It doesn't sound like it's the alpha roll at all... It sounds more like the "bonding exercise" that I mentioned. It's a more up to date version of the alpha roll that it most effective with pups who quickly get used to submissing and allowing you to feel/touch/rub them all over.
I agree. Puppies this age aren't aggressive. It's play and they haven't learned how humans play. They're rough. We're not. They're animals and they don't come pre-wired to know how to live our way. We have to show them. Alpha rolls, grabbing the muzzle and any rough stuff conditions a dog to be on the defensive and that's a dangerous place to be. The hackles up may be either a fear response or a "practice/play" response for the real thing when she grows up. They do funny little instinctual things as pups; play growls, wrestling...all their play...it's all practice in the form of play for when they grow up and need to "hunt." LOL.
Your pup is trying to get your attention and trying to get you to play by this behavior. If you don't want this behavior, don't react. Get up, walk away and ignore. Find something else for the pup to do. When the pup IS playing nicely, even for a second, reward with a treat and your quiet attention.
Don't react in any way to every action or demand your pup puts on you. You do most of the instigating. You can start teaching your pup some basic obedience skills....very short sessions and even in between doing other things in your house. Instigate a sit while you're doing the dishes or a "let's go" while you're walking down the hall. Lure, make a fun, happy voice and reward for compliance. Only reward will reinforce a behavior and cause it to be repeated again in the future.
When you take charge of when it's time to play and when it's time to sit, down etc...and you are the one who is providing the pup's resources, her food, treats, attention...then that IS what makes you her leader, not alpha rolls, dominance and other things which make a pup distrust you. She must earn what she likes by performing some little thing. She'll learn in time that rough biting hurts human skin and that all playtime ends when she bites too hard or jumps up....and that soft mouthing is what gives her attention. It takes time. She has to learn our ways.
Be consistant and make sure that everyone who interacts with her is doing the same thing....ignoring her, removing either the human part of the equasion or the pup....social isolation is a good teaching tool.
I strongly urge you to read this post very carefully.....
VIOLENCE begets VIOLENCE.
Please, this very instant, STOP being harsh with your puppy. STOP making physical corrections, rolling her over, and manipulating her physically.
Please visit these links for good help on how to TEACH your puppy BITE INHIBITION. This is a fun exercise for you and your puppy, and it works...
This is RIGHT NOW, the SINGLE most important thing you need to pay attention to with this puppy. Work on this SEVERAL times each day.
The next thing to do is give her a positive way to EARN rewards....
Start with the RECALL GAME.....
COPYRIGHT 2005/2006 Rebekah L. Pless * all rights reserved
Free for use or copy by anyone as long as author info remains intact
The Recall Game
Having a dog who will reliably come when called is one of the best
things in life. This means FREEDOM for your dog. Here is how to teach
your dog to RUN to you each time you call it.
1) NEVER call your dog unless you are CERTAIN you can enforce
the command. Each time you call your dog and he does not immediately
come to you to receive a food reward, you take a step backwards in
his learning to come when you call. It is important not to make
mistakes when teaching the recall. DO NOT CALL YOUR DOG if there is
ANY chance you cannot enforce the command. EVER.
2) NEVER call your dog to you for anything unpleasant. If you
need to interrupt a play session, or you are going to trim nails, or
if you are about to do anything to your dog that he does not enjoy,
GO GET THE DOG. Do not call him to you.
3) FOOD REWARD every single recall. EVERY SINGLE ONE. This
means keeping treats in your pockets at all times.
4) Smiles are required equipment when calling your dog. NEVER
EVER call your dog in anything but a praise tone of voice. Correction
will NEVER help a recall. Your dog must WANT to come when you call.
To play the game you need at least 2 people, and several is great.
Each person is given a handful of very small soft treats. I prefer
tiny pieces of hotdogs or string cheese. Pieces should be VERY small,
even for a larger dog or puppy. I slice a hotdog in half and cut the
pieces the size of a nickle. Once people have their treats, they
should take a seat around the room with as much room between them as
the room will allow.
One person takes the puppy or dog and points him towards the person
who is going to begin the game. This person may do anything to get
the puppy to come towards him except say the word COME. Clap hands,
smile, laugh, show the treat, call PUPPPY PUPPPPY PUPPPPY, or the
dog's name. When it is CLEAR that the pup is committed to going to
the person, and ONLY THEN, say the pup's name, and come. For example,
Bailey, COME! It does not matter if the puppy is almost to you, as
long as the pup hears his name and the word COME while he is going
TOWARDS the person calling.
