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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone

Well weve seen a real change in our Holly over the last week or so. Whilst in some ways she is calmer and responds well, she has become more and more snappy with us when we try to remove objects, get her off the sofa etc.

Any time you go to touch her collar when you want to stop her doing something, put her somewhere to cool down, get her off something, she turns and snaps at hands, or spins onto back and tries to bite us. She has even starting barking and snapping at me when ive been eating and shes tryin to leap on me or when i try to get her off chair.

Must admit ive been bit concerned as this seemed to be more than just play biting. She was also a real pain in the **** for hubby at puppy class this week when normally she is really responsive.

Our trainer thinks she is trying to be bossy with us and trying to find her place in the family. Shes given us some tips to deal with her when she is very snappy and the off command to practice. She also said to make sure that we show her consistently the pecking order so we make sure now that we enter doors first, eat first always, play only when we want to.

Just wondering if anyone else has had this problem (and come through it unscathed :? )? Also are there any other little thing we can do to help reinforce the pecking order??

Thanks
Shelley
 

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i'd start with making her wait for her dinner till you say so (ie putting it down tell her to wait and count to 5 or 10 then tell her its ok) if she knows those commands, and tell her to move, and follow it through, if she doesnt move stand over her, one foot either side, praise her when she does move though, remember sitting in doorways is an act of dominance as she is trying to control who goes in or out.
Anna
 

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Thanks for the tips Anna. We'll certainly be giving those a try! :)

I muxt admit to letting this get me down somewhat at the moment. Probably because ive never experienced a pup with such an attitude. Although she is our first dog, parents have always had them. :(

The silly thing is we chose her partly because while friendly she was not the most boisterous puppy in the litter. The trainer is convinced its just a phase we'll grt through.... but its quite hardgoing at he mo.

Thanks for the help

Shelley
 

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she's still a pup and i think she is still trying to find her place in your family, this is a lot easier to remedy while they're still a pup, one of my friends had a collie who thought the hierarchy went her mum, him, her dad, then her because her mum took him to work walked and fed him. you need consistancy in commands otherwise holly will learn to push you and see how far she can get, by that i mean when you say sit she has got to sit before she gets any praise, all she should get is you looking at her then at the spot of floor where her bum should be. Otherwise dog brains go she said sit... sitting and getting the treat is effort, i could roll over and look cute, that seems to work too!
Be kind but be firm, and yes i know they look cute but when shes 25-30kgs will it still be ok?
anna
 

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Hi Shelley I need help too - we have only had our pup 2 weeks and all of a sudden he is being very aggressive, the biting seems not to be just play biting and he actually does a deep growl as he sinks his teeth into any part of our body that he can. He holds on to our clothes with his teeth and pulls and pulls until he tears them, offering a toy works for a second then he is back for more! I had to resort today to putting him in his crate for 'time out' a couple of times, which settled him down whilst he was in there but as soon as I opened the door off he went again! I am not sure if this was the correct thing to do (don't want him to think that the crate is a punishment centre!) but otherwise he will just run around trying to grab us which makes the ignoring a bit hard. The yelps don't work; he still keeps on an doesn't flinch for a second, tied saying 'no' and off - which also have no effect. He is too young for puppy classes (have 7 weeks to wait) so I have not rec'd any tips on how to handle this behaviour - it really got me down today and I know that it probably sounds irrational it felt like he 'hated' us - my son (8) now avoids him which is not how I had hoped it would be. Any tips to help me handle this would be much appreciated. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi there Sarah

Sounds like we have had similar days! :) In our area the puppy classes can start a bit earlier, so Holly has been going for the last 3 weeks. She started off quiet but has got into her stride there too.

I may have said before but our trainer has suggested

1) Practising off command

2)Keeping a trailing lead on her in house, at least at times when she is getting wound up. This way you can put them into time out withiut having to physically touch them, which is what winds Holly up in this mood.

3)She recommends time out in the crate. I was a bit concerned for the same reasons as you buit she says to calmly (easier saod than done) place into crate with stuffed kong or bone to keep them amused. Then it is not punishment or reward just time out to calm down. On the occasions we have done this, she has initially been intererstedin Kong, made a bit of fuss especially if we are in same room, then slept after a few minutes. Often i think likjke a child she is over tired ?? Does that sound daft. In fact she reminds me a lot of my toddfler!!

Holly never really responded to No or yelp like you say Lucca doesnt . In fact at times it seemds to windher up more.

I dont know how useful these tips will be but we are trying them all at the mo. :roll:

If it gets too bad just post away on her .. we can moan to each other at least!!

