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Aggressive Malamute Puppy

adamjohnson60
September 19th, 2006, 09:47 AM
HELP HELP HELP - I have a ten week old Malamute puppy. I have had him since he was eight weeks old. Most of the time he is good as gold and generally a sweet natured lad - however...

He is becoming very aggressive. He is very "mouthy". Whenever guests come into the home he is usually playfull and demands attention, afetr the novelty has worn off he then becomes very mouth, biting the sleeves of jumpers, trouser legs and shoes. He is also keen on hands and arms. Once he has these itme sin his mouth he then bites down and tries to pull.

I have tried "ow" which only seems to encourage him. I have tried a loud no whcih can work (for about thirty seconds), I have tired alpha rolling him (and after reading preivouse threads stopped this practice). If after the third of fourth round of ow and/or no he continues he gets put back in his pary of the house (the yard and access to his crate indoors) until he calms down.

Things are getting worse though. He has now taken to running and jumping up to attack me and my partner when on the sofa not playing with him. He has also started growling with the biting and it has obvioulsy escalalted to a much more aggressive posture with bark and more focused attacking - it seems to have moved from mouthing which we are trying to work on - to all out aggression! Please help. he goes to puppy class once a week where he is far bigger than all the other pups and seems to have a great time dominating them. He was one of nine pups and was not the dominate one in his little pack before he joined us.

We love him to bits but my arms look like I have some major drug problem going on (covered in pin pricks and scratches)

HELP?

phoenix
September 19th, 2006, 10:08 AM
He is becoming very aggressive. He is very "mouthy". Whenever guests come into the home he is usually playfull and demands attention, afetr the novelty has worn off he then becomes very mouth, biting the sleeves of jumpers, trouser legs and shoes. He is also keen on hands and arms. Once he has these itme sin his mouth he then bites down and tries to pull.

This sounds exactly like my Sam when he was a puppy. I wouldn' tcall it agressive at all. It is normal for them to be mouthy at this age, I'm not seeing anything unusual in your pup's behaviour at all.



I have tried "ow" which only seems to encourage him. I have tried a loud no whcih can work (for about thirty seconds), I have tired alpha rolling him (and after reading preivouse threads stopped this practice). If after the third of fourth round of ow and/or no he continues he gets put back in his pary of the house (the yard and access to his crate indoors) until he calms down.

I'm glad you've stopped rolling him.
With Sam, what worked was yelling OUCH very loudly and then isolating him for a little time out. Then he was allowed back with us, until he started up again, then, same thing, he went back to his room. You've only had him 2 weeks, you've got to be consistent and it takes time. Nothing works right away, there is no quick fix. If he's mouthing you, I'd stop him right away (not just once it hurts) and give him something else to chew on that is ok... like a toy.

Honestly, I really don't think he is being "all out aggressive". He is just a puppy. He is trying to play and he plays rough. He needs to learn that he is being too rough- I would try to find a puppy class where other dogs his size or a little bigger are playing... this might help him learn a few manners. When dogs play and one is too much for the other, you'll hear a squeal and then things should stop momentarily (for a few seconds- they'll generally start up right away again). This teaches the pup how hard he can bite and how rough he can be in play. You have to teach him that even the slightest mouth pressure on you is too much.

Hope this helps, I really wouldn't be worried about him too much, I don't think he is an aggressive dog from this. Welcome to the board btw.

LavenderRott
September 19th, 2006, 10:11 AM
Not aggressive - just a puppy!!

Next time you are at the pet store, pick up a couple of inexpensive small stuffed squeaky toys. Ok, well, get about a dozen of them. :D

Every time your puppy bites you, say "NO" in an authoratative voice and hand him one of these toys. When he takes it, say "Good boy" in a happy voice.

In order for this to work, you must do it EVERY time pup bites you, as soon as he bites you. (Keep a stuffy in your pocket - the message is lost if you have to go hunt up the toy.) And everyone that interacts with the pup needs to do the same thing.

