View Full Version : Puppy Agression

22nd October 2009, 12:45 PM
Hi, Clara is been very aggressive lately. She was mouthing and playing but then all this stopped and for a few weeks there was none of this but lately she has had alot of agression for example the other day she was sitting on my mams lap in the sitting room and my sister broke a glass in the kitchen, Clara heard all the noise and wanted to go in to see what had happened but my mam wouldnt let her as she would cut her paw. Clara was struggling and desperate to get down she was barking and growling for ages and then she went for my mam. My mam shouted at her and Clara knew she did wrong and settled down but its getting worse she is like a different dog outside shes so friendly and would never bite or growl at anyone and when shes at the vets the vet can do anything with her without been attacked but when I try to put ear drops in she bites my hands,struggles and growls. I would love to bring her to obedience classes but I really dont have the money at the minute. Is there anything I can do to nip this in the bud while shes still young?

22nd October 2009, 01:08 PM
The word aggression might be too harsh for him. I once heard Cavalier never turn to aggressive dog. They are the most lovely companion dog.

I think mouthing and growling are quite normal to puppy as I have 13 weeks cav here, but mine is never show growling yet but I think it might depends on individual puppies. Ida loves to mouthing, sniffing, biting and digging as I think she just want to explore the world which is too new for her.

Taking him to puppy school is good as Ida is nearly finish her course, you'll know the basic of manner puppies should have and what we have to deal with puppies. by other hand, you could learn from internet as well, there are heaps of information which is free. you might start with this.

22nd October 2009, 01:12 PM
one more thing, if you want to train your pup, when is the best time?
I was told that it's the first day you got him. :p

22nd October 2009, 01:38 PM
I got mine at 12 weeks and started training her immedietly. Start at least by setting some ground rules. For example when it's feeding time she has to sit & stay while I do the feeding dish or the ffod ends up all over from her jumping all over it. Also in our bldg. elevator she has to sit & stay until I tell her to exit. If not, her trying to run out could cause an unknowing person to step on her as soon as they put their foot in. Lay down also helped keep her still for a little longer. Use treats! Reward her right away for every good thing she does. Spend time everyday single day on training. "sit and stay" might have helped in the situtation. When I brush her we use "stay" command. It helps too. Probably would help in the ear drops. Start with the basics. I also used a hand single with each command. Sit was pointing my finger down as I said it. Stay, I had my palm above her head, and lie still I would rub the floor. I read as much as I could and got great insight here. It takes some work but when it starts to pay off it's not only rewarding for your dog, but you too! And it makes life a little easier! Hope this helps.

22nd October 2009, 02:09 PM
She knows all the basic commands she stays comes sits shes still agressive she really growls and bites me when Im doing her ears it doesnt hurt her because the vet always does them for her. I say NO and I leave her alone for a few minutes and when she doesnt bite and nip I praise her. This isnt mouthing btw i went tru the mouthing stage and now this is agressiveness.

22nd October 2009, 05:32 PM
THIS IS NOT AGGRESSION, trust me -- she is not even 4 months old yet! :thmbsup: She is also very young and will STILL be going through mouthing and nipping for weeks yet.

Did you download Ian Dunbar's book that I've mentioned to you a couple of times? Have you had a chance to read it? Please, please, please do so; understanding her is so extremely important if you want a well behaved happy dog. These kinds of issues are dealt with there and you will get great advice using the book -- please do not misread this *normal* puppy behaviour as aggression as she is really only a small puppy still! She's the equivalent of a 4 year old. She has barely begun her training and socialising journey and training is more than learning a first handful of puppy commands, many of which she will not really remember in another two months or so (most young dogs learn a few things initially and promptly forget many of them around puberty in the same way kids 'forget' a lot of their good behaviour when they reach 13 or so... :) ).

Really, your family do need to be viewing this with a different mindset or you risk actually ending up with a dog with some problems. Yelling at a puppy for example -- she was being forcibly restrained, this was undoubtedly uncomfortable for her as she squirmed, she wasn't happy and she did what puppies do -- she growled and when no one paid attention to that, she snapped to be let down. From her point of view, yelling at her confirms to her that the whole situation was frightening and uncomfortable and that humans do totally scary and unpredictable things when they try to hold you down.

The way to address this is to start now, while she is still a baby, to train her so that she is happy and comfortable being handled in a variety of ways and being restrained for short periods. All of this is in the book I recommended. I'd really suggest reading it from cover to cover and to work every day on the exercises Dr Dunbar has there as this is a critical time to be training her to be a happy puppy with good self control. Teaching to sit etc is nice, and important, but isn't relevant at all to having a dog that is comfortable with being handled. That's where using this excellent book as a guide for her entire first year will help you greatly.

