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Old August 17th, 2008, 11:45 PM
Kimby05 Kimby05 is offline
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Aggressive puppy behavior?

I recently just got a puppy, Callie, last week and she was 11 wks old when I got her. She was fine for the first few days that we had, really loveable and everything however in the past day or two she has started to get more aggressive. She has started to bite pretty hard on hands and feet of us and when we try and get her to stop or say "no" and hold her away from us she begins to growl and if we let her go to walk away she runs at us and tries to bite our ankles or toes. At first when I heard about it (I wasn't home when she started it) I had thought that it was playing or just her mouthing because shes started to get close to the time when she'll begin to lose her teeth. However when I saw her do it, it really seemed like she wasn't playing and that it could've been aggressive behavior.

I've ever something different from a lot of people on how to fix this behavior from grabbing her snout and pushing her to the ground to submit to you, to saying "ouch" and walking away, or even putting coins in a can and shaking it when she begins to act like this. I don't know which of these ways is the best to correct this behavior and I'm worried that it this behavior continues my parents won't want to keep her.

I don't think shes doing it because of lack of socialization, there are plenty of dogs in my neighborhood and she usually gets to play with one or two of them a day. I realize that this is something that probably gets posted a lot but I want to know if shes just slightly more aggressive because she doesn't know her place yet or if there might be the chance that there is something else wrong or if it could be in the breeding.

I hope that you can answer my questions!! I really love my puppy and I would hate for something to be terribly wrong with her...
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Old August 18th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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I"m not a dog expert, but chances are Kimby that she is just being a pup. I really think the saying no and stopping attention is the best way to go with the trainning and you need everyone in the house to react the same. All pups mouth and you do need to say ouch and take your hand away if the bite is too hard. She is learning the differnence between a soft bite and a hard bite.

Ever watch puppy's play with each other? They are very very rough with each other and they use their mouths all the time. Everynow and again one will give a yelp and that lets the other know it was too rough. There is a differenence between playing and being aggressive. I would'n't want you to walk away from her playing, unless she gets to rough. The walk away is more for aggression, too rough , or if she is demanding attention when it's not your choice to give it.

Good luck,, enjoy your pup, don't forget she is just a baby at this stage and will be for quite awhile. She's just learning too and she really is trying to please you for the most part.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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here is the problem with watching other dogs play...

we arent dogs!

you definitely need to address her biting you guys and growling.

growling as a puppy (i have read) can be a VERY bad sign for future aggression.

if she is baring teeth at you already (???) she is trying to play alpha dog IMO.

read these links below:

http://dogbreedinfo.com/control.htm
http://dogbreedinfo.com/topdogrules.htm
http://dogbreedinfo.com/topdog.htm
http://dogbreedinfo.com/housebreaking.htm#understand
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Old August 18th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kigndano View Post

you definitely need to address her biting you guys and growling.

growling as a puppy (i have read) can be a VERY bad sign for future aggression.
I agree that the problem needs to be addressed, but keep in mind that growling can occur outside of aggression, it's vocalization which may have one meaning in situation X and another in situation Y.

For example, when I play tug with one of my dogs, he growls a ton and probably sounds like he's about to take my head off. It's all in good fun though, he just growls when excited and has a different growl to, say, let me know there's a weird sound coming from the back ally.

Do you have a trainer or dog experienced friend who might be able to take a look at the behavior and give you their opinion of what's going on?
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Old August 18th, 2008, 08:53 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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I agree with Jealma, she is just being a normal puppy. Did the breeder not provide you with instructions on feeding and behaviour and training? All I would add to Jealma's post is don't expect a quick fix. Your puppy is very young and it can take months for them to learn not to bite. Be patient. This article by Dr. Ian Dunbar, The Bite Stops Here, should help a lot in explaining your puppy's biting and what to do about it.

oops, we all posted at the same time. Only Jealma was there when I first looked.