Malamute, huh. :eek: Sounds like you are going to have your hands full for the next couple of years. :D

adamjohnson60
September 19th, 2006, 10:14 AM
I know the little guy is only young and still very new to me. Yes I am proably over concerned and worring unneccesarily

I was a little concerned by the escalation to growling and snarling thats now joining part of the biting. It seems very different to the mouthing I have experienced with our previous pups.

yes finding some bigger dogs to play with might be a good idea. So far he has yet to play with anything that could put him in his place!

poodletalk
September 19th, 2006, 11:04 AM
I have a husky, what your dog is doing sounds exactly what my dog did which is very normal.

Has he had his kennel cough shots yet?

If so, I would enroll him in puppy classes. Basically what these classes do is, let the pup socialize with other pups their age. Also the trainer will help your pup to learn go up and down stairs and learn some of the basics before level 1 of obidence school.

My class could only attend one class before she was considered to old to go puppy class, (when I got her, she was too sick to attend.) but when I took her she loved it!

adamjohnson60
September 19th, 2006, 11:28 AM
Pup has had second jab today and will joing classes a week sunday (although he does got to puppy socialsiation classes with all the other pups that have had only their first jab)

Cheers for all the reassurance, like i said before,m it was the snarling and growling when he decided it was time to bite that was worrying me. Other than this he is very well behaved (save a few new bunkers in the garden). He sits, lies down, stays and comes on demand so perhaps I am setting the bar to high to demand perfection.

(Poodletalk, I read your post today re your job - my god that is a sad sad tale. My support goes out to you and your buddy. You are making a super human effort in a horrible situation, keep head up and be proud, your not the one who created the situation and the gassing will carry on even if you are not the one doing it, if it has to be done, I would rather it be done by someone like yourself who so obviously cares)

pamha
September 19th, 2006, 10:25 PM
I was concerned when our young dog started growling during rough play too. It took awhile to figure out that she`s just mouthy & likes to talk back. We never had a dog that was verbaly expressive except for barking, so I thought her growling was aggressiveness but came to realize her angry growling is very different. Maybe this is the case with your dog? Ours was very "bitey" at first too, but calmed down, well not really, but stopped biting by 3-4 months. I think it was mainly realizing we wouldn`t play with her when she used her mouth on us, plus giving her lots of things she could bite, plus a few play sessions with bigger/older dogs who could put her in her place.

rainbow
September 20th, 2006, 02:00 AM
I have a husky that was quite mouthy when he was young. When you say "ouch" do you do it in a high pitched voice? Apparently, it works alot better that way, and it did seem to work better for me. He was probably close to six months before he finally stopped completely though. ;)

adamjohnson60
September 20th, 2006, 02:15 AM
Will have to tried ouch in a higher pitch (I have a relatively deep voice), currently ouch only encourages him that this is a fun game to play.

6 months you say:mad: I am going to need some kevler clothes to wear round him, bless his needle sharp teeth. Cheers all of you for the support and advice, its really encouraging.

rainbow
September 20th, 2006, 02:20 AM
Yeah, you're probably going to feel a little foolish using a high pitched voice. I know I even did and I'm female. :D Good luck and keep us posted. :fingerscr

jessi76
September 20th, 2006, 08:15 AM
you've gotten great advice from the other's, I just wanted to mention in addition to the high-pitched "yelp" (OUCH!), I also did a couple other techniques which helped greatly... "time out" - gently scoop the pup up, and place him in a crate for 2 min. or so. Do not say a word (no scolding for biting, and no consoling either). It's important to not speak or coddle the dog at this time, any attention (positive or negative) is STILL attention. so just be business-like, and place him gently in the crate to calm down. When he's NOT crying/whining/barking, let him out, and forgive & forget... try to play again.

While playing, if your pup is NOT biting you, reward him! encourage good play habits often. Whenver my dog chose to chew on a toy, he got a treat. When he chose to play gently w/ me, he got TONS of praise! always reinforce the good play when it does happen (even if it's few & far between at this age)

it sounds like normal puppy antics to me, you'll both get through it, overcome it, and have some great stories to tell later!

adamjohnson60
September 20th, 2006, 04:46 PM
Went to puppy socialisation today which le loved spent most of his time play fighting with a lab a few weeks older (but already smaller). The enitre session takes place in the waiting room if my local vets surgury which locks its doors to business for the enitre hour.

