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In need of some serious advice -growling, nipping golden retriever

Purely Canadian
January 17th, 2007, 10:37 AM
Hi guys,

I have a question regarding my 15 week old male Golden Retriever puppy.

I have wanted a golden puppy for so long and finally, FINALLY got him. Now, I'm beginning to regret my decision. Lincoln is the cutest little thing but he seems to have some serious aggression problems.

He constantly growls and nips at my 4 year old daughter. She just has to walk by him and he growls at her. Just recently, she was sitting down at the table and told him to sit (he knows the sit command) so that she could give him a treat and Lincoln decided that he shouldn't have to sit. He growled, lunged at my daughter, and bit her on the face (See attached photo).

He also seems to disrespect me as well as he will frequently curl his lips when I try to stop an unwanted behaviour.

Other than this behaviour, he is a great little puppy. He seems easy to train - he knows the sit command, stay, and is even completely housebroken and will scratch at the door to go out. I was told by a local trainer in my area to consider sending the dog back to the breeder. I don't want to do that - I love this little guy. Besides that, I paid a total of $1400 for him and if I did return him, I'd only receive $300 of my money back.

Please, can someone offer me some advice? Is this dog trainable or will he be this nasty for the rest of his existence. I am at my wits end here - I don't know what to do. We are set to begin puppy classes next week - do you think this will help??

Sherry

LavenderRott
January 17th, 2007, 10:58 AM
Have you taken this puppy to any training classes or are you training at home?

First off, you need to make sure that this pup is NEVER left alone with your daughter. I would also suggest that you do some research on this forum for NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) and use it.

As for the breeder that you got this pup from - an ethical breeder would gladly take this pup back and either give you another pup from an upcoming litter or refund your money. Did you want to show this puppy?

Purely Canadian
January 17th, 2007, 11:07 AM
Hi Sandy,

Thanks for your reply. Lincoln has not been to puppy classes yet - we start next week. The biting incident happened while I was in the kitchen with my daughter and the puppy. I was cutting veggies for dinner when I heard the growl. By the time I got to the table, the damage had already been done and I couldn't correct the dog.

I had a brief consult with my local dog trainer and she suggested the NILIF approach and we are already using it. I feed the puppy by hand (because he was showing aggression with his dish) and he knows that he must be sitting in order to get the food. I don't say a word to him - if he doesn't sit, my hand does not go into the dish and he doesn't get his food. This is working wonderfully for us. He no longer growls over the food.

And lastly, no, I don't intend to show the puppy. I just want a loveable pet that will let me love and hug him to pieces :love:

LavenderRott
January 17th, 2007, 11:11 AM
What type of corrections are you using when he growls?

Purely Canadian
January 17th, 2007, 11:40 AM
I use a firm "NO!".

4thedogs
January 17th, 2007, 11:50 AM
Did this trainer offer anything useful. Maybe explain to you what is happening and some solutions. I hope this is not the trainer you are using.

How old is your puppy now and how old was he when you brought him home.

When did these behaviours begin, what is your pup doing, what have you tried for correction.

LavenderRott
January 17th, 2007, 11:52 AM
I use a firm "NO!".


And how does your pup react to this?

happycats
January 17th, 2007, 11:52 AM
Do you have other children, or does your 4 year old play rough with the puppy? Or does someone in your house, or that visits, play rough or tease the puppy (they may not cosider it teasing, many think it's cute) ?

Purely Canadian
January 17th, 2007, 11:56 AM
And how does your pup react to this?

It varies. Sometimes the puppy will listen to the "No" depending on what he is doing at the moment. If he is biting on the chair leg, the "No" will usually work. Sometimes he ignores me and other times he will curl his lip at me. For instance, if I sit on the sofa, he will almost always come and try to jump on my lap. I take him by the collar and tell him "Off!" while pulling him gently to the floor. He will keep trying to do this over and over. I keep putting him down. Eventually, he will start curling his lip at me when I try to remove him from the sofa.

Purely Canadian
January 17th, 2007, 12:02 PM
Do you have other children, or does your 4 year old play rough with the puppy? Or does someone in your house, or that visits, play rough or tease the puppy (they may not cosider it teasing, many think it's cute) ?

I also have a 12 year old son. Lincoln seems submissive to both my husband and my son as every time one of them reaches out to pet the dog, he will pee on the floor.

Nobody teases or plays rough with the puppy. I am home alone with my daughter during the day so I see what goes on. The only thing remotely rough would be a friendly game of tug of war with his rope toy. According to some of the dog owners I talk to, a game of tug of war is completely acceptable as long as the human wins.

LavenderRott
January 17th, 2007, 12:03 PM
Personally, I think I would keep a leash on this boy so that a collar pop could be applied if needed. That and to keep my hands out of reach!

While most of these sound like normal puppy behaviours - the bite to your daughter should be of concern.

Where did you get this pup from?

