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I have a new papillon puppy for just 4 days. She's 17 weeks old and tbh I'm having a bit of a nightmare. I had thoroughly researched the breed before purchasing her and thought she would fit in well with my family. I have three young children (twins aged 7 and a 9 year old) and they are very respectful and gentle with animals. So here's the problem..every now and then Poppy (the papillon) suddenly flips out and wants to bite. She's not consistent with when she does this. There do not appear to me to be triggers. For example - i've put her collar on and off several times, but one time today she really, really went for me.

From the start she has been trying to nip my children almost every time they try to stroke her. Today we went out to a park together, she seemed find to me, ears pricked tail wagging, sniffing about happily, or so i thought, and they suddenly she went on a mad nipping frenzy trying to get all my kids.

She is not a 'boss' dog. I've very clear on who's the boss in my house (me although the hubby does get confused with this too sometimes bless him), so it's not to do with being the alpha dog etc.

We are four days in and my kids are scared of the new puppy and i'm reluctant to pick her up. I think the problem is that the breeder had not socialised her as well as he believes he has. The breeder is very good, he really is a professional, but i think that his standard for what counts as socialised is different from mine. This puppy may do very well in the house of a granny with no noise etc, but in my house i'm really worried the direction this is going.

So..is it worth persevering for a while? Or do you think this sounds rather hopeless?
 

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There are many reasons why dogs develop aggression issues.

Have you taken her to the vet recently? Some illnesses or other medical problems could be the cause. If a dog is in pain it could cause aggression. In my experience, one of my Pit Bulls was the sweetest dog ever but sometimes, he would randomly turn. Most of the time it happened when he was in his kennel but there were several times he went through it outside of it. With the help of our vet, we were able to narrow it down to two things. Either a chemical imbalance in his brain that was causing him confusion amongst other things or a brain tumor that was pressing on a nerve and making him act out. I used to volunteer at my local animal shelter and they once had a family surrender their Boxer because he would randomly turn on them. He had attacked one of the kids and his family gave up on him. The shelter's vet had determined after some tests that he had a brain tumor that was pressing on one or more of his nerves in his brain and it was causing him to act aggressively.

Some other possible reasons for aggression are frustration, fear, possessiveness, or a show of dominance. From the information you have provided, it doesn't sound like she's fearful or possessive of anything. I clearly don't know about your personal life and living arrangements but some common causes of frustration in dogs are; spending too much time in a cage or tied up. They can also become frustrated if they're picked up or touched constantly which by you saying your kids respect animals and are gentle with them, I'll say that's not the case either. The show of dominance I don't have experience in so I can't really say anything about that but a quick google search should provide some insight!
 

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A 4 month old dog that WASN'T mouthy or hyper would be a rarity. Puppies are insane land sharks. It's why shelters are full of adolescent dogs. If she's nipping while looking excited, it's not aggression, it's playfulness. She just needs to learn that we don't play with humans using our teeth. You can redirect her on to an appropriate thing to chew, like a toy, or into an acceptable game like fetch. If she's really wound up and frenzied, she needs a quiet time out to settle. (Think of a toddler up past bedtime.)

Also, do you really need to be picking her up often? Most dogs of any size dislike it, especially if they're just being scooped up like a football. In general it's better to use a lead or teach them to go to places on command. For when it is necessary to pick them up (say to load into a car), here's a video on training the dog to accept it nicely. If you don't do clickers (I don't) just using treats should work fine.

Similarly, dogs tend to be naturally adverse to having their collar grabbed. Even if they're not shy, they come to associate it with unfun things. Here's a good video on fixing that:

Even with good training you are going to have some flaky dumb puppy/adolescent behavior until her brain finishes developing. Unless she's a genetic mess or badly mishandled, she'll naturally chill out as she gets older. As a little dog you can expect a reasonable degree of mental maturity sometime between 12 and 18 months. If that sounds like a long slog, consider that if she were a large dog like a lab, you would be dealing with immature behavior for up to 3 years, and that at least she's small enough to limit the damage she can do in the meantime.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
There are many reasons why dogs develop aggression issues.

Have you taken her to the vet recently? Some illnesses or other medical problems could be the cause. If a dog is in pain it could cause aggression. In my experience, one of my Pit Bulls was the sweetest dog ever but sometimes, he would randomly turn. Most of the time it happened when he was in his kennel but there were several times he went through it outside of it. With the help of our vet, we were able to narrow it down to two things. Either a chemical imbalance in his brain that was causing him confusion amongst other things or a brain tumor that was pressing on a nerve and making him act out. I used to volunteer at my local animal shelter and they once had a family surrender their Boxer because he would randomly turn on them. He had attacked one of the kids and his family gave up on him. The shelter's vet had determined after some tests that he had a brain tumor that was pressing on one or more of his nerves in his brain and it was causing him to act aggressively.