The session is overseen by staff from the Vet's. One of the staff played with Zeus for a bit and he bit her. She told him no the first time. He did it again she then grabbed his mouth and held it shut and waited for him to calm down which he didn't she let go and he bit her again at which point she grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and pinned him on his side to the floor. He cried and yelped a lot at this (only lasted a few seconds) and when released he ran off with his tail between his legs. He did not bite or even mouth for the next 6 hours (which is good for him). I was not sure that this was a very good idea though and understood this was the sort of practice to avoid.

Please advise - it seemed to work but is this going to cause more trouble in the future, plus did it work as it was a very expereinced hand - as in, yes this works but do nto try it at home folks?????? :confused:

Prin
September 20th, 2006, 06:59 PM
A lot of people don't agree with dominating a dog like that (it's very aggressive) but I've found it works with some dogs. :shrug: The thing is, it's more about immobilization. The dog shouldn't get hurt at all.:shrug:

jessi76
September 20th, 2006, 07:03 PM
The session is overseen by staff from the Vet's. One of the staff played with Zeus for a bit and he bit her. She told him no the first time. He did it again she then grabbed his mouth and held it shut and waited for him to calm down which he didn't she let go and he bit her again at which point she grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and pinned him on his side to the floor. He cried and yelped a lot at this (only lasted a few seconds) and when released he ran off with his tail between his legs. He did not bite or even mouth for the next 6 hours (which is good for him). I was not sure that this was a very good idea though and understood this was the sort of practice to avoid.

Please advise - it seemed to work but is this going to cause more trouble in the future, plus did it work as it was a very expereinced hand - as in, yes this works but do nto try it at home folks?????? :confused:

I would of grabbed my dog, and probably DECKED anyone who did that to my pup.... (ok, anger subsiding now....big deep breath....) RUN, don't walk, away from this "social group".

NEVER try that at home. NEVER allow others to handle your dog in such a manner. and NEVER attend another "class" like that. yes, it can cause a multitude of problems. trust issues, REAL agression issues, and even injury (to the pup and yourself). Vet's are not behaviorists, nor are they trainers. Try to seek out a dog training facility or group that focuses on positive reinforcment.

your dog is at a critical age - he is learning how to play and socialize with other dogs and people. I urge you to leave this group, and seek out a positive environment, where you and your pup can safely grow and learn together.

Tip: before joining any class, or paying any fees, always ask to watch a session. This way you know first hand what the training methods are, how the class runs, how things are handled, etc... before signing up. any reputable training class/facility would agree to that (the school I use actually encourages it)

satchelp
September 20th, 2006, 07:50 PM
A couple of articles that should help:

http://www.jersey.net/~mountaindog/berner1/bitestop.htm

and

http://www.roycroftcavaliers.com/manualbiteinhibitionarticle.htm

Cygnet
September 20th, 2006, 11:03 PM
I am curious what, if anything, the instructor at the class said about your puppy's behavior. Everybody here is just assuming that this puppy is exhibiting normal puppy play biting and it is very likely he is. It is also at least remotely possible that he is exhibiting actual aggression. Some ten week old puppies are aggressive.

If this is a ten week old puppy who is actually attacking his owner aggressively, what would the advice be?

adamjohnson60
September 21st, 2006, 02:57 AM
The incident at the evts was the first time this had happened to any dog (and I had been going for three sessions now). So I was quite shocked - and yes immediate reaction was anger to the vets staff and concern for the pup.

However, the two links recomended have left me a little confused. They both seem to say that pup bites should not cause serious harm to the owner (although painfull) and can be used as the basis for building up a bite inhabition. This is not the case with Zeus. When he bites it draws blood - almost everytime! This is not a simply a play bite (as I experienced with the other puppies at the socialisation class). This seems to be the real thing. Full on bite, grab and pull back (whilst holding on) growling. Both of my hands and are covered in deep puncture wounds (down to the bone on more than one occasion) and tear marks.

Is the advice still the same - this is just playfull puppy fun, or do i need to seek out some specilist training.

Cygnet
September 21st, 2006, 06:21 AM
Honestly, I find it difficult to describe the difference between puppy play biting and what you (accurately) describe as "the real thing" in a way that will let you differentiate between the two over the internet. "The real thing" is very rare in a ten week old puppy, but certainly possible (and ominious, I think). That is why I asked you what the instructor thought was going on.

