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7 weeks puppy shows aggression towards toys

nymph
March 2nd, 2005, 02:27 PM
My 7-weeks old golden retriever/lab rescue Diego is showing aggression towards his toys. I bought this stuffed dog toy that was his size, and lately Diego would jump on his toy dog, bites it really hard while shaking his head as if trying to pull it apart.

Another sign of aggression is that when he chews inappropriately and I say "no chewing" to him, he sometimes growls and barks at me, and trying to jump on me.

We have been pretty strict with Diego on enforcing the house rules, but I'm not sure if what Diego doing is what puppies do or that he is indeed showing signs of aggression.

He only had his first shot, so puppy school is not an option at this point. I'm wondering what we can do to minimize this aggressive behavior.

Lucky Rescue
March 2nd, 2005, 02:36 PM
This is completely normal puppy behavior and the way they play with their littermates at this age. This is how they usually learn bite inhibition - if they bite their siblings too hard, the other puppy will yelp and stop playing.

Puppies taken from mom too soon often do not learn this, since stuffed toys can't yelp or bite back.:p This is why socialization is so important.

You cannot be harsh in any way with a puppy this age. If he bites and nips at you, shove a toy in his mouth immediately and praise him for chewing it. He doesn't understand "no chewing". You must give him a substitute for whatever he's chewing on, and not just tell him to stop. This way he'll also learn that if you take something away from him, you'll give him something even better!

Trinitie
March 2nd, 2005, 02:38 PM
He needs to be socialized! 7 weeks old is WAY too young to be away from the mother and other puppies. He doesn't know what's right and wrong when he uses his mouth, and how to control his attitude. That's usually what happens in the first 8-10 weeks of a puppies life. The shelter shouldn't have seperated them so young.

nymph
March 2nd, 2005, 02:49 PM
Thanks Lucky! I'll try to make sure that his chew toys are always by his side.

Is there anyway WE can help Diego to socialize? I spent a lot of time playing with him, tummy rubbing, playing mini-fetch (he's just getting the hang of it), but I'm not sure what else I could do to help him socializing.

Trinite: I agree whole-heartedly with you that the shelter should have kept him longer until he's at least 8 weeks old. It is quite a challenge to raise a 6-weeks old puppy: both my husband and I are getting very little sleep, Diego has to eliminate pretty much every 1-1/2 hours at night and even more frequent during the day, i.e. after eating, drinking, sleeping, playing...

It's too late to send him back for more socializing with mom dog (is that actually possible? :rolleyes: ) So is there anything else WE could do to play that mom dog role for little Diego?

GsdDiamond
March 2nd, 2005, 03:35 PM
Nymph....
You pup doesn't know what it's like to bite hard and experience the consequences. When he bites your hand...yelp and cring like a little baby puppy. He has to learn that biting you will get him nothing he likes. When he plays nice and doesn't try to bite or nip you....praise him like there's no tomorrow. If he doesn't listen, put him in his kennel for a few minutes to calm down. Take him out...play with him...if he tries to nip again... yelp and put him back in his kennel.

Don't look at him, don't touch him, don't console him. Giving him attention when he does something positive will let him know that good behaviour gives him what he likes.... you! Eventually he'll get the idea and will start to calm down on his biting. It takes time, but it does work!!

nymph
March 2nd, 2005, 04:02 PM
Thanks GSDDiamond!

Putting him in a kennel? You mean his crate? But I've heard that we should NEVER use the crate as punishment as he already hates it (and that's our fault as we have not properly introduced him to his crate yet).

I've also read that we should never ever scold a puppy, only praises, but that's a little bit hard to implement. Everyone keeps saying that I should make a yelp, give him a chew toy and walk away, but for the most part he would chew his toys for like a second, then back at chewing the other stuff...I don't even have the time to walk away!

I find myself constantly telling him "no chewing" and giving him his chew toys and back at telling him "no chewing" again. The chewing issue has become a major frustration for both my husband and I, as we can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. We are trying to follow the books, but it just doesn't work!

I'm going to try to scold him a little bit with a menacing voice, perhaps also grab him by the scruff of his neck and give him a little shake, like a mom dog would do and REALLY ignore him.

sammiec
March 2nd, 2005, 04:07 PM
I'm going to try to scold him a little bit with a menacing voice, perhaps also grab him by the scruff of his neck and give him a little shake, like a mom dog would do and REALLY ignore him.

Do NOT grab and shake your dog! ONLY positive reinforcement is best with puppies. Crates should not be used as punishment.

The "no chewing" tells him nothing, he doesn't get it... and he never will. He needs to be shown what to do instead, so if he chews something he's not allowed to then you take a toy he is allowed to chew and replace whatever it is. You can't except too much out of him at such a young age!!!

