View Full Version : growling and biting issues

6th October 2006, 11:42 AM
The other day Jeremy jumped up on to my lap and had some ink stuck on the side of his head. When I tried to get a closer look he growled and then bit me quite hard. I growled at him and told him to stay still as I wasnt hurting him. He proceeded to chuck a full on tantrum,just like my 18 month old baby does, but I didnt let him go until he had settled down again. He also tried this on when I put his harness on and now he is going my children as well. He hasnt been teased at all and he is not in pain anywhere. I have a feeling he is testing his boundaries and seeing how far he will get. He is 15 weeks old. I didnt think he would be old enough yet. Anyone have any suggestions on what I can do? I am quite saddened by it as I thought they were great dogs for kids.

Cathy Moon
6th October 2006, 12:01 PM
Do you have a babygated area or an xpen where you could put little Jeremy into 'timeout'? In timeout, he should still be able to see you, but completely ignore him for awhile. He should go into timeout when he bites anyone.

Then I would start a gentle, positive daily grooming routine with him. Softly brush his hair, handle his paws, examine his head and ears, etc. while giving him treats so he'll see it as a good thing. We learned to do this in puppy kindergarten. To help him get used to it, just start off doing a little bit, then increase the time spent grooming him gradually. :flwr:

6th October 2006, 12:10 PM
Thanks Cathy, we already do the daily groonig thing thats why it is such a surprise. But I will do the timeout in his crate and see what happens. Is it all right to use where he sleeps as the time out area?

Cathy Moon
6th October 2006, 12:25 PM
If at all possible, I would not use his crate for timeout. He needs to see this as his wonderful little bed/den.

It might work to not enclose him, if everyone can just ignore him. But I'm thinking he'll be jumping all over you trying to get your attention.

6th October 2006, 12:39 PM
There are two things here I'd be thinking about -- whether this is possibly pain related though it may not be immediately obvious to you (it isn;t always easy to tell), and also, whether there's the right environment at the moment for mixing cavaliers and children (for both the cavalier and the children :) ) as a lot of people do end up with problems due to some potentially serious misunderstandings about how dogs and kids should mix, especially a breed as small as a cavalier, and most especially, a puppy which is forming its most important social bonds and laying down its fear responses and so forth at the age yours is. I don't know how old the children are, but if they are under about 9, they shouldn;t be interacting directly with a puppy on the loose except under the most controlled circumstances... kids running around a small puppy can overexcite it and cause problems in their own right, including biting, and I'd also wonder if somethi ng like this might have been going on to get the puppy into a state where it reacted as it did due to overstimulation?

For the first thought: Most puppies hate being groomed and you'll need as Cathy notes, to try and gradually work him towards accepting and perhaps even enjoying this. He is still of an age where he might be puppy nipping -- you can search for previous discussions of this as there's lots of advice already on this topic -- but from the sound of it this seems an overreaction by the puppy to what you were doing unless there was an underlying cause. Your decsription almost makes it sound like a fit or a severe reaction where the puppy lost total control of himself and this would be of concern of course. I stress again it is very hard to offer advice without seeing what you might mean by a bite and his reaction (which is why it is best to get professional advice for anything that is really worrying, and have a behaviouralist view the pup -- or talk to your breeder as a good breeder can always give advice) and whether it was more a puppy nip or a serious bite -- as perspectives can differ. But if he bit hard I'd really be wondering whether he has some underlying level of discomfort -- some sort of pain -- and I'd be thinking to mention this to a vet on his next visit and I'd be watching for other signs that he might be sensitive around the head or other areas your were handling. If this is the case then there are a number of potential causes you'd want to be looking into.

The second point -- kids and cavaliers -- this is a breed that CAN be great with kids (as can most breeds) but an adult needs to be in charge. Any dog should never be left alone with children and all interactions of young children, under age 10 or so, should be done with kids sitting on the floor while totally supervised by adults. The puppy should not be running around while kids are running around, for example, for reasons noted already.

Several aspects of this were recently discussed here, which should be a helpful thread for you:


6th October 2006, 12:50 PM
Also -- just rereading -- I would suggest never to restrain a dog that is upset like this -- better to put him somewhere quiet. Forcing a dog to submit in this way can cause behaviour problems, or injury (to you or the puppy) so if he is struggling, just set him down into a room and close the door and give him a five minute time out or so. An x pen would be very helpful for managing a puppy for all the things noted above. :thmbsup: