Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

HELP! agression or naughty or puppy behaviour?

selina
August 19th, 2009, 08:14 PM
Hi,
I'm new here and after some much needed advice. We recently got a 4mth old mastiff cross from the rspca rescue. I'm not sure she is suitable for our family at all! Apparently she was given up the first time because they said they werent allowed a dog on the premisis. We were told she would make a great family dog - I had my two year old with me at the time. Since getting this dog two weeks ago these are the behaviours I have seen; (she is walked twice a day)

dog aggression -lunging, pulling, biting other dogs that approach or trying to, she won't back down and has turned to bite me when I have pulled her back. Genreally I have had to make her go the other way or cross the road with much resistance!

People aggression - same as above when walking however hasnt had the opportunity to bite any walkers or runners. She went absolutely nuts at the dog trainer when i took her to dog training, he was trying to help me get her out of the car and away from the other dogs so we could begin training. He kept dropping treats into the car for her but she didnt settle until he went away. once out we walked the perimeter with her calming a bit, but i couldnt go near any other dogs or people.

Goes nuts at the cat - we had asked if she was ok with cats and they said they thought she was fine!!!

While walking she pulls something cronic to the point where she has bruising down her neck, this has happend on a flat collar and my husband has had her on a check chain to help with the pulling - we also just purchased a gentle leader but havent been able to get her to wear it yet!

Bowlling my 2 year old when we are outside, jumping all overhim when hes been pushed to the ground and nipping his face and ankles( i say nipping as she hasnt drawn blood) even when given the command 'no' or 'sit' -she knows how to sit! My 2 year old doesnt go silly or encourage the behaviour, he starts crying. Once she just did it while he was off playing with his truck with me watching, i have had to drag her off him twice!

She constantly jumps at my face and nips my elbows - is not responding to commands and me turning away- i leave for 5mins and come back and she does it again!

Yesterday I tried to put her leash on the flat collar to do some of the training the dog trainer had shown us and she kept biting the leash then went to bite me and took off with the whole leash in her mouth and would not give it back - she seemed tothink i was going to chase her around the yard for it - i turned around and went back inside.

I relalise dogs do have these behaviours which need work and that is why i am doing training with her. My main concern is that she has so many behaviours that need correcting and she is possibly not suitable for a family??? She is going to be a big dog and if i can't get her under control now how will I when she has grown to full size!? She has some lovely traits aswell however the silly behaviours seem to outway the good at the moment. Any adivce would be great - i would hate to give her up but am just wondering about the safety of myself and my child. she would possibly make a great companion to a couple with no kids?
Great appreciate all opinions and adivce thanku

luckypenny
August 19th, 2009, 09:46 PM
Wow, the little bugger looks like she's got a lot going on there, doesn't it? It sounds like normal obnoxious puppy behavior but it's difficult to tell without actually seeing her in action. I strongly recommend you get an experienced trainer that preferably uses positive methods (no harsh abusive methods please) who can teach you how to deal with such a pup asap. Is this your first dog? What has the trainer you're using said?

selina
August 19th, 2009, 10:15 PM
Yes this is my first dog, however my husband has had many dogs and quite strong willed dogs, big boiterous dogs -but he is away at work two weeks away then back again. He said he wanted us to have a loyal good family dog but also to protect us if he's not here. But he's no good to me as he hasnt seen the behaviour himself and for the first few days he was here she was very laid back feeling her ground I think.

Originally I think the trainer was quite concerned by her behaviour in the car...he said at least it would never be stolen with her in it!!! She did calm down with him after receiving the treats etc. He wasn't too forth coming with his opinion really. He did a few things with her by himself and said some of her behaviours were interesting but I have no idea what he meant by that!!! She jumped to his face a few times and he said what he saw there was excitement -she didn't try to nip him. He seemed to think it would take a fair bit of training but I got the feeling he didn't want to say too much as it may mean she would end up back in the shelter - I havent told him about all the behaviours I have seen this week though. He did say he thought she would possibly settle more this week - however I havent seen settled I have seen more! Maybe it's because I dont know enough about dog behaviour - is it normal for her to do these things???? Are there dogs that dont do what ihave described?