Purely Canadian
January 17th, 2007, 12:10 PM
Personally, I think I would keep a leash on this boy so that a collar pop could be applied if needed. That and to keep my hands out of reach!

While most of these sound like normal puppy behaviours - the bite to your daughter should be of concern.

Where did you get this pup from?

The bite is definitely of utmost concern for me. I don't want this behavior to continue and I truly am at a loss as to why it is happening. While he curls his lips at me quite often, he has never attempted to bite me personally. He will mouth my hand now and then but I think that is just typical puppy behavior. If he is curling his lip at me, does this mean he considers me subordinate or is he just testing me?

After careful research, I purchased the puppy from a reputable breeder in Ontario who breeds just once or twice per year. In fact, I learned of this website via a link on her website.

jessi76
January 17th, 2007, 12:11 PM
I wouldn't use NO for a variety of things, i.e., if pup is chewing the chair leg, use LEAVE IT instead of NO.

have you considered keeping this pup tethered to you? keep him on leash in the house, and tied (or clipped) to you. (clip to belt loop). This way the pup is always close to you, and you can use the leash to help correct the dog. Better chance of catching him in the act if he's tied to you.

using this w/ the sofa issue - use the leash to keep the dog from jumping up on the sofa in the first place, to enforce the OFF!. this way he can't curl his lip and give a growl when you try to remove him. PREVENTION is key. rewarding good behavior BEFORE the bad happens is also key. if you succeed in keeping him off, then put him in a down/stay on the FLOOR. if he can do that, reward him for laying on the floor. this encourages the behavior you want, off the couch & laying on the floor.

I think training classes will help greatly. I took classes w/ my dog, and in my class, people were allowed to bring children to WATCH. provided they could remain seated on the side, and quiet during the class. A few people did this, even with small children, so the kids could see the training first hand. you may want to ask your trainer about the possibility of having your kid(s) attend training w/ you. I'm NOT suggesting your 4 yr old train your dog - mearly suggesting that she attend only to watch, and possibly you and your daughter may get some one-on-one time w/ the trainer after or before class.

jessi76
January 17th, 2007, 12:16 PM
According to some of the dog owners I talk to, a game of tug of war is completely acceptable as long as the human wins.

actually as long as YOU initiate the game, and YOU end the game it CAN be ok. I would NOT play this game with your pup at all. since he is having biting issues and expressing very BAD manners, I would not play this. Perhaps revisit "tug" after he has passed his obedience lessons and has some basic manners.

LavenderRott
January 17th, 2007, 12:18 PM
The lip curling could be any number of things and, to be honest, trying to tell you which it is on the internet would be irresponsible. I would have to see the behaviour and such in order to give you an honest opinion. I know several dogs that "backtalk" but would never think of using teeth or disobeying.

Until you get him into this first class (and have a better handle on these behaviours) I think that I would do the following:

1) don't let the children give him treats.
2) continue with NILIF - and make sure that all of the adults in the family are following this as well. NILIF doesn't work if Mom does it but Dad does not.
3) Tether him to you as Jessi suggested.

crazyforcats
January 17th, 2007, 12:28 PM
My opinion on this issue may be unwanted, but if a dog ever acted aggressively towards one of my children, that dog would be gone in an instant. My children are more important than any animal. Granted, I've only had cats for the last 19 years until a few days ago when we got a puppy - a Shih Tzu, but I did spend the first 19 years of my life with dogs as pets.

30+ years ago, my parents got a black lab puppy. He nipped a neighbor's little boy's leg and bit a repair man who came to our door. The last straw for my parents was when he growled at me. All the dog did was growl, but that was enough of a warning for my parents - they told me the dog went to live on a farm... A few later when my younger brother was 3 years old, he was viciously attacked by my grandparent's golden lab. He had over 60 stitches on his head, and he bears the scars to this day (his balding didn't help). Maybe this is where my strong opinion on this issue stems from.

I am an animal lover - I am the person who will post hundreds of posters in search of a lost cat. I am the person who frantically phoned 9-1-1 after witnessing a dog being hit by a car. I am the person who stopped on a highway after witnessing a duck being hit by a car, phoned the wildlife rescue people and was willing to wait with the duck (to protect it from predators or from wandering back into traffic) for an estimated 3+ hours until the rescue people arrived. Unfortunately the duck died before they arrived.

I love animals, but if I was in your situation, no amount of money would stop me from returning the dog if it was at all a threat to my children. I appreciate your commitment to the pet, but it just might be suited better in a home without children.

Spirit
January 17th, 2007, 12:48 PM
Forgetting everyone else in your family for a second, your dog sees your child as a weaker member of the pack.

I would not let that dog anywhere NEAR your kid until he can go a minimum of 6 months (some behavioral therapists will say one year) without showing any signs of aggression.

This is a VERY dangerous situation (because there's a child involved). Dogs like this in the wild, would be kicked out, or even killed by their pack leader/members.

