View Full Version : Aggressive puppy behaviour

21st May 2012, 10:25 PM
I wondered if you could help me with 12 week old Charlie.

He bites, a lot, on purpose and I feel in an aggressive manner. My mum is too scared to walk in her sandals as he starts to bite ankles and feet and won't let go as he thinks it's a game, which i can understand. What worries me more is biting hands/face/feet and drawing blood. I have tried screeching in pain like trainers say to do but he just seemed to enjoy it! So i started teaching him NO and then stop playing/ignore him but he just jumps up at the sofa and barks/growls and jumps up to bite feet even harder which REALLY hurts, I'm sure you all know those needle like puppy teeth. He has drawn blood several times, last week on my partner's face.

I thought about NO! and placing him in a separate room for a couple of minutes but I don't want him to associate rooms in the house as bad places to be.

He is learning tricks quickly and is house trained but I just despair, I have read so many books and researched for advice and I am consistent in my method but I am doing it all wrong. I fear I am raising my puppy to be aggressive. Can anybody help me? :(

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21st May 2012, 10:27 PM
Or is this just normal?

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22nd May 2012, 12:24 AM
Oh we are living thur this "stage" now. Fletcher likes to bite our pant legs, shoes on our feet and just puppy play bite I do not think his is aggressive tho. Here's what worked great for us. We found that he really likes those squeaky plush toys. The whole family even my 4 year old carries or has one near when Fletcher is around to distract him when he does this. Everybody but the 4 yr old just stops when he bites on something we are wearing, this takes the pull and tug games outta it so he stops and is rewarded with a squeaky toy. Also you need to make sure you have enough good safe chew toys your pup likes, Fletcher loves those antlers. I carry a squeaky toy and chew toy with me like I would a pacifier for a young baby. This has really helped. I try not to say no without a yes, like no don't chew me chew this instead. Distraction is the best tool I think in this case. Yes, its a normal pup thing but you can't allow a puppy to leave you with a bloody hand. Cavaliers are smart they are even smart enough to outsmart us sometimes just because we don't want to be harsh doesn't mean there are no rules. After a week we began to have a lot less problems but puppy biting. Just find a toy and a chew your puppy likes and buy a bunch to always have on hand.


22nd May 2012, 12:39 AM
IMO what you are describing is normal puppy mouthiness and playfulness. Sometimes the screech in a high pitched voice just excites them more--it sounds like he thinks you are playing with him. The barking and attacking are what he'd be doing with another puppy--it's just not appropriate with you.

A couple thoughts: pay attention to his body language and learn the signals that he's about to erupt. Then distract him before he gets going. You might want to accommodate his need by playing tug of war with a rope toy, or something like. I play tug of war with both my dogs. It a great, fairly contained way for them be excited and playful and get that energy out of their system. Once a puppy is in the play state of mind, it can be hard to just stop it. It's easier to channel it into something acceptable.

Have you taught him the command "settle"? Does he already know sit and down? try using one of those when he gets excited. If he's learned settle, try to get him to calm down that way. If you have a crate, gently pick him up and put him in there for a time out or nap. Until he's gotten the idea, try keeping a short lead on him at all times so that you can step on it or grab it quickly.

Teach him that humans are "very, very fragile indeed." A trainer told me that dogs should learn that there should be no uninvited contact between their mouth and any part of a human--including clothes. Anytime the teeth come into contact, say "ouch" in a loud voice, and stop moving. if it happens again,say it again and turn your back for a short time. Say nothing and ignore him completely. If again, repeat and leave the room. it's important for you (and everyone) to remain calm, unflustered, and commanding while doing this. Any excitement or agitation on your part will excite him and he' ll think you're playing a game. This process shouldn't be used if he's already "in the zone" and being very excited.

Have you taken him to puppy kindergarten yet? That's a very good thing to do with an excitable puppy. It will help him learn to look to you for clues in right behavior.

Good luck. I don't think he's truly aggressive as we think of it. Puppy playing is really play fighting. He just needs to learn the ground rules for living and playing with humans. hope this helps....

22nd May 2012, 10:01 AM
This is totally normal -- one of the most important tasks for the puppy owner is to work to get your puppy to stop this and have a 'soft mouth'.

As always I will refer you to an excellent source on this issue, Ian Dunbar -- download his free book After Your Get Your Puppy and this world-famous trainer of positive method approaches will basically answer just about any question you have with a puppy and give guidance on how to end up with the adult you want:


I think while the pup is small it is wise for your mom not to wear sandals -- avoiding the problem in the first place is one of the smart adjustments to make alongside training, with puppies and dogs alike. :)

There are tons of links pinned at the top of the training section as well, all of which deal with this common training issue. But please download Ian Dunbar's book -- you will be glad you did. Good advice above as well.