I wouldn't necessarily say that drawing blood is a difference. Some puppies play very roughly and do draw blood. To me, probably the big difference would be what triggers it. Is this puppy biting when he is happy and excited, or is he biting because somebody did something that annoys him? If you stick your hand in his food bowl, what does he do? Does he growl or snarl at you if you go to take a rawhide away from him? (Note: growling during actual TUG games with the rawhide is very natural and very likely to be play). Does he bare teeth? Are his hackles up? Is he giving you a hard stare?

By the way, I disagree that it is necessary to engage in some elaborate system to teach most puppies bite inhibition to prevent them from going on to become aggressive biters. Puppy play biting is NOT about aggression. It is fine to (try) to teach puppies not to puppy play bite, (and it is painful, so you probably want to) but whether you do that or not, most dogs will stop biting people. They are wired as puppies to want to puppy play bite people, they are wired as adult dogs to know that they don't bite people.

adamjohnson60
September 21st, 2006, 09:01 AM
Glad to think he will just grow out of it - sounds good. As for his mood when he bites. Most of the time it is in play mood, or he has decided that he wants to play. However, sometimes he makes a break for freedom (well upstairs anyway). He will try and run away from me as I come up stirs and get him but whn I come to pick him up to take himback downsstairs, he then growls and gives me "the look". When he bites then he seems like he is really quite mad at me for ruining his little game. Heckles go up but no teeth bareing.

I can put my hand in his bowl if I want to at meal time (although he has a favourite toy (one of the frozen kind that crunches when he bites it that we soak in chicken stock before freezing). He properly loves this toy and will run off to the bottom of the garden when he has it and if you come near him when he has it he will pick it up and run off (not aggressive - but very funny).

The only other time he growls is if you wake him up to put him in his crate. Late in the evening we will let him play in the lounge whilst we watch tv. He will often fall asleep at our feet. If we wake him to put him in his crate he is very grouchy and growls at us. (again - not really a worry at all).

Prin
September 21st, 2006, 09:13 AM
Umm... Most dogs don't grow out of behaviors unless they are corrected. Play biting is a way for puppies to learn bite inhibition. While playing with dogs, some biting might be tolerable (the other dog will correct the behavior when it goes too far) but with humans, ANY biting is unacceptable.

phoenix
September 21st, 2006, 10:43 AM
I agree with Prin. To think that brain wiring just 'changes' automatically from biting people to not biting people is ridiculous.
For example, Sam taught Maia that she can bite him to a certain extent but when she goes too far... watch out. She knows her limits with him and she bites him a bit when they are playing still.
However, I taught Maia that she cannot bite me at all. She knows her limits with me too, and never bites me in play.

Anyway, back on topic, follow the advice given about the time outs and you should eventually find that your puppy figures out that when he acts inappropriately with you, he doesn't get to play/be with you.

Cygnet
September 21st, 2006, 05:11 PM
To avoid threadjacking this person's problem into a general discussion of puppy biting/adult dog biting, I think I am going to start a new thread about the latter.

As to the former, I am still not clear what is going on, adamjohnson. If it is play biting, I wouldn't be at all worried. Whatever you do (or don't do) the dog will likely outgrow it. On the other hand, you describe raised hackles, and a ten week old puppy who seems "quite mad" and who gives you "the look" and who growls at his owners because he is "grouchy." These are all kind of ominous signs. You certainly can (and absolutely should) talk to this dog's breeder about what is going on. Be prepared, though, because it is almost certain that she will tell you that whatever behaviors your puppy is showing, they are Completely Normal. If you had had the puppy for a bit longer, and particularly if he had actually hurt somebody, the breeder will likely tell you that the behaviors are Your Fault. These are the two basic breeder responses to dogs with temperament problems.