Take care
Shelley
 

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Hi Shelley & Sarah
It may help to look at it this way. Your pups are displaying typical puppy behaviour, there is nothing aggressive or challenging about it, it is all quite normal, it is how they play with their littermates, and would learn skills for survival, and it takes time for them to learn that it is not acceptable to do it to us humans. The simple fact is that puppies, rather like children push their boundaries, some more than others. :)
It's probably made even more difficult by the fact that, not only do you have to be consistent, but also the children need to react in the same way which is usually much more difficult.
I'm not mad about the labels of pack order and dominance, because it is easy to read too much into it, and many of the old theories have long been discredited. The yelping does work, but for older or bolder pups, it can excite them further - they think you're a squeaky toy 8O
Have a look at these links - their info is the best I've come across.
the bite stops here
Puppies
Fairness, firmness and consistency really is the key
regards Jenny
 

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Thanks for the info Jenny, it does put things into perspective! Its good to know that it is normal puppy behaviour as I did start to question myself as if it was something we had done wrong :(

And you too Shelley - just pm me or post away - its good to know that I am not the only one in this situation, which is how it felt yesterday :)
I will keep trying with the tips, I am sure that everything will be better today :D

Sarah
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Discussion Starter #9
Jenny yes, thanks for those links. As you say, all this is normal puppy behaviour, although at times ive questioned whether Holly is not a tasmanian devil in disguise :lol: Some pups are bolder than others. I think part of the problem is trying not to compare Holly to other pups we've had before! All pups are different arent they - rather like kids as you say. Ive got 1 of those who as a toddler was as laid back as they come, and 1 who would try the patience of a saint ( and im no saint) :wink:

I was just looking for advice to teach Holly early on. Our trainer said much the same - its normal, it is a phase but we need to start addressing it now - normal does not necessarily mean acceptable. Alittle pup barking and snapping when you try to get her off the sofa, or stealing food from a childs hands is one thing, a large dog doing it is another matter. I want to do the best for Holly and as a first time owner (of my own dog) want to get things right. So any tips and advice are always welcome... we just want Holly to grow into a well mannered family dog that can come with us anywhere.

Many thanks

Shelley
 

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HI Shelley
tasmanian devil in disguise
lol :D

I've always found it useful to avoid letting them get in the situation, for instance, with getting off the sofa, make it uncomfortable for her to be up there in the first place, I put things on there so they can't get up, but I remember reading on this board someone who put double sided sticky tape on cardboard and put it there. They hate sticky tape (I've used it on worktops). The main thing to remember is that dogs do what is rewarding, they won't do it if there isn't a reward in it. When eating, put her in another room/crate/behind stair gate, so the opportunity isn't there, as she gets older, and understand the command to go and lay down, use that, and so on. In addition, you don't have to constantly correct them (not that I'm against corrections), but they learn quicker through positive reinforcement.
They really keep us on our toes don't they :D
regards
Jenny
 

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I have never lived by the 'Top dog' theories if I am honest, Charlie (and now Izzie) have always been fed before James and I, the 1st thing that I do in the morning (after their trip into the garden) is give them their breakfast and then move onto doing ours - I have always done this.

We have also never shut them away when we are eating, when Charlie was young when we sat eating dinner we gave him a bone to eat so he was not begging from us, now he just sleeps but with one eye open just incase there is the off chance of a scrap of food - when we have guests round we can tell the dogs to go to their bed and they are happy in there with their treat so they dont give the lab eyes to the guests who give in easier than we do!!

With regard to the biting, well like Jenny said they are doing nothing that they would not be doing to their mother or littermates, when dogs play they often play using their mouth its natural for them to do that they dont think they are being naughty so you need to get it through to them that the game stops if biting starts - we used the 'ouch' word with Charlie and moved away from him for about 10 secs then went back and tried to play again - and did the same if the biting started again until such time that he was allowing us to play/stroke him with no biting.

We trained Charlie using only positive methods - never even using the 'No' word, everything that he did right he was rewarded for, anything bad he was ignored for a few seconds - he was never shouted at, shut away or smacked because he learnt that by doing good things he was treated and doing bad things he was ignored for a couple of seconds.

You have to be very, very consistent when training and make sure that you never ever reward bad behaviour by mistake - all the family need to be singing from the same training hymn sheet as well - or else it will take twice as long to teach new things....

You will get there I promise and before you know it you will have a lovely well mannered dog who everyone loves and comments on how good she is, it will just take time and perseverence and lots and lots of praise!

Good luck! :wink:
 
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