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View Full Version : Agressive behaviour??



ann
18th February 2007, 11:08 PM
Ellie is almost 12 weeks old, and is very independent. She doesn't like sitting on my knee ( such a shame) and the only time she likes being fussed is when I go to her in the morning..... I really want to cuddle her. What worries me is that I have tried to kiss the top of her head ( its hard not too she is so cute) but if I do she growls and has tried to bite me.She also growls if I pick her up.......I am really worried that she is going to be an agressive dog.......I am taking her to training classes in a few weeks....But has anyone any idea why she doesnt like being fussed? It seems more than just puppy nipping, I can see she means it by her eyes.
I thought Cavaliers were friendly dogs? I have had dogs all my life and never had an agressive puppy.......Its hard to bond with her, and getting me very upset :(

Cathy Moon
19th February 2007, 12:30 AM
You might want to take her to the vet and describe what is happening. It could be that she is having some pain or discomfort that is causing her to growl and behave defensively.

Also, are you picking her up correctly? Don't pick her up like a baby under the arms. Pick her up by putting one hand under her chest, and make sure your other hand supports her hind end. Hold her gently, yet securely against you, so she doesn't squirm and fall. It's very important to support their hind ends when lifting them.

Most dogs prefer to have their chins and chests lightly tickled or stroked rather than be petted on top of the head. They just don't like your hand reaching over their head. It's so easy to switch to letting them sniff your hand first then lightly tickle their fur. Additionally, most dogs don't like to be patted, but like to be lightly stroked.

When you take her to training, part of the training should focus on gently handling your pup's paws, ears, and gently checking her body for matts, lumps, or other abnormalties that may need attention. Talking in a soft voice with slow, gentle movements will help her to build her trust in you.

Karlin
19th February 2007, 02:25 AM
Good advice. :)

It is extremely rare for a 12 week old puppy to be aggressive. So rare that my trainer friends have never yet encountered a truly aggressive pup. :) I would definitely talk to your vet to start to make sure her reactions aren't linked to a physical problem. That cleared away, then reconsider the ways in which your actions may be threatening, even though you don't mean them to be. Many dogs really do not like being kissed or even patted on the head -- this involves what is in dog language very threatening and impolite activity -- arching over them, putting your face right into theirs, moving your mouth to the top of their head, reaching for a vulnerable area.

If the breeder made sure the litter was well handled by people and so forth this is very unlikely to be aggression -- simply discomfort and a pup's need for some private space. A good breeder wouldn't have homed a puppy s/he knew was not socialised.

See:

http://diamondsintheruff.com/bodylangspaceinvaders.html

ann
19th February 2007, 10:50 AM
Thank you both so much for your replies, it is so nice to have people to share worries with.
I am sure that Ellie hasn't got anything physically wrong with her and I do pick her up correctly.... But yes I suppose I am guilty of invadeing her spase. I just never thought of it. My Yorki who died last year aged 15, never growled or snapped at me and loved to be cuddled. My grandkids play him with for hours......He was very much a lap dog and loved people in general......
So I am treating Ellie just as I did with my Yorki and I shouldnt .
Ellie is Ellie a independent little girl.
It's sounds stupid but I feel she doesnt need my affection.
I bought her from a very good breeder so yes she was socialised before I got her........Hopefully as she grows up, her affection will come through.
I will stop trying to kiss or hug her....She is a beautiful puppy, and I expected to feel instant bonding with her.....but I was so worried that the growling and biting would carry on into adulthood that I havnt let myself relax with her.....
So thank you again for the advise......I will relax and stop the kissing....

