9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly
DogForums.com is the premier dog Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: 9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly

  1. #1
    Senior Member JulieK1967's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    857

    9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly

    A friend brought home a 9 week old puppy on Wednesday. The puppy comes from a pet store. I know, I know. We've talked extensively about that and she understands that the issues she's now having come because of this pup's less than ideal background. I know the temptation will be to lash out and I truly understand why but that's not going to help the situation as it stands because the puppy is already in the house so I would appreciate it if responses could focus on what my friend can do now. Okay, that said. The pup is consistently growling and biting with what seems like no warning. She's done it with my friend and her husband, their 2 boys and the vet. At times, she is calm and will tolerate petting, even on the belly, and she'll play nicely but then she switches and starts growling in a threatening way and seems aggressive. The trigger for this behavior is unclear so far. The vet was very concerned about it because the pup growled several times during her check up. I cannot personally observe the situation because we're in different states so I'm going on what I've been told. I can ask for more specific info if that is helpful.

    My thinking is that the pup has clearly been under a great deal of stress and needs to be given considerable time to adjust to a new home & new people. I don't think the pup spent adequate time with her litter & mother so she hasn't learned what she should have from them and, certainly, she hasn't been well socialized with humans either. Other than time and patience, what can my friend do to deal with the growling & biting? I do know that the growl is the pup's way of communicating her discomfort with a circumstance & without that she'll go right to biting so we don't want to discourage growling but I don't know how to advise my friend to work with this puppy so that she doesn't feel the need to growl. Any advice or suggestions would be very appreciated.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    DogForums.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    17,572

    Re: 9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly

    Puppies growl and bite all the time. Do you think they're knowledgeable enough as dog owners to recognize the difference between normal puppy growling/biting and aggressive growling/biting? If the pup really is aggressive I think they're going to need a behaviorist.

  4. #3
    Senior Member JulieK1967's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    857

    Re: 9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly

    Quote Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
    Puppies growl and bite all the time. Do you think they're knowledgeable enough as dog owners to recognize the difference between normal puppy growling/biting and aggressive growling/biting? If the pup really is aggressive I think they're going to need a behaviorist.
    I thought a behaviorist would be the best bet, too. The vet also didn't like the growling so that makes me think that's it may be more than just normal growling. My Molly has play growled when we tug-of-war since she was a pup but I've never felt threatened by it. This sounds different. I know vets aren't the best source for behavior advice but I was still surprised that the vet voiced her opinion so vocally about something being "off" with the puppy. I'm sure the pup is very, very stressed because she's from a puppy mill & pet store and has had an absolute crap life for her entire existence. I'd be growling, too.

  5. #4
    NRB
    NRB is offline
    Senior Member NRB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    952

    Re: 9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly

    puppies bite and growl all the time but it's within a normal "context" ie the pup is playing with a toy so there is some growling= Normal. Someone approaches to puppy and goes to pet it on the head and the puppy mouths the hand coming at him.=Normal. The puppy in an excited state chases you while you are running and nips at your pants leg=Normal. All of these things have normal triggers. But the fearful puppy, the unsocialized puppy is going to overreact to things that we normal folk don't see coming. Once you go down that path of education and enlightenment about fear reactive dogs you lean to read the signs. Most of us (myself included) don't know the signs and have to learn them. We find a really good R+ trainer with experience with fearful, reactive and aggressive dogs to evaluate the puppy and tell us what they think is going on. And so that's going to be my recommendation as well. Or a behaviorist.

    Does your friend have a lot of experience with dogs to know what is normal puppy behavior?

    And just to toss it out there, a puppy in pain will bite and growl for no apparent reason. It takes a good vet sometimes to find out the cause of the pain. I throw this one out there because my heart dog, Charlie, once tried to take a chunk out of a vet techs hand in an exam room one day. I was shocked at the time because He was the perfect saint of a dog, loved everyone, well behaved around all people and kids, not fearful etc etc. It turned out that he had an infected tooth.

  6. #5
    Member turtlesocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    63

    Re: 9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly

    Someone posted a link to a method called the "Two Week Shutdown." Maybe that would be of some help to an obviously overwhelmed puppy?

  7. #6
    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    7,833

    Re: 9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly

    the vet was very concerned about it because the pup growled several times during her check up.
    I know vets aren't the best source for behavior advice but I was still surprised that the vet voiced her opinion so vocally about something being "off" with the puppy.
    I can't comment on whether the puppy actually is aggressive or not, although I would lean towards saying its just a normal ill-mannered puppy just because the odds are in favor of that.

    But I just wanted to share about a vet experience that showed me how much some vets know (or don't know) about behavior.
    When I got Chester (1.5/2 yrs old from local Humane Society) I of course made a vet appointment for a couple days later. I hadn't had any pets here before, so I just found a close by vet and went in. The vet has horrible "bedside manners"- he seemed competent enough medically but just couldn't relate to the dog at all. I'd told them he was new to me and I didn't know if he'd ever had traumatic times at a vet before. So during the exam, Chester was panicking, trying to mouth (like, touch teeth to hand and shove hand away), and get away.

    The vet told me that Chester was a danger to society, that he would chew and destroy everything in my house, that I would need to muzzle him in the park because he might bite children or people, and he would need to be crated securely when I was gone. Instinct told me the vet was a completely dummy in this regard and I ignored him.
    Of course, Chester is perfectly behaved inside, he has never been crated with me at all, he LOVES people, he has had small children stick entire hands inside his mouth, their faces in his face, grab him in bear hugs etc and all he does is happily lick tiny faces and hands

    what I'm trying to say is, it is worth finding a good trainer and/or asking around to find a vet that has good behavioral knowledge not just medical knowledge. I found a great vet's office (team of 3) who deals well with everything from the overenthusiastic Chester (he loves them so much he tries to tackle and lick to death everyone there) to fearful dogs who are trying to bite them.

  8. #7
    Senior Member JulieK1967's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    857

    Re: 9 week old puppy growling & biting regularly

    Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice. With shaking hands and tears in my eyes, I have to report that my (now ex) friend has decided to return the puppy. I'm so angry that I can barely see straight and I've terminated the relationship b/c I will not have someone in my life who disposes of animals like this. I'm telling you all this so no one else wastes their time advising this person. Sigh.

  9. Remove Advertisements
    DogForums.com
    Advertisements
     

+ Reply to Thread

Quick Reply Quick Reply

  • Decrease Size
    Increase Size
  • Remove Text Formatting
  • Insert Link Insert Image Insert Video
  • Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2 ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.