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Aggression and Bitting - HELP!!

February 25th, 2011, 10:17 PM
I dont know what to do. I have a labradoodle puppy thats 15 weeks old and he is normally great. He sits and waits for his food, if I use the off command with toys, treats and my clothing he refrains from touching them until I say so, he sits at the door to go out, he gives a paw for all treats, and rings a bell to go outside. We go for walks outside, we use the treadmill, we play fetch. We also go to obedience school and hes an angel. But at least once a day whether its outside playing or just hanging out he start to bark, then growl, then he jumps ups and bites me If I ignore him he only runs around more quickly and then lunges to bite me.If I force him to sit or command him to sit, he does so but then a few minutes later hes back to growling, lunging and bitting me.

How do I get him to stop this behaviour? Why is he all of sudden so aggressive? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

February 25th, 2011, 10:44 PM
Can't tell exactly from the internet, but from the sounds of it, he's playing.

If he's particularily "Labby", then this is how they play with other dogs.

My Holly is almost 3 and will still do this to us occasionally - she was a rescue who hadn't been trained. We're working on it. She especially does this if she hasn't had enough exercise. She also vocalizes while she's doing it - sounds like she's trying to kill me! But it really is just play. Inappropriate play when it's with a human, mind you, and needs to be dealt with, but it's not aggression and he's not vicious.

We make sure Holly gets lots of play time with other dogs who like to play hard also, and lots of off leash running. That seems to make her less likely to get like that.

When she does get all riled up, we stand tall and refuse to engage her saying "No bite!" when she tries to. And when it's possible, we re-direct the behaviour onto a toy.

February 26th, 2011, 06:06 AM
we re-direct the behaviour onto a toy.

Excellent advice. Re-directing the behaviour is a great method.
There are trainers that believe in ingoring the 'bad' and re-warding the 'good'. Do not ignore this behaviour, it is unacceptable and needs to be corrected. Diverting the attention is not correcting in a sense but it is altering the 'intent'. If this does not work, then you may have to work on the correction. Everyone has a different interpretation as to what 'correction' means so please do not take it as 'punishment' as this clearly does not remedy the situation.

Before going on how to correct, try what Nansel is suggesting. If that does not work then maybe we can help you on how to correct properly.

Where did you get your puppy and do you know how old he/she was when taken from mother?

This may not be aggression per say. This could simply be puppy behaviour but still should not be allowed as it could escalate.

February 26th, 2011, 08:01 AM
I agree with what's been said. I think the most important thing is not to ignore this behavior as he will likely do it more if you do. I would be careful with the 're-directing.' I think it's a good idea if done well, but it could also teach him that his 'reward' for lunging and biting is that he gets to play... I think standing tall, ignoring him, and giving a stern 'no' very consistently is probably a good start.

Ignoring is not going to help. I disagree with this method (or there lack of). The key to re-directing the behaviour is to re-direct BEFORE it happens. Not during or after. Reading the body language or identifying the triggers before it happens is what the OP needs to identify.

I have had over 90 foster dogs (99% where adults mind you). Most had somesort of issue and by re-directing them it helped tremendously. Giving something (toy for instance...NOT food) before it happens is not rewarding.

I also do not give verbal commands either when teaching the dogs. Everyone has a different way to approach.

I am hoping that LuckyPenny reads this thread as she has extensive experience with puppy behaviour. I am certain that she will be able to help you.

Also, there is Tenderfoot who is AMAZING as well. Hopefully she will see this thread and give you some tips.

February 26th, 2011, 08:58 AM
I'm raising a Dutchie pup right now, I can relate :)

Your pup is just playing, it's not real aggression, but it's rude behaviour towards people non the less. For starters keeping a drag leash on him will help give you some control.

Learn to recognize the signs, there are usually triggers to this type of behaviour and in most cases it is a show of extreme happiness and playfulness from the pup. I would most definitely redirect this towards a toy. No need to shut the pup down, just redirect that energy. Get him to bite and tug on a toy and use this to create a constructive game of tug. This is a great opportunity to teach self control and "out" during play.
If he chooses to bit you instead, the play stops. You can stand on the leash and not further reinforce the pup with any physical contact. If your pup is choosing you over the toy, that just means he finds the toy more boring and you will have to work harder to make it more enticing to him. That doesn't mean you need to act like an idiot making sounds etc, as that will in fact draw the focus back on to you! Try to be still and animate the toy, move it quickly around on the ground as if it's a prey animal running away from the pup.

February 26th, 2011, 11:07 AM
And when it's possible, we re-direct the behaviour onto a toy.Quoting myself to clairfy. By "when it's possible" I meant when we can catch it before she gets going - when she gets that look in her little brown eyes... ;)

She's old enough and long enough along in her training that we do correct her ( verbally), and that works for her. I didn't want to suggest the same for such a small pup, though.

February 26th, 2011, 12:11 PM
Just chiming in to echo the comments above, particularly about being careful to read body language and re-direct BEFORE the behaviour starts. It sounds like normal puppy play.

I'd like to add as well that at 15 weeks your puppy may be starting to teeth. They can get quite mouthy at this time and if their teeth hurt some can become a bit cranky and out of sorts too. Hey! Just like human children. :)

For teething a soft toy that can be wet and frozen will sooth swollen gums. I rotated two soft, white, rope bones and it was amazing how much blood got on them. You can a use wrung out washcloth too but be careful to supervise so puppy does not eat it.

Some puppies get terrible bad breath when they are teething, another clue for you if yours is. Smells like rotten meat, which it is I guess if their gums are raw. Not all have this, my last pup didn't.

And, one last thing, puppies will play like this for a long time. It won't end when teething stops. It's how they play. But it hurts. Reading this article by the well known Dr. Dunbar may give you some insight as to why this kind of behavious is even desirable in puppies.;wap2

February 26th, 2011, 12:56 PM

we have the same issues with one of ours. I actually took video of it to show our vet. It seems to start as play, but actually does escalate to aggression. In our case, it may be neurological or it may be linked to his hypothyroidism (he was just diagnosed a few weeks ago). I don't know what your looks like, but I am uploading one of the videos of an episode for you. It will take awhile to finish, but when it's done I'll post again with the link. Most people think when you mention something like this that it's just normal play, and I'm sure it is the majority of the time, but it can also be related to something serious that's going on with the pup, such as in our case. I have bruises all over my arms from the bites. It's tough for most people to imagine a puppy being aggressive, but it does happen (though it isn't normal behavior).

Everyone says to ignore the behavior, which is easier said than done. If we try to walk away, he will follow and continue snapping, growling and biting. If we put him on the floor and try to calm him, it gets worse. Redirect doesn't work either. If I make him sit, he will sit and look at me for a moment, but then it will start all over again. It only lasts for a few minutes, maybe 5 at the most, then he's fine and back to his sweet, loving little self :)

February 26th, 2011, 01:14 PM
One other thing I should mention is the fact that this has been going on since he was about 3 months old. He has seizures which started from meningoencephalitis and they now believe he has epilepsy as well. Both Labs and Poodles are also prone to epilepsy and hypothyroidism (which can cause aggressive behavior in dogs as well).

This isn't meant to scare you or make you think something is wrong with your pup, because chances are, she's ok :)

But it will give you something to look at and maybe bring up with your vet if it truly is a form of aggression. Complex Focal seizures can cause this behavior.

Complex focal seizures

"Complex focal seizures originate in the areas of the brain that control emotions and behavior (the temporal lobes) and are sometimes called psychomotor seizures. When a seizure begins in one of these areas, the animal's consciousness is altered and they behave bizarrely. They may run uncontrollably, engage in senseless, repetitive behavior, or rarely fly into a rage. Complex focal seizures, like other types of seizures, are typically very brief."

Nanook will often bite at his hind legs, tail and/or bum before he gets hyper/aggressive.

February 26th, 2011, 07:41 PM
OK, I'll be the sucker who tries to comment on the last video. Such as it is and from what I see, it's not clear, but.....

I see a dog who possibly approaches in hope of play. I hear conflicting commands of SIT, immediately followed by DOWN. The dog does neither. When the dog begins to DOWN I hear STAY before he has completed his down. I hear NO continuously but I also see hands pushing at the dog which it seems to me he is interpreting as a play invitation, as many dogs do. I think this dog hasn't got a clue what is expected from him. Not one command was enforced and the command was changed too many times.

I hear dog vocalizations which do not sound threatening. I think the dog vocals sound more frustrated. I see dog body language that looks to me, from the little I can see, as play.

One thing I am pretty sure I don't see; aggression.

When you said this was a "mild" episode, did you mean this was a seizure?

February 26th, 2011, 08:27 PM
I will be sucker # 2 then.
As I said before, the less verbal commands given the better. It is almost like crying wolf if you know what I mean.:)

Also, when you are waving your hand in front of the dog, it actually entices the dog to react in the way that you see in the video. It actually causes more excitement than it does anything else.

What I see is too many things happening all at once. If I found it confusing, the dog certainly finds it confusing.

