We are a first time lab owners--I owned a Chow and Lhasa Apso in the past and they both were great dogs. I am concerned that our new puppy, who we have had a week, is very aggressive. She is very mouthy, which I expected at 9 weeks, but she will have fits that scare both me and my 4 year old son.
We notice this behavior when we are outside or when my son is sitting on the floor and all of sudden she jumps on me or my son and starts tugging at our shirts. We say a firm "No" and tug on her collar (like the trainer showed us). Sometimes she stops and other times she gets more aggressive and it seems like she is biting to hurt, not play. I've tried vinegar and water (which probably works best), coins in a can (she could care less), the alpha roll (she still tries to bite), and ignoring her (she won't let go of the shirt and will rip it).
Help please. We have invested in puppy training, and we are trying everything, but I am terrified of eventually having a 70lb aggressive dog around my 4 year old.
Has anyone had a puppy that was growling at this age become better as an adult? What should I do?
Help? I am scared that I am going to have an aggressive dog.
How long have you had this puppy? I ask that because puppies taken out of the litter before 8 weeks are usually mouthier as they have not had the necessary time to learn bite inhibition from their littermates.
The behavior you describe is not aggression but typical puppy behavior - they run a spectrum from mellow to pretty wild and you have one on the wilder end of the spectrum. I don't think this means you will have an aggressive adult dog - just a challenge until she settles down (time and training).
The methods you have used (alpha roll, pennies in a can) are pretty worthless IMO. One usually makes a lively dog much more so and the other can easily make a normal dog fear loud noises. Noise fear is extremely hard to undo. I would discontinue both of those.
Your little son should not be sitting on the floor when the puppy is loose. You should keep this pup on a leash so you can control her actions. Be sure to have appropriate chew toys for her (nylabone, kong). Be sure to be playing with the puppy actively to tire her out several times a day. When she is tired - get her into her crate for a nap. An overtired puppy may be mouthier.
This is a phase - she will outgrow it. When she acts up and is mouthy - make a sharp loud sound when her teeth impact your skin. She should be startled. When she stops and behaves properly - reward her. You can also dramatically withdraw your attention - stand up and turn your back with your arms folded. If she is not getting it - folding her lip under a tooth and gently pressing just to the point where she gets pinched will help her learn that she is hurting when she bites.
If you have the opportunity to have her spend some time around an adult dog - they are great teachers of bite inhibition. Just be sure that the adult is tolerant of puppies and they are fully vaccinated.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
My puppy would have temper tantrums similar to what you described, sometimes barking at us and showing teeth when she doesn't get her way.
What worked for us is tying her to the door and not play with her if she does a behavior we don't want, biting, jumping, etc. I also did the "NILIF" system i think they call it, where they have to work for what they want. During meal times we would do lessons like sit, stay, etc. She has to sit and stay calm before i give the rest of the food to her and even after the food is down, she can only eat it after i say ok.
I'm not sure what exactly it is that worked, i'm guessing all the combination of the training and her growing out of it. Our mady is now 6 months old and she is no longer doing the biting and growling and showing teeth of any kind. good luck