To add more, aggressive growling or biting in such a young pup is a remote possibility. Not to ignore it but, as pitgrrl says, puppies and dogs do growl when they play. If you think it is an aggressive growl please investigate with well qualified people who can intervene with you in person. Such a thing cannot be determined by us over the internet, precisely because it is so rare, and it needs to be observed. However, you should know that correcting an aggressive or defensive growl can leave a dog no alternative but to bite without warning. An aggressive or defensive growl is a warning that preceeds a bite. Remove the growl at the cost of an apparently unprovoked bite.

Really, she sounds absolutely normal.

Last edited by Longblades; August 18th, 2008 at 09:02 AM.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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excellent point about playful growling. i didnt stop to think that they were playing with the pup while this was happening.

my fault there. if the growling is during playtime it may be unrelated to aggression.





Quote:
Originally Posted by pitgrrl View Post
I agree that the problem needs to be addressed, but keep in mind that growling can occur outside of aggression, it's vocalization which may have one meaning in situation X and another in situation Y.

For example, when I play tug with one of my dogs, he growls a ton and probably sounds like he's about to take my head off. It's all in good fun though, he just growls when excited and has a different growl to, say, let me know there's a weird sound coming from the back ally.

Do you have a trainer or dog experienced friend who might be able to take a look at the behavior and give you their opinion of what's going on?
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Old August 18th, 2008, 11:01 AM
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also i want to note that the links i posted do not say to correct the growl. just to work diligently at establishing yourself as the undisputed pack leader/controller of resources etc.

if the dog sees themselves as your follower there would be less likelihood of dominant/aggressive related growling.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 12:23 PM
Kimby05 Kimby05 is offline
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Thanks for the ways to work with the biting but I know someone mentioned it sometimes if we are playing with her but at times we'll have her outside and she might run up to us and start biting at our feet. Does that just mean that she wants to play?

I do have friends that are pretty experienced with dogs however its more for larger breeds rather than a smaller one and I heard that smaller dog breeds act slightly different than larger ones. The breeder we got her from just told us to walk away if something like that happened or if she starts to chew on something or us that we don't want her to do then to give her a chew toy instead.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 04:53 PM
TwoLostSouls TwoLostSouls is offline
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Aggression is never cute

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimby05 View Post
I recently just got a puppy, Callie, last week and she was 11 wks old when I got her. She was fine for the first few days that we had, really loveable and everything however in the past day or two she has started to get more aggressive. She has started to bite pretty hard on hands and feet of us and when we try and get her to stop or say "no" and hold her away from us she begins to growl and if we let her go to walk away she runs at us and tries to bite our ankles or toes. At first when I heard about it (I wasn't home when she started it) I had thought that it was playing or just her mouthing because shes started to get close to the time when she'll begin to lose her teeth. However when I saw her do it, it really seemed like she wasn't playing and that it could've been aggressive behavior.
Puppy aggression is just the beginning of what is to come. Puppy aggression should never be dismissed as "cute". It will turn into a serious problem.

Initially, it sounds like you haven't shown your puppy who is in charge. Since you haven't, he has assumed he is, hence the aggressive behaviour. Even though dogs can play fight, it should never be tolerated on people.

Any unwanted behaviour should be disciplined immediately either by biting your dog (touching him firmly on the side of his neck with your hand shaped like you are grasping a baseball thus resembling a bite) or with the leash. This should be accompanied by a firm, vocal "No" or "Hey" or "Shhh" and you should do nothing else until your dog becomes calm and submissive. You should not use its name nor appear emotional in any regard. This is simply employing mind over matter. If you can't get it submissive, pick up up by the scruff of the neck and it will immediately become calm and submissive. Do not in any manner try to hurt the dog. This will backfire horribly.

Any time your dog displays unwanted behaviour, no matter how cute somebody thinks it is, you have to correct it. You would not let your child bite you on the ankles, would you? No, you'd stop it. The same has to apply to the dog.

Your dog was born to be a follower. If it sees no leader, it assumes the position. This causes it insecurity which leads to aggression. If it actually bites someone, the discipline has to be immediate and definite. You can't just look at it and say "Oh Rover, you bad boy. You stop that right now." The dog doesn't understand what you're saying and it won't take you seriously.