While there might be some great advice in this thread (NB. I didn't read past the original post), this is not a situation where you should be listening to people who know nothing about the reasons why your dog is aggressive.

One of my co-workers and best friends is a behavioral therapist, who specializes in dogs with aggression, and even I wouldn't begin to advice you (even though I'm practically qualified to do so, as this is a big part of my job).

If you want to keep this dog, PLEASE find a reputable behavior therapist (NOT an obedience trainer) and work from there.

Spirit
January 17th, 2007, 12:59 PM
Is this dog trainable or will he be this nasty for the rest of his existence. I am at my wits end here - I don't know what to do. We are set to begin puppy classes next week - do you think this will help??

Sherry

Sorry... I read your thread, saw the picture and just replied, but I forgot to reply to this part.

99% of aggressive dogs are trainable through rehabilitation (the other is due to some form of mental illness). And no, puppy classes won't help at all, though you might end up with a dog who learns new commands and has better social skills, or a stronnger bond with you). Anyone can teach your dog to sit, stay, heel, etc... What your dog needs is a strong pack leader. And at this point, EVERYONE in your household, needs to be at the absolute top of the pack leader status. Including your daughter. Even a newborn baby can be at a higher rank than your dog, if you properly introduce them. But your dog has already established himself as a higher rank than your daughter, hense creating a much bigger problem than "puppy classes".

Go to class anyway... it might help with some issues, but it's likely not going help with the deeper issue at hand.

Sorry for going on... aggression with children really hits a hard spot for me.

JanM
January 17th, 2007, 01:10 PM
I am so glad to see a Behaviorist being recommended. In dangerous situations like this, obedience training does not get to the root of the problem at all - a Dog Behaviorist will do that. Please, please get the help of a Dog Behaviorist.

Purely Canadian
January 17th, 2007, 01:14 PM
Thank you all very much for your advise. I will definitely contact a dog behaviorist.

One last question on pack leaders - what is the proper way to introduce, say an infant, so that it would be higher rank than the dog? What things can my daughter do in order to become a pack leader?

Thank you!!

LavenderRott
January 17th, 2007, 01:17 PM
Sorry... I read your thread, saw the picture and just replied, but I forgot to reply to this part.

99% of aggressive dogs are trainable through rehabilitation (the other is due to some form of mental illness). And no, puppy classes won't help at all, though you might end up with a dog who learns new commands and has better social skills, or a stronnger bond with you). Anyone can teach your dog to sit, stay, heel, etc... What your dog needs is a strong pack leader. And at this point, EVERYONE in your household, needs to be at the absolute top of the pack leader status. Including your daughter. Even a newborn baby can be at a higher rank than your dog, if you properly introduce them. But your dog has already established himself as a higher rank than your daughter, hense creating a much bigger problem than "puppy classes".

Go to class anyway... it might help with some issues, but it's likely not going help with the deeper issue at hand.

Sorry for going on... aggression with children really hits a hard spot for me.

This is a 15 WEEK old puppy. Not an adult dog that has issues. Bite inhibition is something that is learned, it is certainly not instinctive. The "bite" pictured and the description given leads me to believe that this over-exuberant puppy tried to grab a treat from an inexperienced young child. Had the pup gone after the child aggressively, I would think that the wounds would be much different. These are scratch-like, indicating to me that it is a grazing of the teeth and not full contact. (FYI - I have put a dog to sleep for aggression after it went after my son, so this is NOT something I take lightly.)

There is so very much more to dog training classes then teaching your dog to sit, stay or whatever. The OP (who sounds like a novice owner) will learn many invaluable lessons in reading her dog's body language and triggers.

As for the dog's place in the "pack" - a dog would have to be pretty stupid to think that a human infant would be above it in the "pack". A well trained dog respects it's "pack leader" enough to respect those which the leader calls "pack members". In a true pack - newcomers have to fight for their position, it isn't an automatic thing.

Spirit
January 17th, 2007, 01:30 PM
This is a 15 WEEK old puppy.

OOOHH! SORRY!! I read 15 months.

Then yes, at 15 weeks it can be trained quite easily. It's even possible that it's not aggression at all, and just bad puppy manners.

I'm really sorry for jumping to the wrong conclusion. :(

Yes! Go to puppy classes! :D

tenderfoot
January 17th, 2007, 01:31 PM
This puppy is challenging both you and your daughter, but you have stated that he is different with your son & hubby. That is because this is about relationship. The men have behaved differently than you have inorder to have gained his respect right off. It would be good for you to observe what they are doing and quickly learn how to adjust your voice, attitude and body language.

It can be the subtle little things you are doing that tell him you are not a leader. He has a confident personality and is willing to make some very bad choices to get his way. Lip curling, growling and snapping at this young age is not a good sign but doesn't mean its impossible.

