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NEW BEHAVIOR - biting!

1767 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mustluvdogs66
My Pomeranian/toy poodle puppy is almost 6 months old, we got him at about 3 months, he has always had issues with teething and nipping but it was never malicious he was just hard to train with this behavior. Recently, he started biting HARD and angrily when we do something he doesn’t like. He bares his teeth and bites our hands if we try to take something from him he shouldn’t be chewing on, and if he knows he’s going to be put in the crate. (I have to put him in the crate every day he has never gone in willingly. He’s rarely in there more than 4 hours as I often work from home but he has NEVER bitten me for this until recently, only whined). This is not his typical biting behavior!! If he is play biting and we tell him to stop he stops and starts licking which is progress from before! This is new and very obviously aggressive he doesn’t let go and draws blood! What should I do?
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This sounds a lot like resource guarding, and also an aversion to being picked up/handled. I imagine you physically place him in the crate by picking him up, right? Resource guarding is usually genetic, but it can be made worse or better by the dog's environment. Instead of taking things away from him, play the trade game. You can look up a training guide on the forum. If he has a long-lasting chew, trade him for something even better, like cheese or deli meat, then put the chew away.

This way, he doesn't become defensive when you need to take something from him. He thinks, "Hey, what I have is great, but mom/dad has something even better for me." He will willingly give up his chew for the new, even better thing. Make sure he has plenty of appropriate chews and that you are praising him for using them. It's also important that you control the resources he guards. You should not leave things he guards out on the floor. If he guards regular household objects, this is going to be difficult, but preventing him from guarding entirely is the best option.

Many dogs do not like to be picked up and handled, which is sometimes hard with small dogs when you just need them to do something quickly. I would begin working on making the crate a really, really great place to be. Start feeding him inside his crate, and no other place. Play crate games (look it up on the forum). Give him a really awesome chew, like a stuffed frozen Kong toy, when you need to put him inside to leave. The goal is to get him to go into the crate willingly without any physical prompting from you.

Also, I would suggest ditching the "dominance" or "alpha" mind frame. Dominance between dogs and humans is not a thing. They know we're not dogs. They're simply oppurtunisict, and smart. They will do what gets them what they want, and sometimes that gets mistaken as spiteful or rebellious by us humans. When the act aggressive and bite, they are almost always afraid, not trying to take over your house. Afraid of losing resources, afraid of being hurt because they are being handled and made uncomfortable. Imagine being a 10 pound dog picked up and placed in a crate by a towering 150 pound human against your will....kinda scary. Some dogs like being picked up, others don't, and yours probably really doesn't...
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