Last edited by TwoLostSouls; August 18th, 2008 at 05:12 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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Hi I know exactly what your going through King is 4 months old now and his biting is getting harder and harder. Sometimes he gets us off guard and gets us pretty good he bites everything to everyone. I am constantly saying no, ouch, or giving him something else to bite on. He is trying to play tug a war with his toys with us and I don't like that because of what I read it says it makes dogs aggressive who knows but he is to small in my opinion to play that anyways. I asked my vet about the puppy biting and she said that I have to keep up with what I am doing and that the puppy is doing what a puppy does plus it could also be teething I thought that happened after 6 months........but hey anything can happen I guess........
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Old August 18th, 2008, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TwoLostSouls View Post
Any unwanted behaviour should be disciplined immediately either by biting your dog (touching him firmly on the side of his neck with your hand shaped like you are grasping a baseball thus resembling a bite) If you can't get it submissive, pick up up by the scruff of the neck and it will immediately become calm and submissive. Do not in any manner try to hurt the dog. This will backfire horribly.
IMO, some of these "corrections" could/ would hurt your dog.

from what I gather, Kimby, your puppy is just being a curious puppy and is learning every day, like all puppies do. You say you got her at 11 weeks- where was she before that, was she exposed to other dogs and puppies on a daily basis? Between 6-8 weeks is a key period of time when dogs learn bite inhibition and how to "play" with other dogs.
If I were you, I would continue on with the "ouch" or high pitched "yelp" whenever your puppy bites you too hard when you are playing. and if she growls and tries to bite your feet, ignore her until she calms down. also, what breed is she?
here is an informative article about How to Teach Your Puppy Bite Inhibition
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Old August 18th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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IMO, puppies growl and bite....often A LOT, and this is completely normal puppy behaviour. They may do this while playing, or because they are trying to engage you in play. I do not believe it is possible for a 12-week old puppy's growling to predict future aggressive behaviour. BUT, although it is not aggression, it also not polite and proper ways of behaving should be taught immediately.

Yelping if bitten and ignoring tend to be the most effective ways of doing this I think. Ignoring needs to be exaggerated with your body language to really get the message across. Yelp loudly, then get up, cross your arms and turn your back away. Completely ignore your pup for at least a few minutes, and only resume play when she has calmed and is being gentle. She's very young, and it could take a while to see improvement. It won't happen overnight, as right now she is a bundle of energy and instinct. But be consistent and don't let her get away with it! Hope this helps.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 07:37 PM
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Kimby05, if you're new to puppies and this sort of behavior, and if you're able, why not get an experienced behaviorist to assess your pup and give you hands on advice on how to deal with the behaviors that concern you?

Here's an extensive list of certified trainers in Pennsylvania:

http://www.apdt.com/po/ts/us/results...se&Rally=False

Choose several, research and interview (don't forget to ask, and follow up on, references) before you work with one in particular.

Good luck to you and your puppy .
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Last edited by luckypenny; August 18th, 2008 at 07:39 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 08:47 PM
TwoLostSouls TwoLostSouls is offline
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Originally Posted by mollywog View Post
IMO, some of these "corrections" could/ would hurt your dog.
Let's see, touching it on the neck doesn't hurt as there are choke chains, pinch collars and all kinds of torture devices that hurt far more. The mother dog picks the puppy up by its scruff all the time. Where does the hurt occur? Hurting the dog isn't the goal. You know what they say about opinions.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 09:09 PM
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TwoLostSouls, this forum encourages members to share their experiences and opinions. It's alright to disagree but there's no need to be rude if someone's ideas differ from your own.

There are alternatives to negative reinforcement. In my opinion, relationships with companion animals should not be based on one's needs to dominate them. A mutual relationship built on trust and respect leads to the most balanced dogs. Yes, dogs are not humans, but neither are we dogs .

Kimby05, have you considered puppy classes for you and your pup?
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Old August 18th, 2008, 09:18 PM
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It sounds like your pup is just being normal, Kimby, but if you have any doubts, an evaluation is a good idea--if only to set your mind at ease. In our experience, puppies are quite 'mouthy'...but the good news is with consistent gentle correction and some patience, they usually outgrow it. And, just an FYI, expect it to get a little worse when your pup starts to teethe and chewing everything becomes irresistible! Pups can be a real handful and it takes time to get them past the worst bits.

However, there is one purchase that can make it much easier on you. Buy yourself a pair of bicycle gloves--the kind that cover your palm and the back of your hand but leave your fingers free (like cut-off gloves). Until you can get puppy totally trained to not chew, bicycle gloves are invaluable. It's much easier to be patient and keep your temper in check when your hands don't feel like hamburger.



Quote:
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Let's see, touching it on the neck doesn't hurt as there are choke chains, pinch collars and all kinds of torture devices that hurt far more. The mother dog picks the puppy up by its scruff all the time. Where does the hurt occur? Hurting the dog isn't the goal. You know what they say about opinions.
After a certain very young age, the mother will no longer pick the pup up by the scruff--she's hold him down by the scruff, but not support his weight by the back of his neck. Lifting a pup that way can lead to spinal injury, so it's probably not a good way to go.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 09:50 PM
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Aggressive puppy

Since we are not physically there to assess your pup's aggression or what you deem to be aggression your best bet as previously suggested would be to enroll her into puppy obed. classes where you especially would learn to control, train and interact successfully with your dog.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 10:11 PM
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I definitely want to enroll her in puppy obedience classes with me and I have a recommendation from someone.

Something that I noticed though is that she really only starts to get really frisky when she gets really hyper from either following me around in the house for awhile or even if shes outside running around, when I try to get her to go inside she starts to get aggressive and doesn't listen when I try to call her. She doesn't really act like this all the time. and the person she is the most aggressive with is my brother.

I tried the grabbing by the scruff but that only caused her to wiggle until she basically broke my grip and she was growling at me the whole time I did that. Is that normal? Does that mean I just have to hold her until she submits to me?

Also she was around plenty of dogs before. She was from a litter of 5, but I was wondering if she could be acting this way because she was one of the smaller ones from the litter...

But I guess if it comes down to it, a behaviorist might be the best idea...to hear that it would be just normal puppy behavior would be a relief but at the same time to learn that it might be something else would be upsetting too...

So which of these techniques works the best? Or is it more of which you feel most comfortable doing?
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Old August 18th, 2008, 10:16 PM
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We had good success with distraction--offering a chewing toy, or throwing a ball if the dog loved to chase--but we mixed and matched with other techniques, too. Yelping and turning away (ending play) also worked well. One thing that you'll notice is that if puppy gets overtired or overstimulated, puppy will get more mouthy. We crate-trained our pups so that they had a confined, cozy place to go to take a nap. That also worked well. Basically it'll boil down to what works for you.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 10:32 PM
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I tried the grabbing by the scruff but that only caused her to wiggle until she basically broke my grip and she was growling at me the whole time I did that. Is that normal? Does that mean I just have to hold her until she submits to me?
Holding a dog by the scruff and forcing it to submit is not normal . Her growling could be a result of feeling threatened.

This is a maneuver that can illicit an aggressive response from many dogs. I highly recommend against it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimby05 View Post
So which of these techniques works the best? Or is it more of which you feel most comfortable doing?
IMO, the technique that you feel both comfortable with and that requires no physical punishment if possible would be best. Here's an easy to read article that explains positive reinforcement dog training.

http://www.positivedogtraining.org/a.../dog-training/
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Old August 19th, 2008, 07:09 AM
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The dogs reaction means that it is not a submissive dog by nature.

some dogs will gladly accept being handled from day 1 as a pup, rolled over on the backs, ears touched etc.

some dogs wont, they are just that way by nature, dominant dogs.

not a bad thing necessarily, but if you dont establish your dominance (not necessarily in a physical way either, NILIF training is a good place to start - google it if youd like) then the dominant dog can become dangerous.

i urge you to read the links i posted, they are great resources for information.

good luck and for you and your dog.
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Old August 19th, 2008, 07:11 AM
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i have to disagree with your first statement.

it is 100 percent natural (meaning, done in nature) for a mother dog to pick the dog up by the scruff at a young age.

positive dog training can be great for teaching tricks, i am not sure how effective it would be with a dominant dog. say for resource guarding.

i think for issues like that you need to just use some good old fashioned body language and whatnot.

+R is not the end-all-be-all of dog training IMO. every dog needs and responds to a variety of things.






Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
Holding a dog by the scruff and forcing it to submit is not normal . Her growling could be a result of feeling threatened.

This is a maneuver that can illicit an aggressive response from many dogs. I highly recommend against it.



IMO, the technique that you feel both comfortable with and that requires no physical punishment if possible would be best. Here's an easy to read article that explains positive reinforcement dog training.

http://www.positivedogtraining.org/a.../dog-training/
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Old August 19th, 2008, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TwoLostSouls View Post
Let's see, touching it on the neck doesn't hurt as there are choke chains, pinch collars and all kinds of torture devices that hurt far more. The mother dog picks the puppy up by its scruff all the time. Where does the hurt occur? Hurting the dog isn't the goal. You know what they say about opinions.
?? no, I don't know what they say about opinions!!! Please enlighten me!

This forum is a place where people can share their opinions freely. There is never one "RIGHT" way. I have learned a lot in my short time here by taking in all different styles of training/ handling from other members experiences and opinions.
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Old August 19th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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The dogs reaction means that it is not a submissive dog by nature.
That's not necessarily true. Even a submissive dog will protect itself if felt threatened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kigndano View Post
NILIF training is a good place to start - google it if youd like)

Great point!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kigndano View Post
positive dog training can be great for teaching tricks, i am not sure how effective it would be with a dominant dog. say for resource guarding.
I've had much success with my dominant, reactive-aggressive dog and I've never had to lay a hand on her.

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+R is not the end-all-be-all of dog training IMO.
No, but as you've stated, it's a great place to start ie. NILIF
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Old September 24th, 2008, 08:05 PM
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Puppy aggression is just the beginning of what is to come. Puppy aggression should never be dismissed as "cute". It will turn into a serious problem.
Are you serious!?!

I see nothing in the OP that even begins to describe "aggression". It is simply how a 12 week old puppy plays. To say that this is aggression and "will" turn into a serious problem is like saying that if a 1 year old boy pulls moms hair he will become a wife beater!!

The puppy needs to learn bite inhibition. Classes are a great place for the OP to start.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 09:03 PM
TwoLostSouls TwoLostSouls is offline
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TwoLostSouls, this forum encourages members to share their experiences and opinions. It's alright to disagree but there's no need to be rude if someone's ideas differ from your own.
I realize how people can have different opinions. Please specify how I was rude. I was unaware you were a moderator here. Perhaps the real moderators, who have not disciplined me for anything I have said, disagree with you? People come here looking for help. I try to explain, as best as I can, what has worked and what I know will work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
There are alternatives to negative reinforcement. In my opinion, relationships with companion animals should not be based on one's needs to dominate them. A mutual relationship built on trust and respect leads to the most balanced dogs. Yes, dogs are not humans, but neither are we dogs .
How is discipline negative? Dogs have been bred, for hundreds of years, to be submissive followers. When dogs lead the pack, they end up being put down or lucky ones get rehabilitated. How do you tell a dog positively to stop it's bad behaviour? If your child tries to open a car door while the car is moving, do you reach over and stop it or do you say "Good boy" if he doesn't fall out? You don't get respect from a dog by allowing it to do whatever behaviour it deems necessary. The human must be in control or disaster can result. No, we are not dogs, but we virtually created the species by manipulating wolves. Dogs are virtually a human invention. We designed them to be followers.

Dogs don't respond to human conversation. They don't understand our language. They do read your emotions. If you're angry, so is your dog. If you're unsure, hesitant and insecure your dog will be too.
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