Cutting veggies while you are in the room with the pup and your daughter is not enough to keep her safe. As you said you were too late to protect the child or correct the pup. Not leaving her alone with the dog means you are present mentality at every second not just present in the room. I know being a busy mom is hard, but if you truely can't be watching then the pup is safely confined elsewhere.

You are going to have to create his respect for both you and your daughter. He needs to learn 'leave it' with her and everything else in the house. He needs to learn how to be gentle so that you can guide his manners when he is with your daughter.

He should learn how to be with her now! - don't wait until he is bigger and can do more harm. He should be on a leash attached to you whenever they are together. This heightens your awareness and gives you the chances to stop a bad choices while you are trying to teach good ones.

Gently pushing him off the couch is a game to him and he is not taking you seriously. Having him on the leash to correct jumping up is better then reaching for his collar (potential for bite) to pull him down. But teaching him manners in advance is better yet.

A trainer will help alot, but this is even bigger than that. This is about who you are with him all of the time not just when you are doing sits, downs and stays - though they will be helpful too. He was born with confidence and needs to learn how to channel it in a healthy way - thats your job. Keeping his mind engaged doing jobs, teaching him that your word has power, and creating healthy boundaries, rules and structure for him will get this pup heaaded in a better direction.

Angie J
January 17th, 2007, 06:05 PM
Ill mannered pups!

When I got my Beloved Newf Lolly-pup he came straight from a puppy farm at the tender age of 4 1/2 months. My daughter Brooke, was nearly 4 at the time. Lolly was 40 lbs of rough housing fun. He had never played with a person before and treated us all like we were rough n tumble pups! Brooke quickly learned to stop on a dime, stand ruler straight with her hands at her side, and YELL. "NO"!.. "OFF".. "LEAVE IT"!!! I was always close enough to intervene quickly, and was Ready to do so at every moment that they were together. I had to spend the whole first month teaching ONLY social skills;
Innitiating proper games and play,.. Balls, frizby, chewy toys..
.***Reward, reward, reward, proper behavior and play.

Lolly wasn't agressive, but, he was too big to jump up and played too rough... it was the same type of behavior, as it was inappropriate and dangerous (jumping up and biting at clothing or arms).
***** If your pup acts inappropriately make him COMPLETELY aware that his behavior is not acceptable.... Verbally, with a leash correction and a time out (isolated from the pack). Growlel back at him (not your daughter though) and MEAN it! ( I used to put Lolly in the back yard. He HATED it. 2-3 minutes was usually enough time)
****** No "on and off the couch".
..Off the couch, "OFF".......correct him on the chain and remove him from the room. Make him sit, or lay down ...make him submit to your commands. When he does, reward him. Remove him from the bad situation, set him up to be obedient, then reward good behavior. Eventually, He'll get it and when he stays "off the couch" after you've commanded, he'll get a reward for laying at your feet instead.

Have practice session having him eat gently. You gotta learn to lick "gentle" licking peanut butter off a spoon! Set him up with things he has to 'finess' with his mouth. If your daughter is "treating" him, make sure he is on a lead and that it is firmly under your foot so that pup can't jump up. This will allow you to correct him..."OFF." "Sit" "Good Sit"=Reward :) Have 4 or 5 practice sessions a day.

4thedogs
January 17th, 2007, 06:23 PM
[QUOTE=Angie J;354178]Ill mannered pups!
Growlel back at him (not your daughter though) and MEAN it! ( I used to put Lolly in the back yard. He HATED it. 2-3 minutes was usually enough time)
****** No "on and off the couch".
..Off the couch, "OFF".......correct him on the chain and remove him from the room. Make him sit, or lay down ...make him submit to your commands. QUOTE]

A growl from you is not the same as when mom would do it.

What do you mean by correcting him on the chain and making him submit.

The behaviour from this pup is with aggressive intent. Any physical corrections could make it worse. You need someone with experience to show you what to do. This is not the same as a mouthy puppy.

Melinda
January 17th, 2007, 07:07 PM
my last two dogs were trained to accept any age children, one of the ways I did this was from day one, while watching tv and cuddling the pup (one 5 weeks the second at 9 weeks) we'd play with her ears, touch her toes, eyes, tail, teeth and tongue, gradually pulling a bit harder, or more pressure, nothing to hurt mind you, just so no matter how a child would touch them, it wouldn't be a surprise, I'd feed the pup 3 small kibble meals a day, each one hand fed (while in a sit) by the children, and yes, I was right there with them the whole time, Brina is now 20 months and any child can reach into her mouth, pull an ear (had one child use her ear as a suckie *L* we wondered why her ear was wet after nap times) they reach into her mouth to retrieve a toy....she's gentle as can be with them...and quite rough and tumble in her play with adults *L* Brina is a lab/shepherd mix. Good luck with your pup, take your daughter to classes also so the dog will also learn to take commands from her.

