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Old February 21st, 2012, 10:22 AM
Blanca Busa Blanca Busa is offline
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New puppy growling and trying to bite. Advise needed.

Hello. I'm new to the forum and I'm sure it's been asked already and I could have found similar situations thru search but I wanted to start a thread addressing my specific dog and what yall can do to help us.

Christmas eve we adopted 'Tessa' from a well known foundation here in South Florida. She was approximately two months old when we got her. The kids promptly renamed her Princess Coco Chanel which has morphed into just Coco.
She was crate trained and semi potty trained when we got her. Beautiful little pup.



Two weeks after we got her she slipped off a sofa and broke her Tibia. She was right next to me and next millisecond whoops and over she went. She had a full cast on her leg for two weeks and a splint on for another ten days..



Throughout this time she was fine and happy. Really surprised me how well she took the hard time with broke leg. Now about a month after leg break she's growing fine gaining weight up to date with shots, back to regular puppy life as it should be for her. 99% of the time she's a happy pup. She plays with kids, licks, fetches and does what puppies do. But now she seems to be developing an aggressive behavior which I desperately need to get out of her.
Sometimes when she's laying in her bed or on the carpet by my feet I try to slowly wake her up with a few pets and a couple nice 'wake up, let's go'. When I actually go to pick her up or gently push her up she growls at me and others in the house when they do same. This isn't the play growls she has outside when we play with her stuffed animal. This is an aggressive growl and if I continue to try to pick her up she swings her head back and tries to bite me. Only in instinct do I retract y hand which I think may be that she's training me and now she knows how to get left alone? Last night she growled at me when I went to pick her up I did not hesitate, I did not draw back my arm but I continued to pick her up. She swung around and mouthed my arm. It was I guess halfway between a real bite and just placing her mouth on me. Either way her needle teeth I felt and if my five year old had done same it would definitely have made him cry or much worse. This brings me to my problem. My son will wake up and go to her bed and sit next to her and play with her in the morning. I came in other day and they were both in her bed laying down playing and licking each other but I fear I am only a millisecond away from him trying to pick her up and getting bit.
Like I said 99% of the time she's fine. She jumps. I've read how to use your knee to push her away and this has helped. I've learned to look up and wait for her to sit before I give attn when I come home. I am working with her in backyard nightly for about an hour teaching her to sit and stay and again not to jump when we play. She has a new toy, a frisbee which she loves. She brings it, we wrestle and I take it away from her. Before I throw it she has learned to sit and not jump all over me (mom loved dirty paw prints on her white pants ).
She is now right at four months old. It has cost me close to $1500 in unanticipated medical bills which I gladly paid because from the moment I saw her I fell in love. My mom loves her, the kids well aren't quite as happy as I hoped but still love her. My wife is a bit different she is not used to dogs inside and comes from a country where dogs are left outside only. They are dogs not family members. But she is even coming around. Sometimes it's that's a bad dog and she's gonna bite my son and them I'm gonna .... you! And rightfully so she would be entitled. Then other times she is hand feeding her talking sweet nothings to her. Slowly she's coming around. I came home early the other day and caught the wife sitting down outside and Coco was licking her all over he face. This is a big step for my wife because she was actually bitten by a tied up dog when young.
I love the dog. My mom and wife are now pressuring me to give her up, or back to the foundation we got her from which they will do. But I don't want to give up on her. I'm not a quitter. I made the decision to add a member to our family and want to make it work.
We have never hit her hard. I have pushed her away from our chihuahua which
has not shined on to her yet. When she has moved to bite I have yelled no or yelped and walked away. The other night she had a piece of plastic in her mouth. Up till now she would let me take it out of her mouth but when I went to take it away I had my fingers in her mouth and in an effort to keep it she growled and chomped down which caught my thumb and made it bleed. I yelped of course because it hurt. When I yelped OUCH I walked away and she came up to me with sad puppy eyes curled up by my feet, licked my toes and seemed genuinely sorry.

I'm stuck now and not sure what to do. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to try to answer as many questions you may have and give a decent background on the pup.

Please help as I dont want to give her up. Unfortunately though with many kids over all the time I can't take a chance one getting bit.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 11:35 AM
Digston Digston is offline
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Your pup is adorable! I can see how you fell in love with her!

Good thing about your problem is that she is a pup and the problem should be easy enough to stop before it becomes habit.

Firstly, I would suggest looking around in your area for a animal behavior/training specialist. I find it easier to see how to correct the behaviour rather than to read how.