If you truly feel you are seeing aggression then I would recommend ringing Dog Training Ireland to make an appointment for an assessment the next time your family are up in Dublin. :thmbsup: I am sure they will reassure you though that these are all in basic training and socialising issues however, and very normal behaviour for a young puppy. :) A puppy this young will NOT be showing aggression unless there are serious genetic problems causing it. I am very sure this is not the case.

Please never yell at a pup though -- this truly risks ending up with a timid dog afraid of people, and afraid of being handled -- the start of potentially serious problems.

PS Why is she getting drops in her ears all the time? Puppies do not find this comfortable at all, and vets tend to have a confidence in managing dogs that makes this look easy -- it is absolutely normal for her to be struggling to get away from this disliked task. Maybe ask your vet for advice on how to do drops net time you are in? It can be very painful if the nozzle goes in the wrong way, the drops are too cold, she is held in an uncomfortable way, etc. Most of us have a hard time getting drops in ears.

22nd October 2009, 06:41 PM
Thanks Karlin for taking the time to write the advice. I havent downloaded the book but after writing this I definiatly will. I love Clara to pieces and sometimes I think Im too easy on her and she will think shes the alpha. I will spend loads of time training her when I learn some of the tricks in the book you suggested. The reason she is getting drops is because she has a bad ear infection Ive cut down for twice a day to once and soon to be none. Im waitin for Thornits to arrive and it wont be so frequent then. I think she is very comfortable with us and not sure of new people so she doesnt act up. I very rarely shout at her but I admit sometimes I do loose my patience and maybe let a shout out. Thanks again

22nd October 2009, 07:40 PM
A few thoughts from a definite non-expert :).

I'd make sure everything you let pupster do is on your terms. So YOU decide when pup gets a cuddle, or to sit on the sofa, or to do whatever. Puppy has to learn it's the humans that provide the guidance.

Also a dog really only has a few options on how to express its' disapproval. I would not be wanting to shout reprimands in case pupster thinks:

" oops I growled and got told off. Maybe I shouldn't growl next time - I'll just bite

A dog that doesn't issue warnings can pose lots of problems later on.

Sometimes pups, like kids, get a little grumpy when they're over-tired. Also, maybe the ear is still sore? Btw, Thornit is great for keeping ears clean, but won't help with ear infections. I love Thornit power - it is really good. A tip from one of my friends is to apply it with a blusher brush - you don't need much.

Are you giving a reward for good behaviour? This could be a cuddle, a treat, a game for example - again on your terms.

I know dog training can be expensive, but we make training fun and part of every day - we will train a little bit on every walk and at any time basically. Sometimes we have to go right back to basics, because it's very easy to get complacent - but my dogs soon make me realise if been too lax, because their behaviour tells me!! Bradley's recall has dropped right off recently and I know that's because I've been paying all my attention to teaching our pup, so I need to do some more work with Brad now.

hth :)

22nd October 2009, 08:28 PM
The book is free so that makes it really easy to get a great guide to puppy training, care and behaviour. It is a great book for adult dog owners too as I'd wager a lot of us have never tried some of the exercises and techniques. I know there are quite a few in there that I've yet to get to!

Puppies are *hard work* and take a lot of patience and daily dedication, training, care and love. There are no shortcuts and the biggest misunderstandings (and problems!) tend to arise because people have expectations of what and how fast a young puppy or adolescent can learn and retain that far outmatch a dog's actual ability. So people see normal behaviour as a problem. It isn't, it is just one of the very long list of things that take time when owning a dog. I cannot emphasise enough how difficult and time consuming a puppy can be -- yes, wonderful and sweet and adorable too, but they are *very hard work*. Most people who once had puppies forget this, or who have never had puppies don't realise it. Unlike kitens, which are housetrained almost instantly to a litter box and are very indpendent from the start, puppies need almost constant supervision and interaction and generally take weeks or months to housetrain for example.

Puppies can be incredibly rewarding but many of us who have had them once or twice stick to young or older adults thereafter! :lol: Last puppy I had was almost 6 years ago (Jaspar) and I still do not know if I'd ever want a young puppy again. I say that just to underline that frustrations are normal (but the way to deal with them as with toddlers, is to start counting backward from 20 and then take a few deep breaths :) ), and that though a pup may seem to have learned some things quickly, all learning is on a long timeline and puppies under 6 months really need to be play-trained -- where we keep in mind that they are just kids getting the hang of things, not dogs ready for obedience competitions. They will be able for serious learning as you build on this fun base of gentle expectations and positive encouragement.

Misty is also right that there's a difference between reward and lack of structure and expectation. Reward the behaviour you want and don't accidentally reward unwanted behaviour by reacting to a puppy that whines and is demanding. Even a young puppy needs rules to help him learn good manners. :thmbsup:

You can great starter advice by reading these articles: