View Full Version : Confident Pup?

17th January 2010, 06:41 PM
Hi, this is my first post and I need some advice. I have 2 cavs, they are 2 and 3 years old. I just got a cocker spaniel puppy, he is 6 months old (I got him at 16 weeks). This puppy is very gentle, seems very easy going, very easy to train (although I'm still learning how to train) and eager to please. However, he doesn't take "no" for an answer from other dogs, whether it's my cavs or unknown dogs at the dog park. All daycares in my area require an evaluation and I took him to the most respected daycare/training facility for his evaluation. During the evaluation, assisted by a french bulldog, the owner/traniner's boxer was let out of his crate. When he was returned to his crate my cocker tried to follow him inside and confronted the boxer nose to nose! The trainer quickly lifted my puppy away from the crate but she commented it wasn't good that my puppy wasn't afraid to confront adult/older dogs (older than the puppy). My puppy passed his evaluation with flying colors but the trainer didn't elaborate on what, if anything, I could, or even needed, to teach my puppy to avoid another dog making mincemeat of him. Although my cavs have disciplined the puppy the 2-yr-old has actually bitten the puppy more than once and that concerns me, too. I'd like to know if there's anything I can do before this situation escalates and of my dogs gets hurt!

17th January 2010, 08:38 PM
I'd say that YOU need to intervene and don't let your pup pester your Cavaliers or any other dog for that matter to the point were they'll snap. Bullying is not acceptable behaviour. Most pups will get the message when an older dog corrects them, but if he isn't then you have a bully on your hands and you need to tell him "No" and take him away from the other dogs (ask him to sit, down, stay some other command that distracts him from the behaviour), maybe distract him with a toy or a time out in a crate. Otherwise your others dogs self-esteem can suffer an their life can be miserable. My friend has a toy poodle like this and no one invites her over for play dates anymore, so her social outlets have been cut off. No one likes a bully ...just like kids they need to be taught how to behave socially, but with kindness and patience. Don't wait for the other dogs to do it...it's up to you to take control of the situation.

17th January 2010, 09:07 PM
Welcome! icon_welcome

I would go back and ask the trainer to elaborate. This is, after all, why you took him there in the first place and any trainer worth their salt is going to explain whatever issues they saw. Also I cannot see how this could really be much of an issue if the puppy passed with flying colours-- perhaps you took it to be more of a problem than it really is just as you were taking him in with a specific concern? That can influence what we hear back. :)

And to be honest, I'd wonder why the trainer was surprised at a puppy as young as your cocker following an adult into a crate? The pup is only 6 months old -- that sounds like exactly the kind of thing an outgoing, friendly, confident puppy would do at that age if the boxer didn't initially mind (surely this is why he passed?!) and at his age, he falls within the time period when most adult dogs still let most pups away with all sorts of things but is only just now beginning to lose what trainer Ian Dunbar calls his 'puppy license' -- only now would adults generally begin to start becoming intolerant (maybe why you are seeing the response from your adults). But that is quite normal. I come across puppies all the time just like yours in classes and at doggie day care that my friends run. Actually I will disagree a bit here with the previous response :) -- it is far better IMHO to have a pup this age learn to behave from adults as humans absolutely cannot teach a pup how to read dog language and dog signs and without the socialisation now from adults, the risk is a dog that will end up like the poodle mentioned above. It is the actual mixing and contact and doggie-language discipline that teaches young pups how to be polite adults. Removing him all the time (some of the time, yes, if he is a pest, but not all the time) rather than letting the adults manage the situation and relationships mans he doesn't learn how to interact with dogs, he learns that humans will come have him do something else and never has to deal with learning what to watch out for as warning signs from dogs. I also don't think he sounds like a bully, just extra exuberant. A bully would not pass a temperament test and a trainer would surely have made clear deep reservations on this issue I think?

What did the boxer do? How did the pup respond? And when you say your cavalier has 'bit' him, do you mean snap or actually bite as in physically harm the pup, leave marks, draw blood? It is normal for adults to snap and I would leave them to it as long as they are not making skin contact -- and though as Marjorie says, I'd give your adults a break from an annoying pup as some adults do not care for puppies full stop and find them very frustrating, and simply put him in an xpen for example. I personally wouldn't say no either -- I'd just call him away cheerfully, do something else with him (Mrjorie gave some good examples -- right now's a good time to start training him, always using positive methods :) )or put him in an xpen (with a pup this outgoing, please invest in an xpen -- it will be your favourite tool and you can use it in so many ways! I have adult dogs and use two panels as an impromptu baby gate for example all the time).

In short -- unless your puppy is confronting adults -- and by that I mean going for them and not just play-fighting, and is actually aggressive -- I think you just have a very active confident puppy. :) If he passed a temperament test, that indicates this is exactly what you have -- just an outgoing, happy, if hyperactive puppy (nd one that will benefit from some more adult confrontation if he isn't being hurt...).

And THAT said: be prepared as it sounds like you have a smart and active dog that is going to need LOTS of physical and brain exercise. This is exactly the dog to get right into puppy classes NOW, then do a few levels of obedience and I'd do agility or other activities once he hits a year or 18 months and his joints are fully formed (so is OK for running/jumping of agility). Such dogs are wonderful but ARE a challenge and do not suit everyone -- I own one and he is my favourite dog but I call him the attention deficit dog and he is up for action all the time. Buying those dog puzzles (see sites like sitstay.com) are great for dogs like this, for example. On the downside, I do get dogs like this up for rehoming from homes that cannot cope or meet the dog's needs. They want a quiet couchpotato and they get wonder dog...

For more on puppies, check out www.dogstardaily.com.

17th January 2010, 09:25 PM
More on 'puppy license':

Puppy License To Misbehave
Testosterone is the hormone which makes male urine smell male. Thus, the “maleness” of a dog's urine depends on level of testosterone in the body. In most mammals, adults have much higher testosterone levels than youngsters. This is not true for dogs though. Plasma testosterone levels start to rise by the time the male pup reaches four to five months old, whereafter testosterone levels reach a maximum at ten months of age and then fall to adult male levels by eighteen months of age. At the ten-month peak, testosterone levels in adolescent male dogs may be as much as five to seven times greater than adult levels.

Urine odor, therefore, betrays the age of young male dogs. The odor of puppy urine is quite distinct. The puppy's size, shape, sound, color, behavior and especially, his smell, all advertise the youngster's age. A rollover with a leaky urethra is a means for the pup to display his puppy license to older and/or higher ranking individuals: "Yo! Sniff this urine. See, I'm just a young puppy and don't know any better. Please don't harm me. I didn't mean to jump on your tail and bite your ears. He! He! He!" And sure enough, most socialized adult dogs are quite tolerant and lenient towards young pupskis. However... once testosterone levels start to rise, the male puppy's license to misbehave is rudely canceled. In fact, by ten months of age, adolescent male urine smells sooper-dooper, ultra-mega-hyper-male, informing all adult dogs: "Why lookyhere. This young urinater must be a developing male adolescent — a potential thorn in the side of social harmony. Let's educate the young fellow right now, while we still can." And sure enough, most adult dogs (especially males) start to harass developing male pups to put them in their place before they become a significant challenge on the social scene.

All the rest of this (link below) is well worth reading, especially the bit on growly dogs as this topic comes up regularly -- a growly dog does NOT usually mean a problem dog! Often it is a play solicitation (I have a vocal male who always growls in play)


Some further thoughts -- are your adults neutered? I'd recommend this if not. Also -- rarely it happens that dogs simply are not happy with anther dog that has to fit into the pecking order. The issue may actually be your adults -- not the puppy.Do you get them all out together on walks? How are they then? Lots of socialising together outside the house and territories can improve relationships too.

17th January 2010, 09:27 PM
I believe I did specify that if your pup isn't getting the message when corrected by the other dogs then you do need to intervene. Yes, it is best to let the dog learn proper socialization from other dogs, but sometimes this doesn't always happen.

18th January 2010, 12:42 AM
Really interesting and useful information by Karlin here. Leo just got neutered two weeks ago, but I can't tell a difference in his behavior as of yet. He's a growl-y little boy, but only during play. My roommate and I follow the philosophy NILIF--Nothing in Life is Free.

We have what Leo wants (our attention, games like fetch, treats) and we make him behave to get it!

