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Ok, I've got a very aggressive puppy on my hands. She not old bites a great deal, she has actually nipped at me in anger to get something from me. She will growl when playing tug -o-war like she does with her sibbling. I let the toy go when she does this and say no growling. How can I deal with the aggression without making her afraid of me?
 

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Ok, I've got a very aggressive puppy on my hands. She not old bites a great deal, she has actually nipped at me in anger to get something from me. She will growl when playing tug -o-war like she does with her sibbling. I let the toy go when she does this and say no growling. How can I deal with the aggression without making her afraid of me?
I don't recall the age of your pup - It's best you don't play tug with a pup until after their 6 mo. birthday. It tends to make them aggressive! :huh:
 

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You did not say how old your pup is--but ,I havefound that playing tug seemed to enhance agressive behavior--and really just confused the dog--they get excited and become protective of the object. Wouldn't you!!!? I would just try lots of praise and treats and maybe increase the walks--if she is young just a few minutes several times a day with a soft harness. Also how often are you feeding--a hungry dog can get irritable-I found that 3 times a day worked wonders and also I made a big fuss when it was dinner time! Good luck and let us hear from you.
 

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Mine growled too when playing tug a war. So I stopped it and I had to tell all visitors not to do it. It is the most common thing people do I noticed. I just say no to him when he nips (i dont really mind the little growl) and immediately lift my hands. I have to give him a command. When I stop and he still does not let go of the toy, I stand up and then he drops the toy so I won't leave. or you can just walk away. I am setting the rules, it just takes time.may be harder when you have more than one puppy. I read to correct them if they put teeth on. Some times I just have to walk away and start over after he stops playing with the toy. Now he will drop it in front of me and bark for me to play again. a lot depends on her age.
 

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I think it might be worthwhile to invest in private lessons with a trainer at this stage while she is still a puppy. If it were me, I would feel more comfortable knowing that I was training the right things now and for the long term. Good luck!
 

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Bandit my shih tzu was aggressive when I first got him home. He didn't have all his shots so I couldn't take him to a trainer so I called a trainer and this is what she told me. Do Not play tug of war and if u do which she doesn't recommend you always have to win because the dog is try to be dominant and if you want something from the dog you should not be afraid to take it away because you need to show the dog you are in charge . She also told me dogs learn better from positive praise vs. Negative. Don't ever hit your dog. I took all her advice and Bandit is no longer aggressive. Hope this help .
 

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I don't recall the age of your pup - It's best you don't play tug with a pup until after their 6 mo. birthday. It tends to make them aggressive! :huh:
I completely disagree - Luna plays tug-of-war all the time and has since she was little. She growls and nips in a very playful way - her teeth may touch our hand but NEVER hard (she has a very soft mouth). Playing tug-of-war is actually very valuable in helping timid puppies to come out of their shells and learn how to play.

I do agree that you shouldn't give it to her when she growls - I would take it away or start playing a different game. You letting go reinforces that she growls and she gets what she wants... the toy all to herself. I would distract her with another game if she starts growling or end the game by taking the toy away.

There is a MASSIVE difference between play growling and AGGRESSION.

To girlygirls - how old is your pup? how long has she been doing this? Is she nipping in a playful way?

Alot of young puppies growl and nip and get over excited - it's part of being a puppy. They should learn however not to nip hard and what is acceptable behavior in regards to growling. Growling and Nipping is not aggression in a young puppy - they are playing, learning the boundaries etc.

I have found that if a puppy is nippy and it hurts the best way to teach them to use a soft mouth or that biting is unacceptable is to yelp (try and aim for a puppy in pain yelp), then turn around (or face away) from the puppy and ignore them - you are ending the game and attention from you when they bite or growl. Do not growl back at the dog, hit the dog etc these all reinforce any aggression or make the dog scared.

When the puppy plays without nipping or growling - the way you want - praise them and give them treats.

Do not let playing get to the point where the puppy is overexcited and starts to growl or nip hard.

Of course - there are other opinions and people with more dog training knowledge than me - JMM in particular. I look forward to seeing their responses :thumbsup:
 

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Just wanted to add - that Luna even growls when you take the ball from her mouth - but this is more of a "grrr lets keep playing I'm so excited" growl than I "oi get off me and leave me alone or I will bite you" growl.

