We got a yellow lab puppy when he was about 9 weeks old. His name is Samson. He is now 15 weeks old and for the past 2 weeks he's been showing aggressive behavior, and it's been getting Worse! It seems whenever he wants attention, which is almost all the time, he'll come up to us and start barking.. if we don't respond right away he then starts nipping and barking. Then when we say NO! he goes into full on biting and growling and barking. This happens multiple times a day. I've researched the internet looking for ways to deal with this and have found many different suggestions.
We've tried hitting him on the nose, forcing him down to the ground and holding him there till he submits (which is a LONG drawn out process....), ignoring him (which just seems to make it worse because then he wants to bite more to get our attention), growling at him and saying NOOOOO! in a low voice, letting out a high pitched "OUCH!" (to mimic another puppy I suppose), and putting him in a bedroom with the door shut. NOTHING WORKS.
He sleeps in a certain bedroom each night, and he goes in the room each day when I'm at work (just 3 hours a day). This morning I went to put him in the bedroom and he jumped at me, growling, biting... the whole works.
I'm stunned that a sweet 15 week old puppy.. LAB puppy... would be capable of doing this and acting like this!!! We have 3 kids and one on the way so I REALLY need to get this under control ASAP. I've always had big dogs my whole life, German Shepards and Labs and I've NEVER encountered any of my other dogs to act like this. I'm not one to shy away from this behavior or be scared either... I always knew from day one that I (and my husband) are the "pack leaders" so to speak... but he doesn't seem to care.
He does this with everyone in the family, including the kids. PLEASE help, and tell me what to do to fix this!!!!!
I don't see that as aggression I see that as not respecting you as the pack leader in the family as well as being a very young puppy full of energy. My suggestions are this:
- dont hit the dog. Have patience but never hit it
- locking up in room alone i dont feel is a good thing either nor do i feel you will get results
- training training training. You have to REPETITIVELY do the growl and NO and OUCH things. He will eventually get it but it certainly can take time.
- EXCERCISE - how much does he get? He needs to RUN RUN RUN - do you have fenced backyard ? Can you walk him on good quality long walks? A tired pup is a good pup
- is he crate trained? If not I'd look into a crate asap as opposed to an entire room
- does he have nylabones to chew on?
IMO what you have is a puppy that needs to run or walk off some steam and a puppy that is begging for some attention and play. He just needs to learn the correct way to ask for it.
Thanks for your reply. We play with him often, which usually consists of throwing the ball or whatever toy... playing fetch. We used to play tug-o-war, until I read that this will only fuel his behavior so we stopped that. We do go for walks and yes, we have a fenced in back yard. The kids play with him too, of course. We also have a neighboor who has a 3 year old chocolate lab, so they play together, and we have taken him to the dog park. he's not crate trained, and yes, he has nylabones and other chew toys... but he much seems to prefer our hands and feet.
My question is.... what do I do when he acts this way? Simply saying "NO Bite!" is a low tone does absolutely NOTHING (other than get him more riled up). Ignoring him does nothing. if i can't put him away in a room, what do i do to stop the behavior?
You need to direct him to a chew toy and do this consistently ! Unpleasant behaviour ? Turn your back on him consistently !
It needs the whole family to do this, otherwise you are giving the pup mixed signals.
Smacking on the nose can be seen as playing so don't do that !
Patience and patience is what is required, and when it gets a little too much then a little crate time, but ensure that you put treats in there as well so it is not construed as a punishment.
Crate training is essential for protection of your pup and a little time out for yourselves but never shout at the pup or show that you are angry.
Lastly don't get discouraged and don't expect instant results ! Your pup is only a baby after all !
so from what I gather... we are not supposed to show that we are angry at the dog, just to ignore him? I guess that is my problem. it's impossible to ignore him, becuase he's biting and doesn't stop! And then if I direct him to a chew toy, won't he think he is being rewarded? Like he's saying "oh, all I have to do is growl and bite and then I get a toy!" I actually have a video of this.. if there is a way I could post it to show you, maybe you could see and understand better.
UPDATE: I'm uploading the video to you tube and will post when it's complete.
Last edited by jojuvan; 06-25-2013 at 12:19 PM.
We understand exactly what you are going through ! It IS normal for a Lab pup to be like this.
It might help if you tethered him to you while working in the house and ignoring him at the same time.
You really need to reconsider the crate thing though ! I would not raise a Lab without a crate, but if that's your decision then good luck !
Redirecting to the chew toy tells him that this is what he should chew and NOT you. When I say don't show him you are angry does not mean do not be firm with him !
Shouting and hitting does nothing other than encourage further bad behaviour.
I am not saying that it is easy BTW and I really hope that you listen to the advice which I hope will be backed up by others in due course to show that I am not just being awkward !
you have a normal puppy. he is not agressive. he is not a demon. he is normal.
please find and sign up for pupy classes asap. they will be a huge help.
NEVER hit a dog. yelling only fuels their agitation. Be calm and assertive.
Work more on training daily. I would do nothing in life is free (NIFL) - google it. Be more calm around him, the more agitated you are/get the more agitated he will be.
I highly recommend crate training. if he hasn't chewed up your house yet that's pretty amazing! where do you leave him when you leave the house?
Also note that like todlers, puppies can get over-tired. When over-tired they act out. See if there is a time of day specifically where he gets this way and see if maybe he needs a forced nap before that time.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Thank you all so much for the tips and helping me feel not alone! I will most definately try all the methods you recommended.. and I'll update and let you know how it goes! Below is the link to the video we took a few days ago. As I'm watching it I'm seeing that this is the VERY tame version of what he does. In the video it does actually seem like he's kinda playing, but he does have times where he growls and shows teeth and bites. Plus my hubby is much bigger than I am and I think Samson thinks of my hubby more as an alpha then he does me.
the part that really worries me though is the growling and biting and snarling at us, and then this mornign when I tried to put him in his room he really went after me. It's like he thinks now his way of saying he doesn't want to do soemthign is just to lash out and bite. I'm not imagining this!!! I know this is not right and needs to be correted immediately. I'm alreayd on the hunt for dog trainers in the area.
Maybe I was nieve thinking we could do this on our own. Thinking "oh, I'm an experienced BIG dog owner.. I don't need a trainer." I've learned my lesson that's for sure!
I posted with the video but it needs moderator approval so it'll be up soon I hope. But another question.... I get the whole "respond with a growl or yelp". speak dog to them. So we have a friend who has a golden retriever. Samson plays HARD with this dog. After a while the Golden gets annoyed and growls and kinda shows teeth... telling Samson enough is enough. So what does Samson do?? He barks, bites and growls more! I'm really going to work hard at this, but I know this puppy will not stop with a simple growl or low toned "NO BITE!". Really.... what do I do to stop the bad behavior immediately? I'm not willing to be a chew toy for this dog while he learns to stop biting and keep growling over and over and over again. (i'm not talking seperate instances... I'm talking during the same biting "session" which could last 5 min. or more!)
I OK'd the video !
He's a real sweetie ! Good luck with the training !
It will be so worth it believe me !
Please consider the advice ! We have a wealth of experience here so ask away !