aggression issues or just puppy behavior?
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Thread: aggression issues or just puppy behavior?

  1. #1
    ashhgoh is offline Junior Member
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    Defaultaggression issues or just puppy behavior?

    We got a chocolate lab when she was 6 1/2 weeks old and is now almost 9 weeks old. I have read up that since she left the litter a little early she had yet to learn how to ease up on the biting. What we're doing is yelling "ouch", hiding the body part that was bit and walking away, showing no attention. But she then begins to bite another body part. We have a one year old and the pup will attempt to nip her face. She growls at my husband and bites pretty hard where she breaks skin. We have been reading Richard Wolter's Water Dog and Family Dog. Any suggestion would be great!

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  3. #2
    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    just being a pretty puppy. for a 9 week old to show any aggression it would mean it is a VERY imbalanced puppy and serious help woudl be required, but this is very rare. what you describe is normal - a ramped up puppy.

    I recommend puppy classes (made for puppies that do not have all their shots).
    Make sure puppy gets naps - like a toddler puppies get over tired and then get cranky - force them to nap before that phase by crating them
    make sure puppy has lots of chances to run around and play.

    be consistent. be patient. these things take time.

    here are some good books
    The Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way to Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs: Jean Donaldson: 9781888047059: Amazon.com: Books
    The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs: Amazon.ca: Patricia McConnel Ph.D.: Books
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

  4. #3
    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    i assume the one year old is a human baby? monitor and manage all interactions. I would not let hte puppy and the baby crawl together much. the puppy probably sees the baby as a litter mate and that is how puppies play, they bite - that is how they learn what hurts and correct one another (but obviously your pup missed out on some of that)
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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  6. #4
    ashhgoh is offline Junior Member
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    Yup, my human one year old :-P

    My husband continues to dwell on the fact that the pup is displaying dominance on him. Is this anything to be concerned about???

  7. #5
    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    you have two babies. the puppy is a baby JUST like your human baby. you need to manage their interactions.
    get to puppy classes or find a trainer that can do at home sessions to give you tips (and if they mention teh word "dominant puppy" run away and find another trainer).

    Your puppy is playing with the baby as though it were a puppy. that is what puppies do. your job is to supervise ALL interactions and redirect the puppy. It is going to take time and repetition, raising a human baby and a puppy at the same time is going to require more work and training and diligence on your (the adult humans) part.

    On top of that puppies that are taken from their litter too young didn't learn about bite inhibition from their siblings (it doesn't mean puppies with their litter for 8-9 weeks don't bite but should be farther along in their training) so that means even more work for you guys. It's going to take tons of patience.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

  8. #6
    ashhgoh is offline Junior Member
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    Good. I always knew that but definitely needed some reassurance. Thanks for the info!

  9. #7
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    In addition to your concern about biting (and your understanding the lack of training on bite inhibition your pup would have gotten from its littermates and mother), another problem with pups leaving too soon is the lack of socialization.

    Bess, my first Lab, came to us at 5 weeks age and unfortunately we made no effort to socialize her with other dogs. As a result, during all of Bess's adult years, she never socialized with other dogs (despite sometimes persistent efforts on their parts to be friendly and initiate play). Bess seemed to look upon them as an entirely foreign, unwelcome species intruding on her space. From this experience (clarified by later reading) I found out that puppies need contact with other puppies and dogs (as well as people) to learn to be social and how to do it. Bess did have ample socialization with people and, all her life, initiated socializing with them every chance she had; she was the ultimate "Welcome Waggin' "

    So, to prevent "dog shunning" happening with Puff (although she left her littermates and came to live with me at age 9 weeks), I made sure during her first year she had at least 3X/week 60 minute play dates with other young, playful dogs in our neighborhood &/or with friends' dogs in their neighborhoods. And I organized a "LabFest" group that met Saturday afternoons in a local park area that was away from streets and other people where we peeps could sit in the shade while our Labs ran and played together.

    As a result, Puff is very friendly when she meets other dogs -- quite unlike some dogs we meet (even a few Labs) on our daily on-leash walks on a trail in a nearby park. As we approach another peep with leashed dog (and Puff is pulling, wanting to meet and greet them), I usually call out, "Is your dog friendly?" before they get too close. Probably somewhere between 1/4 & 1/3rd of the time, the person walking the dog says "No," so I escort Puff away from any close contact. In our experience, about 2/3rds of those who say "No" are walking small dogs, many of which are yappy and straining at their leashes as if they want to attack Puff.

    But some of those who want to keep our dogs separated have Labs or Lab-size dogs. They comment that their dog is too aggressive, too fearful, or too disinterested. Among those, often whenever we've stopped to briefly chat across a respectful distance, I find their dog came to live with them at a very young age and -- like my Bess -- had NO early experience socializing with other dogs.

    So, in addition to your present work on the bite inhibition, when your pup has had sufficient shots and it's safe, I strongly recommend you include socializing experiences with other dogs and people.

    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  10. #8
    Destinfam5 is offline Senior Member
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    You already got really great information so I will just share some experience. They will outgrow this! By 4 months you will see this go away with patience and consistency. Tell your husband he's being silly and all is well!

  11. #9
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Just want to reiterate - the puppy should not have the opportunity to nip the human baby in the face. They should not be on the floor together and/or the puppy should not be on couch/chair with the baby. You have to closely manage all interactions. None of what you are seeing with this puppy is dominance or aggression - it is normal.

    Do get appropriate chew items (like a kong or hard nylabone) for your puppy to focus his mouthy behavior.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

  12. #10
    ashhgoh is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the info guys! On a side note, she got in the water for the first time today and LOVES it!!!

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