I have tried to enforce the 'pack leader' etc etc sitting and staying before being told 'ok' to eat and waiting for us to go inside first but now she just pushes through the door in front of my son and I. Then runs off steals a hat or other something she shouldnt have and runs off. It seems i am forever trying to correct each behaviour rather that trying to enjoy her which is making me more frustrated.

luckypenny
August 19th, 2009, 10:56 PM
1. I'd recommend a new trainer who's open and honest with you. Please ask for references and follow up.

If you're in the US, you will find this site helpful in locating a certified trainer:
http://www.apdt.com/

In Canada:
http://www.cappdt.ca/public/jpage/1/p/Home/content.do

2. Limit the space she has inside the home, ie. you can keep her in the kitchen/livingroom (places where there is most traffic). She shouldn't be able to have free reign at this point in time.

3. Umbilical with her as much as possible. When you are unable to, crate her for short periods of time with fun toys and stuffed Kongs (you can feed her meals out of Kongs). Are you crate training her btw? Please be careful not use the crate as a punishment.

http://www.eastbayspca.org/petownership/cratetraining.cfm

In case you don't already have some, here's what a Kong looks like. You can get several and fill them with a mixture of her kibble and a small amount of peanut butter or unsalted creamy cottage cheese. If she's emptying them too quickly, try freezing overnight. This will not only keep her teething jaws busy, it will exercise her mind as well.

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb195/luckypenny_02_2007/kong.jpg

4. Puppy proof your home as you would child proof it. If there are things you don't want your pup to pick up, remove them.

5. Do you know anyone with well-socialized dogs who are good with others? You'd be amazed at how an adult dog can teach a rambunctious pup some manners. Other well socialized pups of about the same age and size would also be great for your girl to help tire her out. Her rowdiness on leash when she sees others may simply be out of frustration in eagerness to meet them. Please make sure all play dates are well supervised. Wrestling and romping are normal dog play behaviors.

I know this sounds like a daunting task, especially with a toddler to take care of at the same time. You will soon find however, that once you've set limits and are able to provide consistency, you'll fall into a steady schedule and things may settle fairly quickly.

Bailey_
August 20th, 2009, 12:08 AM
So sorry to hear about your troubles, but I do want to commend you on adopting from a rescue. :thumbs up

dog aggression -lunging, pulling, biting other dogs that approach or trying to, she won't back down and has turned to bite me when I have pulled her back. Genreally I have had to make her go the other way or cross the road with much resistance!

People aggression - same as above when walking however hasnt had the opportunity to bite any walkers or runners. She went absolutely nuts at the dog trainer when i took her to dog training, he was trying to help me get her out of the car and away from the other dogs so we could begin training. He kept dropping treats into the car for her but she didnt settle until he went away. once out we walked the perimeter with her calming a bit, but i couldnt go near any other dogs or people.


These are immediate signs that this dog has not previously been socialized, and allowed to rule the roost - resulting in her behaviors, which I'd be more inclined to say was the REAL reason she was given up at the rescue. It doesn't really sound so much as 'aggression' (yet) as it is frustration...your puppys way of reacting to not being able to greet/investigate oncoming strangers. Her reaction to spin around and attempt to bite you is also fairly normal (though certainly not acceptable behavior) when a dog has leash frustration. It's generally their way of reacting to the leash and whomever is holding them back. This dog needs to learn some serious manners and proper socialization skills.

I HIGHLY reccomend you find a new trainer. Dropping treats into a car for a dog in an attempt to calm her? That won't even remotely help the situation. Combined with the fact that this trainer doesn't talk his methods out with you - he sounds like a waste of time. (No offence). I'd take up LuckyPennys suggestions and seek out a new, reputable trainer that can help you with your dog and get to the root of her controlling behavior.

Goes nuts at the cat - we had asked if she was ok with cats and they said they thought she was fine!!!

This is not good. Rescues have the responsibilty to ensure that their animals are placed in suitable homes. If a cat-test had not been done on your puppy, I'd certainly call the rescue and tell them your concerns. It's never fair for the current pets in the home to be at risk.