Hold the hand with the food right up next to your body so that the
puppy has to come all the way up to you and touch you to get the
treat. Do not feed the treat until you are holding the puppy's
collar. This prevents the "snatch and run" game. Praise and pet the
puppy cheerfully while he is getting his treat. Once the pup has had
his little tiny treat, it's time to point him towards another person
who does the same thing.
It is extremely important that the participants understand they are
NOT to say the word COME unless the puppy is already doing just that.
Play as long as the pup is interested. Main rules, Do not say COME
unless the puppy IS coming, hold the treat up CLOSE to your body, and
you must be holding the collar to feed the treat.
This simple game does more to build a reliable recall than any other
training you can do. Your pup will quickly learn that his name and
the word come means TREAT. Each time you call the pup and reward him
for coming quickly to you, you build a more ingrained and reliable
response. If you are consistent and train this game at least 2 to 3
times per week, you will have a dog who will ALWAYS come when you
call it. Most owners list this as a top priority for their dogs. Here
is a fun and simple way to attain this goal.
Practice often! Your pup will love this game, and so will your friends.
You can work up to longer distances, and in addition to helping your pup learn to RUN to you when you call her, you can get her some good exercise this way.
Next, Get this puppy into a training class IMMEDIATELY!! She DESPERATELY needs something to do with her brain. You can help her, and build with her a bond of love and respect at the same time. Get out your yellow pages, and find a class TODAY, and sign up.
Then I want you to go print out this article.
Your family and Zoey should live by this for a while, to show her exactly where she fits in.
Puppies who are excessively mouthing and nipping as yours is should NEVER be played with in an inciteful manner. NEVER. YOU must control this. No slap boxing, etc. YOU control the games, and when you play with her, play gently, and LET her mouth your fingers, so she learns to understand what hurts you and what does not, and how terrifically gentle she must be in order not to hurt your tender skin.
Your puppy is headed down the wrong path at this moment, at a high rate of speed.
You can change ALL of that, but you must really be determined to learn, to control her interactions with others, and to change the methods you are currently using.
Yes, we had our puppy so confused. He was trying to play (but way too rough), and we were trying every method we could come up with to get him to stop biting. We were so scared he was going to be an aggressive dog that we were going overboard on corrections, too. It was a lifesaver for everyone that we got a behaviorist to come in and show us positive ways to work with him. It also was reassuring to get with someone who knew dogs who could reassure us that everything our puppy was doing was quite normal!!
We never hit him, but we grabbed his muzzle, sprayed him in the face with water, gave him leash corrections......everything except popping him that we were told to do. All this did was make him come back with even more biting. I think he was confused and unsure of why we were behaving that way and trying his best to get us to play!!
We were on the verge of thinking that it would never work out with this puppy. Two years later, he is the happiest, friendliest little guy in the world. Everyone who meets him absolutely loves him. And to think we were about to call a perfectly normal, happy, playful pup aggressive all because of our lack of dog knowledge.
And when he gets very excited during play, even now he will still like to mouth. It is always VERY gentle, though, and even then, we just have to say Uh Uh, and he immediately quits. He's a terrier mix, and I've been told terriers are naturally mouthy. He also knows who will allow it and who won't. He never even attempts to put his mouth on me, but he will with the 'men' in the house who like the rougher play. They no longer let it get out of hand at all, though. They all know how hard we worked on this!!
Hopefully, you're feeling more at ease that your puppy is quite normal and not overly-aggressive after reading all these posts, though.
I appreciate all the good advice here but.....
I have to make it clear that I am not grabbing Zoe's muzzle every single time she trys to chew my hand or nips.
Many times I just tell her no bite. I have also just got up and left the room many time also. I am extremely good to this dog . I do not in any way believe that we have been "violent or harsh " to her.
. I have seen advice on this very forum advising hitting with a newspaper and thumping on the nose or pinching which I do NOT CONDONE.Someone on here told me to hold my finger under her tongue and hold her under the muzzle.
I got my advice from the breeder and then from another lab breeder just the other day and on this forum.
I was taking advice from what I thought were people who knew about dogs.People who work with them every day. They are ones who told me to hold the muzzle ,hold her down and straddle her,and even her hold up off the floor by the sides of her face which I havent done at all.
What is a person supposed to do when they are told by breeders what is the right method of training.
Also we do never play rough games and never have.No tugging or any kind of wrestling including with my son. All we ever do is to throw a ball or toy and she runs to fetch it. This is when I notice the hair up on her back. There is no reason for her to be afraid or nervous as we never have a bad time when we play this game which she enjoys with us.
