are real rough necks. My Dobe puppy was a pushy, tireless, hooligan. LOL. He is wonderful now. Don't worry so much.

    I, for one sure didn't mean to imply that you were mistreating your dog. I see some stuff on the Internet where people advise others to do things which I firmly don't believe in, like the idea that you have to be extremely dominant over your dog. These are domestic animals, not wild ones and while I believe in setting rules and being an assertive leader, I also believe that these rules need to be taught, and learning is not condusive to making a dog feel submissive or worried about what is going to happen to it next, be it forced on it's back (not talking about a gentle belly rub) or grabbed at, frightened in any way, especially not a young pup. I didn't say you were doing those things. I just was cautioning against such advice you may come across...my opinion. So, I feel a need to explain why aggression of any kind toward a dog is a bad idea since you sound confused over varying advice. I do not hesitate to give my opinion and explain what has worked for me for the many years and many dogs I've worked with or had. I just want to share.

    It sounds like you're having fun with your pup. I really don't think anything awful is going to happen. Just keep building trust and teaching your pup things. Show him what you mean and reinforce. He'll look up to you as a trusted leader as he matures. He's still very young and puppies don't come civilized. They need to be taught.

    http://www.dogpatch.org/obed/obpage4.cfm

    That's a good link too. You can learn the concepts of a very effective way to deal with your pup.

    A couple of wonderful books I recommend which will really, really help you understand what's going on in a dog's psyche, their behavior, how to interpret it, how to reinforce what you want etc...are: Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson and The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell...excellent books. You'll be miles ahead if you read those. Another fantastic one is Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. But I'd read those other two first, then Karen's. It's good to get those other two as a foundation and then Karen's is good for detailed training methods. I only wish I had read them sooner.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2006
  20. mjb

    mjb New Member

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    I also did not mean that you were being too harsh with your puppy. I just was saying I've been where you are now. I, too, was worried that my puppy was becoming aggressive.

    I do think we confused our puppy, and he wasn't completely at ease with us. We hadn't been together long enough to know each other very well. We weren't at ease with him, either. That's why we weren't sure if his actions were merely play or aggression. I don't know if that's the same in your case or not.

    All I was hoping to convey is that I don't think you have anything to worry about. I think you have a normal, playful puppy, and I think that when you're not worrying about it, everyone can relax.....both your puppy and the family. I was hoping that telling about my experiences would help you feel like you didn't have big trouble looming in the distance, NOT that you would feel like your methods were being criticized.

    And the articles on bite inhibition can be very helpful, too.
     

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