Some other possible reasons for aggression are frustration, fear, possessiveness, or a show of dominance. From the information you have provided, it doesn't sound like she's fearful or possessive of anything. I clearly don't know about your personal life and living arrangements but some common causes of frustration in dogs are; spending too much time in a cage or tied up. They can also become frustrated if they're picked up or touched constantly which by you saying your kids respect animals and are gentle with them, I'll say that's not the case either. The show of dominance I don't have experience in so I can't really say anything about that but a quick google search should provide some insight!
Thank you for your reply. She went to the vets on day 2 because she had diarrhoea, the vet ran a ton of tests on her and found her to be in good overall health, just a tummy upset which i gave medication for. Regarding being in the pen, the door of her puppy pen is left open, she can go in and out as she pleases, when she's out my kids love to play with her, she;s plenty busy but if it becomes too much she trots off into her pen to relax. I just find it odd how random her episodes are, but perhaps I think, as you say, that fear is an element because of the lack of her socialisation. I haven't taken on a rescue dog here and i'm really wondering what i've gotten myself into now. It's a real pity because aside from these episodes she's the ideal puppy; sleeps through the nights, can be left alone with no fuss while i do household chores etc, i told the breeder i would call him today because i'm really considering sending her back. If anyone can advise on my rights (if any) when sending a puppy back i would appreciate it, under these circumstances can i at least expect a part refund? Or the promise of a puppy from a future litter? (this time an 8 week old NOT 16 so i can be sure to socialise it myself)...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A 4 month old dog that WASN'T mouthy or hyper would be a rarity. Puppies are insane land sharks. It's why shelters are full of adolescent dogs. If she's nipping while looking excited, it's not aggression, it's playfulness. She just needs to learn that we don't play with humans using our teeth. You can redirect her on to an appropriate thing to chew, like a toy, or into an acceptable game like fetch. If she's really wound up and frenzied, she needs a quiet time out to settle. (Think of a toddler up past bedtime.)

Also, do you really need to be picking her up often? Most dogs of any size dislike it, especially if they're just being scooped up like a football. In general it's better to use a lead or teach them to go to places on command. For when it is necessary to pick them up (say to load into a car), here's a video on training the dog to accept it nicely. If you don't do clickers (I don't) just using treats should work fine.

Similarly, dogs tend to be naturally adverse to having their collar grabbed. Even if they're not shy, they come to associate it with unfun things. Here's a good video on fixing that:

Even with good training you are going to have some flaky dumb puppy/adolescent behavior until her brain finishes developing. Unless she's a genetic mess or badly mishandled, she'll naturally chill out as she gets older. As a little dog you can expect a reasonable degree of mental maturity sometime between 12 and 18 months. If that sounds like a long slog, consider that if she were a large dog like a lab, you would be dealing with immature behavior for up to 3 years, and that at least she's small enough to limit the damage she can do in the meantime.
Thanks for your reply. I should say that i'm not a first time dog owner, this is my second dog after my first passed away from old age. Her behaviour is NOT mouthiness or hyperactivity, those things i can recognise and manage just fine, she is beyond nipping - she's trying to bite, and when she does it she totally spazzes out, last night she was sitting on my lap (after asking to come up) and sitting quite happily then all of a sudden she growls and tries to bite me...
this morning i had to wash poop off her behind and oh my god....what a drama. I feel she's getting the correct balance of play and rest. I understand what you're saying about being picked up, but logistically small dogs do require being picked up a lot more than larger dogs - even if its to help her onto the curb etc. And for the collar, i've put it on and off several times no problem, but all of a sudden one time she went crazy. My daughter filmed it and i sent the video to the breeder and even he agreed that she absolutely "should not be behaving like that". I'm at my wits end. I paid VERY good money getting her from a reputable breeder believing that such issues would not arise - i know that there are always issues and no puppy is perfect and needs work etc - but this is really beyond expectations. As i said in another reply, i did not go out and get a rescue dog where on expects some issues like these, this is a puppy and right off the bat there's problems i consider serious.
 

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Can you post it?
Can i send it from my phone here? I'm writing from my lap top - and can i delete it after posting? Want to show it but don't want it on internet forever because my daughter is in it too....
 

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You could upload it to YouTube as "unlisted," share the link here, then delete the video on YouTube after people here have gotten a chance to look.
 

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You could upload it to YouTube as "unlisted," share the link here, then delete the video on YouTube after people here have gotten a chance to look.
sorry for the delay, my internet takes forever...but here's the link...

 

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They can become frustrated if they're picked up or touched constantly which by you saying your kids respect animals and are gentle with them, I'll say that's not the case either.
 

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Thanks for your message. I had a strict rule with the kids that they were not allowed to pick her up so for sure that was not an issue. I'm afraid that she is back with the breeder now, she flipped out another couple of times when we were outside and I really had enough. It's very hard also having a puppy that does not like to be stroked... Kind of impossible! In the future I will stick to my instincts and not get a puppy more than 10 weeks old
 
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