I have only heard an aggressive/dominant growl from Luna once and that was when she decided to tell a puppy off for jumping on her when she didn't like it.
 

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I completely disagree - Luna plays tug-of-war all the time and has since she was little. She growls and nips in a very playful way - her teeth may touch our hand but NEVER hard (she has a very soft mouth). Playing tug-of-war is actually very valuable in helping timid puppies to come out of their shells and learn how to play.

I do agree that you shouldn't give it to her when she growls - I would take it away or start playing a different game. You letting go reinforces that she growls and she gets what she wants... the toy all to herself. I would distract her with another game if she starts growling or end the game by taking the toy away.

There is a MASSIVE difference between play growling and AGGRESSION.

To girlygirls - how old is your pup? how long has she been doing this? Is she nipping in a playful way?

Alot of young puppies growl and nip and get over excited - it's part of being a puppy. They should learn however not to nip hard and what is acceptable behavior in regards to growling. Growling and Nipping is not aggression in a young puppy - they are playing, learning the boundaries etc.

I have found that if a puppy is nippy and it hurts the best way to teach them to use a soft mouth or that biting is unacceptable is to yelp (try and aim for a puppy in pain yelp), then turn around (or face away) from the puppy and ignore them - you are ending the game and attention from you when they bite or growl. Do not growl back at the dog, hit the dog etc these all reinforce any aggression or make the dog scared.

When the puppy plays without nipping or growling - the way you want - praise them and give them treats.

Do not let playing get to the point where the puppy is overexcited and starts to growl or nip hard.

Of course - there are other opinions and people with more dog training knowledge than me - JMM in particular. I look forward to seeing their responses :thumbsup:
I'm not going to get into a whizzing contest with you. Since I lived in rural Massachusetts and a trainer was purely a concept, I bought a breed specific book written by a highly esteemed breeder here in the U.S. She clearly stated not to play tug-o-war with a pup before they turned 6 mo. for the very reason I stated. Six months is still a young pup. Every pup is very much an individual - believe me, Star didn't need any coaxing to be more confident for he was the litter bully! :HistericalSmiley:
 

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Opps I didn't really direct the "disagreeing" at you in particular (though i did quote) - everyone so far had said "no no tug-a-war is bad"...

As I said everyone has their own opinions - including breeders, book authors and trainers.

I think tug-of-war is a valid game for most dogs - depending on temperament- if done in the correct way.

And it is really really rare to have an aggressive puppy - alot of people wrongly interpret growling or nipping (in puppies... when they are playing) as aggression. Growling and nipping is a natural part of puppy development - it's the way they learn how to interact.

Most puppies if they think they are hurting their owner/sibling during a play session will back off and use a softer mouth next time.

Tug-of-war may not be okay for some dogs and some situations but to say that it causes puppies to be aggressive doesn't follow.

I think it's funny when Luna play growls and I certainly wouldn't tolerate if she did a real growl at me. The point is that I am aware that there are 3 levels of growling/biting - the play growl/bite, the fear growl/bite and the aggression growl/bite. All are different - however rarely do you see true aggression in a puppy.
 

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In my experience with my dh playng tug a war and fetch with Rocky since he was a very small pup.... He growls the whole time he's tugging on the toy (not my dh, the dog):HistericalSmiley:Rocky is not at all an agressive dog, does get excited when playing, but he uses his voice a lot such as soft growls to talk to me. He will come into the computer room and sit by me staring and growling, which means get up and take me out to potty. He doesn't nip anymore, but used to when he was younger, however they were tiny nips that didn't hurt at all. He has never came close to hurting us or any of my grandchildren. He loves everyone.


Opps I didn't really direct the "disagreeing" at you in particular (though i did quote) - everyone so far had said "no no tug-a-war is bad"...

As I said everyone has their own opinions - including breeders, book authors and trainers.

I think tug-of-war is a valid game for most dogs - depending on temperament- if done in the correct way.

And it is really really rare to have an aggressive puppy - alot of people wrongly interpret growling or nipping (in puppies... when they are playing) as aggression. Growling and nipping is a natural part of puppy development - it's the way they learn how to interact.

