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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a female 12 week old giant schnauzer. I l love her so much and she is such a loving dog. She sits on my lap/lays against me when she’s tired, loves being around me and my fiancé and responds really well direction. However, she at times has a very aggressive side to her. Im not even taking about the biting of the hands/legs because that has improved since we got her 5 weeks ago and she focuses her attention on toys now. The thing that scares me the most is aggressive behavior in which she growls and lunges at us (including our face if we’re bent over). It typically comes from frustration when she’s not getting something that she wants. Im so worried this behavior will continue as she grows and the fact that her mother is on the large side (110 lbs) makes me worried she could be dangerous. For example, yesterday she locked her mouth around my arm (thankfully that was protected by a jacket) and would not let go, growling at me. I try to redirect her with a toy or ignore her when she does this. Is there anything else I can do? She’s such an amazing puppy otherwise I don’t understand why she’s doing this.
 

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Not get something she wants? Like what? Are you taking something away from her, like a high value chew item? More details would be helpful.

Biting, growling, and lunging can all be normal puppy play behaviors. No body part is off limits, even the face. Some dogs are more vocal than others. I obviously can't see what you're talking about without a video, but it would be pretty unusual for a puppy to be displaying aggression issues this early. If you're worried, I would a consult a professional, positive reinforcement trainer to help you determine if you're dealing with actual aggression issues, or simply a landshark, vocal, intense puppy.

One piece of advice for those landsharks....use baby gates and exercise pens and her crate. It gives you a quick escape, or a convenient place to pop puppy into when she's getting over aroused and needs a time out. If puppy is not able to be redirected to a toy, you must get up and leave. Step over that baby gate, physically remove yourself from the puppy. Puppy learns that putting teeth on flesh = an end to fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response! Will definitely utilize the play pen more then when she can’t calm herself. Yes sometimes it can be a high value chew item being taken away or if she wants me to give her attention/wants to play but I can’t because I’m in the middle of something. Now that she isn’t napping as much as she did she’s really struggling with the concept that being awake =\= she constantly gets attention. I’m glad growling and lunging doesn’t necessarily mean aggressive problems (Google makes me paranoid sometimes lol). One time my fiancé picked her up and she growled and lunged at the face but it thankfully hasn’t happened since.
 

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Taking away high value chews and being picked up can be triggering for some dogs.

Look up the "trade game". Instead of taking away the chew outright, trade for it. Taking away a dog's food without offering some sort of "payment" can lead to resource guarding. Offer a really delectable treat, like a slice of deli meat, and toss it away from the dog. They generally get up and walk away from their treat, at which point you take it and put it away. Personally, if I give my dog a high value chew...it's his until he finishes it. I try to keep chews small enough so that he'll finish it. Religiously follow the "leave the dog alone when she's eating" mantra, and she'll never feel like she has to guard her food or treats.

Now would also be a great time to work on a really strong "leave it" cue.

Not all dogs like to be picked up, and considering your dog will be 100+ pounds I don't think you need to. Now is a great time to work on teaching her to tolerate being handled, though. Make sure to use lots of treats and introduce new things like grooming tools slowly.
 

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That's my late Giant Schnauzer's beard in my avatar photo. He was the best dog I ever had, but not the easiest. This breed is a LOT of dog. One of their breed standard temperament traits is "bold." Obedience training is absolutely essential, and it will also help the dog bond with you and learn to respect you. I recommend seeking out an "AKC Puppy Star" class or similar ASAP, and continuing onto regular obedience after that as the dog heads into adolescence. Firm expectations combined with positive methods (rewards, praise, keeping things fun and upbeat) is highly recommended, as this isn't a dog that can be bullied into compliance. You want them to want to obey you. Good luck!

Resource guarding is really common in the breed, due to the type of work they were bred to do - I highly recommend the book "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson to learn to mitigate and manage the tendency earlier rather than later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Parus! We love her she’s such an intelligent dog and so loving! I will look into the classes ASAP. I’ve definitely noticed with her if I give her an inch she takes a mile. I’m working on being more consistent but this is the first puppy I’ve ever raised and I’ve definitely made mistakes along the way.

I will also absolutely look into that book I definitely want to manage the resource guarding now when she’s young!
 

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I have a female 12 week old giant schnauzer. I l love her so much and she is such a loving dog. She sits on my lap/lays against me when she’s tired, loves being around me and my fiancé and responds really well direction. However, she at times has a very aggressive side to her. Im not even taking about the biting of the hands/legs because that has improved since we got her 5 weeks ago and she focuses her attention on toys now. The thing that scares me the most is aggressive behavior in which she growls and lunges at us (including our face if we’re bent over). It typically comes from frustration when she’s not getting something that she wants. Im so worried this behavior will continue as she grows and the fact that her mother is on the large side (110 lbs) makes me worried she could be dangerous. For example, yesterday she locked her mouth around my arm (thankfully that was protected by a jacket) and would not let go, growling at me. I try to redirect her with a toy or ignore her when she does this. Is there anything else I can do? She’s such an amazing puppy otherwise I don’t understand why she’s doing this.
Best to nip it in the bud before reaching the pnr...
 

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I'll disagree with the other commenters here, it shouldn't be played down as simply puppy behavior. While mouthy behavior is completely normal, nipping and growling as an aggressive response is unusual for a puppy. My only puppy (GSD) who did this also ended up as an aggressive adult even toward us, his family. Since then I have been very particular when choosing a breeder because aggressive behavior is almost always genetic. APBT are also a lot of dog but mine and many well bred ones simply never have any response to high value items being taken from them. With proper breeding the trust in humans, especially their owners, is engrained in them.

That said, I wish I had the means to get a behaviorist for my aggressive puppy early on, it could have perhaps made a huge difference. I took this puppy to obedience classes, he knew all the commands and did them perfectly, but the aggressive response toward high value items and getting in his space was still there.

So my suggestion is getting a behaviorist.
 

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Eh, without video there's no way to judge. Giants are pretty talkative dogs.

My derp poodle growled at me all the time as a puppy and he's one of the least aggressive dogs I've ever encountered. It was just his invitation to play.
 

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As I said, nipping and growling as an AGGRESSIVE response is not normal, no one's saying that growling and nipping out of play is unusual. My Aussie has never had an issue with me taking high value items from him or being 'all up in his space', but he sure as hell chewed me up during his first few months of life 🤣

It usually isn't difficult to spot the differences between play an aggression, and if it is aggression then it needs to be seriously addressed ASAP and not chalked up to puppy antics.
 

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I really like Lillith response..the trade game and payment game work well for many dogs. It's what the behaviorist I used taught me and it helped immensely. Getting a behaviorist was the best thing I did. I learned as much, if not more, than my dog. Understanding what the dog is communicating can be half the battle. I also agree with if they have a chew toy that is their favorite,, I let her have it until it is gone or she is done with it. I never take it away from her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the responses! She has significantly calmed down in less than 1 week! It turns out she hates time outs in the play pen. Lol. She still occasionally resource guards with our 5 year old boxer so we are still working with her on that but she easily lets me take things away from her and is not resource guarding with us. She has stopped the lunging and biting as well. It’s like she’s a different dog.
 

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that's great news!!! Sounds like you and your pooch are on the right track. Dogs are such amazing creatures, imagine what they could teach us if they could talk...
 
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