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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!
I have owned labs my whole life. I just recently adopted a 12 week old female lab mix, which i love dearly! Lately though when i walk her at night she gets very aggressive and grabs her leash and barks, growls and lunges at me. Last night i simply said NO and picked up her to go inside. She then bit my hand pretty hard and drew blood. She has gotten a little aggressive before when i was trying to train her to walk on a leash but never has done this. She doesn't do this for morning or evening walks, just when its dark outside.She is normally very good and is learning quite fast, but she has an aggressive side that i can't seem to tame. Just wondering if anyone else has had this. Any advice would be great! Thanks...am i just dealing with normal puppy behavior or will she grow to be aggressive?!?
 

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I wouldn't label a little puppy that age with aggression. Perhaps she is a little more nervous at night, or has more energy for some reason. There are things that we may not think of, like what jacket you wear or what sounds are there at night? maybe she has something going on with her eyes. Pups that age bite everything, all the time. it took ours months to quit all together, and she did love to get the leash in her mouth. Just stay calm and keep on with your training, try to expect good behavior and not get it in your mind that the dog is set in its ways already. Humans have a hard time with this.Try taking a high value treat on your night time walks, I find a pocketful on a walk creates a new dog who actually listens! keep working on the bite inhibition, and in a few months I bet you will have a great little dog! Good luck!
 

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When my dogs get excited, they occasionally bite/growl and pull on their leashes, but as far as I can tell it's playful. I just stand "like a tree" until they stop and then I continue to move forward. If they start up again, I just repeat the "stand like a tree" exercise until they get the idea that biting/pulling the leash is not a game.

Your pup is right in the "fear stage" of development:

From About.com:
Puppies often go through a "fear period" [between 8 and 12 weeks]. Instead of meeting new or familiar people and objects with curiosity, they react with fearfulness. Anything that frightens them at this age may have a lasting impact so take care that the baby isn't overstimulated with too many changes or challenges at one time. That doesn't mean your pup will grow up to be a scaredy-cat; it's simply a normal part of development where pups learn to be more cautious. Careful socialization during this period helps counter fear reactions.
Keep socializing and best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. I hate to label her as aggressive but the way she growls and lunges, its kind of scary even though shes so little. Ive never experienced this with any other lab. Normal biting and nipping yes, but this is scary. It sounds like a bear lol. But i love her and trying to keep cool. I actually cried all night because i was scared of what she might turn out to be. I do not know what she is mixed with but the vet says she's mostly lab. After our walk, she was fine in the house. She ate and i put her in our bed and she cuddle up until she feel asleep. But the walks are the worst =( Hopefully this doesn't last too much longer. She is getting fixed in September so maybe that will help?? I also have a full grown 6 year old bullmastiff, he is wonderful and so obedient, i often would like to take them on walks together so she can see how he reacts and how calm he is but i'm scared that her jumpiness will aggravate him. He's blind by the way.
 

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Ace has always been very vocal. He growls and makes all sorts of weird noises. What is her body language like while she's growling and lunging? How do her ears/tail/head/chest look? Are her haunches (the hair on her back) standing up?

Again, I tend to think the issue is fear rather than aggression, but it probably wouldn't hurt to enroll her in some puppy socialization/obedience classes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was just looking up places that offer obedience training! =) her haunches are not standing up but her ears are back and she jerks violently on the leash and she growls and raises her mouth to show her teeth. My sister dog sat her for a week while i was on vacay and she has two pups from the same litter. She said she was very mean with them as well and tried to bite my sister plenty of times. Her two pups play around and are kind of goofy and silly (like all my labs have been in the past) but she is different. I am going to do everything i can to get her straight and keep her as our "new" member of the family. I love dogs and since i dont have children, these are my kids. I would never give her away or anything so i'm trying to nip in the bud early!
 

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Assuming that she is within normal bounds, it sounds like she is frustrated and reacting normally... My Lab was kinda like this at 9 - 10 weeks... and I went through some significant Bite Inhibition exercises that included a lot of withdrawal of attention.

I wrote this a while ago... After you read the Sticky in the new owner section: The Bite Stops Here, this may help...

Read this and note the 3 days and the apology....

Some Tweaks to Bite Inhibition (to get him to stop biting when he wants to play):
1. When the pup bites, then yelp. It should sound about like what the pup does when you step on its paw... don't step on his paw for a sample :). When you yelp, the pup should startle briefly and stop nipping. Praise and pet. He'll bite.
2. When he bites the second time, Yelp. When he stops, praise and pet. He'll nip again, although it may be a little gentler. ...
3. When he bites a third time, Yelp (see a pattern?). But this time, turn your back for 15 - 30 secs. If he comes around and play bows or barks, then that is an apology. This is important. Accept it, praise and pet... and cringe in expectation of the next nip...
4. When he bites the 4th time, Yelp, then leave the area, placing him in a 2 min. time-out. It is better if you can leave, rather than moving him. Then, return and interact. (He's still hungry...)
5. When he nips the fifth time, yelp, and leave the area, stopping interaction for now.

Pups need to sleep over night in order to learn their lessons. So, keep doing this for 3 days. By the third day, you should notice signficant Bite Inhibition. He may still nip, but it will be softer and he won't draw blood. Keep up the training and make sure that everyone yelps.... Very powerful method.

