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Hi there! I'm new. We have always rescued dogs, most have been older. Now that we have kids, we decided to get a puppy. We've had dogs and cats all my life. :) So why am I here?

Well...the puppy. She's 4 months old. We've never had a dog like this one. She is a "potcake," a rescue from Puerto Rico. She is small and feisty. She is very smart, and not difficult to train; she learned sit, stay, come, and leave it in about 5 minutes for each. She's super food-motivated. HOWEVER....

She only does these things when she feels like it. And if I correct her from doing something bad, she "talks back." She does grunty noises of annoyance and mouths the air. Sometimes she jumps up like a spring trying to bite me--because I've said no. As in "no you may not eat that hat. No sitting on the coat you knocked off the back of a chair. No eating backpack." etc. She then gets completely worked up with the biting and thinks it's a game. nipping my feet and pants and anything else she can get. When she gets crazed like this, my only option is to pick her up and put her in our bathroom for a few minutes. She cries the whole time--which makes my older dog super upset and he starts panting and shaking. It's been fun, lol. (Note: I do offer her other toys that are acceptable to bite, but when she gets like this...it's all us she wants to bite)

She also tries to get my older dog to play--he's 14--and his attitude is basically "beat it, kid." So she stands in front of him and barks and barks at him and jumps at him. He comes to me (he's got about 40 lbs on her) and I have to make her stop. She refuses and will launch herself at us. Her tail is wagging and she thinks it's a game but it's not.

I have also heard her growl twice, while sleeping, when my kids tried to snuggle her.

She's a sweet thing who is eager to please, but I wonder if these are signs of aggressive tendency or normal puppy stuff? I don't know how to get her to 1) stop biting, and 2) stop going in the house (That's another post. She goes outside. She peeps, poops outside. But she does it inside, too).

So I guess my questions are, 1) is she showing signs of an aggressive personality? 2) how do I get her to stop biting without having to punish her all the time? 3) anyone have experience like this? Thank you!!
 

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This is normal puppy stuff.

How do you "correct her from doing something bad"?

Basically you need to set her up to succeed. Don't leave things lying around that you don't want her to chew on! It's really that simple. Redirect her to her own toys/chews. If she's being crazy and just wants to bite/nip, then yes, put her in a time out. Instead of the bathroom (where she can't see anything), use a crate or x-pen instead. She can still see what's going on, but can't be nippy. Alternatively, you can put up gates that you can step through to get away from her for a few minutes until she calms down. Dogs are like kids in that when they get over-tired they tend to be more bratty. She might need a time out in her crate to just have a nap.

How old are your kids? They shouldn't be snuggling the puppy if the puppy doesn't like it (a lot of dogs don't and will get more irritable as they get older). Believe it or not, growling is a good thing. It's a warning. If the warning is ignored or punished, the dog may go straight to a bite next time. Train your kids how to properly handle the puppy and to respect the puppy - what she likes/doesn't like.
 

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Thanks. Glad to hear these are normal things! I correct her by saying "no!" firmly and attempting to walk away when she bites us. When she bites other things, I have been redirecting. Even the kids know to run and grab a toy before telling her not to bite their stuffies or whatever she gets. The example I gave of coats, backpacks etc. was from this AM while getting the kids out for school. They are 5, 6 and 8 and are actually really good with her: they give her space and they immediately back off if she growls when they go to snuggle her. As I mentioned, we have had dogs in the past and our cousins have puppies so before we got her, I gave them the whole shpeel: when you run, it's a game, if you yell, she may think you're playing or you may scare her; play calm games, don't overwhelm her with love, walk away if she's too rough and tell me.

My question was more whether these combined--the "talking back," getting angry at corrections, and growling--are signs that she may have aggressive tendencies and need some different sort of training. I'd like to do it correctly while she's young, if so. I guess what starting me worrying this was more than normal puppy stuff, was at her first check up, the vet checked her teeth and she tried to bite her and the vet said "Whoa! that's not good! Does she nip at home when she's angry?" And I can't stop thinking about it, and the way she gets pissed when we tell her no.

We do try to keep things off the floor, lol. But the getting in/out the door is rough--and kids bring their blanket or stuffies to watch TV. (and to be honest, they get a wee bit upset if she gets their stuffies but then sort of like "welp, I left it out." which is AMAZING to me.)

I'm interested in what you said about the crate/pen area as a time out. I had been using her crate before the bathroom--and only when she gets riled up and launched herself to bite--and a trainer told me not to, because the crate is supposed to be a calm, safe place. Sure enough, she NEVER goes in it now. And he suggested the bathroom as a quiet, unstimulating place if she needs to settle down. You think it's better if she can see us though?

Thanks again for your thoughts!
 

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It's really hard to tell if it's aggression or not without seeing the dog and her body language. It's good to be cautious though and try to deal with it early. With the vet situation again it's hard to say - the vet said she was angry - why was she angry? Was she afraid and couldn't escape? In that case it would be a fear-based reaction. How did the vet handle her? If she was afraid did the vet try to take that into consideration or did he/she just charge ahead and do what he/she needed to do regardless of the dog's body language?

How does the puppy react when your older dog tries to correct her? Does she get angry at that?

What kind of trainer do you have? Was he positive based? Did the trainer come to your home? What were the issues you were dealing with (same ones)? The crate should not be punishment, just a time out to calm down and maybe have a nap. If you don't want to use her crate for that then I suggest the x-pen or dog gates. I still think it's better that she can see you. I know our dogs don't like being locked in a room where they can't see what's going on.

Just a suggestion - you will probably get more responses to this if you start a new thread with a more specific title. A lot of people won't open a thread if it's not something they're interested in or can help with. You can still post a link to this one if you want.

I actually have a dog who did have issues as a puppy and I didn't notice or take them seriously when he was young (he's 4 now). I wouldn't call him aggressive, but he is fearful, which can lead to aggression in the wrong situation. Getting "angry" at corrections is a warning sign, but it's hard to tell without being there if it's true anger or just puppy tantrums as they learn they can't always get their way.
 
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