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Aggressive puppy help!

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  • Aggressive puppy help!

    Our newest addition is proving to be a little bit of a handful. He's supposed to be 11-12 weeks old now and is also *supposed* to be a Border Collie, although he's ridiculously small. As I mentioned in a post right after we got him, I have a hard time believing that both of those things are true - he certainly looks BC-ish (B/W smooth coat), but he's tiny (weighed in at a whopping 7lb just a few days ago). It's entirely possible that he is younger.

    Anyway, he's doing fine, plays with our other dogs and is getting the hang of the potty training idea, working on crate training and the sleeping schedule. However, he's started showing some aggression - first, towards the other dogs during playtime he'd turn on them (and any human hands that might interfere with him getting to the other dog) and now with food. I can put my hands in the bowl and touch his head, but if I move my hand down towards his nose and the food he starts to growl. He actually went after my hand tonight when I pushed his nose away. The other dogs are very gentle with him during play, despite being much bigger than him, and don't really pay a lot of mind to his tazmanian devil-style aggressive attacks - and they are all fed separately, so I'm not sure they would be making him feel insecure.

    I'm accustomed to the strong BC personality, but this is a bit more - my oldest is a 2.5yo, 50lb male BC. He's smart and a little headstrong, but respects my authority, so to speak. Our other dog, an 8 month old GSD, is a big baby that lives to please and will roll over if you so much as furrow your brow at him.

    But this little guy, he's affectionately been deemed the Little Demon. He takes the cake. I hate to say it, but he almost seems a little off. I'm out of my area of expertise, I've never raised a pup that was even remotely aggressive towards people, just adult dogs with fear aggression. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated, I'd really like to help this little guy out.

  • #2
    What about feeding him from your hand piece by piece and making him work for it? He is old enough to learn come, sit, and down. Rotate between the three and reward him for using his brain. He should figure out pretty quickly that it is your food that you are giving to him instead of the other way around.

    Do you have a friend with a safe older dog that is less tolerant of puppy behavior? Obviously don't put him in danger but he might benefit from a snippy older mama dog that barks in his face or chases him a step or two when he gets too feisty.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
      What about feeding him from your hand piece by piece and making him work for it? He is old enough to learn come, sit, and down. Rotate between the three and reward him for using his brain. He should figure out pretty quickly that it is your food that you are giving to him instead of the other way around.

      Do you have a friend with a safe older dog that is less tolerant of puppy behavior? Obviously don't put him in danger but he might benefit from a snippy older mama dog that barks in his face or chases him a step or two when he gets too feisty.
      Great advice, especially the hand feeding. I have a pom who is the perfect puppy socializer. She thinks she is a rottweiler but is small enough not to hurt them when she puts the in there place. She looks like she has rabies when she goes after them!
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home

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      • #4
        It sounds as if he needs to start learning that NILIF. It's your food. Your toys. Your things. You give them to him because he earns them, not because he demands them.

        I'm sure there are a few others here who can delineate the Nothing In Life Is Free approach better than I - as Grace mentioned, making him earn his meals bite by bite is a good start.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Yes, I am familiar with it, Mara. My older BC was raised that way. He waits for his OK to start eating, has a larger vocabulary than my husband and positively idolizes me.

          I'll start with working for his meals - he's a smart little guy, and very bold.

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          • #6
            A 7lb puppy with no pictures?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post
              Yes, I am familiar with it, Mara. My older BC was raised that way. He waits for his OK to start eating, has a larger vocabulary than my husband and positively idolizes me.
              This made me LOL. Perhaps we should all train our husbands with the NILIF method?

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              • #8
                I can't find your other thread. Where did you get him?

                Comment


                • #9
                  With pictures!

                  http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...puppy-pictures!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    As he's getting "bigger", he kind of looks like a cross between a BC and a JRT. He's hard to get a picture of these days, he never stops moving and is always biting your pant leg or shirt sleeve or taking off in the opposite direction (and he's quick, too!).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Love the name!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        let the older dogs discipline her when they will. Right now, she's still got a puppy license, but at some point the other, older dogs will tell her, stoprightnow. Let them.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You need to pause and consider this puppy may have a liver shunt

                          this can account for size issues and aggression. Aggression . particularly calorie induced/ after eating. You may fine bile crystals in the urine.
                          _\\]
                          -- * > hoopoe
                          Procrastinate NOW
                          Introverted Since 1957

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post
                            As he's getting "bigger", he kind of looks like a cross between a BC and a JRT. He's hard to get a picture of these days, he never stops moving and is always biting your pant leg or shirt sleeve or taking off in the opposite direction (and he's quick, too!).
                            Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

                            not a BorderJack aka DemonDog

                            Be veryveryvery scared

                            The good news is he's old enough to start his training

                            Watch Kikopup if you like, I was actually looking for my other old fav but couldn't recall the keyword

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by alto View Post
                              Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

                              not a BorderJack aka DemonDog

                              Be veryveryvery scared
                              Oh, I am! He looks just like this little guy: http://www.dailypuppy.com/puppies/ol...mix_2012-01-22

                              That sort of a cross would certainly make more sense, given his small size. He's a ferocious little monster and fears nothing. He is now wearing the cutest little 12" black and yellow Weatherbeeta dog blanket. It's hilarious (and doesn't bother him in the least).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                The work for food and check for health issues are both good advice.

