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Old 01-01-2012, 04:29 AM
Snowypony Snowypony is offline
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Unhappy Puppy Aggression

Hello all! I haven't posted in the new members section yet but I'm pretty worried here.

My husband and I adopted a Goldendoodle puppy a little over a month ago and from the start he had a very dominant personality. He's currently four months old.

Oddly enough he gets along great with my male Pomeranian who also has a dominant personality and who has little interest in other dogs. But it's a completely different story with our older female Chihuahua mix who is a bit more timid.

It started off with him constantly jumping on her and mouthing her neck... I didn't interfere and she did snap and snarl at him a few times but not every time. But regardless of what she did, it didn't stop him at all. He just picks on her a lot.

But now its escalating where he has outright attacked her over a toy and now he is starting to snap at her and bite when she walks near him sometimes for no reason I can tell. He does not do any of this to the Pom.

He is starting to have issues with resource guarding but we are taking him to puppy classes and are trying to work on it.. We just don't get a lot of one on one in the class which is somewhat frustrating but understandable.

We're getting him some puzzle toys and such to try and give him an outlet for his energy and are going to take him to the dog park more. The problem is we take him on walks but he thinks they are utterly boring.. All he does the whole time is try to grab his leash and chew on it or grab sticks then he'll just lay down and chew while we're trying to walk.

So if anyone also has any more ideas on how to wear out a pup, please do tell. . I've never had a puppy quite as strong willed as this one and am just worried about the aggression continuing into adulthood.

And sorry for the long winded post. Any ideas on what we're doing wrong or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:22 AM
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Dekka Dekka is offline
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First off I would stop thinking of dominant/submissive. These labels while they do have their uses are used incorrectly by TV reality stars. Used that way they cause more problems than they are worth. LOL so stop it. I imagine your dog is a typical retriever mix puppy... brash, bold and quite clueless when it comes to boundaries with other dogs. That has NOTHING to do with dominance. Now if your dog won't let strangers in the house, or let your other dogs interact with other dogs your dog might be dominant in the traditional 'wolf pack' sense.

Did you adopt or buy this dog? If you bought the dog from a 'breeder' then I would contact them and see if its common in their dogs. A good breeder will be willing to help you, not only when your dog is a puppy but for your dog's entire life.

The class is a good idea, it won't solve your problem, but good classes will help the relationship between YOU and your puppy. Your issue is that you have a big rambunctious puppy and small dogs. This is often a tricky combination. You need to keep your chi safe. At this point that means supervising all interactions. I think it was a good idea to try to see if she could sort him out.. but she can't so its now your job. Teach him to 'leave it', you should be learning that in class and then tell him to leave her and redirect him to a toy or a chew. Crate or other wise separate them when you can't watch.

He might get better as he gets older. Goldens and their mixes (and goldendoodles aren't really a breed, they are a 'designer mix' so their behaviour is more variable than a breed) tend to be quite immature for a long time. So it could be a while.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:26 AM
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Aleron Aleron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowypony View Post
And sorry for the long winded post. Any ideas on what we're doing wrong or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
First, stop labeling everything your puppy does as "dominance". Despite common belief, most behavioral issues with dogs are not caused by dominance. Resource Guarding is something that is common in dogs as a species. Some dogs display it to a lesser degree, some to a greater degree and some not much at all. It is not a dominance related issue though. It is a problem which can be addressed through training/behavior modification.This gives a lot of good info about the issue and a step by step training program: http://www.4pawsu.com/Donaldson.pdf

Second, it is always a bit iffy to have dogs with a huge size difference. You may always have to closely supervise their interactions to ensure the toy dogs are safe. That said, the snapping over toys and dogs walking past while he's laying down sounds like resource guarding to me as well. The mouthing the neck is a common play move - Goldens tend to be very physical in their play and some Poodles are as well. If you think something is too rough between the dogs, you are going to have to step in and give the puppy a time out, every single time. You can not expect your toy dogs to be able to defend themselves from this dog who's now much, much larger than them and can injure them even in play. Watch how your toy dogs are acting - do they seem stressed, worried, trying to break off the play and get away from the puppy? If you pull the puppy away, do they leave? If so, they are not having fun. Now if you pull the puppy away from them andthey come right back to him and initiate play again, that's a sign that it's mutually enjoyable play.

Overall, I would suggest Susan Garrett's Ruff Love program for your puppy. It's a program that will help you raise your puppy in a way that he's successful most of the time and gets very few chances to practice bad behavior. http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?id=dta228
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