When my first dog was a pup we put him into puppy classes. It was more for me then for the dog, as I knew very little on how to train a dog. It was a huge help and I would definitely suggest to anyone to take the time to go to puppy classes! The trainer I went to believes in correction as well as positive reinforcement, not everyones cup of tea but it was exactly what I wanted since my dog is a stubborn lil booger. When we had issues with nipping and biting my trainer suggested we scruff him while using vocal correction. The scruffing action was very quick, just a fast grab of the scruff and a sharp "NO". Releasing the scruff right away. We found it worked well for us. We always followed the correction with slow petting and soft praise. Your pup will feed off of your enthusiasm, so if you are petting fast or using an excited voice they will think its time to play.

There are many training methods out there. Like I said before, some people may not be comfortable scruffing. Some pups are sensitive enough that just the vocal correction will be adequate.

Keep in mind that the mouthing may be because your pup is currently teething. Make sure she has lots of things to chew on to help her along with it. I used a cloth that I had wet and then froze.

The first 6 months of having a pup around are definitely the most trying. After my first pup I swore I would never do it again.... turns out I am a sucker for punishment because I ended up putting myself through it again! Be patient, and remember to never lash out in anger as it will only make your pup fearful.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 03:07 PM
Blanca Busa Blanca Busa is offline
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Thank you for the encouragement. I am looking at all things possible as I am more sure than the rest of my family it can be corrected.


57 views and 1 post?

Last edited by Blanca Busa; February 21st, 2012 at 03:24 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 05:12 PM
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DarKevs DarKevs is offline
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here are a couple of good reads.....

http://www.trainingpuppytips.com/Stop-Puppy-Biting.php

http://www.trainingpuppytips.com/Sto...y-Growling.php

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/puppybiting.htm


by the way...that is one fiesty looking puppy!
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Old February 21st, 2012, 07:39 PM
Blanca Busa Blanca Busa is offline
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Originally Posted by DarKevs View Post
Thank you. I had seen the second one but not the first and third one was a good read.

She growled at me just a little while ago She was semi sleeping outside on her bean bag and I wanted to bring her inside. I knelt down and pet her a bit, she rolled over I rubbed her stomach and spoke to her softly saying sweet nothings the whole time. After a few mins I reached under her and tried to gently roll her out of bed and that's when she growled and tried to bite me. I said 'no' firmly. Then again tried to coax her out of bed and got same result. So I walked away and went inside. A few moments later she was up and at the door wanting to come in so I let her in. 'No' loudly doesn't seem to have much effect on her? Guess being hard headed runs in the family
Any way I'm a bit leery of the 'shake' method described. I feel if I grab her by the scruff and try to shake her a bit as described she may bite me even worse?
I mean c'mon roles reversed if somebody grabbed and shook me I'd bite the crap out of them
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Old February 21st, 2012, 10:00 PM
Digston Digston is offline
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Keep in mind that while you would be pissed if someone scruffed you it is normal for a dog to receive physical corrections. If a mother dog is getting mad at her pups and growling doesn't work then nipping at them is the next step. She's not being cruel, and nor are you as long as you use the correction properly. That is why I suggested speaking with a trainer, so you can learn proper technique and become comfortable with simple corrections.

There is definitely a learning curve with this stuff, just don't give up.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 09:28 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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I agree with a trainer to help you understand your puppy. Make sure you find someone who really knows what they are doing as any Tom, Dick or Harry can call themself a dog behaviourist or trainer and get you to pay for nothing.

Some ideas. First, and most important DO NOT allow your child and dog to play unsupervised. Morning snuggles without you there should not be happening. Children can hurt dogs, dogs can hurt children.

REsearch NILIF.

No getting up on any furniture like sofas or beds. I bet you have learned this one already. Poor wee tyke with her poor wee leg. Later you can allow some of this but in the formative stages of learning who is who in the household I don't allow it.

Do not allow the dog to lick anyone's face. It's rude, unsanitary, and she is far too young. She will learn bite inhibition much more quickly and easily if she learns no part of her mouth should ever touch any part of a human body. Later on you can allow kisse but with a potential bite problem brewing I would not allow any mouth contact at this point.

Why are you lifting her so much? Many, if not most, dogs do not like to be lifted. Try a tether instead. A short leash that stays on her, take her by the leash when you want her to move. You can try the tether for daytime movement as well so she learns she has to go where you go when you want.

I think she is about 4 months old now? She might be teething and out of sorts. Some wash cloths thoroughly wetted, wrung out and frozen might help sooth her gums if this is the case. They can get grumpy at this stage if their gums hurt, just like human babies.

She looks like such a cutie-pie. I hope you stick with us, nothing sounds too far gone yet except perhaps a lack of experience on all parts.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 12:19 PM
Blanca Busa Blanca Busa is offline
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Originally Posted by Longblades View Post
I agree with a trainer to help you understand your puppy. Make sure you find someone who really knows what they are doing as any Tom, Dick or Harry can call themself a dog behaviourist or trainer and get you to pay for nothing.

Some ideas. First, and most important DO NOT allow your child and dog to play unsupervised. Morning snuggles without you there should not be happening. Children can hurt dogs, dogs can hurt children.

REsearch NILIF.

No getting up on any furniture like sofas or beds. I bet you have learned this one already. Poor wee tyke with her poor wee leg. Later you can allow some of this but in the formative stages of learning who is who in the household I don't allow it.

Do not allow the dog to lick anyone's face. It's rude, unsanitary, and she is far too young. She will learn bite inhibition much more quickly and easily if she learns no part of her mouth should ever touch any part of a human body. Later on you can allow kisse but with a potential bite problem brewing I would not allow any mouth contact at this point.

Why are you lifting her so much? Many, if not most, dogs do not like to be lifted. Try a tether instead. A short leash that stays on her, take her by the leash when you want her to move. You can try the tether for daytime movement as well so she learns she has to go where you go when you want.

I think she is about 4 months old now? She might be teething and out of sorts. Some wash cloths thoroughly wetted, wrung out and frozen might help sooth her gums if this is the case. They can get grumpy at this stage if their gums hurt, just like human babies.

She looks like such a cutie-pie. I hope you stick with us, nothing sounds too far gone yet except perhaps a lack of experience on all parts.
Thank you very much for the response. It is enlightening. I was allowing her to lick us because I thought I was developing a bond and allowing her to realize licking ok but trying to teach her biting no. I guess I was wrong? Not afraid to admit and that's why I came here, to hear other views.
I'm not really lifting her but trying to coax her up on her feet so she will follow me outside and do her business. I haven't been using a leash as our backyard is fenced in and about 100x50. This morning I woke up trying to keep our schedule and get her out of bed. Went and pet her a bit, walked away and clapped 'come' she laid there. I walked into kitchen and got a treat and when I was opening the bag the sound of it got her to come. I opened the door and went out first and she followed me. I gave the treat and praise. She did #1 and 2 within about ten minutes which I again praised her both times for. We went back inside and she laid back in her bed. I'll try a leash. I don't think she'll growl at me when I clip in on her collar, just not sure if she will get up or I'll be dragging her .

I am curious though. For anyone who's had a dog break its leg, was there any residual pain or mental trauma left over? Any arthritis or lingering stiffness weeks after cast came off? I can't help but wonder if the pain and trauma even from just first day of breaking her leg has changed her mentality a bit, not too mention each time they had to change bandage? The hospital I took her to is a brand new 24/7 365 emergency hospital, very nice, very well done. They did use propophol each time they changed her bandage as she would not sit still for it. Maybe this had permanent effect? Any exp on anything is appreciated.

Thank you
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 11:16 AM
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There is the possibility of having arthritis, if you want a headstart on preventing it you can give her glucosamine. It's something humans take for arthritis and is frequently given to dogs as well. We gave it to our last dog, and our current one because she cracked a bone and now has arthritis in it. Ask your vet for an appropriate amount and if it's appropriate for your dog. It isn't very expensive and might help if that is part of the problem.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 01:05 PM
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I was also going to suggest a leash. If you worry about dragging her, bring a treat with you and leash her up and then lure her outside. She will learn that this is the routine and eventually you will need neither. Longblades post is excellent. I also agree no face contact if biting is a concern. Stick it out for a while longer, your beautiful pup is in a difficult growing time right now.

When my older dog was suffering arthritis she didn't want to get up at night to go outside either. Problem was if she didn't go outside she would wet on the floor in her sleep. So midway through the night I would go and get a yummy treat and lure her outside with it. Worked like a charm, but for her it was a pain issue that kept her from wanting to do as I asked, not a young puppy just not being sure or interested.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 01:20 PM
Blanca Busa Blanca Busa is offline
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Last night I brought her a real bone from pet store. I gave it to her and let her enjoy it for about fifteen minutes. Then I wanted to see what she would do if I tried to take it away from her. Up till now it's been a little come and get me and then shed let me take whatever it was away from her. The bone she growled and snapped like a rabid wolf, I said NO. Hmm ok I backed away and thought maybe since its first one ever in her life she was extra protective? I reached down again and she went after my hand. That's when I grabbed by the back of the neck, gave her a quick shake and said NOOOOO, a bit loud. She let out a loud yelp, I let go and she backed away. Whew! All fingers still there . Not sure who was more scared but that was last time she was gonna do that. After a moment she calmed down and I gave her the bone back. I did same process a couple times more over an hour or so. Second time she growled just a bit but backed off the bone. Third time I was able to reach down and take it away from her easy. Her head was still and I could see those little wheels turning in her head but she didn't growl or snap.
This morning I clipped leash on her and as I let her belly and rubbed her I gave a tug on the leash. It took one or two times to get her up but eventually she got out of bed without a growl.

I still hope this is just some short phase in her mind and life. I may be working around the problem but not fixing it?
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Loki Love Loki Love is offline
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Originally Posted by Blanca Busa View Post
Last night I brought her a real bone from pet store. I gave it to her and let her enjoy it for about fifteen minutes. Then I wanted to see what she would do if I tried to take it away from her. Up till now it's been a little come and get me and then shed let me take whatever it was away from her. The bone she growled and snapped like a rabid wolf, I said NO. Hmm ok I backed away and thought maybe since its first one ever in her life she was extra protective? I reached down again and she went after my hand. That's when I grabbed by the back of the neck, gave her a quick shake and said NOOOOO, a bit loud. She let out a loud yelp, I let go and she backed away. Whew! All fingers still there . Not sure who was more scared but that was last time she was gonna do that. After a moment she calmed down and I gave her the bone back. I did same process a couple times more over an hour or so. Second time she growled just a bit but backed off the bone. Third time I was able to reach down and take it away from her easy. Her head was still and I could see those little wheels turning in her head but she didn't growl or snap.
This morning I clipped leash on her and as I let her belly and rubbed her I gave a tug on the leash. It took one or two times to get her up but eventually she got out of bed without a growl.

I still hope this is just some short phase in her mind and life. I may be working around the problem but not fixing it?
I wouldn't recommend scruffing up any dog, let alone a puppy. You're just going to each your puppy to be a bit more leary and scared of you, in my opinion.

The reason she growled over the bone is because it was a high value treat. She needs to learn a solid 'drop it' and not have you physically remove something from her - by removing it from her, she's only going to learn to guard it more and then you could end up with a bigger problem on your hands. Next time, take a treat and offer an exchange - Drop it - give her the treat, take the bone - and then give the bone back
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 03:57 PM
Blanca Busa Blanca Busa is offline
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I scruffed her only as a very last resort. I read it on a few sites that seemed reputable so it was in my mind when it happened. Wasn't a plan it just resulted. Last thing I want is to hurt her or have her develop fear of me.

I'll try the swap a treat idea. Thank you
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Old February 24th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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If you are going to start training her to "trade" don't start with trying to "trade" for a high value treat like her bone. You want the treat in your hand to be more important than what your dog has in her mouth.
Find her least favorite toy, let her play with it for a bit, and then offer to "trade" the toy for the treat. Work with that toy until she will willingly drop it to "trade", and then move on to the next favorite toy. Work your way up to her most favorite toy. Also do this whenever she is chewing on objects that belong to people, not dogs. The treat doesn't have to be food, although if your dog is very food motivated food is often easiest. Treats can also be a quick session of tug, or fetch, or petting, depending on what your particular dog finds most rewarding.
You might even try this with her bed eventually, giving her the treat only when she moves off of the bed.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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I was thinking about you last night and it came to my mind to wonder how thoroughly your vet checked the pup out when she fell off the couch. Is it possible she cracked a rib or something that is undiagnosed and that's hurting her and why she doesn't like you to try to lift her up when she's sleeping?

Also with the resource guarding, I would definitely work on it slowly, but bear in mind that the dog is very young and hasn't learned yet that you are not a threat to food or posessions. It is not necessary to impose yourself on the pup "constantly" to prevent this.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 11:41 AM
Blanca Busa Blanca Busa is offline
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Originally Posted by Dog Dancer View Post
I was thinking about you last night and it came to my mind to wonder how thoroughly your vet checked the pup out when she fell off the couch. Is it possible she cracked a rib or something that is undiagnosed and that's hurting her and why she doesn't like you to try to lift her up when she's sleeping?

Also with the resource guarding, I would definitely work on it slowly, but bear in mind that the dog is very young and hasn't learned yet that you are not a threat to food or posessions. It is not necessary to impose yourself on the pup "constantly" to prevent this.

They checked her pretty well I guess? Many X-rays were done of her leg and hips. Now it's been seven weeks since it happened so I'd think whatever they may have missed has healed on its on? She's growing like a weed
She was sleeping on carpet by my feet last night. I got up and wanted her to move to her bed and did same thing, hand under her trying to coax her up.
She growled just a bit but did not snap at me, I coaxed her again and she stood up. I walked into kids room and looked around and she had laid back down. I said c'mon let's go to bed, still nothing. So I went and lifted her up on her feet and then she went to bed on her own.
Not that she is afraid of me but I think the scruffing the other night may have been a developmental turning point? It seems she is settling more into her place rather than trying to train me
I keep looking at her while pointing to myself and saying 'ALPHA' and then I point to her and say 'BETA'.
I'm the durn leader of this here pack! . She will get it. She's very smart and picks up on things quickly. I am not giving up.
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Old February 26th, 2012, 11:20 AM
Digston Digston is offline
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I am glad things are starting to get better for you. Its such a reward when your efforts pay off
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