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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I got a puppy 1 week ago and think I made some serious mistakes during my first week.

The puppy now does not come to me when I call his name (despite numerous recall drills), acts suspicious when try to get him to come, and runs away or cowers down when I approach him too quickly.

He only does this INSIDE the house.

OUTSIDE the house on grass, he runs to me when I call his name and generally is not afraid at all.

My mistakes:

1. Gave the puppy a shower bath as soon as he arrived (was covered in poop from the airplane journey). He howled and cried while I held him to wash him.

2. Gave the puppy two more showers (ate poop from the yard, covered his entire face; peed all over himself) the following day and he howled and cried again.

3. Gave him a chicken bone. When I tried to take it away, he growled and bared his teeth at me. I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, he tried to bite my hand, I pinned him down on his neck briefly. He cried until he stopped resisting. Never growled/snarled over food again.

4. Petted him while he was sleeping. He woke up, and while half-awake, growled and bared his teeth at me and snapped. Again, grabbed him by scruff and pinned him down briefly. He cried until he stopped resisting. Never growled/snarled over being petted again.

5. Today when I was trying to push him away from some electrical wires after his leash got all tangled up on my chair, he growled and snapped at my hand. Again, grabbed him by scruff and pinned him on his side, at which point, he cried until he stopped resisting.

He does approach my girlfriend (and all women + children) very happily with tail wagging -- but pees in excitement everytime she pets him.

He did some submissive peeing after today's incident whenever I approached him too quickly.

I should mention that MOST of the time, we have a good relationship, and I feed him by the hand, do recall games 30+ minutes a day, play tug with him all the time, pet him, etc.

How can I build up a better relationship with my puppy? I decided to stop grabbing him by his scruff from now on. Is this last 1 week of incidents going to cause any long-term issues when he's grown?

Is it possible the puppy just doesn't trust men because the breeder happened to be a single mother?
 

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Some of these are quite alarming when keeping in mind that the puppy is only nine weeks old (even disregarding some of your very big mistakes). Where did you get the puppy/what breed is he?
 

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Well, hate to give a discouraging opinion about this since I'm sure a new puppy was an exciting thing, but aggression in a puppy this young is something I'd find concerning. Hate to be pessimistic, but I'd be seriously worried about it being genetic and bringing more problems in the future so proper socialization and beyond is crucial. Most doodle breeders are mills or BYBs, which makes the situation a bit harder. My only advice is to ditch all aversives.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, he only did the growl/snap that one time with the chicken bone. Never again after that incident, and I've taken bones from him over and over again since then.

Same with the petting. I basically pet him all over his body and face even when he's sleeping and nothing since that incident.

Today's incident seemed to have been sparked by his head being yanked down accidentally.

I'm hoping the worst is behind us. I'm going to try to be more gentle overall and hope for the best.

The breeder is definitely not someone I would buy from again. Her entire operation seems pretty suspect in retrospect.
 

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I am glad you have decided to quit grabbing his scruff, you will also want to stop pinning him down. Both things can be very scary to dogs, its stressful-- it isn't that he is learning he is doing something wrong per se, its more like he realizes that something really scary and bad happens when you put your hands on his neck/body or reach for him. Definitely toss out all similar training tactics-- you don't need to or want to man handle a puppy into a fearful mess.

It would be really hard to say how much of biting and growling is inate aggression versus being a puppy frightened and stressed combined with a Lab's natural mouthiness.

For the chicken bone issue-- first, hopefully it was a raw bone because cooked or smoked bones are dangerous. Second, look up "resource guarding" which is commong enough with extra yummy items like real meat and generally quite trainable to fix. The book "Mine" by Jean Donaldson is a resource. Just simply taking away a high value item, even if the puppy gives it up, can potentially lead to problems since the dog learns that good things are randomly taken away. Playing a trading game is good, it teaches the dog that while one good thing might be taken away that another good thing will replace it, always at first and then often later and then sometimes / randomly much later along the training path.

Since he growled when you woke him, a vet check for any signs of pain is a good idea and its good practice in general for new pups.
 

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Sounds like you have really terrified your puppy by pinning him down and grabbing him by the scruff. That does not teach him anything but that you are scary. He has no idea why you are doing it. There is probably nothing wrong with his temperament that some proper training, using treats and teaching him what you want won't cure. He is just a baby and you are going to have to be careful with your interaction with him for a while so he will learn to trust you.
 

