Play Aggression
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Thread: Play Aggression

  1. #1
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    DefaultPlay Aggression

    We have a 9 week old female chocolate lab who displays aggression while playing with us. She doesnt show any aggression while greeting/meeting new people or other dogs , but when we play in the yard she jumps and bites us or hangs on our clothing, she will even lunge at our faces while playing on the floor.
    We stop play immediatly like our training book recommends but she doesnt care she just walks away and does something else. We have her sched for training classes mid April but if anyone has ideas on how to stop it now that would be great !

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: Play Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by jewels_025
    ...she doesnt care she just walks away and does something else.
    That's actually exactly what you want her to do. Right now she's a SO little and energetic; you want to redirect her to the kind of playing that is acceptable. You stopping the playing when it gets aggressive will teach her that it's not acceptable behavior. You want her to just move on rather than trying to force the aggressive play. Sounds like you're doing everything right! It'll just take time. With Potter, it just seemed like one day he suddenly "got it." Good luck!

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: Play Aggression



    If you just keep responding properly (ignore and withhold attention when she acts in a manner you wish to discourage) she will self correct and eventually stop this. Dogs do what works for them - they will repeat the behaviors that get them what they want/need (attention, food, play) and stop the behaviors that do not get them those things.

    A little simplified, yes, but in general you can mold a lot of behaviors by rewarding for the behaviors you want and providing gentle negative reinforcement for what you do not want. Ignoring is a gentle way to respond negatively.

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  6. #4
    sarah's Avatar
    sarah is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Play Aggression

    When you play rough with your puppy you should ALWAYS have a tug toy or chew toy in between yourself and the dog. You should teach her that rough play is ok with toys but NOT ok without. If she nips you squeal loudly (i emphasise loudly because this worked better when we were loud with Milly - it makes them quite apprehensive to continue rough play if you make yucky loud noises) but don't move your hand away.... if she continues to nip you then ignore her like you have been.

    She will learn very quickly what is acceptable and what isn't if you are consistent. We've just gone through it all with Milly who is almost 15 weeks old.
    Sarah & Milly - Sydney Australia






  7. #5
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Play Aggression

    A 9 wk old can be dominant, but true aggression is beyond her at this point. Don't mis-diagnose. But watch the dominance issue. Continue to teach bite inhibition and when she's 4-6 months old, get to an obed class.

  8. #6
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    DefaultRe: Play Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by jewels_025
    We have a 9 week old female chocolate lab who displays aggression while playing with us. She doesnt show any aggression while greeting/meeting new people or other dogs , but when we play in the yard she jumps and bites us or hangs on our clothing, she will even lunge at our faces while playing on the floor.
    We stop play immediatly like our training book recommends but she doesnt care she just walks away and does something else. We have her sched for training classes mid April but if anyone has ideas on how to stop it now that would be great !
    How long have you had her? If she was removed from her litter too early then she missed some valuable lessons about bite inhibition she would have learned from her sibs and mom. You can make up for this with training but often leaving the litter early (before 7.5 to 8 weeks of age) makes for a more mouthy puppy. None of this is dominance/aggression per se - just wild play from a baby who does not have the rules down.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    DefaultRe: Play Aggression

    Our Abbey is 10wks and is, oddly enough, calming down with the mouthiness and biting. *knocks on wood*
    From the time she came home (7wks exactly) I have been on her and stopping any bad behaviour immediately.

    It does sound like you're doing things correctly. I'm not sure how quickly you intervene, I've been doing it almost split-second-like. I have a 3y/o dd and as soon as I see Abbey open her mouth, to bite clothes or or whatnot, I step in, hold Julia and say NO BITE! If she tries to bite my feet or pants I, again, growl NO BITE (angrily, not yelled) and walk away. If she's over excited, the kids can't play with her until she calms down.

    We've found that consistency is key; it will take time. Abbey's gated in the kitchen/dining room and I'm always with her (or she's crated). I don't let her mouth anything other than her toys and my hands...as long as she's gentle. If she starts to get rough, I yelp loudly. If that doesn't work, I briskly get up and walk away. We have everyone in the house doing this (6 of us) and it seems to be working. She loves belly rubs but she knows if she starts getting mouthy, the belly rub will end immediately.

    Give it a little more time, you're doing great! If she even looks like she's going to start nipping and biting clothing...immediately stop it and ignore. If my pup follows and continues nipping, I sit on a chair with my feet up and ignore...kids go in the living room.


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