Most puppies if they think they are hurting their owner/sibling during a play session will back off and use a softer mouth next time.

Tug-of-war may not be okay for some dogs and some situations but to say that it causes puppies to be aggressive doesn't follow.

I think it's funny when Luna play growls and I certainly wouldn't tolerate if she did a real growl at me. The point is that I am aware that there are 3 levels of growling/biting - the play growl/bite, the fear growl/bite and the aggression growl/bite. All are different - however rarely do you see true aggression in a puppy.
 

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I completely disagree - Luna plays tug-of-war all the time and has since she was little. She growls and nips in a very playful way - her teeth may touch our hand but NEVER hard (she has a very soft mouth). Playing tug-of-war is actually very valuable in helping timid puppies to come out of their shells and learn how to play.

I do agree that you shouldn't give it to her when she growls - I would take it away or start playing a different game. You letting go reinforces that she growls and she gets what she wants... the toy all to herself. I would distract her with another game if she starts growling or end the game by taking the toy away.

There is a MASSIVE difference between play growling and AGGRESSION.

To girlygirls - how old is your pup? how long has she been doing this? Is she nipping in a playful way?

Alot of young puppies growl and nip and get over excited - it's part of being a puppy. They should learn however not to nip hard and what is acceptable behavior in regards to growling. Growling and Nipping is not aggression in a young puppy - they are playing, learning the boundaries etc.

I have found that if a puppy is nippy and it hurts the best way to teach them to use a soft mouth or that biting is unacceptable is to yelp (try and aim for a puppy in pain yelp), then turn around (or face away) from the puppy and ignore them - you are ending the game and attention from you when they bite or growl. Do not growl back at the dog, hit the dog etc these all reinforce any aggression or make the dog scared.

When the puppy plays without nipping or growling - the way you want - praise them and give them treats.

Do not let playing get to the point where the puppy is overexcited and starts to growl or nip hard.

Of course - there are other opinions and people with more dog training knowledge than me - JMM in particular. I look forward to seeing their responses :thumbsup:

She is 14 weeks old now. I've had her for a week and a half. She is very friendly but she is a bit strong willed when she plays. She plays with her sister (my mom's dog) and is always the dominate one. When she play bites gently I say kisses and she will lick most of the time. However there were a few times that she like got mad and did more of a nasty mean bite. I did say "ouch" and turn away. She she came over to me in a quiet manner, I put my hand by her mouth and she gave kisses. She is learning. As for the tug o war she plays this with her sister all the time and she growls. If I play with her and she growls I don't know if it's play or to be aggressive. She loves to play this. Sometimes she has a really tight hold on the toy. I guess I can try and get it from her but I'm afraid it might hurt her teeth.
 

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Opps I didn't really direct the "disagreeing" at you in particular (though i did quote) - everyone so far had said "no no tug-a-war is bad"...

As I said everyone has their own opinions - including breeders, book authors and trainers.

I think tug-of-war is a valid game for most dogs - depending on temperament- if done in the correct way.

And it is really really rare to have an aggressive puppy - alot of people wrongly interpret growling or nipping (in puppies... when they are playing) as aggression. Growling and nipping is a natural part of puppy development - it's the way they learn how to interact.

Most puppies if they think they are hurting their owner/sibling during a play session will back off and use a softer mouth next time.

Tug-of-war may not be okay for some dogs and some situations but to say that it causes puppies to be aggressive doesn't follow.

I think it's funny when Luna play growls and I certainly wouldn't tolerate if she did a real growl at me. The point is that I am aware that there are 3 levels of growling/biting - the play growl/bite, the fear growl/bite and the aggression growl/bite. All are different - however rarely do you see true aggression in a puppy.
Now that I think of it, her growl when we play is the same as when she is playing with her sister. The nasty one has happened two times when she actually like bit me to say "no" leave me alone.
 

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Now that I think of it, her growl when we play is the same as when she is playing with her sister. The nasty one has happened two times when she actually like bit me to say "no" leave me alone.
Okay well there we have it - most of the time her growling is "play" and not related to aggression. Growling in a "play" way is fine imo.