Natalie
19th February 2007, 11:18 AM
hi, hopefully when you start puppy training things will improve could you try some basic training at home like sit and playing games like fetch with her so she starts to bond with you. And then try brushing her with a soft brush to she gets used to your touch. Keep prasing her giving her treats all the time. Also could you contact your breeder they might be able to give you some advice afterall the breeder would have spent time with your pup before you had her. When we got lady she was happy to sit in our arms for a while put wanted to play and sleep a lot now she's getting older you haven't got a chance to sit down without her wanting to be on your lap. Your pup may well change as it gets older. Also remember a puppy will naturally be more playfull than your golen oldie yorkie. Hope that helps.

ann
19th February 2007, 12:11 PM
Hi Natalie, Ellie is very good at Sit and Down, she learnt that very quickly ( plenty of treats)...But as for brushing her :shock: thats a nightmare. Even though I just try short sessions of brushing, and reward her after....she gets VERY angry and bites a lot, I just dont know if I should leave the brushing alone for a while or persevere?.....She seems very intelegent for her age and VERY determined to get her own way....The thing is.....do I give in to her or try to make her give in to me....
Of all the pups I have ever owned she is the most strong willed and I am aware I must gets things right while she is young.....

arasara
19th February 2007, 01:35 PM
I have a 13wk old who does a lot of the same things.. you have to make her give in to you!

Faith was much like Ellie when I first brought her home. She seemed to prefer to be on the floor or the end of the couch rather than touching me. If you know me, I am a cuddle bug myself, so I must have puppy cuddle bugs too.. :lol: It's very important to me for Faith to LOVE to be handled so when she would fall asleep I would gently move her to where she was touching me and just pet her. I would stroke her back and her ears and paws.. just touching her.

A few nights I stayed up late and waited until she fell asleep and then put her on my tummy and pet her some more. Of course I gave her puppy kisses and tummy rubs and the like as much as I could. I think it's important to spend as much physical time as possible with them right now. They are learning to socialize. I also do my part as best as possible by taking Faith to all my neighbor's houses and passing her around to everybody who will have her. She was scared at first but she's becoming more and more affectionate every single day. :)

Good luck! :flwr:

ppotterfield
19th February 2007, 04:38 PM
Ann: Perhaps the most important thing is to relax. Also, even if you think she is healthy check with your Vet, explaining the behaviour, as we can think everything is fine and it may not be. In addition, I would call your breeder. Good breeders will be there for you and help you with their puppy's transition into a new home, and hopefully be there for you for Ellie's life. Finally, although Ellie is independent, do not assume she does not want some loving. There are plenty of ways to bond with her, you just have to figure out what works best for both of you. Taking puppy classes is a good start. Hopefully, you will have a good trainer who can give you some individual advise.

Our Buddy is not the face licker, cuddle bug that some Cavaliers are. He will sit in our laps, but would prefer to sit beside us or sometimes just where he can see us. (Now, if I am lying down on the sofa reading or watching television, his favorite spot is draped over my hip!!) At two years of age, Buddy still does not like hands that reach out to him from above his head. We are careful but if we forget to mention this to others he will always back up. He also does not initiate play often but loves it when we play with him: ball retrieving, climbing through homemade tunnels, walking on two feet, making circles, etc. - his tail is in helicopter mode! The point is they are all individuals and you have to explore and experiment to find the best way to bring out your Cavalier's best side.

Best of luck to you.

Kodee
19th February 2007, 11:35 PM
I think the exact age of 12 wks has a lot to do with it. Yes independant puppies may not want as much interaction but I also thinks its the stage they are at (but they will react to different degrees). Kodee is 11 wks and she insisted on lap time, well, ALL DAY from 8-11 wks! But this weekend and today she is a ball of fire. You put your hand up while she is playing etc.. and she grabs hold of your sweater, you walk thro the kitchen she attacks (and I do mean attacks) your shoes! I kept thinking WHAT DID I DO TO MAKE SUCH A TURN and then calm downed and realized its really just a stage. She has found new independance, lots of things she didnt notice before that just MUST BE INVESTIGATED with paws, teeth and tongue! She is letting me know "not now I am busy!" and if i were to push it more, she would react more. But when she wakes up she is very sleepy and cuddly so I am making sure (like Sara suggested) to touch her paws, tummy etc.. as much then to keep her used to it etc..