Angie J
January 18th, 2007, 11:45 AM
It's true that more help is needed, but in the interm the pup needs to be controled.

If it is to be in a family situation it needs to be leashed and if agression is at hand it needs to be dealt with, rather that ignored. If it's on a leash already a correction and removal from the family is a low confrontational proceedure.

Perhaps I worded it harshly, so I'll rephrase and change "make him submit" to "make him obey". This pup is in charge and needs to learn he is not. If he goes on the couch he needs to be "made to" stay off. Better to remove him from the room that get into a battle of wills with him.

I've growled at my dogs plenty of times. They know exactly what it means, as they would know it's meaning from another dominent dog.

Angie J

jiorji
January 18th, 2007, 11:50 AM
I've growled at my dogs plenty of times.
Angie J


hahah that's too funny!

I think the problem with puppies is the same problem with kids who listen to one adult and then they act up in front of grandma because they know she can't ground them:rolleyes:
I think being really firm with training is key:thumbs up

4thedogs
January 18th, 2007, 11:57 AM
I believe the way this puppy is "controlled" can either help or make it much, much worse.
An aversive approach will cause this behaviour to get worse especially if it is being done by someone the puppy doesn't respect in the first place.

Dracko
January 18th, 2007, 11:59 AM
I agree that at 15 months there is so much puppy in him and he is trainable.

When Dracko was about 2 I met my bf. He had a 6 year old son. During the last 4 years I have had to make it clear to Dracko the pecking order and never allow him to show dominance over the boy. Just a short while ago the son was standing talking to me while I was cutting up food. Dracko was sitting between us and snarled at the boy. I knew this was cuz he was in competition for any food that might be forthcoming. I put a stop to it immediately even though some people might have ignored the subtle hint of dominance.

There is no quick fix for dog behavior. They go through different stages. Sometimes you think you have a behavior licked and it rears it's head again...or a new inappropriate behavior arises.

You just have to decide whether you can invest the time it takes to train this puppy. If not, he is not the right dog for you and maybe getting an older one that is more socialized and trained (not to mention homeless not by choice) would be better.

jiorji
January 18th, 2007, 12:00 PM
yeah but he's very young. I think at that age their minds can still be shaped to respect their adults. That's what training is all about afterall.
But i don't think it should be done with fear. Just a firm "upper hand", which is why professional training is where they should go.

Angie J
January 18th, 2007, 12:18 PM
Not 15 months.... weeks.

Angie J

Dracko
January 18th, 2007, 12:34 PM
LOL...Oops...I knew it was weeks...but typed months. DUH

Spirit
January 18th, 2007, 12:52 PM
Be VERY careful about growling at an aggressive dog. If your dog is trying to rank higher in the pack status (or already thinks it's higher than you), it's very likely going to challenge you right back. Not to mention that you're dealing with a 15 WEEK old puppy here. Presenting yourself as an aggressive pack leader, isn't the best way to establish trust.

Fighting aggression with aggression is a BAD idea. Calm dominance is more effective. Your immediate reaction should be calm submission.

Edit: My co-worker just reminded me of a situation that came up a couple months ago, where a dog was showing signs of food and toy aggression towards children. The technique used was to growl (a low rumbly "bah" noise) at the dog, and if that didn't work, they were to throw a small pillow filled with chains at the dog's feet. The noise is fairly quiet, but shockingly effective, as it shocks the dog out of it's aggressive state, forcing it to become submissive. Anyway... The dog's behavior was really good for a few weeks after using this technique, until the child ended up in the hospital, as a result of a serious dog bite.

I won't comment on which company was used, but they got good reviews on the local news here, and in the papers. A lawsuit is now pending. Now this was an adult dog, but it just goes to show you that fighting aggression with aggression can sometimes backfire.

Please be gentle with your puppy.

tenderfoot
January 18th, 2007, 02:41 PM
This starts to get messy when we are using words like 'aggression' and 'submission'. Most 'aggression' is a learned behavior - a dog growls or snaps and learns it will get him what he wants. I prefer the word 'assertive' - 'aggression' implies a mean dog and not all assertive dogs are mean they are just pushy to varying degrees.

And 'submission' does not mean that the dog is crawling away in fear. It can be the simple softening of facial expressions or the backing away from a coveted item.

Techniques like throwing chains and growling will do no good if they are not backed up by very clear understanding & skills. Please note we do not recommmend throwing chains at dogs.

'Calm submission' does not convey a confident leader. You should try to be calm and keep your energy low, but you still need to let the dog know that growling is not on option, and that they should show the submission to the person. This does not mean the person has to be harsh or cruel. If I have a stick I am sharing with a dog and he tries to steal it from me, snap at me to make me retreat or growl at me... I am not going to back away and submit to him. I am going to work on his skills of sharing and help him understand that the stick is mine and I will share if he has good manners and not a second sooner.

You can be a confident leader without being harsh or mean. Teaching and rules for good manners are what help to create a good leader.