She is very young - her nipping hard because she got "mad"... to me that could be one of 2 things:
(1) You encroached into her bed/personal space and she felt threatened... She should have her own place i.e. her bed where you don't bother her. I would have to know more about the situation...
(2) She got overexcited and "forgot" to use a soft mouth - this is very common in puppies and she will learn! It's not aggression - it's like a young child just getting really really excited and not being able to stop doing something they know is naughty.

The times when she has growled to tell you to leave her alone - could you explain what happened a little more? I.e. was she in her kennel/bed or sleeping?

Again 14 week is VERY VERY young - she is a baby. It sounds like you have the right idea when she nips to hard - stopping play/turning around and ignoring her.

Luna when she is playing looks like a shark however once your hand gets close she immediately starts licking :wub: If I work her up too much she does get overexcited even at 3 years and might nip alittle harder i.e. if my hand is under a blanket. I just end the game. She is never being "nasty" or trying to hurt someone - dog skin is just alot thicker than human skin so she has to learn what is too hard for us in compared to her sister!
 

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Forgot to mention...

Puppies need a lot of rest time, off alone to sleep. It's best to have set times for play, then they go sleep for awhile. Constant play and activity can/will stress out a pup to total exhaustion. :huh:
 

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Okay well there we have it - most of the time her growling is "play" and not related to aggression. Growling in a "play" way is fine imo.

She is very young - her nipping hard because she got "mad"... to me that could be one of 2 things:
(1) You encroached into her bed/personal space and she felt threatened... She should have her own place i.e. her bed where you don't bother her. I would have to know more about the situation...
(2) She got overexcited and "forgot" to use a soft mouth - this is very common in puppies and she will learn! It's not aggression - it's like a young child just getting really really excited and not being able to stop doing something they know is naughty.

The times when she has growled to tell you to leave her alone - could you explain what happened a little more? I.e. was she in her kennel/bed or sleeping?

Again 14 week is VERY VERY young - she is a baby. It sounds like you have the right idea when she nips to hard - stopping play/turning around and ignoring her.

Luna when she is playing looks like a shark however once your hand gets close she immediately starts licking :wub: If I work her up too much she does get overexcited even at 3 years and might nip alittle harder i.e. if my hand is under a blanket. I just end the game. She is never being "nasty" or trying to hurt someone - dog skin is just alot thicker than human skin so she has to learn what is too hard for us in compared to her sister!

I was brushing her two times and the other time I tried to take away something she was chewing on that she shouldn't have. I always praise her for good behavior and give her treats while grooming. She is getting better. I know it was because I was on her back legs tail area. That area is not as groomed since it's very hard to access.

She does get a lot of sleep. We are at work and school all day from 9 - 4. She is used to being at home in her x-pen as the breeder worked too.
 

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I was brushing her two times and the other time I tried to take away something she was chewing on that she shouldn't have. I always praise her for good behavior and give her treats while grooming. She is getting better. I know it was because I was on her back legs tail area. That area is not as groomed since it's very hard to access.

She does get a lot of sleep. We are at work and school all day from 9 - 4. She is used to being at home in her x-pen as the breeder worked too.
Start training her to lie on her back in your lap. Caress her face, and a little message to relax her. Brush her chest lightly, and move to her legs. If you continue to do this on a daily basis, she'll get used to it. Eventually the difficulty you had grooming her legs will be a distant memory. :thumbsup:
 

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Start training her to lie on her back in your lap. Caress her face, and a little message to relax her. Brush her chest lightly, and move to her legs. If you continue to do this on a daily basis, she'll get used to it. Eventually the difficulty you had grooming her legs will be a distant memory. :thumbsup:

I am seeing a difference in the last week. When I brush her legs and back area. I talk in a soft sweet voice saying good girl, gentle and praise her. I stop after each leg and give her a very small piece of a treat. She is starting to put her head down when I do her nose for her tearing etc... I know that she only did what she did bec. it hurt when I brushed her. I don't it was in defense. I'm just trying to figure things out.

I'm also trying to figure out the barking and chewing thing. I know to replace the bark and chewing with a toy and distract them but it's very hard to do that every minute. LOL

We are doing fine. It's just new to us and we are all learning so I tend to ask all of you a lot of questions.
 
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