I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?
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Thread: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

  1. #1
    soozr is offline Member
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    DefaultI'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    Hi everyone. I have a new puppy at home. He is a 3 month old black lab. He has been with us almost a week now. We brought him home from a kennel, he was very shy/scared for just the first 1-2 days. He came around on about day 3 and became the fun-lovin', playful pup we were hoping for. He started finding things in the house to chew so I went and bought him some rawhide to chew on. He loves them and even already will play fetch with you if you pick it up and throw it for him. Tonight after playing with other toys with my kids, he picked up the rawhide and took it to a corner to chew it. A little later my daughter walked over and sat down by him and reached to pet him and she jumped and said he snapped at her. I didn't think he really had, thought maybe she startled him and he just jumped and made a noise. A few minutes later, my nephew did the same thing and thought he snapped. I still didn't believe it, because he has been so friendly and happy. Anyway, about 10 minutes go by, I had sent the kids to bed and I went to where Sam was chewing his rawhide. I reached down to pet his head and there was no doubt...he growled as he came around to snap at my hand! My instant reaction (which may be wrong) was to instantly slap his nose.....this caused him to yipe and hide. I've spent a lot of time reading on how friendly,loyal and loving labs are so I was very surprised at his reaction. Is this normal? Maybe he is just testing the waters with us. I was thinking maybe he was just over-stimulated. This was one of the first times since we brought him home that the kids just got to playin tug-o-war and fetch and he was pretty wound up. Since then, we (my husband and I) have walked up and taken his toy from him several times just to test...and he has not had a problem with that....just wags his tail and waits for us to give it back. Should I be concerned with his behavior?

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    Yes, this is resource guarding and while not the end of the world, it IS an issue that needs to be addressed (esp. since there's kids in the house). No more physical punishment either, as well.


    -management - absolutely no rawhides/chewies outside of his crate. I'd be feeding him in his crate as well - or handfeeding him all his meals.

    No more tug of war games with the kids either. (while tug doesn't necessarily cause aggression, it does encourage the dog to act in an uncontrolled manner around kids, who often don't have the skills to defuse the situation if it gets out of hand)

    -training/behaviour modification - pick up a copy of Jean Donaldson's "Mine" and begin the protocols within. I'd also schedule a visit from a trainer who will observe what's going on in the home.

    -I'd also start working on a modified version of this NILIF programme: http://www.dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/Writing/LTD.html (some of the exercises, like the long down, are too much for a young puppy, but you can alter that to what the puppy can manage)

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    Beerfish is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    Read up on 'guarding resources' it is something that happens with some dogs and can be corrected but certainly not by a swat on the nose. You really shouldn't ever have to swat your dog and certainly never, never on the nose. You don't want your pup to be afraid of you and your family. Also, if the kids are fairly young you should always be right right with kids and pup to monitor, remember they are both young and can do silly things if not watched.

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    Baloo317's Avatar
    Baloo317 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    I just want to say that the above is good advice. I haven't read the book "Mine", but it sounds really fantastic and I've heard it recommended a bunch of times.

    Also, I understand the nose-swat thing. It sounds like it was a reaction, not a training tool. There was one time that Baloo tried to grab a treat out of my hand and got my finger instead. He got a swat. Reflex action, not something I'm proud of, but it happens. :-\

    So know that it isn't a good action to take in the future, but don't beat yourself up over it. They are amazingly forgiving.

    Also, wanted to echo the "nip this in the bud" sentiment here as well. If this issue isn't dealt with now it could get much worse over time. It's a good thing you caught it early.

    Good luck!
    Kate
    Baloo - 5 year old black lab
    Peanut - 7 year old minpin
    Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
    We're Superdogs!


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    soozr is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    Thank you for the quick responses. I will definatley do a little more reading. I feel bad that I swatted his nose, it was an instant reaction, without thought. The kids in question are not too little, they are tweens. They were so excited to see him come out and play rather than hide in his crate. As I was sitting here waiting for some advice, Sam was chewing his rawhide under my feet again. I reached for him and he snapped again. It makes me a bit nervous. I will follow up on your recommended reading and will not be too quick to judge the little guy. Outside of this instance tonight, he has been so loveable. Just wants your attention.

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    Baloo317's Avatar
    Baloo317 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    Also, be sure to take away rawhides and the like until you get a better handle on it.
    Kate
    Baloo - 5 year old black lab
    Peanut - 7 year old minpin
    Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
    We're Superdogs!


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    soozr is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    I have done so, his rawhides are put away now. He's looking for them. We just want him to be happy with us. Probably trying too hard. Need to let him find his own space in his new home without everyone always wanting to grab at him & play with him. I'm off to look for "Mine" on ebay

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    soozr is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    Hi again. I just wanted to pop in and say thanks. I recieved my copy of "Mine" today and just starting to read it. I'm finding it very enlightening so far. I am happy to report also, that outside of the day I came here worried and the next day a bit, we have had no more problems. While waiting for my book to read, I started my own little version of therapy/preventative measures. When I feed sam, I alway take a minute to pet him, praise him and reach for his bowl off and on while he's eating. I'm not sure yet if this is a good move, but he seems to have no problem with it and just continues to eat. He also does not seem to have a problem now giving up his toys. I take him in the back yard and throw a toy, he grabs it and runs and eventually brings it back in my general direction ( but won't give it up right away). He doesn't have a problem with me just taking it from him to throw again. I think these things are a good sign. I took the original advice and only let him have his rawhide in his crate, so I haven't yet seen if that was a fluke or an attitude. As far as a trainer or obedience class, we are in a small town that does not offer such a thing. I would love to take Sam to training....but hoping I can muddle through this on my own and this board. I have lots of questions regarding potty training and leash training that are probably not specific to "labs" just puppy stuff in general, but thats probably another thread altogether. Just thought I'd give an update and say thanks again. So far, so good

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    myfavoritedog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    I'm just now seeing this and I think the advice is excellent! And congrats on your new puppy. Pictures, please!

    Glad to hear he is improving and that you're doing all possible to give him a good life. Keep up the good work, be consistent and it will turn out ok!

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    HersheyK's Dad's Avatar
    HersheyK's Dad is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I'm worried. New puppy got a bit aggresive. Is this normal?

    Good Luck to you. You wil find lots of help on these forums. The Lab Chat for anything and everything having to do with a dog. A little more focused on the training forum. But all are helpful.
    Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.

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