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Agree with everyone else, STOP with the alpha rolling/pinning and restart your relationship with your dog. All you're teaching your dog by pinning is shutting down and giving no reaction is what you want in circumstances. Look up some positive training methods like clicker training and ditch any attitude of being alpha or pack leader. You have a lot of work to do but luckily your pup is young and will learn faster.

To gain his trust again you need to go gentle, sit on the floor and if he comes towards you at all toss a treat at his feet for him to get. If he gets closer again increase the rate of rewards so he learns the closer her comes the more intense his rewards is. If he walks away don't be offended or chase him, let him go his own way but if he engages with you in play or touching then gently praise, I would normally recommend having a praise party but because your dog is going to be sensitive to your movement or raising your voice at the minute take it easy for now.

Continue to work with him outside with your games, it seems he's only generalized the pinning to indoors because he works with you outside so keep that up.

If he's from a farm or poor breeder then resource guarding may to be expected because he may be slightly malnourished or used to battling over food so I would definitely recommend the book above to get the foundation of swapping before this arises again which it might when your puppy learns you're not going to pin it again.

As for the shower/bath you're going to have to really build the trust up with that now. No baths/showers for a while and CC him to getting in the bath/shower with no water for a while, play games with him in there, throw treats around, anything that builds his confidence in that area of the house. Then you need to have the water running but not actually hitting him so put the shower head on the floor directly down the drain and let it run slowly, then increase pressure over a few sessions, all while playing games/treating. Eventually you can add water to his body but do it slowly. It's essential you do this now because if he goes to the groomers at some point like he should as he's a doodle x then you need him to behave and not have him being a shark to the groomers.

Do not pet dogs while sleeping, it can cause insecurity while they're resting and will start to wake up and lunge when touched. If a dog is sleeping it should be left alone unless you know they're comfortable with it, which your dog is not. If you need him to get down off the sofa or need to wake him call him name until he wakes up and then encourage with a toy or treat, do not push him off or grab him. I think if you're going to use a force then keep a lead on him and gentle apply some pressure to it until he comes down but make sure you've woken him properly too.

You may need to go to the vets with the peeing and check for a UTI or it may just be because you've be rough housing him so he's a little scared right now.

So to summarize, not your puppy isn't favouring other people because it was a female breeder, it's because you've damaged the relationship quite harshly in a short amount of time. The good news is that the dog is young and there's time to repair this with some positive reinforcement so get working hard to say sorry to your pup :D

Well done for asking for help also, it's important that you feel you can and now you know what you need to do!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you -- will a dog "forget" about the harsh 1.5 week we've had so far?

I hand feed him all of his meals, play tug with him outside (to his great enthusiasm), not to mention all the training treats. I'm constantly feeding him treats for sitting near my feet, sitting down and making eye contact when I say his name, coming to me, etc. all day and all night long.

It's just a total downer that the incidents thus far seem to have ruined all the other positive work. I'm just wondering if I've basically scarred him against me for life.
 

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You haven't scarred him for life. Dogs are forgiving creatures and they live in the moment. He might remember for a while, but he isn't going to remember forever.
 

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Agreed. Puppies forget quickly, and Lab mixes can tend to forgive even faster. :)

You do want to look up and train Bite Inhibition.

The growling/snarling probably is just a puppy -thing, some puppies can easily 'over-react' when they don't like something, until they are trained how to react appropriately.

When you read about us suggesting positive or gentle methods of training, when other people want to use harsh or punishing methods, you now have a clear experience of why we may be so adamant. :)
 

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He doesn't trust you in the house because you aren't trustworthy in the house. You randomly change into a scary monster.

Ditch the scrubbing and pinning. Be trustworthy and you'll regain his trust.
 

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I agree stop with the pinning and scruffing, dogs only do that to other dogs when they are basically about to kill them. If you see one dog "pin" another in play or whatever, the dog that is "pinned" goes down voluntarily, dogs use rolling over to defuse a potentially volatile or tense social situation. Like one dog will roll over to another during play sometimes: "ouch! that's too rough!" or as an apology: "I'm sorry! I didnt mean to bite you that hard!" or, as an appeasement gesture during disagreements: "My bad, let's not fight anymore!"

