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Hi guys,

I'm new to the forum and I'm here because I need help with my family's papillon who has been getting more and more aggressive lately. The problem has two parts: (1) when our dog (his name is Louie) is sitting on a couch or whatever with someone and another person comes to try and pet him or pick him up he just starts growling wildly (very strange sounds) and he tries to bite the person that wants to pet him. (2) If Louie has a piece of something particularly good like tissue paper or meat he will bite whoever attempts to take it away.

The second problem (2) had never been an issue for me until recently. I could take ANYTHING right from his mouth and he would not even whine about it. Recently, though, he bit me when I took some tissue from him. I had supposed at first that perhaps our dog was beginning to think that he was on top of the social hierarchy but now I am not sure if that's the issue. I think he may be emotionally disturbed or something. I'm in college so I'm not often home but he had NEVER bitten me until halfway through this week and I have taken things from him constantly for as long as we've had him. Why the sudden change?

The first problem (1) originated awhile back but I wasn't around for it and it wasn't until this week either that he bit me when I picked him up from my mother's lap. Again, this had never been an issue before. We got him at around 2-months old and he isn't abused or anything... the couple we took him from simply dropped him off at the vet center where my sister is training to be a vet herself.

*Some things to note are that Louie has always been aggressive towards my father and doesn't like it when my father hugs my mom. Recently, also, Louie barked at my girlfriend when I hugged her. Does he think we're attacking each other or what? I've wondered that because our house has been fairly stressful I'd imagine because my younger sister has really been getting into trouble lately and it's hurting everyone. Still, Louie has always been this way towards my father so I wonder if the issue is deeper.

Please help me with this/ has anyone had similar issues with papillons?
 

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This is definitely a dog that thinks he is in charge. You don't mention how old the pap is which could play a lot into this situation but givin the information you stated google resource guarding because that is exactly what he is doing whether it's your mom or a tissue makes no difference in his mind. One of the biggest indicatiors to "dominant" behavior is refusal to get off furniture or acting aggressivly when asked to get off. First thing you need to do tho is make sure there are no underlying medical issues (hence knowing his age would be helpful). When medical clears then you can look to behavioral, but to me this sounds like typical behavioral issues.
 

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OP said his pap is 2 years old. You should take the pap to the vet to make sure there's nothing medically wrong. But it also sounds to me like the dog thinks he's in charge. Basic exercises are that if he tries to bark/bite you from your mom's lap, your mom needs to immediately put the dog on the floor to let him she doesn't agree with that behavior. You may also want to contact a local trainer to help you out more in depth. If he's crate trained, you could put him in there whenever he does something undesired. You could also not allow him to go on the couch anymore. You basically need to show him your the boss.
 

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Please help me with this/ has anyone had similar issues with papillons?
I've had seven paps and never had a problem like this, but I do see it sometimes on my papillon yahoo group. The biggest complaints are either 1) too much energy or 2) possessive of their owners and things. This is a breed that definitely WILL take over the house if given the chance. They can be very manipulative at times. They are strong willed and very intelligent, couple that with their size and this can become a problem pretty fast. A lot of people either knowingly or unknowingly treat toy dogs in ways that encourage possessive and/or aggressive behaviors. A lot of many of these dogs problems could be solved by treating them as a dog and setting more boundaries for them.

I would suggest that first you get a blood panel done on him to rule out medical issues. If that comes out normal then I would highly suggest finding a behaviorist to work with him. Check out the sticky about NILIF too (nothing in life is free). I think he'd greatly benefit from a more structured environment like that.

Has he had any obedience? It'd be great to get him into something like obedience or even agility. This is a breed that really does best when given a lot of direction and a way to appropriately use their brains. They really excel at training.
 

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As Laurelin mentioned, NILIF would be very beneficial with this dog. Anything the dog gets, he should earn.

Until you get a trainer in (and even after), I would play the trading game rather than just take stuff away. Taking things from dogs can make them even more protective. When you need to take something away, trade him for something else he will want.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the suggestions folks, they're appreciated.

I had considered that he was becoming used to thinking that he was in charge but I don't know if that is the issue because both times he snapped at me he immediately went into his crate (yes, he's crate trained) because he knew he'd done something bad without me even saying anything but "no!"

As for having the person who Louie is sitting on placing him back on the floor to show that it isn't okay, he gets into this "crazed mode" and will basically attack ANYONE that attempts to touch him at that moment. It is very confusing what he's doing because this would seem to indicate that he really does think he's in charge, despite that he is very respectful of me in all other areas. I can eat food and leave it right in his grasp but he won't take it unless I say it's okay and he won't jump into my lap until I let him. Then again, he did only *just start snapping at me a few days ago.

When my sister gets back we could have his blood panel done I suppose, but I think he already has frequent checkups being that my sis is a training vet. One other piece of information is that we left him in a kennel for the first time when we left to visit family for Christmas for 2 days (the kennel at the vet hospital where my sis works). Louie knows the people there and they said he was one of the best-behaved dogs but maybe he is feeling resentful for us leaving him. Do you suppose that could be an issue?
 

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I don't think dogs know how to be resentful. They do however, keep doing what's working for them. Somehow, he's figured out that snapping at people has gotten him what he wants so he keeps doing it. You have to break this self reinforcing circle of behavior.
 

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Thanks for all the suggestions folks, they're appreciated.

I had considered that he was becoming used to thinking that he was in charge but I don't know if that is the issue because both times he snapped at me he immediately went into his crate (yes, he's crate trained) because he knew he'd done something bad without me even saying anything but "no!"

As for having the person who Louie is sitting on placing him back on the floor to show that it isn't okay, he gets into this "crazed mode" and will basically attack ANYONE that attempts to touch him at that moment. It is very confusing what he's doing because this would seem to indicate that he really does think he's in charge, despite that he is very respectful of me in all other areas. I can eat food and leave it right in his grasp but he won't take it unless I say it's okay and he won't jump into my lap until I let him. Then again, he did only *just start snapping at me a few days ago.

When my sister gets back we could have his blood panel done I suppose, but I think he already has frequent checkups being that my sis is a training vet. One other piece of information is that we left him in a kennel for the first time when we left to visit family for Christmas for 2 days (the kennel at the vet hospital where my sis works). Louie knows the people there and they said he was one of the best-behaved dogs but maybe he is feeling resentful for us leaving him. Do you suppose that could be an issue?
 

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I know it's been a while but I was wondering if you were able to get him straight. I'm having the exact same problem with mine. He was a year old 4/4 a few days after I got him and until I read your post I thought maybe the people who had him before me did something to him. I've been thinking of getting rid of him because I'm disabled and can't handle getting bit. I love him dearly but my hands are full of arthritis and he just bit me again. I really need help. Thank you for any advice you can give. Brenda
 

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11-year-old thread and the OP was here for two days. Please start a new thread.
 
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