Spirit
January 18th, 2007, 03:39 PM
THANK YOU TENDERFOOT!!

It's important to know that dominance is not achieved by being aggressive, and not all aggressive dogs are trying to establish dominance.

Well said, Tenderfoot. :)

JanM
January 18th, 2007, 04:41 PM
Once again I am going to strongly recommend that this puppy and the owners get together with a Dog Behaviourist. It is not known whether the behaviour is dominance or what - it doesn't matter! The behavious is not acceptable and is dangerous and a Dog Behaviourist - a good, reputable one, will get to the root of the problem and will provide the proper guidance to "nip" the problem before it gets worse.

A friend has a Golden puppy that started this behaviour at 4 months of age - she took the puppy to obedience classes to no avail - the puppy's biting got worse - it has bitten her in the face, arms, legs - whatever. She had the names of two dog behaviourists but chose to go a different route - she chose to take advice from a dog obedience trainer and work on the problem herself. The dog is now over 1 yr old and is much worse. She crates the dog at night because she is afraid it will bite her while she is sleeping! She still does not see the need to go to a dog behaviorist and her dog may well be put down because of her ignorance.

Please, please put your puppy's future in professional hands!

Dad of Dog's
January 18th, 2007, 07:32 PM
Some trainers are also behaviourists but you need to do your research to find a good one in your area.

tenderfoot
January 18th, 2007, 08:08 PM
Personally, I don't see how they (behaviorists and trainers) can be mutually exclusive if they are worth their salt.

The thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and psychology of any canine, feline, equine & humine :p are so intricately intertwined I don't see how you can be skilled at one without knowledge of the other.

Angie J
January 19th, 2007, 09:36 AM
I strongly doubt that the biting incident occured 'because' the pup was growled at, but, as suggested, that it was a non-learning experience. The dog learned to dodge pillows, rather than to submit to it's masters requirements. There was no intelligent purpose or followup.

A growel to a dog rarely means an altercation is imminent. Rather, it is usually a way to warn and avoid conflict. How often do we see our dogs growel? How often do we see them sort out issues this way WITHOUT escallation? What would happen if a cocky pup tried to dominate one of your older dogs? It would be put in its place pronto, there would probably be growling, and it is quite unlikely there would be any real physical danger.

I demand that my dogs submit to me. Why?
Yesterday I was outside stacking wood. I lost track of time and heard the bus honk its horn to signify I was absent at my daughters pickup. I hustled around the corner of the house so the driver could see me and let my daughter off the bus.
Now, the routine for this is usually: put the pup in the house.. leash the Newf (trying to accustom his to loud noises ... He's nervous of the School Bus) and get to the road. Today things were not as planned. When Brooke saw Belle, in her joy she immediately called her. Belle stared booking it to the road!!! I yelled, "NO,.. come". Belle stopped and looked but was more drawn to run to his beloved wee girl. "NO!!! BAD".... She stopped and looked again..."Belle come". She heard that the tone of my voice was not playful or happy and although she had no clue what was wrong, she came. "Good girl; Good come." She plopped at my feet, recieved praise and pats and I got her collar and breathed a sigh of relief.

Did she come because she loved me? No. She came because she submitted to me. Was she dominated in a fearful way? She learned submit means pats and praise. Being dominent doesn't mean being opressive; It means being a strong and capable leader.

4thedogs
January 19th, 2007, 10:21 AM
I am very experienced in dog behaviour and after reading that post all I could think was, huh.
I would never say I know everything because I am always learning but I have a good understanding.

There are things that dogs do with each other to communicate. This does not mean that we can duplicate them to have the same meaning.

I myself hate to use words like submissive or dominant. Mainly because most people have no clue what they really mean and misuse them. In doing this they accept behaviours instead of looking at the behaviour as a bad learned habit/behaviour that needs to be corrected.

A puppy that is showing aggression at 3 1/2 months is not a good scene. This needs to be dealt with so that it doesn't continue as the pup begins to mature. The problem is that once a dog begins to show aggression their people often become nervous around them. Once this happens it is harder for them to correct. This family should seek help from someone who is experienced instead of trying to deal on their own.

Using an aversive approach will only cause this pup to challenge more. There should be no physical corrections used. This does not mean don't correct the behaviour but the way it is done may affect the outcome. Their success will come from a confident owner who is in control of all the resources at all times. If they are now nervous around the puppy the pup will continue to challenge.

4thedogs
January 19th, 2007, 10:29 AM
Tenderfoot, I have seen some trainers who don't offer any help outside of regular cues. No interest in dealing with problems of any kind. Their knowledge of dog behaviour is limited. I guess would qualify as not worth salt as you said.

As far as I am concerned a good trainer knows and understands dog behaviour.