If you learn the technique, then you can apply the "yelp" to other circumstances, also. I believe that "yelp" is "Please don't do that, I don't like it." in dog communication. I currently use the yelp when my dog plays tug, then runs with the toy, when he fetches and keeps it out of reach or when he takes a treat too quickly....

You might even "listen to her" and completely withdraw attention when she snarls. If you don't see less extreme behavior in 3 days, you may want a trainer to see what's going on to help.
 

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Thank you so much. Im definitely going to try this. I love her so much and understand that puppies, especially labs, are excited and nip and bite. But she actually scared me last night. Now all i have to do is socialize my mastiff and her so that they can play together and she doesn't bite him, because if he decides to bite her back, its bye bye Ryleigh :/
 

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Usually ... a socialized adult will only reprimand a puppy... it is a good form of socialization... Unless your mastiff has shown unpredictable behavior or dog aggression, I suggest that you monitor them closely.

Since you've had dogs for a while, I imagine you recognize the difference between a warning snark from the Mastiff (desireable) as opposed to a threat of aggression (which I hope you've never experienced :) )

So a stiff snarl directed at the pup may not be good, but a lightning snark that scares the pee out of the pup (looking violent, but only scares the pup) is a terrific attitude adjuster for an early adolescent pup that isn't really aggressive, but just starting to grow too big for her britches ....

I can't judge by email, but I'm hoping that you've had the experience to be able to fill in the spaces...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I do. It just worries me bc he is SO much bigger than her! lol. I have only had one incident in the past that left me scared. A yorkie came in our yard barking at our mastiff and he simply picked her up and brought her to me. He didn't maul her or shake her or anything. But the yorkie did die due the force of his jaws. When he's around our lab he kind of whines and wags his tail, i assume with curiosity bc he is blind. I let them smell each other every day so they can recognize each others scents and learn to tolerate each other so i wont have to always be this cautious.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok so the past couple of nights have been ok while walking my pup. However, tonight when I took her out she immediately grabbed her leash and ran as fast as she could (as fast as I could let her) and rolled across the yard growling and biting. She never does this during the day!!! She bits my shoes and jumps very high and actually but my leg and drew blood and then bite my hand as I tried to calm her. She snarls and shows her teeth and gets scary. I'm not sure if he doesn't like the dark and is rebelling or what. I can't seem to get her under control. She will literally roll (like an alligator death roll) across the yard and flip flop and then lunge at my feet, legs or anything else she can grab :( help please
 

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It's a common thing with Lab pups... it's a good thing that they're cute.... It's not the dark, it's the cooler time, and the 'over-tired' thing, just like when children get cranky. The first thing is to work on Bite Inhibition, so that energy release does not equal a vampire snack. She also needs something else to chew on, always available, such as a frozen Kong... Buy two, keep one in the freezer and one to toss to her before she gets rev'd up.

By the way, the ideal solution to a 3 mos out of control pup, are two, socialized 6 mos Lab pups to rough her up some... Exposure to lots more dogs will help her to learn manners fairly quickly, but introduce her to socialized dogs that know how to play (and have a personality that you like), as well as having the same of higher energy level.

Normally, I recommend a Pit or Rottie are good playmates, but at this point, other Labs might be better. You want to match energy levels or go with socialized pups with higher energy. A trainer may have access to other dogs like this... if you can't find them at petsmart or a dog park...
 

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can you work on getting her calm before she gets the leash put on and gets to go out for the walk? This is very hard, but maybe she would get some self control and calm down a bit and know she has to behave or she doesn't get to go out. At this point, any moment she is still or not biting could get a reward. Are you using treats? I really hope this is just a puppy thing, keep trying! have you tried a toy she can keep in her mouth? My pup loves those loofa "bobo" long stuffed dog toys, you can get a small one for pup and then the teeth are occupied. She can carry it around. My dog is outside "killing" a plastic watering can right now, the only toy she growls at, but she has so much fun. Your dog just might have crazy night time zoomies.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I hope its just a night time puppy thing. I give her things to chew on all the time including frozen towels and all b/c i know she is teething pretty bad right now. Inside the home and during the day she is completely fine besides the normal puppy nipping (and digging my potted plants out when i'm not look lol) but we are working on all of that. Last night she got bad that i couldn't even calm her, all i could do was try to hold her away from me and call for my BF to come outside and help. She sees a little more calm around him at night. I dont know if she feels safer or what but i'm usually the one doing the walking so its not like i only go out with her at night. We are trying to see if its just the darkness or what. If we stay around the front porch with the lights on she seems better than if we walk off where its really dark. =( Just hope to ease this for the both of us b/c i know it stresses her out as well.
 

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I was just looking up places that offer obedience training! =) her haunches are not standing up but her ears are back and she jerks violently on the leash and she growls and raises her mouth to show her teeth. My sister dog sat her for a week while i was on vacay and she has two pups from the same litter. She said she was very mean with them as well and tried to bite my sister plenty of times. Her two pups play around and are kind of goofy and silly (like all my labs have been in the past) but she is different. I am going to do everything i can to get her straight and keep her as our "new" member of the family. I love dogs and since i dont have children, these are my kids. I would never give her away or anything so i'm trying to nip in the bud early!
SHE IS PLAYING! It's sounds like she has a higher drive than you're used to, perhaps she's mixed with one of the breeds that tend to play rougher. Start with The Bite Stops Here and then train Rev Up/Cool Down

Redirect her rough play to toys only with a vigorus game of tuggy to tire her out and make sure she gets frequent short training sessions in the home (which will also tire her out)
 
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