Oh Elly I don't think anyone is flaming you persay. Just everyone has their own thoughts and opinions regarding how to stop biting. Some people have a more aggressive approach and others don't. Some methods will work for your dog and others won't.
Some people are calling the exercise I described as the "alpha roll". After seeing how vicious people got on another thread I asked my trainer about it. She showed me a video of the alpha roll, now what I suggested is in no way similar to the alpha roll, except the fact that you are straddling the dog, and this is even done in a very quiet, calm matter of fact manner to ensure the dog does NOT feel unsafe or uncomfortable. They learn to like, and it also helps a lot at the vets office.
No matter where you go your always going to get different opinions. All trainers are different. It's not your fault at all. It sounds like what you've been doing is great.
I think everyone's main concern is that since your dog is so young anything aggressive or physical will only teach your pup that that is the way to deal with problems. Physically.
I play rough games with my dogs all the time! We wrestle and play tug of war, but they've been taught since they were young that when I say "enough" the game is over. You can play rough with your dog as long as you can always control the environment and their behaviour. In your case it seems as though she just doesn't know her bite yet.
If ignoring her isn't working, just lock her up. Crate her. You also mentioned in a previous post that when you got really angry with her, she buggered of and lied down in a corner. It's funny dogs know when you are serious or when your just annoyed. Ex) Roxy is licking a guest in my house. I'll nag her a few times to stop and come lie down, but when I'm really serious, stand up, speak firmly/loudly and point to the floor, she does it, instantly. They can tell by the tone of your voice if they can get away with the behaviour some more. With this biting you have to be serious all the time.
Sorry it got long... LOL
PLEASE please read the links about bite inhibition, and the link to the article on dominance.
Hackling up can be an indication of excitement, but most of the time it means the dog is, for what ever reason, feeling INSECURE.
I agree with very few corrections on puppies under 12 weeks of age. Mouthing can be curbed without them in most cases.
Puppy class would be a GREAT idea, just as soon as you can get into one.
I really doubt that you have some big problem looming up over the horizon. This is a puppy and it's what puppies do. Some are real rough necks. My Dobe puppy was a pushy, tireless, hooligan. LOL. He is wonderful now. Don't worry so much.
I, for one sure didn't mean to imply that you were mistreating your dog. I see some stuff on the Internet where people advise others to do things which I firmly don't believe in, like the idea that you have to be extremely dominant over your dog. These are domestic animals, not wild ones and while I believe in setting rules and being an assertive leader, I also believe that these rules need to be taught, and learning is not condusive to making a dog feel submissive or worried about what is going to happen to it next, be it forced on it's back (not talking about a gentle belly rub) or grabbed at, frightened in any way, especially not a young pup. I didn't say you were doing those things. I just was cautioning against such advice you may come across...my opinion. So, I feel a need to explain why aggression of any kind toward a dog is a bad idea since you sound confused over varying advice. I do not hesitate to give my opinion and explain what has worked for me for the many years and many dogs I've worked with or had. I just want to share.
It sounds like you're having fun with your pup. I really don't think anything awful is going to happen. Just keep building trust and teaching your pup things. Show him what you mean and reinforce. He'll look up to you as a trusted leader as he matures. He's still very young and puppies don't come civilized. They need to be taught.
That's a good link too. You can learn the concepts of a very effective way to deal with your pup.
A couple of wonderful books I recommend which will really, really help you understand what's going on in a dog's psyche, their behavior, how to interpret it, how to reinforce what you want etc...are: Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson and The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell...excellent books. You'll be miles ahead if you read those. Another fantastic one is Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. But I'd read those other two first, then Karen's. It's good to get those other two as a foundation and then Karen's is good for detailed training methods. I only wish I had read them sooner.
Last edited by Doberluv; 06-18-2006 at 08:02 PM.
I also did not mean that you were being too harsh with your puppy. I just was saying I've been where you are now. I, too, was worried that my puppy was becoming aggressive.
I do think we confused our puppy, and he wasn't completely at ease with us. We hadn't been together long enough to know each other very well. We weren't at ease with him, either. That's why we weren't sure if his actions were merely play or aggression. I don't know if that's the same in your case or not.
All I was hoping to convey is that I don't think you have anything to worry about. I think you have a normal, playful puppy, and I think that when you're not worrying about it, everyone can relax.....both your puppy and the family. I was hoping that telling about my experiences would help you feel like you didn't have big trouble looming in the distance, NOT that you would feel like your methods were being criticized.
And the articles on bite inhibition can be very helpful, too.