                                I'll add that he needs to learn NOW that food aggression is not acceptable. Going for your hand when you take his food? No way. A guttural UH-UH (mama dog grunt) along with, if needed, scruffing his neck (mama dog discipline). Don't lose your temper, don't make a big deal or yell. Simple, firm, no-doubt-about-it, impersonal & effective discipline. If you reach for the food you get the food. He must never drive you away by aggression from anything you want to do.

                                This is another training item even if you do hand feed him for awhile. He has to learn that a human can always take his food away. He'll get it right back - he needs to know that when you take it it doesn't mean he'll have to skip a meal, but he equally needs to know that you can take it at any time with no objection from him. For multiple reasons. Really just because he's a domesticated dog and you're the human and that's the way it has to be. Also for safety. God forbid a visiting child gets near his food dish. He lives with humans, he's gotta be a good dog. No other options.

                                When you say fed separately, how separately? Same room, same time? Or is puppy fed in his crate with the door latched so that he is definitely secure from the other dogs. I'm fostering a puppy that age now and I feed him either in his crate in a different room than the big dogs, or if I feed him in the kitchen, all the other dogs are outside in the fenced yard or the kennel runs so no one is looking over his shoulder so to speak while he's eating.

                                As to the other issues. Could be just a phase, and of course I haven't seen the dogs, but he is very young and although it seems to you that the others play gently with him, perhaps HE doesn't see it that way and is feeling a little overwhelmed. I'm not sure if you have 2 other dogs, or more - whatever the number, maybe, MAYBE (because I haven't seen what's going on) he is feeling overwhelmed sometimes even though the other dogs really aren't being too much for him in their eyes & in yours. So reducing puppy running with the entire pack (even if only 2 other dogs) may help him through this rough time and also help him bond even more to you.

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                                • #17
                                  I agree with making him work for his food. I have also added better stuff to their food when they are eating so that they don't get worried when you approach the food bowl. Obviously if he is growling, you'd have to start far enough back that he's not growling and work up to getting closer to his food to add the good stuff in. I would also have a vet take a look just to see, and then get him into a good puppy class.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Anne FS View Post
                                    When you say fed separately, how separately? Same room, same time? Or is puppy fed in his crate with the door latched so that he is definitely secure from the other dogs. I'm fostering a puppy that age now and I feed him either in his crate in a different room than the big dogs, or if I feed him in the kitchen, all the other dogs are outside in the fenced yard or the kennel runs so no one is looking over his shoulder so to speak while he's eating.
                                    Separately as in separate rooms (and, at times, separate times). He gets dinner, as does the GSD, but not the older BC. The GSD and BC get fed (also separate rooms) and then the little guy gets to eat by himself in the kitchen. Playtime together is supervised and only for 15 minutes or so at a time a couple times a day, they all get separate "alone" playtime as well. GSD is crated when no one is home, BC in the bedroom, little guy in the crate. Older BC has separation anxiety and that's his happy place.

                                    I've picked him up by the scruff of his neck when he's being aggressive, both towards other dogs and towards me in Re: to food. He snarls and tries to go after the hand and arm I'm holding him with. It surprised me at first, but doesn't scare me and has never made me back off in the least. He snarled similarly at Mr. Heinz when he was trying to get a foreign object out of his mouth last week.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My cattle dog puppy is 11 weeks now. At 8 weeks he was showing classical resource guarding. I went to take a bone away from him, and he not only froze and growled, but he air snapped at me. Bad puppy!

                                      Whatever you do, don't do the scruff and shake method of taking his things. It just makes it worse in the long run. Talk to a good positive reinforcement trainer to get some help.

                                      To "fix" Loki's behavior, we started working for all meals using clicker training. We have learned a lot of basic behaviors such as sit, down, hand touch, paw touch, leave it, and come. We are also doing food bowl training. If we are not actively training, he gets his food two or three pieces at a time in his bowl. While he is eating those, I drop a couple more in there. Sometimes I interrupt him and give him a piece of chicken or cheese.

                                      He is learning that good things come from me. He is learning that he might have something good, but I likely have better. And, if he gives me what he has, I'm quite likely to give him something good.

                                      Simply forcing him to allow you to take his things is going to make him distrustful of you. It will also make him hide things, and make him more likely to bite.

                                      After three weeks of training, tonight I gave the dogs the ultimate yumminess...a raw marrow bone. I allowed Loki to munch on it for about 20 minutes uninterrupted, then I was able to walk up to him, have him drop the bone and allow me to take it, give him a bite of ice cream (yum!), then I gave the bone back. He was happy to let me do this.

                                      This is not uncommon in smart dogs. They have something good, they know it, and they want to keep it. A little behavior modification using positive methods will fix it right up for you.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        what arrows endure said. Teach him, don't force him. If he's resource guarding now, and you scruff him, then you've reinforced that he has something to fear.

                                        When he's being aggressive to the other dogs, let THEM handle it (unless you think they will kill him). Truly. You can teach him human/dog things but only dogs can teach him the dog/dog things he needs to know.

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