While walking she pulls something cronic to the point where she has bruising down her neck, this has happend on a flat collar and my husband has had her on a check chain to help with the pulling - we also just purchased a gentle leader but havent been able to get her to wear it yet!


Regardless of what type of collar she is wearing, you need to learn how to approach the pulling aspect. Choke Chains are extremley harsh tools, and should only be used properly. If you have been putting this type of a collar on a young, strong, rambunctious puppy, you could possibly be enabling her behavior and her reaction to pull against the collar. Not to mention it could do a lot of damage if not used properly, which it sounds like is already happening. Again, a certified trainer will be able to show you how to properly correct her pulling and show you how to use the collar or harness that you end up choosing.

Bowlling my 2 year old when we are outside, jumping all overhim when hes been pushed to the ground and nipping his face and ankles( i say nipping as she hasnt drawn blood) even when given the command 'no' or 'sit' -she knows how to sit! My 2 year old doesnt go silly or encourage the behaviour, he starts crying. Once she just did it while he was off playing with his truck with me watching, i have had to drag her off him twice!

She constantly jumps at my face and nips my elbows - is not responding to commands and me turning away- i leave for 5mins and come back and she does it again!

Yesterday I tried to put her leash on the flat collar to do some of the training the dog trainer had shown us and she kept biting the leash then went to bite me and took off with the whole leash in her mouth and would not give it back - she seemed tothink i was going to chase her around the yard for it - i turned around and went back inside.


This is all happening because your puppy does not respect you or your family. She is controlling you and your home, and this needs to be rectified. It's not her fault, she's just most likely never been taught anything else. If she has a more dominant personality, she'll be more likely to try and push your buttons.

I'm confident that most of these behaviors can be worked out, with the right training and consistancy.
The only behaviors that concern me, are the ones with your cat and your son. I highly reccomend talking to the rescue about this to notify them of your concerns, and locating a new trainer as soon as possible.

DoubleRR
August 20th, 2009, 09:26 AM
If she was not socialized as a very young pup, and she has a dominant personality [both of which one assumes from your descriptions], it will take a very good trainer to train YOU to deal with her. This is not really the sort of dog a new owner should try to handle, and just because your husband has had dogs in the past doesn't help YOU--since you are the primary caregiver/trainer as hubby is gone for such long periods.
It is not necessary to have a very large breed to protect you, nor is it necessary to have an aggressive dog. My dogs are always very social with everyone and every dog they meet. They also would protect me with their life.
It takes two years to create a dog--working with the pup every day. That is if you have a balanced socialized puppy to begin with!

I am not trying to ruin your day--or make you give this dog up--but it is your child's and others safety that is at stake here--this could end up in tragedy for someone, and I am concerned. We all believe that once you have adopted, you must work it out, train the dog, etc. In general, that is true--you do not give up on a dog for a housetraining issue, or because it hates uniforms, or chews the couch. Those are all fixable with not too much effort.

However, a dominant large breed dog can be a time bomb, and you will have to be somewhat on your guard for the rest of it's life. At the very least, you need a very good well recommended trainer to work with you almost daily for the next several weeks.

kandy
August 20th, 2009, 12:06 PM
I don't believe that the pups behaviors are due to a lack of respect for you or your family. The pups behaviors are due to a lack of socialization, lack of training, and because she's a puppy. What I get from your descriptions is an exciteable puppy trying to entice you to play chase, and thinking of your son as a toy.

You definitely need a good trainer, and if at all possible, perhaps one that will work with you and your pup one on one rather than in a full class environment. Once you have better control of your pup, then attend normal obedience classes with other dogs. I would also suggest that 2 walks a day is probably not enough exercise. A walk is like a warm up for dogs, waiting to get to the real exercise. A tired dog is a good dog. If you've walked her and she still jumps up on you, she's not tired enough yet.

I agree with the others on the leash pulling - a choke chain or flat collar can cause injury to the throat when the dog pulls and lunges. You could try looping the leash over the dogs chest, there are a few threads about this method here.