June 5th, 2008, 08:50 PM
Lately during our walks Choco has been really aggressive and mean to other passerby dogs. He barks and growls and even lunges at them when they try to get close. It gets to the point where i have to pick him up and try to calm him until the dog is out of sound and sight. He loves humans but its dogs that he cant seem to stand doesnt matter if they are male or female and most of them seem very friendly. I really would like to talk him to a dog park but not sure if i can if he is acting this way! He's never going to have friends. :(
What can I do? I can't take him to puppy obedience classes yet as he doesnt meet any requirements (age/fullshots).
June 5th, 2008, 09:18 PM
First off, if he isn't able to take puppy classes yet because of his age and immunization status, he shouldn't go anywhere near either strange dogs or the dog park.
And a quick question - what do you do when this happens?
June 6th, 2008, 08:09 AM
I haven't taken him to dog parks , its when i let him out to go pee and other dogs in my building are out at the same time. He goes crazy!!!!!!! They aren't even close to him and he barks!
When he starts to go bonkers, he either cowers under me, but tries to lunge, I wont be pulling on the leash, i give it enough slack but he still goes nuts and starts lunging and barking like mad. I usually tend to pick him up and calm him. I even tried to pet the other dog to show him that its okay but he still loses it!
As for age requirements most of the puppy classes are asking for them to be at least 4 mths before he is eligible to join. He gets his final shots this coming weekend.
June 6th, 2008, 08:46 AM
Do NOT pick him up. You don't mean it to be but it is a reward for him. Try to distract him, I know he has to go out. I know it is hard.
How old is he? Are you sure he is being aggressive or is he just an excited puppy who wants to meet and play? Puppies can growl ferociously when they are playing. If he is less than four months the lunging sounds normal too.
Even if he is not vaccinated every puppy training article I ever read said you should make every attempt you can to socialize your pup as soon as possible. They all said to arrange visits with dogs you know, those who are safely vaccinated. Can you speak to the people you are meeting and ask them about that? A safely vaccinated older female dog, preferably one who has had puppies, would likely do him a world of good and teach him some puppy manners. Off leash, if possible, would be best.
I invited everyone I could think of to my yard and home when my puppy was that age. My puppy was never constrained by the leash but he did think he was king of the world till these other older dogs told him his place, then he happily played with them. Every new dog though, he would be up in their face, jumping on them, biting, growling - he just had to learn that's not how older dogs allow puppies to behave. He met four new dogs last night (and now he is seven months old) and he did not attempt to jump, bite, growl or annoy any of them. I think he may have learned what's proper.
Many puppy classes will take them as young as 8 weeks as long as they have had their first shot. Discuss with your Vet whether they recommend this. Some do, some don't.
The link is to the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Trainers and this one in particular is on the importance of early socialization in puppies. Once on the site you will find many more articles that may help with all sorts of puppy problems.
From what you describe, and knowing only that he is under four months old, I really have to wonder if he isn't just a poorly socialized puppy who is desparate for some doggy interaction. It's a rare puppy who is aggressive at that age. Can't see him in person, there is always an exception, but the odds are he is completely normal.
June 6th, 2008, 09:35 AM
Thanks for the post longblade. I am trying to arrange some some playdates with some friends who have puppies around 5mths-7mths old. I hope this will get him more acquainted with other dogs. I'll stop picking him up when he gets all nasty at other dogs and try to distract him instead. I tried giving him treats but he ignores those and is too fixated on the other dog until its out of his sight. I'll bring along a ball or squeak toy to distract him.
When i first got him I had exposed him to 2 other vaccinated dogs, (older girls) and he got along fine with them. He's playful with the cats so there's no issue there. I guess its been at least a month now that he hasnt played with a dog and doesn't remember. I'm going to set up another date and hopefully he will learn not to be mean or he won't have any friends.
My vet recommended that i wait one week until his second set of shots before i bring him to school, so only 1 week to go!
June 7th, 2008, 08:36 PM
I have a 9 month old pup that was like that - he'd bark and snarl at anything that moved, even though he was socialized beyond belief. I would just simply walk the other way when he started the behavior. I didn't speak to him or anything - I just turned and walked. He's a chihuahua, so he had no other choice but to follow me or be dragged through the grass, so he usually chose to follow. It got his mind off stuff pretty quick and he learned to watch me instead of the dogs because at any moment, I could go the other way.
Basically, anything you can do to distract the dog without giving the behavior a positive consequence is a good idea. Probablly the most important thing is to stay calm though - if you get frustrated, then the dog will respond accordingly. It's hard to stay chilled out in those situations but if you can do it, then your dog will take notice.