21st January 2010, 07:20 PM
Thanks for all the helpful info, Karlin--and for the welcome! (I need to figure out how to get the smiley faces in the post!) On the trainer...she's well respected in the area and doing her best to educate people in the area so they WILL train their dogs, most people in the SE (USA) don't see a need for it. That said, I had the impression the trainer's perspective is on the negative side. I didn't think it was unusual for my puppy to try and follow the boxer but I agree that older dogs don't tolerate puppies well. My ruby (2 yrs old) bit the puppy and drew blood at least twice--my vet found the punctures the first time and I noticed a new bite after that one was healing. I think the ruby bit the puppy because the puppy simply wouldn't quit. Yes, Marjorie, you're right--ultimately the dog's owner is the one responsible for the adult behavior or misbehavior :). I moved here in October of last year and my 1st grandbaby was born in Dec. (they are 2 hrs away). I'm used to large dog parks, off-leash trails and sidewalks and my location in TN has next to nothing--the dog park is poorly maintained and u have to walk thru 4 inches of muck to get there so your dog can play in 4 inches of mud. People take aggressive dogs to the dog park all the time, not a good situation for cavaliers. No off-leash trails in the city or surrounding areas and no sidewalks, not even a shoulder on most streets. I've rescued, neutered and housetrained several rescue dogs and never had the issues I facing now with my puppy and the lack of public facilities to socialize him. I didn't anticipate having to put him in daycare just to socialize him, I'm not really financially able to do that but I'll have to. And no, the dogs aren't getting their exercise because there's no where to take them or walk them safely nearby. I'm still learning my way around and I've been researching parks and trails where I can at least take the dogs but it's going slowly. The blenheim had a slipped disk a couple of weeks ago and is still on crate rest--he's big on balls so he's not happy when I put him behind the gate and play fetch w/my ruby! I'll have to work out what to do w/exercise & socializing, it's always more difficult in the winter.
My ruby is neutered, my bleinheim is from champions in the Sheeba line, very mellow and well behaved and I hope to show him but I'm VERY new to all this. He's 3 years old, a proven stud, and I just got him in September. He "mauled" the puppy a few times when the puppy didn't want to be mounted and I had to break that up, now the puppy's a couple lbs. heavier and the blenheim rolls him a bit but the cocker just gets up and goes on his way (& my bleinheim knows it's not allowed). I just got the cocker neutered--the testosterone info is very interesting...the cocker is 6 1/2 months and I don't know how much of his behavior was his own hormones and how much was behavior he learned from my stud...whichever it was it was too much for me so I got him neutered this week!

22nd January 2010, 01:46 AM
Ok, need to respond here because breeding is a very sensitive issue (and specific situations not allowed as discussion on the board) given the serious health problems in the breed -- please be aware that most reputable breeders don't generally sell dogs that can be used at stud or that are of show quality and there is no 'good line' or 'trusted line' in this breed -- you need to know the cardiologist report on both parents and ideally grandparents to be breeding a dog as young as three (he should never have been bred before age 2.5 for any reputable breeder following the critically important MVD protocol) and also -- are you aware of the MRI status in the direct lineage of this line? Syringomyelia is a very, very serious health problem in the breed and very widespread and the recommended guidelines are to MRI all breeding stock especially stud dogs as they have a far greater influence genetically.

Are you familiar with MVD and the MVD protocol (http://cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm), have you the cardiologist certs on the parents of your dog and for your dog as well (he needs this *every year* and NOT from a vet) and are you aware of the MRI status of this dog and the parents and do you know of the SM breeding guidelines (http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/breeding/breeding/advice.html)? Before you consider breeding perhaps you would wish to read some of the personal stories of people on the board with cavaliers with MVD and SM and their painful struggles (I have two and possibly/probably three out of five dogs with SM, and one with MVD).

This is not a breed to ever breed without a willingness to put in the substantial finances it takes to breed responsibly because CKCS have two serious and widespread health issues that currently threaten the medium to long term viability of the breed. Please do not breed without proper health testing and avoid putting other owners through the pure hell and cost that is involved in managing dogs with SM and MVD

If you wish, send me the pedigree privately of your dog as I may be able to give you some information -- I would have some concerns about the possible origin as there are some disreputable people that get hold of a breeding dog from particular lines and then are selling dogs of certain background on open registration (eg that can be, but perhaps should not be bred from).