Our new rescue pup Ellie (approx 7 months) has been in formal puppy training for 2 weeks now. There are 2 other pups in the class and both weeks we have gone, she has shown aggression towards the other dogs. he first time, it was over treats that Ellie was eating towards the end of the class, the trainer had tossed some treats in the grass and had her "seek" for them, one of the other puppies wandered over to see what she was up to and Ellie became very aggressive towards the other pup, snarling and snapping at her.
The second time, also at the end of class, the trainer lets the puppies play and had put out some chew/squeak toys that Ellie became very posseive over, she grabbed both toys and just ran crazy with them, whenever another dog approached her she became very agitated, snarled and snapped at them again. In both instances the trainer removed her from the other dogs and waited until she was settled, then let the other dogs come over to her again to play (food and toys removed).
Needless to say I am now terrifed at this behavior. She has never show this behavior around us, I have removed bones from her mouth and other stuff she shouldn't have, I have put extra treats in her bowl while she has been eating, never an issue, thankfully. But I am terrifed this is going to escalate into something more, and I am afraid to bring her around other dogs now.
Also, I am begininng to wonder if behaviors I thought were typical puppy things, are really more agressive/dominance type issues. She jumps a lot (but getting better) but when she is hyped up, she begins to snap at the same time as jumping up to see you, if you aren't fast enough with a correction, she can get pretty close to your face. She also loves to do this with my kids when they are on the floor or on the couch, she will jump right on them and get right intheir faces, licking and nipping. She started this with my daughter 2 days ago and proceeded to try and grab the glasses off her face and she caught my daughter's nose with her teeth.
Whenever she nips, I have been holding her muzzle and telling her "no bite" firmly. Now when she sees me coming at her muzzle, she darts away from me.
I am so frustrated with this and also very worried about the biting and aggression. We follow NILF, trying to get her to understand that she is not in charge. She was picked up as a stray at about 5 months and I have no idea about her her history before that.
What has your trainer said about this? How much exercise is she getting? How much have you socialized her with other dogs?
The answer to your problems with her are those things -
And she is a TEENAGER - this period needs consistency, leadership and a lot of those 3 things above.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I would also not let the kids lay on the floor while she is behaving this way. Mouthiness in a 7 month old Lab is not acceptable. I would leash her up to me in the house so you can correct her when she is acting up and she won't be able to bolt away from you.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
what has your trainer said about all this? I mean they saw two incidents so they must have some information? If not I would highly recommend another trainer that is more knowledgable.
Was she on leash during both incidents? Both seem to be about guarding, and possibly on leash? If so you have two big challenges thrown at her at onc on top of the possibility she wasn't socialised. Start with no toys, no food, no bones, no leashes, no nothing for dog-dog intros.
A dog can be dog aggressive and guard VS other dogs and never EVER be like that with humans so don't be afraid of that.
How long have you had her? It all sounds like normal teenage/lack of fondation training issues as well as possibly no socialisation with other dogs. She needs daily physical exercise and more boundaries and training.
We have had her about 5 weeks now. She usually goes for 3 walks a day maybe 15-20 minutes at a time, so not long. We do try and bring her to a field that is fenced for running and playing, but we can not always get her there (it is a ball field and sometimes it is being used or if its been very rainy or too hot out, we don't go) so I know she needs to be able to run and play more than she is. We are getting our yard fenced but are waiting another 4 weeks for that. I am hoping that once the yard is fenced we will be able to get out and exercise, run much more than we are able to now.
When she was in foster,(about a month total between 2 foster homes) I know there were other dogs in the homes so she has had some exposure to other dogs at least for that time period.
We work on training a couple times a day for about 10-15 min at a time, as well as having her sit and wait at the door before going out or other times throughout the day, I try hard to praise her whenever she is behaving.
Sometimes when we are able to use the ball field, there are other dogs there and she does quite well with them, although there is no food and no toys to speak of other than a ball that she doesn't show a lot if interest in. She is usually quite friendly whenever we see dogs while walking and always wants to go say hi and meet them.
During class when she showed the aggression, the dogs were on leashes but not being restrained, it was sort of a free play time at the end of the class but they had leashes on so they could be corrected if necessary, or if they started to wander too far from the area we were using. During the toy aggression, Ellie's collar actually broke off so she was a little difficult to catch and get calmed down; already got a new collar on order that I am picking up tomorrow.
THe trainer said that while she wasn't happy that Ellie was displaying this behavior, she was glad it was in class so it could be addressed properly. We are working on "drop it" and "leave it" commands a lot this week. She said she might bring her own (2 yr old ) dog to class next week and maybe she will be able to learn from him how to behave and if she acts up he will let her know what she is doing is unacceptable behavior. The other pups in class are much smaller than she is, an 8 month old small terrier type of dog and a 4 Month old pit mix.
Had a long talk with the kids last night about the importance of correcting her inappropriate behavior consistently, and why Ellie needs that to learn how to behave.
Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it, we love her and want to do the best for her.
Last edited by Elliegirl; 07-31-2013 at 12:01 PM.
walks are not nearly enough exercise for a dog that age. You have a young energetic lab, she needs off leash play daily for at least a half hour of running (normaly more). walks are not exercise. they are a great part of a routine and it is wonderful to walk daily but they are not physical exercise at that age, not the kind that tire out a dog.
Can you still contact the foster mom to see if they saw any of this? Sounds like the issue is more ressource guarding VS general dog aggression.
I know the walks aren't enough, I don't know what to do when we can't use the ball field to get her more exercise. I can't let her run off leash in an area that is not fenced in, she is way to distractable and if she sees something she's interested in, she's gone. We work some on recall when we're in the field but she has quite a ways to go before I'd consider letting her run off leash in an unenclosed area.
Good idea about contacting the fosters, I am going to send an email now to the rescue organization to see if they can put me in contact with both fosters, thank you.
get a long line and play fetch. go for hikes. get up early in the morning so you can get to the ball park before it is in use (when I have reactive dogs I sometimes have to get up super early to get to a baseball field for 7am to get them to run before anyone else comes or a game starts).
i'm suprised the rescue didn't ask about this (I know I do with anyone applying for my fosters!)
I can get her to the park early mornings on some days but not always when I have to work at 800 AM, and many times there are already other dogs there that early(saw a guy and his dog there at 6 AM today)
I have a 20 ft line but its not long enough to play fetch with, I will get a longer one and use it while we wait for the fence to be installed.
Are you surprised that the rescue didn't talk to us about our ability to exercise her? (Jut want to be sure I understand your comment)
I did tell them our yard was not fenced at the moment but we would get it fenced ASAP, and also told them we had the field nearby to use. I guess I'm not understanding what you're surprised about?
I would have questionned an adopter on how they plan to exercise a dog - so yes if they did not ask you about your exercise plan that surprises me. If the yard was not fenced and the dog was not a candidate for the dog park I would have been specific in my questions. Unfenced areas are fine once a dog has a recall but that coudl be many months of training to get there. Sounds like you had a plan but it isn't working? Since you are saying she isn't getting enough exercise?
on the days you cannot let her off leash, do a long walk. Do things on the walk, like have her jump up on a bench and sit. Jump on or over a rock or tree. Make the walk more entertaining and challenging.
I'm at work for 7:30 and am up bright and early when I have active fosters. I woudl be at the park fro 5:30am when I have a reactive dog (or the field next to the park) as she needed exercise and that was my only option.
Last edited by Tanya; 07-31-2013 at 12:44 PM.