I had an older dog too - and kept thinking oh Kodee is different. But when I look back right to the start and force myself to remember actually a puppy is a puppy! She will develop into the lap, pat loving dog eventually. Really a 12 wk puppy is the equivilant of the Terrible 2's (those with kids will wince)!

Caraline
20th February 2007, 12:02 AM
Already some excellent advice given here especially the stuff about body language & personal space. Sometimes we forget that our fur babies are not human babies but are in fact dogs, and dog body language & manners are very different to ours.

Oh and if you want to be reminded of how rough puppies can play, take a look at a litter of siblings chewing on each other's ears & legs, all ferocious growls & monstering :lol: It is during those early weeks that mum & the other siblings teach the puppy some of his socialising skills. If the puppy is sent to his home too early, sometimes they don't learn this and can seem a little aggro. It is then up to us to show them that biting & growling is not the way to get on icon_whistling

Karlin
20th February 2007, 12:27 AM
Keep in mind a puppy isn't an adult and needs to be handled and gently socialised over time. They just cannot cope with constant attention. I would not force yourself on her -- never try to make a puppy bond -- you have to let pups and adult dogs do this in their own time. I regularly home rescues and the best piece of advice I learned from experienced rescue mentors and which I pass along to new homes is: do NOT fuss over the dog, do not overwhelm him or her with attention, do not assume they are already the dog you want them to become. Let them be who they are right now and grow to trust you. Most animals need a bit of time to learn that and make that shift, most especially, rescues and young puppies.

Or look at it from the dog's perspective and remember when you were a small child. I am sure we all remember the adults we just didn;t like because they constantly fussed over us, invaded our space by wanting to hug and kiss us when we hardly knew them, and wouldn't leave us alone (certain elderly aunts might spring to mind! :lol:). This can be absolutely exhausting and frustrating and overwhelming for a human child -- just as it is for a dog or cat, puppy or kitten. In addition you have to allow for personalities -- many dogs simply are more aloof by nature than others. Often females are a bit more aloof than males. They won;t be encouraged to bond by being forced to interact. Indeed iot can cause them to become snappy out of anxiety and frustration. They will bond and settle by *being allowed to in their own time*. :)

I would forget brushing -- puppies do not need brushing and this is either totally overstimulating her into play fighting with the brush and your hands or is truly bothering her. Just get the softest puppy brush you can, and once a week, gently brush her for no more than 10-15 seconds. If she hates this, just touch her with the brush and don;t actually brush her. Over the coming months you can work up to a longer time. Do not bear down on her; hardly touch her with the brush. All you need to do is get her used to being handled over time for when she does need grooming -- but that is unloikely to be necessary for half a year or more.

If a puppy is too difficult for you, I'd suggest going back to talk to the breeder and see if you could opt for an older dog. Many breeders have dogs of 6 months of age or older, inclduing retired breeding dogs of 5 or 6. It may be that a more settled nd mature dog would be a better choice? This is often the case for someone who doesn't want to go through the challenging first year of puppyhood again (many of us, including me, feel that way -- after one puppy, my next two were adults!). You have many, many months ahead of trying to manage and train a puppy and if you have any uncertainties about this or this particular puppy, it might be much happier for the pup and for you to think about talking again to your breeder. A puppy that is extremely outgoing and active is going to be the same as an adult -- a very active, confident and forthright dog -- which may be a challenge for some homes to manage. It is worth sitting down and thinking through all this with both heart AND head to consider whether you are prepared for 10-12 years of the adult dog this puppy will become; and perhaps go back to the breeder with any concerns. :flwr:

ann
20th February 2007, 07:08 PM
What a difference a day makes :) Yesterday I thought,if Ellie doesnt want to sit on my knee then so be it. She usually just sits at the end of the settee on a blanket and I had been putting her onto my knee and she would promptly get off and go back to the blanket.......So I stopped putting her onto my knee and last night she just came onto my knee by herself. Also today when I sit down she comes straight to me :)
Today was the first time she could go out walking, so we took her to the park.....She loved it. She wanted to say hello to everyone even the ducks :shock: I saw a Great Dane walking towards her....was she bothered......course not ;) So I think I have a very friendly outgoing puppy who seems afraid of nothing......AND she wants to sit on my lap....

