Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

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Sad Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

Post by Dexiedoo on Tue Oct 16 2018, 22:36

Hi all I've come across this forum whilst trying to research why my new puppy is being aggressive and I'm hoping to get some opinions. He is 10 weeks old and comes from a reputable caring/breeder who owns his mum and dad who both have good temperaments. Mum seemed like a very good Mum when we visited him. He was biggest of the litter. We took him at 8 weeks.

We have two young kids age 4 and 8 and he is constantly biting them or going for them or growling/barking at them. Its not just puppy nipping in play or catching them by accident its for no reason when my daughter just goes to stroke his belly or pick him up for a cuddle. He actually viciously went for her like when a dog goes for a fight with another dog and he bit her face. Luckily nothing more than a red mark but its just awful. He always turning his head to snap or bite someone, mostly the kids. He bit them a fair few times, it happens everyday and luckily so far he hasn't broken the skin. He snarled and growled at us too and barks at the kids quite a lot in a nasty way not a playful way. I feel like I have to constantly watch him his biting is that bad.

We've been trying the yelping but he doesnt seem to mind that he has hurt people. We stop play but then it doesn't have to be play for it to happen. We've tried saying NO very firmly but again he just carries on and even goes back for more straight away. Re-homing is looking very likely as I just cannot risk him hurting my kids. We got a puppy thinking it would be best with the kids growing up around.

Thanks for reading.

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Sad Re: Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

Post by joshpills on Wed Oct 17 2018, 03:13

was he taken from mum or siblings too early. id be very very surprised if it was actually nasty aggression, although im not there to see it for myself. he probably just hasn't learned the correct behaviours.

this is where the problem lies in todays society... my advise is not welcome in a nanny state we live in today... however when puppies acts in this way towards his mother, the mother will snap at him, because this is how dogs learn, theyre very physical, this is why dogs snap at other dogs.

i would advise a firm tap on the cheek muscles and a NO. this is what we always did growing up and it sorted out bad behaviour, however its "cruel" nowadays and people think you should be sitting there yelping like an idiot for the dog to realise. if you sit and yelp, it shows the dog he's above you in the pack, hes hurting you and youre not retaliating, therefore youre below him. and whether people agree or not dogs are pack animals that need a hierarchy, of which they should be bottom to every other family member. all the old staffy training books that i still have suggest a firm tap and give the places to do it that wont cause any harm to the dog, one being the firm jaw muscles. dogs are physical in nature, this is how they learn, a bit of a tap will allow the dog to recognise you are not happy with his behaviour. it wont make the dog timid or scared, youre not battering or abusing the dog youre just showing him. ive done it with all my dogs at one point or another and every dog has been brilliantly behaved and extremely confident/adventurous with not an ounce of timidness and they've shown the ultimate love and loyalty towards me. im typing this now as i have my staffy sat on my knee licking my face, hes my best friend, i love him with everything i have and he loves me with everything he has, but he respects im in charge. not everything can be taught through positive training and little time outs where the dog doesnt have a clue whats going on, or sitting there yelping around like a moron which usually either makes the dog worse as he thinks youre playing, or worst of all lets the dog believe hes the leader and ahead of you in the hierarchy of the house.

it is not cruel. its how dogs understand. giving him away would be a disservice to him and a real real shame, he just isnt being taught properly.

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Sad Re: Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

Post by Mistys Mum on Wed Oct 17 2018, 07:21

I agree with the above re that it's not aggression. Puppies like to mouth and use their teeth but it's in no way aggressive even though it may feel like it. However that's the only part of the above I agree on.

My dog came to me at 14 months and was a terrible mouther. She was always trying to put our hands and etc in her mouth. We used the technique of always immediately stopping play and attention. We just completely ignored her. We were all consistent and it worked for us. It did take a while but she now doesn't mouth so it worked.

I've never raised a hand to my girl and she has gone from being a scared nervous dog who would have melt downs on her walks as she had never been outside on a walk before we got her to a confident dog who competes in fun runs with me, something she would never have been able to do previously.

I'd also recommend a force free trainer as that also helps with socialisation. We still go to our training class once a week as it's a nice social activity and there always something new to learn. For reading look at Victoria Stillwell. She is fully qualified and uses only force free training methods. They currently show some of her old TV series on sky at the moment called It's Me Or The Dog.

Do keep us updated.

I'm sure Liz will be along soon and she will give great advice as always.


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Sad Re: Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

Post by Guest on Wed Oct 17 2018, 08:00

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Sad Re: Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

Post by Guest on Wed Oct 17 2018, 08:34

If you watch puppies play together, they 'bite' a lot. It's normal interaction for them, and absolutely not aggression. It's extremely rare to get true aggression in a puppy.