Alpha rolling and all that crap was part of an old "dogs as wolves" training method when people believed that dogs had to be kept "under the thumb" or they would take over. Wolves and dogs might share the same genomes, but keep in mind there is like ... 20,000 years separating dogs from wolves, so looking to wolves for advice on how to train your doodle puppy would be like if you are in need of parenting advice for your child and you go: "Let's see how the chimps do it!"

Now about aggression: It was once believed that when a dog was a resource guarder (RG), or had dog aggression (DA) was "trying to be dominant" when in fact, a dog who RG's or has DA is in fact INSECURE, not dominant. TRUE "dominant" dogs are confident, they dont HAVE to hoard their things of value because they are sure of themselves.

Start the "trade up" method, give him something of value, a bully stick, his fave toy, whatever .... let him have it for a while, then approach him with a high value treat, something he doesnt normally get (I like to use hot dogs, or that cubed cheese, or even those small sample dog food rolls like the ones Natural Balance gives out would work). Show it to him and present it to him, but NEVER sneak the other thing out from under his nose, make sure he sees you taking it, use a command or phrase; I use "can I have this?" and say it in a benevolent, pleasant voice, NEVER use this as a punishment. You can also pretend to drop things on the floor and practice "leave it". I would leash him for this and when he goes for it, discretely step on the leash while saying "leave it." in a firm voice. When he looks to you, treat him.

Hope some of this helps, I wish you luck with your puppy :)
 

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Start the "trade up" method, give him something of value, a bully stick, his fave toy, whatever .... let him have it for a while, then approach him with a high value treat, something he doesnt normally get (I like to use hot dogs, or that cubed cheese, or even those small sample dog food rolls like the ones Natural Balance gives out would work). Show it to him and present it to him, but NEVER sneak the other thing out from under his nose, make sure he sees you taking it, use a command or phrase; I use "can I have this?" and say it in a benevolent, pleasant voice, NEVER use this as a punishment. You can also pretend to drop things on the floor and practice "leave it". I would leash him for this and when he goes for it, discretely step on the leash while saying "leave it." in a firm voice. When he looks to you, treat him.

Hope some of this helps, I wish you luck with your puppy :)
I could not have said it better, you really want the dog to decide that it is worth more to give up the object (whatever it is) because they know they will get something better from you for doing so. And please stop the alpha roll stuff-- that only leads to one of two things 1 a completely shut down dog or 2 a fear aggressive dog that bites. You do not want that to happen.
 

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Get a puppy glass after the second round of shots. One that has puppy play. You'll work on all of this. Stop feeding the dog human food. Just don't, ever. Lots of good advice here but with a dog showing aggressive tendencies, you really need some formal training. It's not expensive and you'll get a much, much better dog. There are certain behaviors that can only be learned in a training class around other puppies.
 

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He doesn't trust you in the house because you aren't trustworthy in the house. You randomly change into a scary monster.

Ditch the scrubbing and pinning. Be trustworthy and you'll regain his trust.
WSS!

----------
stop hand feeding.
 

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Why shouldnt the OP (or anyone) give their dog human food? Ever?
Im thinking I have a different idea of what human food is - surely a bit of bacon or cheese or ham or cooked meat or whatever works for training purposes doesnt hurt long as you know what your dog can handle?
 

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Why shouldnt the OP (or anyone) give their dog human food? Ever?
Im thinking I have a different idea of what human food is - surely a bit of bacon or cheese or ham or cooked meat or whatever works for training purposes doesnt hurt long as you know what your dog can handle?
Bacon can cause pancreatitis - it's too fatty and often times salty. Cheese is okay in small doses. Ham = gas for a lot of dogs which can cause a tummy ache, other cooked meats... okay in moderation.... It's more so a 'know your dog' thing when it comes to little treats from the table, but it's not recommended... usually.
 

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Why shouldnt the OP (or anyone) give their dog human food? Ever?
Im thinking I have a different idea of what human food is - surely a bit of bacon or cheese or ham or cooked meat or whatever works for training purposes doesnt hurt long as you know what your dog can handle?
Yeah I don't get it either.

I use cooked (unseasoned) meat all the time for training dogs. It's like one of the highest reward items ever.

Obviously feeding bacon everyday would cause issues with the fat + salt but I doubt using table scraps here and there would be an issue.
 
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