Scouty girl
20th February 2007, 08:26 PM
I'm so happy for you..... :lol: . She might have felt a little overwhelmed. She just left her home and siblings and came into a new environment.

Even though everyones intentions were good, maybe she was just getting a little too much attention.

Sounds like she might be settling in.

Phoenix5281
20th February 2007, 10:56 PM
Hi anne,
I just wanted to let you know that I got my little girl at a very young age and I was VERY concerned about her growling and aggressive behavior and there is this weird trick i learned and it seemed to help. You pick them up supporting the whole underside with your hands until they can't touch the ground with their paws and they might squirm and feel out of control and try to get out of your hands but keep holding them just a couple of inches off the ground until she calms down and then let her go and say good girl. It sounds strange but i think it is supposed to teach them that you are in control or something like that. I just know that after about a month Missi just completely stopped all aggression and growling and is the sweetest dog i have ever been around now. Hope this helps. hang in there
Robin

Kodee
20th February 2007, 11:24 PM
Hi anne,
I just wanted to let you know that I got my little girl at a very young age and I was VERY concerned about her growling and aggressive behavior and there is this weird trick i learned and it seemed to help. You pick them up supporting the whole underside with your hands until they can't touch the ground with their paws and they might squirm and feel out of control and try to get out of your hands but keep holding them just a couple of inches off the ground until she calms down and then let her go and say good girl. It sounds strange but i think it is supposed to teach them that you are in control or something like that. I just know that after about a month Missi just completely stopped all aggression and growling and is the sweetest dog i have ever been around now. Hope this helps. hang in there
Robin
OK I think I needed this tid bit of advice!! Kodee is mostly very playful and laps are too much in demand. But she does have issues with feet, big time depending on your mood - the angel can become the devil without notice! This, advice of yours just might help - or at least save my toes for a minute!

arasara
21st February 2007, 01:07 AM
I have to do that with Faith sometimes but it's not intentional. WHen I take her out to go potty she squirms like a mad woman. The safest thing I can do is just hold her out until she stops squirming - God knows I don't want to drop her.

Debbie,

If you don't want Kodee biting your feet and socks and jeans when you walk, spray yourself with bitter apple. She will get a rude awakening but my trainer just did this with her GSD and she stopped instantaneously. :flwr:

Kodee
21st February 2007, 02:04 AM
I have to do that with Faith sometimes but it's not intentional. WHen I take her out to go potty she squirms like a mad woman. The safest thing I can do is just hold her out until she stops squirming - God knows I don't want to drop her.

Debbie,

If you don't want Kodee biting your feet and socks and jeans when you walk, spray yourself with bitter apple. She will get a rude awakening but my trainer just did this with her GSD and she stopped instantaneously. :flwr:

hmm I spray alot of things she goes for, but had not thought of my shoes! I may have to spray ALL of my youngest though - Kodee thinks she is a chew toy :lol:

Lisa_T
22nd February 2007, 01:23 AM
I've heard that tip as well, but trust me, if you have a wriggler then it's potentially dangerous.

As for the cuddle thing, I think it's something most pups grow into. Holly was a lone pup who had been neglected and abused as a tiny baby. When rescued at 8 weeks by the breeders I got her from, they had no pups in the house, so Holly had more human rather than dog socialisation from that age. As a result, she loved cuddling- especially women. Men she didn't trust for a while.

Amber had a normal puppyhood with her littermates. She was ten weeks when I got her and was a bit of a shock- she didn't seem to want to be cuddled much at all. Then at about 16 weeks or so that changed totally and now she's more of a cuddlebug than Holly! Holly is often happy enough to take herself off to the sofa. Eight times out of ten, Amber wants to be with me. They really do have their own personalities and as litle babies they're not necessarily temperamentally representative of the breed, but very often become so as they mature.