This is all complicated by the fact that it absolutely might be TRUE that everything that is going on is Completely Normal. That is why I would like to hear an opinion by some other qualified source as to whether this puppy is just a normal, high spirited, playful puppy or is a canine psychopath-in-training.

jawert1
September 21st, 2006, 05:33 PM
All puppies, and a good deal of rescued adult dogs go through a biting phase, which needs to be curbed BY YOU when the behaviour begins. It's not something they'll grow out of, it will continue as it's a means of them playing/testing the boundaries. Watch any National Geographic special on pack behaviour and you'll see that the young will bite, albeit playfully, and up to a point it's tolerated, but once past that point (as phoenix pointed out with her dogs) the older dog WILL correct the younger. This is also NOT A TEMPERMENT PROBLEM WHATSOEVER, it's normal and correctable. I adopted both of my dogs as adults, they came from a rescue with minimal levels of socialization. Peaches had a habit of play biting, that eventually got nasty when taken too far. I used the same technique that phoenix and LavenderRott used, yelling OUCH loudly and in a high pitch, which stopped her dead in her tracks the first time I used it.

As also mentioned, socialization is the key - puppy obedience classes, exposure to other dogs in a controlled setting, a scheduled play time for your pup, and consistent training from you will help establish boundaries and acceptable play. This is not a temperment problem, nor will he grow out of it but it IS correctable and I'm positive that he'll grow up to be a well adjusted lovable dog if you put the time in now - which CLEARLY you're doing :) Please keep us posted on how he fares and we always love pictures :dog:

Cygnet
September 21st, 2006, 05:44 PM
Well, if we are going to train by what we see dogs do on National Geographic specials, I have to point out that adult dogs who are bitten by rude puppies don't yell "ouch" and run into another room (Ian Dunbar's advice). Indeed, they tend to do pretty much exactly what the adamjohnson's trainer did--put the puppy on the floor and scare the stuffing out of him.

Are you saying that it is impossible for a ten week old puppy to have a temperament problem or to show real aggression?

K9Friend
September 21st, 2006, 05:49 PM
All puppies, and a good deal of rescued adult dogs go through a biting phase, which needs to be curbed BY YOU when the behaviour begins. It's not something they'll grow out of, it will continue as it's a means of them playing/testing the boundaries.

Well said and true! :thumbs up

meb999
September 21st, 2006, 06:55 PM
If I had a pup who bit down to the bone, I'd seek out a behaviorist ASAP.

Also, if your cuts are that deep, keep an eye on them, if they get swollen, go see a doctor because dog teeth have alot of bacteria on them and you can get a nasty infection.

phoenix
September 21st, 2006, 08:19 PM
Well, if we are going to train by what we see dogs do on National Geographic specials, I have to point out that adult dogs who are bitten by rude puppies don't yell "ouch" and run into another room (Ian Dunbar's advice).

Ian Dunbar advised a dog to yell ouch and run into another room?:confused: :cool:

Apparently you prefer to train dogs by doing nothing and hoping they grow out of it. Have you never seen a mouthy adult dog? Oh yes they exist. (They might even be in those crowded shelters you're so worried about). They exist because their owners didn't show them boundaries and TRAIN THEM out of it.

Adult dogs do not 'scare the stuffing' out of puppies. They tolerate them to a point, then they tell them off. I've never seen any of my dogs pin another one on the floor. That would be pretty extreme- and none of my puppies have ever needed that kind of treatment: they got the message with the warning.

MyBirdIsEvil
September 21st, 2006, 09:13 PM
Have you never seen a mouthy adult dog? Oh yes they exist. (They might even be in those crowded shelters you're so worried about).


Oh yes they do, my rottweiler used to be very mouthy, and though she never broke skin because her teeth weren't very sharp, it still hurt pretty bad if she got excited enough. I was probably 11 at the time when we took her in, and I guess I trained her by accident, 'cause every time she bit hard enough I'd scream and go back in the house, LOL. Eventually she stopped.

Prin
September 21st, 2006, 10:15 PM
When we got Boo, he was probably over 6 months (and over 75lbs) and was VERY mouthy. It's likely that nobody ever said 'no' about his biting. We stopped that really quickly.

I'm not an expert on puppies, but I can say this (about any dog really), you have to decide what is acceptable both for you and for the safety of your dog (you don't want to have to put him down for killing a neighborhood kid or something, if you have some around), and set rules. The more black and white the rules, the more likely you'll enforce them consistently.

Like for biting- is it ok or not? If it's ok sometimes, the dog won't understand.:shrug: