I have two young children and we finally decided to get a family pet. We chose a Lab because they are one of the best temperaments for children. The puppy is only 5 months old, and recently she has started showing some aggression.
She is very stubborn and will not listen unless "bribed with a treat" which is getting frustrating. She wants bribes with "Come" as well.
SO...I have to grab her collar to get her to listen to me sometimes, to get her off the furniture, go outside and other things like that. Today when I grabbed her collar because she refused to go outside...she started snarling and trying to bite me. I am unsure how to handle this as it took me a bit by surprise. I have never had a lab act this way. I picked her up and put her outside. (soon she will be much to big for me to do this)
I have also had her jump up and bite at me out of nowhere when walking her. (usually bites my hand) or get too excited and jump and try to bite at my face...she has torn my clothes at chest level doing this. I am hoping this behavior is only because she is playing and hasn't yet learned to control herself.
Any suggestions on how to prevent her snapping with teeth and how to handle it when she does would be greatly appreciated. I cannot have unpredictable behavior around the children. I have been keeping her supervised around the kids at all times as she loves to jump on them and chase them.
I am hoping we are just in a phase.
I feel you.
Had the same thing with my dog Moses
It was a phase and lasted 3.5 to 4 months,
Thank goodness it did not last longer
Here is what I would suggest,
Call your Vet.
Ask if he can recommend a good trainer ( there are a lot of trainers all different)
If he can't recommend one,,ask if they know who can, ( or if you have friends that can recommend one)
Moses was to puppy class and beginner class ..but sometimes it takes a private session to get to your specific needs .
You also want to make your kids part of this training too
This will pass...hang in there
Every case is different
This doesn't sound like aggression - most lab pups will bite if you put your hands near their faces, it's how they play!
Sign up for training with a positive reinforcement type trainer asap. They will teach you how to use treats and praise in a productive way with your training, and will help you bond with and understand your pup, rather than feeling like the pup is "bad" or "aggressive."
My dog dexter is 11 months old. He has been in Obedience classes for a long time and is now at a fairly advanced level for his age (off leash work, had signal commands from a distance, whistle recall etc. I would suggest clicker training your lab at this age using the dogs kibble as reward. At a few months old, he was very well behaved and could do all basic commands easily. Sit, stay, here, lay down etc. His meals consisted of a clicker training session...do not give them their regular meals as well as kibble for training as this can turn them into little porkers.
Dexter's teacher would say that this behaviour left unchecked will turn into dominance and then aggression. It can be very frustrating at times owning a puppy. A lot of these behaviours they will grow out of, but biting and nipping and showing teeth isn't always playing to them and like I said, letting it go unchecked can lead to other problems.
The best thing you can do for your dog in my humble opinion is take it to classes...there are lots of classes for puppies 6 months and younger. Find the best obedience trainer you can and they will be able to help your puppy learn some manners. Keep signing up for classes with your lab and before you know it you will have a very smart puppy.
Labs are hugely intelligent and easy to train. They just need some guidance. The best thing about obedience classes is that it's not so much the dog thats learning, its the human working the dog. Every week you will work on something new and have to work on it with your lab at home so that next week you can start something new. Our boy at 11 months old is now walking at heel, off leash work, hand commands from a distance, sit and stay from a distance using had commands, whistle recall while we are far away out of view, and even agility training like the a-frame, tunnel and jumps etc. We will continue with our lab until he reaches service dog level...why wouldn't we?! Our dog is so eager to learn and eager to please...thats the joy of owning a labrador retriever.
I should also add that I do not believe in treat training or reward training with food - I believe that praise is all the treat my dogs need. I am not saying that my methods are better than others at all! I believe for basic obedience training, my praise is all my dog needs.
I do believe that training with food is best when teaching a dog to do something like turning off lights etc. Also, when training whistle re-call we use food treats as a reward for finding us.
While clicker training we use his actual meal kibble and give him one piece at a time for every command we give him. The dog will learn to "leave it" by not jumping at the bowl of food you are holding, as well as learn that you are in charge of his or her feeding and will understand that you are the dominant one.
Don't worry so much about dominance/aggression - dominance theory is outdated and has been debunked by current animal behaviour scientists.
Try to stay positive, don't get frustrated, and most importantly, enroll in training class.
If the trainer starts talking about how you need to be alpha, or teaches harsh corrections rather than focusing on positive reinforcement and relationship building, find a new trainer.
If you treat your puppy with aggression you are creating a bad relationship that is more likely to go south and create an aggressive dog.
OP labs are not born perfect. they are trained to become those well behaved dogs we see. it doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't have magically. THe owners have to raise that dog to become that great family pet.
PLEASE seek a trainer NOW. One that uses positive training techniques (no talk of alpha, pinning or being "dominant" over a dog - these are all old school training theories that have been debunked). Don't wait.
NOTHING in your post suggests aggression. You have a puppy. Puppies are like toddlers - are your kids bad because they act out? no they are just kids learning boundaries.
The need for brides is because of a lack of completion in the training process - that is a human error not a puppy problem.
Thank you all for the advise. I wanted to report back that she has been much better the past week. I have been doing some "conditioning" using positive training methods to allow me to grab her collar and get on her level without getting her "teeth" as feedback. This has been working so well that even my little girls can get closer to her without getting bit. She is such a smart pup. I believe she is going to be a really great dog
That's awesome and I'm glad u found a technique that's works for u and ur family! I haven't personally had a problem with aggression with my lab but that's just Buster. I would reinforce with treats or praise cuz that's a good way to get them to listen. Buster plays fetch and he would run by u with his toy after a few sesions of play with some kibble he now will come to me and I'll say drop and he will drop and sit! Occasionally there will be a food rewards but mainly it's praise!