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  #1  
Old 08-29-2006, 10:27 PM
Doodley Doodley is offline
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Default Smart lab/poodle being feisty...

I've had Bax, my lab/poodle mix, for about eight weeks now (btw, he's doing great! knows how to sit, lay down, roll over, shake with both paws, and one last trick: you can put a treat or a toy right on his paw or a couple yards away, and say "stay'. he will hold himself back until you say "go get it". pretty darn good for a 4.5 month old puppy!)

Anyway, recently he has been getting very aggressive toward both my children and I. He has been snapping and I've taught my children how to take control- hold his collar and make him sit. However, he came up with this very clever way of snapping his head around to bite their wrists. He does the same to me. Today he broke my daughter's skin. I don't want my kids to be afraid of our dog, but at the same time I'm worried about this "extreme playfulness". I don't think that Baxter was playing when he bit my daughter. For some reason, he felt aggressive. I've had many dogs in the past but have never encountered this problem. Any advice?
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2006, 10:55 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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Your puppy sounds very smart! Do you have any pics?

I'd suggest having you and your children stop holding the collar and making him sit, because you don't wany anyone to get bit any more seriously than it already is. I'd also suggest implementing NILIF, and since he knows all of these tricks, it should be relativly easy.

Here's a couple links
Nothing in Life is Free
NILIF
No Free Lunches

I'm sure others will post great advice, and when I get more free time I will give more detail / better post as well
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Maddie CGC .:. Cocker Spaniel .:. 12 y/o
Bailey CGC .:. Shetland Sheepdog .:. 5 y/o
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  #3  
Old 08-29-2006, 11:21 PM
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poodlesmom poodlesmom is online now
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Have you noticed that this happens more when they have been having an energetic play session with Baxter? Alot of times puppies, much like kids, will just get too wound up. If this seems to be the case I'd suggest stopping the play session before Baxter reaches this height of excitement.

I don't know how old your children are. If it were me I wouldn't have them physically correct him and take a hold of his collar and put him into a sit. The method I would use would be to have them totally ignore him, turn their back on him, don't talk to him, etc. and let you intervene if he doesn't stop. He could then be put in puppy time-out for a few moments to give him a chance to calm down. He sounds like he is a smart pupster and I think he would quickly learn that this causes fun time to stop. As with children, everyone in the house will have to be on board and follow the same routine - letting him slide on it once and you will be back to square one.

Another method you can try is to switch an acceptable chew toy for the human he is trying to chew on.

At his age it is unlikely that he is "aggressive" but just gets too hyped up at times. You are right though in wanting to get it under control as soon as possible.

If you haven't already, getting him in some obedience classes would be great. Depending on the ages of your children it might be a good idea if they can actively participate in training sessions as well. At the obed. school we go to there is a 10 yo girl who is training her corgi & they make a wonderful pair.

I'm sure other members will have some great suggestions for you!
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Old 08-29-2006, 11:22 PM
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It sounds like your dog doesn't take well to restraint or being told to not do something. What happens before he 'bites'? Are you training, playing, feeding, what??? Finding the root of the problem will help you in solving it.
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:04 AM
Doodley Doodley is offline
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Thank you for your replies. I'll respond to you each in order-

Brattina88- Thanks! I'll check out those links as soon as I get the chance. I'll get some recent pics of Bax up lately- the photos I already have on the chazhound forums are from when he was between 12-25 pounds...now he is 47!

poodlesmom- You're right, he does get overexcited after energetic playing...but sometimes he gets nippy anyway. We try to stop the playing before it gets to rough but Bax only wants to keep going. We've tried firmly saying 'no', which only causes him to rebel and jump up to become 'bigger' than us. I've also tried putting him into a submissive position; on his back. This hasn't worked either. He only rolls over and tries to bite harder. It is often hard to tell if he is playing or trying to achieve dominance.

My children are 7, 10, and 13. All girls. They all love this dog, and the 13 year old can manage him pretty well. My concerns are mostly with the 7 and 10 year old handling this puppy, because as I've said he gets very feisty at times. We have tried ignoring him when he play-bites, but then to get our attention he only bites harder. My youngest especially finds these nips hard to ignore- she sometimes cries and tries to get away, which only excites Baxter even more.

We were thinking of getting some obedience classes at first, but at the rate he learned these tricks we didn't find it necessary. Evidently he isn't a difficult dog to train, but we didn't expect this biting problem. We also take him to the dog park regularly for socialization and he gets walked several times a day.

Thanks so much for your advice!

LabBreeder- I wouldn't say that he doesn't take well to restraint in general...at the age of 3 and a half months he was able to restrain himself from a dog treat for minutes at a time. But I know what you mean. He has listened to us in the past, so I don't know if this is a phase or something, but you are right: right now, he does not take well to human restraint. There is no particular 'time' before he bites, however- it happens when you least expect it. That is part of the reason why I'm worried.
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2006, 12:55 AM
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poodlesmom poodlesmom is online now
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It sounds as though it's physical restraint that he is rebelling against but that doesn't mean he's got an aggression problem - he just doesn't understand yet what is expected and what is unacceptable. Personally I'm not a big fan of putting a pup on their back when they are excited like this as I have found most times it only tends to fuel the fire so to speak. I honestly think he is just being a typical puppy who has yet to learn play biting is not acceptable and wants the game to continue no matter what. I have always felt that if a correction is needed it is better done using a leash rather than my hands on the dog. I don't want my dogs to ever be wary of my hands. Over the years I have seen too many dogs that are hand shy due to this and that can bring with it another whole set of problems down the road.

Even though he has been a quick learner on the other things you have been teaching him I honestly think doing some obedience classes would be great. I bet your 13 yo daughter would love it! Your younger daughters could go & watch and learn what words to use for the commands so he doesn't get confused by different people using different terminology. We actually have a class of teenagers at the obed. school and they have fun as do their dogs as well as learn. Some of them actually compete against adults in AKC events and win. This, together with daily training sessions at home, can accomplish so much. I have 2 grandsons who are now 8 & 10 and they have been able to take my 2 standard poodles (7 & 5 yo) through a complete obedience routine on lead for the past couple of years or so - I sometimes bring them to classes to demonstrate what is possible. Granted I did the initial training with the dogs and then showed the boys what to do. The 10 yo has now started doing off lead work with them as well.

Something else you could try when he is playing with the girls is to have a short leash, maybe 6" or so, on him so if he doesn't respond to whatever your verbal cue is the leash can be taken to facilitate putting him into a sit or a heeling pattern to calm him down.

I'm confident you'll get it all settled out and your girls & Baxter will have many wonderful years together.
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