Angie J
January 19th, 2007, 10:59 AM
The theories of 'training' run a full gambit of beliefs. I agree that there are many tecniques that most people are not trained to use. And you are right; If this family is afraid of the dog it's not a good posture to take. I didn't get that impression. I got the impression that they were afraid of the problem escalating and afraid for thier daughter.

Let face it, if your afraid for you child you take action now.

"I myself hate to use words like submissive or dominant. Mainly because most people have no clue what they really mean and misuse them."
Submissive and dominant are words belonging to the understanding of animal behavior and language and there's no reason to be afraid to use them.

Angie J

Spirit
January 19th, 2007, 11:46 AM
I am very experienced in dog behaviour and after reading that post all I could think was, huh.

Same here. I'm biting my tongue here. The dog bit because his pack leader taught him that aggression was acceptable behavior. Period.


Using an aversive approach will only cause this pup to challenge more. There should be no physical corrections used. This does not mean don't correct the behaviour but the way it is done may affect the outcome. Their success will come from a confident owner who is in control of all the resources at all times. If they are now nervous around the puppy the pup will continue to challenge.

100% Absolutely agree. My dog barked (just one bark) at my friends 3 year old child once (he was trying to sleep and the kid was bugging him). I was sitting and talking with the kids mother when I immediately stopped talking (in mid sentence), quickly stood up and walked over to my dog. Without saying a single word, he knew that that behavior was not going to be accepted by me. His head and ears lowered slightly, and he turned back and submitted to the child (I didn't tell him to, he did that all on his own), and when I saw that he got the message, I turned and walked back to the table to resume my conversation. He followed me to lay at my feet. A quick pat on the head, and we had an understanding. He never did that again. I think he was about 6 months old at the time.

I have never used his name in a negative manner (never screamed it in anger or frustration). I use positive reinforcement ONLY (I have never, and will never scold bad behavior by say "Bad dog", or yell the word "No"). I have never hit, yelled or growled at, or used physical contact with my dog. Ever.

(Okay so biting my tongue isn't my strong point) lol

I too dislike using words like "submission and aggression" but I use them because it's all I know (but I understand the difference between fear submission and calm submission). When you're surrounded by "animal experts" (and I use that term loosely) every day, you kind of pick it up. lol

4thedogs
January 19th, 2007, 12:47 PM
Angie: You are right the words are used, the problem is that they are used by people who don't know what they mean and end up putting a label on their dog that is not accurate.
They are used too frequently for behaviours that have nothing to do with being submissive or dominant.

Most bad behaviours can be more easily explained and then dealt with. In dealing with any bad behaviours you first need to know what the problem is and why, when, how, where, and who it is happening to if it applies. Once you define it correctly you can choose an appropriate way to fix it.

If this person were someone I was working with I would ask many more questions of them. I would also want to see how they interact with their dog. I need details and lots of them.

The problem I have with those terms is that they are often used to describe the dog instead of seeing the behaviour for what it is.

For this particular family and dog I would want to find out why a puppy of this age has taken to this behaviour. Get to the route of the problem.

I may be understanding your use of the terms differently than what you intended. To "dominate the dog to make them submit". What I am reading into that is doing things like alpha rolls which I believe will make things worse for them, not better.

Angie J
January 19th, 2007, 01:03 PM
"I immediately stopped talking (in mid sentence), quickly stood up and walked over to my dog. Without saying a single word, he knew that that behavior was not going to be accepted by me."

OK, you didn't growl, BUT you used a different form of dominent posturing. Can you realy believe that your dog didn't read your body language and interpret it as dominent and read into it a very negative content? Your dogs interpretation of you and your dominence was already frimly established and he submitted pronto.

What would you have done had he not submitted?

I tried to convey an atmosphere in my posts that always involved removing the dog from a negative situation and giving him a task that he was capable of, rewarding and moving on. I certainly never said, "throw the dog on the floor, grab him by the jowls and growl in his face"! Why is using body language as a prompt different from using a verbal prompt?



Angie J

4thedogs
January 19th, 2007, 01:04 PM
I really need to learn how to take several quotes to reply to in the same post.

Spirit: It sounds as if you had already done the ground work. These people haven't.
I would want to know why it happened in the first place, the first time.

Angie: Learning to respond to body language is important to you as well as your dog. All I am saying is that a "growl" from you will not have the same meaning behind it as dog to dog. This is their language and variations in sounds will give different meanings. If your intent is to duplicate what a dog would do, good luck. I am not saying that a verbal reprimand can't be used but it will be what your dog learns as meaning from you just as they will learn that when you say sit, they will sit if there is an association between that verbal cue and the behaviour.
We all read body language and dogs are masters at it.

Angie J
January 19th, 2007, 01:40 PM
Behavior is trick and can be different for each animal, circumstance and group. I have to say, this has worked for me and my dogs.