When you're playing and he goes to nip at you move your hand and ignore him until he sits and settles. HE will because he' wondering why you're not responding! Then you can pet him again... this well teach him that if he does that he gets no attention!

mesaana
March 2nd, 2005, 04:14 PM
Do you know anyone with a healthy, fully vaccinated and well socialized adult dog? A few play dates with a dog like this could go a long way to help socializing this puppy :)

Lyne

nymph
March 2nd, 2005, 04:24 PM
Do NOT grab and shake your dog! ONLY positive reinforcement is best with puppies. Crates should not be used as punishment.

sammiec: thanks for your reply, but I'm hearing all these conflicting training methods, and frankly I am confused. This article http://www.canismajor.com/dog/bite2.html mentioned that grab and shake are just what mom dog would do to discipline her pups, but I've also read that only positive reinforcements work. I think I'm going to use a little bit of judement here and am going to try a little bit of both: more praises when Diego does chew the right toys and grab and shake when he's REALLY out of control.

I guess I wasn't very clear in my previous posts: I DO give him his chew toy after I tell him "no chewing", but that only diverts his attention for a second, then he's right back at chewing things that he's not supposed to chew.

It's frustrating no question there, but I'm not at the point where I'm losing patience. Perhaps the sleep deprivation finally got to me, I'm just going to take a step back and take it easy one step at the time. After all he is just 7-weeks old. :)

nymph
March 2nd, 2005, 04:29 PM
Do you know anyone with a healthy, fully vaccinated and well socialized adult dog? A few play dates with a dog like this could go a long way to help socializing this puppy :)

Lyne

Hi Lyne, that's a wonderful suggestion! http://pages.prodigy.net/rogerlori1/emoticons/smooch.gif

Diego's health has been my top concern. Would a healthy dog bring any health harm to a vulnerable puppy?

GsdDiamond
March 2nd, 2005, 04:29 PM
Putting him in a kennel? You mean his crate? But I've heard that we should NEVER use the crate as punishment as he already hates it (and that's our fault as we have not properly introduced him to his crate yet).

Oh, don't do it in an angry way....never! You yelp and if he continues trying to nip you put him for a "time out"....not done in an angry way. When the "time out" period is up, take him out of the kennel and play as you did before. He'll not think anything of being put in his kennel other than he's been seperated from you. It worked for us.

I've also read that we should never ever scold a puppy, only praises, but that's a little bit hard to implement. Everyone keeps saying that I should make a yelp, give him a chew toy and walk away, but for the most part he would chew his toys for like a second, then back at chewing the other stuff...I don't even have the time to walk away!

If you yelp... turn away without any further interaction. Don't give him a chew toy right away. When 10 seconds is up, and you've not paid him any attention for that time, THEN you give him the chew toy and praise when he chews that. Watch out for squeaky toys though! They get so excited the pee may flow freely!!! (experience here!!!)

I find myself constantly telling him "no chewing" and giving him his chew toys and back at telling him "no chewing" again. The chewing issue has become a major frustration for both my husband and I, as we can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. We are trying to follow the books, but it just doesn't work!

It does get better. He's still very young and it'll take him a while to learn that "NO means NO"...not "NO means awwww...aren't you cute?". As he learns different words, he'll learn that NO means STOP NOW. It'll get better.....trust me!!!

I'm going to try to scold him a little bit with a menacing voice, perhaps also grab him by the scruff of his neck and give him a little shake, like a mom dog would do and REALLY ignore him.

Please be careful on this one. I did the same thing to Diamond and she became hand shy. If you must do this then do it sparingly. Even though Momma dog does it, doesn't make it good for people. Try placing gentle, but firm, pressure on top of the snout. Momma dog also will mouth the puppy's mouth to show dominance. Again....be careful. ANY pain and the pup will become shy about letting you around it's mouth. Using a deep voice with that "don't mess with me" sound is a very good thing. They can also read your eyes. Have a "don't mess with me" look too and you'll have fine control.

nymph
March 2nd, 2005, 04:32 PM
GSDDiamond: thank you so much! I'll try your ways.

Diego is my first puppy and I'm learning just as much as him. :blowzy:

sammiec
March 2nd, 2005, 04:33 PM
Nymph, it's difficult to go by what you see on the internet sometimes. Any joe schmo can make a webpage and say that know all. I know it all gets very confusing!

Here's a wonderful book, it's my favourite. Good Owners, Great Dogs (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446675385/103-8732280-9839045)
There is very helpful informatio in there.

Sleep deprivation?! Welcome to puppyhood! :p It does get better, but it won't overnight. You need to be consistent and repeat. If he goes right back to chewing what he's not supposed to; then you continue to replace the bad item with the good. It's difficult, but it has to be consistent.
It's NEVER a good idea to rough up your dog. You will feel guilty and they could get seriously hurt!

mesaana
March 2nd, 2005, 05:03 PM
Nymph, as long as he doesn't hang out with potentially sick dogs (because he could have some germs on his fur, but then again that goes for you too if you pet sick dogs...), it shouldn't be a problem. Healthy dog: eyes clear and without secretions (abnormal secretions), no coughing, no sneezing, no diarrhea, no fleas or other parasitic skin problems and of course, dewormed and fully vaccinated.

