Hello! I have a question. I have an 11 week old pup named Sadie who doesn't like to be picked up and growls and snaps especially at my 9 year old. She has done this maybe 1 out of 10 times of being picked up. She also growled and snapped at the vet who wasn't as concerned because she hurt Sadie's ear with the otoscope. We were using more of a dominant theory with her and after talking to our trainer at length after our first puppy training she encouraged us to use a more positive training method which has been MUCH better. We are also avoiding playing rough with her. Has anyone else had this issue? Is there hope for us?
Systematic desensitization - for the ADULTS to work on - will get her to accept and enjoy handling. Pair gentle, non-invasive handling with her most favourite treats - for example, starting with a brief picking up and releasing of her paw, followed by a bit of peanut butter or cheese. Work up to being able to handle, manipulate and restrain her gently, always keeping the sessions short, fun and un-forced, followed by treats and a fun game.
Children, unfortunately, have a tendency to treat small animals, especially baby ones, like stuffed toys, squeezing and hugging and possibly pinching or dropping or holding awkwardly , all of which can cause a puppy to protest in the only way available to her - with her mouth. Encourage your daughter to interact with the puppy ON THE GROUND, stroking the puppy gently or playing fetch games with her, or even working on basic obedience and tricks.
I agree with the above advice. I have a Cavalier puppy right now who does not prefer the younger kids to pick him up. He does the same thing as your pup. I have been working with him and treats and it seems to be working. The growling episodes have GREATLY decreased. The kids just pick him up too tight and he has learned that. Kids should play with the pups on the floor unless CLOSELY supervised. My seven year old son has helped me with some of the training. He will pick Sully up with lots of praise and then we will treat him. Then, put him back down after a few seconds and do it all over again. Working up to him holding him for longer periods of time. Pups are smart. They will learn quickly that getting picked up is lots of fun if done correctly. Good luck and stick with it!!!!
My Gracie was a rough puppy. I had never owned a lab that was as mouthy as her. She would bark and lunge at me, I thought she was crazy. I was a nervous wreck. Then I found this forum and realized that I was not the first to own such a Lab. She is 19 months and has really calmed down. She has her occasional outburst, but she is a love...the friendliest dog you will ever meet. Be patient and she will outgrow this behavior.
I would def agree about positive training methods. Gracie had a trainer who was big into dominant theory. I wish I had know better and knew about this positive method. I learned about it here and I am so grateful I did. I went the positive training method with Lola my second lab and had great results...what a HUGE difference. Positive methods would be the way to go in my book. I use it with both dogs now and it is so rewarding. Good luck and keep us posted
good advice from kaytris.
I would also like to add, and this is what our behaviorist told us in puppy 1 and puppy 2.
Once your dog is used to being handled, tug at ears...then treat. Pull tail (not hard) then treat.
She advised us that we need to do everything that a little child may do, without the dog reacting negatively.
Zoe has had children pull her ears, grab her tail, hug her and there is no reaction.
Linda and Zoë, the Umlaut
Some very good advice- you do not want to break the spirit of a puppy. It is important, however, to let your puppy know who is the boss ( they will test you). recognize aggressive behavior and deal with it quickly and firmly. If the dog snaps at anyone hold the jaws of the pup and command "no". There is a difference between normal teething bites and aggressive bites. Treat the latter seriously..
Listen to Kaytris and your pup will be fine !!