Please do not hit your puppy, especially on the face. Even if you call it a 'tap', it is still a hit. It is not necessary and not fair. It may work but that doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. My background is in problem horse training and this is the same argument as I had countless times with people who use a whip, arguing 'it's only a tap', it doesn't hurt. A tap is a low level hit. Our baseline should be that we don't hit animals, end of.

There is, by the way, also a risk that if you cause a dog to be scared of you it is going to be more likely to bite seriously to keep you away. Think about it from the dog's point of view, he learns your hand coming towards his head might mean that nasty feeling, so maybe he'll try getting there first to keep you away.

Many puppies of many breeds use their teeth to interact, and staffies are amongst those that do so most. However, with a bit of guidance from their owners they do (mostly!) stop, although it can take a few weeks of frustration.

One of the keys is how you respond. Making sure you all respond the same way, all the time, will help get the message across. Firstly, you need to make sure that he has plenty of interaction with you and that he gets attention when he is not biting. I would suggest trying to encourage everyone to try and keep energy levels from getting too high. Finding the balance between having fun and getting over excited is helpful for young staffies.

You then need to have a rule - no teeth on skin or clothes, ever. Each of you needs to react immediately, so that your pup can learn that this is the rule, always. Animals don't do 'sometimes' very well. Black and white gives greater clarity.

My preferred method for dealing with nipping is, like Emma, to walk away immediately, if necessary to the next room and close the door. This gives the dog a consequence to his actions. What he wants more than anything is your attention, that's what he's trying to get, so if his actions result in the opposite, it should help him learn not to do it. You don't have to go for long, literally a few seconds, just long enough for him to register what's happened.

At the same time as this negative response, you need to also give him a positive response for not using his teeth. Especially if you see him about to then changing his mind, be ready with the praise.

The other thing is to make sure your responses are all very dull and unexciting. I'd stop the yelps, and make sure the kids dont' squeal or anything. I know it's a method that's often recommended but I've not found it so useful and squealing can excite puppies.

I would also make sure you have plenty of things that your pup can get in his mouth - it's one of his main ways of exploring and communicating so it's better to redirect that need to something positive rather than try and take it away completely.

Puppies can be hard work and frustrating at times. You have, though, to remember that he's a baby dog in a human world, and there's a lot for him to learn. Two weeks is a very, very short time, so bear with him and don't panic. You don't want to be diving into obedience training, but do bear in mind that you are training/teaching him all the time. It can be helpful to get your head around that with him now, so that what he's learning is what you want him to learn. We've got some info sheets that might help you, including one with links to some lovely, easy to follow videos by modern, positive trainers.

You will get there, and it will be worth it!

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Sad Re: Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

Post by gillybrent on Wed Oct 17 2018, 09:01

Hi & welcome.

I agree totally with Liz, and I would strongly advise you to follow her advice.

As an aside, can I ask what you feed him?

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Sad Re: Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

Post by kittehface on Mon Oct 22 2018, 15:31

If this is happening a lot, it might be worth changing the puppys routine. It sounds like your kids aren't being taught how to handle puppies. Puppies learn by playing with each other, wrestling, nipping. When your daughter goes to touch his tummy or pick him up, your puppy interprets it as 'play!' If she is doing this as when she wants without him coming to her, then at random moments he being scooped up and then immediately told off for what is for him, naturally responding. That means he gets confused, anxious, and begins to nip as a defence.

You need to teach your kids that when we play with the puppy, we do it for a short period of time with a toy. Active play (fetch, catching for treats, finding treats hidden in the room) is how they play. Only let your kids snuggle the puppy when he is tired and comes to them for affection. If your puppy is hyper, it isn't safe to pester him.

Small children pester. They aren't old enough to know when puppy is tired, or wants space, or is over excited. Just like you wouldn't let your child pester another child constantly, just as kids fall out, so do kids and dogs if there aren't boundaries.

So I advise you have a safe, calm place that is just for the puppy, like a crate or a room, where the kids are taught not to go in and try to touch him. This us also useful because it creates a den he can go to to sleep or to play quietly, you can put a Kong or chew toy in there. If you need to put the puppy in a time out to calm down, you can put the puppy in that room, shut the door and let him calm down.

Our dog Phantom was the same, very mouthy, nippy and excitable. He is 2 now and has grown out of it. What worked was calm, consistent boundaries, saying No in a calm but loud voice, stopping the play and putting him the kitchen where his crate is to calm down. Gentle tapping, shouting or yelping only made him worse. Getting deer antler chews really helped him soothe himself and get the chewy teething stage over with.
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Sad Re: Help with a biting aggressive puppy please

Post by gillybrent on Mon Oct 22 2018, 18:03

HJ, I totally agree - the pup must have a 'retreat' where he knows he can relax.

Even very young children can be taught about safe places.

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