I see no aggression issues. What I do see is a dog that is confused and excited all at the same time.

Bottom line - there is no consistancy, control and a follow through with what is being asked of the dog.

February 27th, 2011, 05:56 AM
So you 2 can be as snide as you want. I know how he acts and what we go through on a daily basis. It does get very aggressive and it is NOT normal, and that has already been confirmed.

Snide??? Certainly did not mean to be.

See a behaviouralist. Get a trainer. A good behaviouralist and/or trainer (hopefully in your case a 2 in one) can assist you on how to train YOU to work with the dog who is special needs.

Good luck Rgeurts

February 27th, 2011, 06:06 AM may want to open your own thread with the video.
Lets keep this thread clear for the OP.:)

Melissa G - my sincere apologies for interupting your situation. I am certain at such a young age this can be remedied. Do you have a trainer? Do you go to puppy classes?
We are here to help You!:thumbs up

February 27th, 2011, 10:33 AM
If you were truly here to help her, as I was, you wouldn't have jumped on me or my post the way you did. With the breeds she has, as I have already said, he is prone to 2 of the diseases we are dealing with which include AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR DUE TO MEDICAL ISSUES. I posted this info for the OP in case she was going though the same thing as us. And I really hope she does come back to read it instead of taking your comment that it's perfectly normal and walking away.

MelissaG, As I said before, if it is truly aggressive behavior, see your vet and have them run a full thyroid panel. It took about 3 weeks for us, but was very worth it.

Well I have been called worse. Sorry you feel upset Rgeurts. Certainly was not meant to offend you in any way.

MelissaG - so sorry that this has upset your thread. Hopefully we can pick up from here.:thumbs up

February 27th, 2011, 11:52 AM
I don’t know what to do…. I have a labradoodle puppy that’s 15 weeks old and he is normally great. He sits and waits for his food, if I use the off command with toys, treats and my clothing he refrains from touching them until I say so, he sits at the door to go out, he gives a paw for all treats, and rings a bell to go outside. We go for walks outside, we use the treadmill, we play fetch. We also go to obedience school and he’s an angel. But at least once a day whether it’s outside playing or just hanging out he start to bark, then growl, then he jumps ups and bites me… If I ignore him he only runs around more quickly and then lunges to bite me….If I force him to sit or command him to sit, he does so but then a few minutes later he’s back to growling, lunging and bitting me….

How do I get him to stop this behaviour? Why is he all of sudden so aggressive? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

You're saying this is only an occurrence that happens infrequently, once per day or so?

How old was your puppy when removed from it's mother? From it's litter mates? Did you see him interact with his siblings? Did you notice anything unusual? When did this behavior start? Right from the beginning? If not, what else was happening during that time frame? Had your puppy been vaccinated? Does he behave this way just with you or with others as well? Are you the primary caretaker? Does he ever break skin? Does he bite down and not let go regardless of your reaction?

As the others have said, it's very difficult to see what exactly is going on without witnessing it for ourselves. Is it possible for someone to video such an episode? It would be important to start filming before he gets out of control . It may very well be normal obnoxious puppy behavior but, I would never rule out something medical either. Even more rare is a dog that's "wired wrong" but it does happen. Can you have your vet run a full blood profile including thyroid? It may be rare that such a young pup has thyroid issues but it's not unheard of. I would also recommend a urine analysis. If all is fine medically, I would be looking into consulting with a certified veterinary behaviorist experienced with aggression (not simply a trainer) to verify if what your puppy is doing is indeed aggressive in nature and not simply puppy play.

February 28th, 2011, 08:49 AM
Let's keep the tone civil please and continue to helps the OP. (please do not respond to this comment)

Thx - Marko

March 2nd, 2011, 09:59 AM
Just wanted to say that I have a hypothyroid sheltie and yes, he got aggressive towards my other male dogs - like Holy cow, he didn't want to stop fighting once he started - but he never once showed this aggression towards me. Also, once he was on med's he went back to his normal sweet self, though justifiably a tiny bit wary of the males he'd fought.

The pup in this post could well just be playing, especially if he hasn't completely teethed and still has the urge to chew. I can recall a cattle dog of that age heeling me while I was hanging up washing (yikes!! ouchies!) and she sure had old nick in her. I tried to grab her but quick as a flash she'd got out of reach, dropped and was preparing another attack. LOL. Looking for a playmate(or maybe a bullock to bite). She settled down when she was a little bit older. Good luck with your baby MelissaG.

March 2nd, 2011, 02:10 PM
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