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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so we got a new puppy recently and we're first time dog owners (We were told that he's a lab/basset/beagle mix.) He's 8 weeks old, uses the potty outside really well, and has so far been pretty well behaved and sweet. We have six cats that he's trying to get used to which I knew would be fun to socialize. When he first came in the house he paid them no mind which was something we were looking for or we wouldn't have gotten him. The cats were sniffing him and curious about him and everything. He drank, pottied, then came inside to eat and that's when he started showing aggression. Alucard, the same cat that had been approaching him the most, approached him again when he was done. He went to touch noses with him, which was something they had also already done, and he went ballistic. Barking and growling for several minutes, even after the cat had left. We attempted to correct him but he only got louder and more aggressive. Then we tried to calm him down and that only resulted in him lunging at and snapping at us.

He eventually calmed down and we figured it was just because he was scared being in a new home so we moved on in training, playing, and caring for him. He was laying on the bed and the cats were coming around him again and he was still fine. Then suddenly one of our other cats was sitting in the doorway, not moving, just checking him out, and he started doing it again. I again tried to correct him only to be met with louder more aggressive growling and snapping.

He's having these aggressive fits and we don't know what to do. Otherwise so far he's been very sweet, playful, loving, and attached to us. We're really confused because the breeder said he was raised around cats as well so it can't just be the cats right? We were going to leave him in the kitchen today for a short time because we had an appointment but we had to cancel instead for fear of the cats. What should we do? How can we teach him not to do this?
 

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That's really normal for a dog. Dogs are predators, cats look like prey to them. Especially when a cat is going for a nose to nose greeting, which is incredibly rude and aggressive from a dog's point of view.

Correcting him isn't going to work. You need to provide the cats with a dogless place to hang out, and you need to crate or otherwise confine the dog when you're not there. You then need to start clicker training (search "kikopup" on youtube) and reward calm behavior around the cats and ignoring the cats. But if you correct him because of the cats, he's going to get the idea that it's the cats that cause the correction, which will make this worse.

Really, you can't expect a dog to like cats. Very few do. Managing a house with both dogs and cats does take a lot of effort and care.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Okay. We'll give that a shot. We'll stop attempting to correct him for the cats and just award him when a cat comes around and he stays calm. But what about if he's aggressive and there's no cats around. Twice now he's just suddenly started growling and snapping at us with no cats in the room. Should I just ignore him or...? If I give him a firm, gruff, "No" for chewing a shoe and such or any other behavior that he shouldn't be doing he tends to get upset and either growl, bark, ignore, or slink into a hiding place. We're not yelling or being mean, it's just a nice firm no. So far I've been rewarding good behavior as well so....
 

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Okay. We'll give that a shot. We'll stop attempting to correct him for the cats and just award him when a cat comes around and he stays calm. But what about if he's aggressive and there's no cats around. Twice now he's just suddenly started growling and snapping at us with no cats in the room. Should I just ignore him or...? If I give him a firm, gruff, "No" for chewing a shoe and such or any other behavior that he shouldn't be doing he tends to get upset and either growl, bark, ignore, or slink into a hiding place. We're not yelling or being mean, it's just a nice firm no. So far I've been rewarding good behavior as well so....

Dogs don't just suddenly start growling or snapping, is there anything you may be doing that is scaring him? It may not be anything actually scary but maybe something that is scary to him. For example, maybe every you go to sit on the couch you shake out the blanket and the giant waving motion of the blanket scares him. Just think if there is anything that could even possibly be setting him off. He may also be growling at strange sounds that he doesn't recognize. OR is he for sure growling in your direction? Corrections like "no" don't really do anything. They know your upset and something bad is happening but they don't know why. This seems like a sensitive dog so I wouldn't use corrections on him. Just do a simple "eh-eh!" to distract him, replace shoe with treat and praise if they take it. Redirections and positive reinforcement are the way to go. Show him what you want her to do instead of telling him what you don't what him to do after the deed is already done.
 

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Dogs have no idea what "no", means. You'd be better off teaching him what to do, instead. Like teach "drop it", "leave it", "Go lay down", etc.
You need to puppy proof your home, so he can't get to shoes. If he is chewing on something inappropriate, give him one of his toys to chew on, and remove other object.

An 8 week old puppy really isn't capable of being aggressive. I'd bet the growling and snapping is because he is playing or you are doing something that is making him fearful.

One safe way that I have found to introduce cats and dogs, is to hold the cat on my lap and face the cat's butt towards the dog and let them sniff it. Praise the dog for being gentle.

Cats will usually swat a puppy that gets too rough, and that puts an end to the puppy's roughness. Of course, they will jump away, and usually bark.
 

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Rather than give him a correction or "no" for chewing or another behavior you don't like, try to STOP that behavior before it starts, so he doesn't even think of that as a choice of what to do. Pick up shoes and anything else you don't want him to have. If he heads toward furniture that you don't want him on, interrupt him before he even gets there and distract him by giving him something else to do. If he heads for the table legs to start chewing, do the same thing, interrupt him and get him doing something he's allowed to do instead.

If you stop him from doing something every time it looks like he's going to start, he will stop seeing that as a choice of something to do.
 

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Your pup sounds similar to mine. I have a Brittany. I brought him home at 8 weeks. During his first week he growled and snapped at my cat. He actually growled and lunged at a 70 lb lab. I had never seen such a young dog act like that. His play was also very rough at first, growling and biting.

My guy is 15 weeks now and doing really well. He is not aggressive. I think he was very scared of the cat and the lab. I also feel he was just not very well socialized in general.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your input. I didn't think a puppy could be aggressive either which is why we were so surprised. He's probably just still scared of being in a new place? He's been doing a lot better since he woke up this morning. I've been giving him treats for good reactions, praise for neutral reactions where he ignores or just watches the cat, and so far he hasn't had anymore negative reactions yet. I think we're certainly going to teach him "leave it" and we've been simply stopping him for bad behavior now.

I tried letting him sniff Alucard's butt and he showed no interest at the time but I will certainly try it again later.

And I'm glad you think so! So long as he gets along with his feline siblings this will most certainly be his forever home. Can only hope we're good enough parents.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Your pup sounds similar to mine. I have a Brittany. I brought him home at 8 weeks. During his first week he growled and snapped at my cat. He actually growled and lunged at a 70 lb lab. I had never seen such a young dog act like that. His play was also very rough at first, growling and biting.

My guy is 15 weeks now and doing really well. He is not aggressive. I think he was very scared of the cat and the lab. I also feel he was just not very well socialized in general.
I somehow missed this earlier but I appreciate this response! We think the exact same thing. Today he's been doing really well with the cats and hasn't growled or barked once, not even from nose to nose, or them hissing. We had a friend bring his full grown Siberian Husky over today and he did the same thing. (Which we figured he would because you know how big them S. Husky's are.) After 20 to 30 minutes he had calmed down A LOT and eventually was even playing with her. He's still a little snippy but we're pretty sure he's going to get out of that just judging by today's play date.

I also think that Kosmo was not well socialized as well. We're gonna socialize the heck out of him though. He's already making progress. Just this morning he was running to the door if he saw a stranger outside, now he wags his tail and raises his head in curiosity. I've been asking strangers to pet him when he sees them.
 
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