Next time your dog is in his own world and ignoring you.... try it. Let me know what happens.
***** NOT a challenge.... just an experiment.******

Spirit,
If you've never raised your voice to your pets (even to get their attention) or name a behavoir as 'bad', I think you are unique and that's great! But the reality of life is, bad things happen. I'm not afraid to acknowledge them as bad to my dogs and I don't think they are scared by hearing it.

P.S. I also tell my children when they've acted badly and yes, they have heard the word no many times.

Angie J

Spirit
January 19th, 2007, 01:46 PM
Learning to respond to body language is important to you as well as your dog. All I am saying is that a "growl" from you will not have the same meaning behind it as dog to dog. This is their language and variations in sounds will give different meanings. If your intent is to duplicate what a dog would do, good luck. I am not saying that a verbal reprimand can't be used but it will be what your dog learns as meaning from you just as they will learn that when you say sit, they will sit if there is an association between that verbal cue and the behaviour.
We all read body language and dogs are masters at it.


Exactly. I established myself as "the dominant one" the day I brought my puppy home at 8 weeks old. It was a BIG challenge because he was the runt of the litter, and spoiled ROTTEN by the breeder. He was even hand fed. Any noise he made in the whelping pen got him picked up and carried around.

When he was about 10 weeks old, he started chewing on one of my plants (those big leafy plants, I forget the name). Anyway, I told him to leave it (I had already taught him the command), and he did... the leaf, that is. He moved on to the leaf right next to it. "Leave it"... Okay... on to the next leaf. And so on and so on. It was hard not to laugh (what a little brat!), but I knew he wasn't going to listen to "leave it" (he WAS only 10 weeks old), so I stood up and got between him and the plant. He tried to go around me a few times, but I kept moving to block him. As soon as he turned away from the plant, so did I. I didn't follow him... I just walked away from the plant. If he went back to it, so did I.

He'd leave it for a while, but he kept going back to it. Eventually, I just picked him up to place him away from it. I looked at his face and said "I said leave it". I guess my tone was too rough because his ears went back and it was obvious that he had never been spoken to in that way before. When I sat him down, I looked at him (he was standing and looking at the plant) and I said "Leave it" (stern but not angry tone). He looked at me, and when I said "Good leave it!", he plopped his little butt down on the floor (very proud of himself) and looked up at me with this HUGE smile (as if to say "Okay! Punishment over! Let's play now). Well I just burst out laughing and thought "Oh no... THIS is my dog".

For my dog (and every other dog I've worked with), the "I mean it", calm quiet dominance works. Sometimes I give a command, sometimes I don't. But both my tone of voice and body language are always both very calm.

There are three ways to train a dog (I'll use teaching down during dinner as an example).

1. Reinforcing a behavior through positive attention when your dog is already doing something right. (IE. You're at the dinner table and your dog walks away and lays down. You didn't tell it to, but it did it on it's own, so you reinforce it with "GOOD DOWN!").

2. Asking your dog to do something, then showing it what it is that you're asking. (IE. Getting up from the dinner table, and telling your dog to go over there and lay down, then luring it into a down position before saying "Good down")

3. Force or aggression. (ie. Grabbing your dog by it's scruff and pushing it into a down position. Or growling or yelling (intimidation) at it until it automatically lays down.)

Forcing your dog to react through intimidation (growling) or physical contact (alpha roll), is not my idea of good training.

Angie J
January 19th, 2007, 01:53 PM
I was going to reply but realize that our debate has jacked this thread. I am sorry.

Angie J

Spirit
January 19th, 2007, 01:59 PM
If you've never raised your voice to your pets (even to get their attention) or name a behavoir as 'bad', I think you are unique and that's great!

If I need to get his attention (and can't), I make a happy excited noise (PUP! PUP! PUP! HEEERE, PUPPY PUPPY!) or whistle. I have shouted "HEY!" (reflex action from being around children), which DOES work with some dogs, but will startle or scare a dog who's not used to being yelled at (a timid dog).

If I did this to my dog, he would COMPLETELY blow me off. He's quite fearless, so "HEY!" or "STOP IT!" doesn't phase him in the least. But if I sound excited, he'll look at me like "Hey, what's going on over there? Why the excitement? I'd better come check it out! COMING!" And if he's doing something in the house and I just want him to stop, I'll say his name (happy tone) followed by "leave it, baby". And he will. If he goes back, I'll tell him to go do something else "Leave it. Go get a toy". He's usually reluctant about it, but he WILL listen to me. If I yell, all I'd get is sulking, and probably whining "But mooooom! Why won't you let me do it??" I change my tone, but I never sound mad. Stern, but not mad.

And just for the record (incase someone here doesn't know), yelling angrily at your puppy to "come here", is also counter productive. I certainly wouldn't want to come to you when you're yelling at me.

Edit: Since you deleted your last reply, I will apologise for carrying on with the hijacking of this thread (though I only partly agree), but all in all I do feel that it's useful information regarding the original post, and so I will keep it as it and reply no more.

:)