A well socialized adult dog is a gem for a new puppy owner. He'll teach him manners in the easiest way for a puppy to understand. If you're confident that you have found a dog like this, let them interact and make sure it's clear for everyone that the older dog is in charge. He gets first of everything: attention, treats if you give some, the bed, the toys, everything. Puppies have to learn to accept that they are not in charge. They are at the bottom of the hierarchy. If the puppy bites too hard, he will be put in his place.

And I second Sammiec's choice of book: Good Owners Great dogs is great.

Lyne

GsdDiamond
March 2nd, 2005, 05:09 PM
I disagree. Even though the older dog may not be SHOWING symptoms....doesn't mean it's healthy or not carrying the germs to make the young pup sick. If it were me.... I wouldn't risk it!

mesaana
March 2nd, 2005, 05:24 PM
Gsd, I don't think you can protect your dog (or your kids, for that matter) against everything, all the time. The worrisome diseases for puppies are parvo, distemper, kennel cough... That covers most of it (I know, I know, there are more but I'm talking about important risks for young puppies). And the probability of one of these being transmitted by contact with an adult, well vaccinated dog who doesn't hang out in potentially dangerous situations is very close to zero. Not zero, I agree. But in the case of a puppy who has been taken from its mother too soon and might suffer the ill effects (behavioral) for years to come, I think it's entirely justifiable. Again, you have to choose the adult dog wisely and make sure you know him and his human well :)

Of course, that's my opinion and you can disagree :)

Welcome to the world of dogs, everyone has an opinion and you still have to make your own... :)

Lyne

tenderfoot
March 2nd, 2005, 06:44 PM
If you act like a litter mate then the puppy will treat you like a litter mate - if you act like a parent the puppy will treat you with respect like a parent. You teach them like the mother would NOT like the other puppies would.
You should not shake or Alpha role a puppy and do not punish him with the crate. But that doesn't mean you can't be clear about your boundaries of right and wrong behavior. Momma would correct the biting and then give him another chance to choose better. If after a few attempts to correct him don't deter him then she would correct him intensely one last time and then walk away.
We allow a puppy to put his mouth on our hands (because puppies relate to the world through their mouths) and teach him not to use pressure on us. We position our hand intentionally with a thumb in his mouth. If he presses down at all - we firmly say "quit" in a low tone and QUICKLY press down on the tongue with the thumb. Don't hold your finger down, just press and release. He will want to spit your thumb out of his mouth because it is no fun. Sometimes it takes 3-5 corrections before he knows you mean business. But then continue to play with him and keep correcting the bad choices and praising the good ones. It is fast and intense but not harmful. Continue to play with him in a gentle manner - he will learn that gentle playing is more fun and lasts longer.

wjranch
March 3rd, 2005, 11:14 AM
I think the problem here is with chewing not biting. The pup is chewing stuff that he shouldn't... owner says 'no' and trades with him an appropriate chew item... that's great! just what you should be doing... praise him for chewing it even if it is only for 3 seconds! lol .... you'd do yourself a favor if you bought a bottle of bitter apple and gave anything he is chewing and shouldn't a squirt with it....
It's not a replacment for monitoring the puppy, but, it will help your training... he will begin to associate you telling him NO! and the bad taste... he will actually begin to appreciate you 'helping him out'.

It's a pretty mild form of aversion training... it works though and doesn't make you the bad guy.

Good luck... pups are sooo much fun!! ;) You will be rewarded in no time with a healthy loving pup who respects you when you tell him NO... not one that cringes and hides when he hears that word. (run away is not a fun game to play)

The 7 weeks is not a problem... There has been alot of research done on the 'perfect' time to remove pups from the litter.. the general consensus is 49 days is that magic time...So, don't worry about that anymore (and don't just believe me, look it up)

Trinitie
March 3rd, 2005, 11:27 AM
In another thread, Nymph mentions how well her puppy is doing at potty training. "I have a 7-weeks golden retriever/lab rescue Diego who waits quietly at my patio door when he needs to go, only after ONE WEEK of active training!"
This indicates to me that the puppy was brought home at 6 weeks of age. This is far too early to be taken from the rest of the litter.

There is no arguement that a puppy "can" be taken from it's mother and litter mates at this tender young age. But "should" it be taken? No. Not if you want a properly socialized puppy. One taken away too young won't learn proper social skills like when to stop biting and bite inhibition.

While I'm sure there are Internet sites that indicate puppies can be removed at this age, I wouldn't recommend it.

wjranch
March 3rd, 2005, 02:10 PM
the opinion of 49 days is also shared by some obscure vet called Ian Dunbar. ;)

Trinitie
March 3rd, 2005, 02:27 PM
That's all fine and dandy. As I said - because you "can" doesn't mean you "should".

tenderfoot
March 3rd, 2005, 07:18 PM
Puppies taken away 'too' early can do fine if given the proper time, attention and training. We think the ideal time for a puppy to stay with mom and the litter is 12 weeks - just so long as the puppy is being very, well socialized to people. Few (if any) breeders want puppies around that long, but there are some who recognize the value to the puppy.
Socialization is more than just meeting other dogs. Taking your pup out to meet the world in general is important too. It is as much about the experience of meeting new things/creatures as anything. Everytime a puppy experiences something new in a positive manner then the next time something new comes along he remembers that new things can be great. Just the same applies to bad experiences as well. So make sure that when you venture out for socialization that you are creating a positive experience and that if the puppy shows fear that you help him get over it and stay until you see him take an emotional deep breath that says 'this isn't so bad, in fact its kinda fun'. If you leave too early then all he remembers is the fear.
Don't forget that puppies have 2 fear periods - 8-10 weeks and again at 16 weeks. This varies from puppy to puppy, but if he is in a fear period then anything that scares him imprints itself on him for life. So try to avoid potentially scarey experiences at this time.
If something scarey happens don't 'coo & coddle' him - you are rewarding his fears. A confident leader has a confident pack.
I am sure you are doing a great job as you care enough to seek out help - and there are certainly enough good people here who want to help. Good luck.

nymph
March 4th, 2005, 09:36 AM
Tenderfoot: your suggestion (the thumb thing) to biting worked wonders! I tried this with Diego, and he spat out my finger out like bad food. :thumbs up I'll take your advice on socialization into heart.

At what point can we start taking Diego to puppy school? Is it OK right after his 2nd shot?

nymph
March 4th, 2005, 09:40 AM
Good luck... pups are sooo much fun!! ;) You will be rewarded in no time with a healthy loving pup who respects you when you tell him NO... not one that cringes and hides when he hears that word. (run away is not a fun game to play))

wjranch: you are so right, pups are indeed a bundle of joy! Diego is improving on the chewing issue, but thanks for the great tip. :)

nymph
March 4th, 2005, 10:04 AM
This indicates to me that the puppy was brought home at 6 weeks of age. This is far too early to be taken from the rest of the litter.

Trinitie: I totally agree with you! Yes Diego was only 6 weeks old when we took him home, but it really wasn't our intention to remove him from his mother and littermates at such young age. The shelter was happy to let us leave with him, no mention of the consequences of poor socialization whatsoever, and we had no idea back then that there is a big difference between a 6 weeks old pup and an 8 week old one. The shelter also told us that Diego was already on dry dog chow at 6-weeks, so feeding wouldn't be a problem at all (and it hasn't). So our overall impression was that they wanted us to take Diego right away.

Now in understanding of people from the shelter (who have our highest respect and gratitude), they were obviously trying, as best as they could, to place the pups (Diego's mom had 8 pups) to loving and caring homes, and I really can't blame them for that.

I guess we'll have to work a little harder on his socialization. The vet said that Diego is going to be a dominant dog, so that worries me a little bit, but he's still quite young and we'll just have to pay more attention to his behaviors.

Thanks everyone for the great advice and support! I love this forum!

Lucky Rescue
March 4th, 2005, 11:51 AM
I"m sure your vet is a wonderful medical doctor, but please don't ask a vet for behavioral/training advice. I've heard some complete horror stories from people who did this!

Do you know anyone with a healthy, fully vaccinated and well socialized adult dog?

This indeed a great idea! My last dog would teach and discipline any ill-mannered dog or puppy, but never hurt them, and the other dog understood the message right away.

nymph
March 4th, 2005, 02:23 PM
This indeed a great idea! My last dog would teach and discipline any ill-mannered dog or puppy, but never hurt them, and the other dog understood the message right away.

LuckyRescue: After your confirmation, I've talked to a friend, and she agreed to take her 2 years old German Sheperd and Husky mix to my home tomorrow! Yipee! http://pages.prodigy.net/indianahawkeye/newpage17/16.gif

nymph
March 7th, 2005, 10:48 AM
After spending 2 days with the older dog Nini, Diego's incessive chewing has gotten so much better: he now chews primarily on his chew toys, even with my shoes beside him, he chose to chew on his toys only. The biting has gotten better as well: the yelp, "NO", giving him a chew toy and walk away worked great, I guess it just takes time for Diego to understand everything.

Trinitie
March 7th, 2005, 11:15 AM
It'll only get better from this point onward! Glad it's going better.

Writing4Fun
March 10th, 2005, 08:08 AM
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