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I was giving my dog a treat, and she took it and went to her couch to eat it... it looked like she was trying to swallow it (it was too big) so I went towards her to try and break the pieces for her. When I put my hand towards her mouth, she started growling then bit me, clamping her mouth on my finger. She has never aggressively bit me before (she's almost 6 months now).

How do I correct this behavior??!!? I am still in shock that she bit me. Do I just not provoke her again in that way or do I need to fix it asap? Is this really common or do I have a huge problem in my hands?
 

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First ... do not panic... this is fixable. I have been in your situation and was freaked out so I know how you feel. I have learned so much since then and hope I can share a little bit of it.

One thing that has taught me how dogs behave is seeing my two together. Catcher is the alpha. If Kallie has something he wants, he just takes it from her and she does not challenge him. However, if she tries to take something from him, he snaps and snarls at her.

So, your sweet little puppy thinks she is alpha to you and you need to do change her perception. IMHO this is the key to a wonderful relationship with your baby. Back in l990 when I got my first Maltese, Rosebud, I didn't know anything about being alpha and Rosebud became alpha and stayed that way all her life. I am alpha over K & C and it makes a world of difference. You will need to establish yourself as alpha to avoid similar biting incidents for the rest of your dog's life.

There are others on here who can probably offer some hints on how to establish yourself but here are some that come to mind. There are some books that disagree with the first one and others agree but I know that Catcher always tries to go out in front of Kallie and I think there is validity to it.

1. When going through door, you go first. My guys actually wait for me to go first, yet when K & C are going out the door to the patio, Catcher makes sure he is first before she goes.

2. Before giving him his food or a treat, have him sit first.

3. Before petting him, have him sit first.

4. Eat your meals before feeding him. Let him see you eat first. The alpha always eats first.

5. If he is sleeping on the bed, have him sleep elsewhere in your room until you have established yourself as alpha.

6. Practice giving him a bone or toy and then take it away and praise him if he lets you take it and then give it back so he will learn that you take away but give back, too.

IMHO showing your dog you are alpha can be subtle. Sometimes I swear I think it is an attitude of confidence as much as anything. I've read that a dog is happier to have you as alpha but if there is no alpha in the house, the dog will assume the role out of necessity.

If you are alpha, your baby will let you take anything out of her mouth. But still, don't startle her. When I want to take something from K's or C's mouth I will tell them to drop it and talk to them in a way that they know what I am going to do because I do it the same way every time.

If after a while, you don't see an improvement, you may want to get a trainer to come to your home so they can see how you interact with her. Also, you should start some obedience classes.

She is young enough that this behavior can be changed before it becomes a habit but it'll take a little work on your part.

Best of luck to you!
 

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You need to take care of this ASAP.

K/C I was used to dogs and still made the mistake to put my hand in Alex's crate to take out a bone in his mouth when he was a baby. I just forgot it's a NEW dog.
He snapped and bit me. The instant he snapped I yelled at him so loud that he got the scare of his life. He understood at that moment who was ALPHA. I did not had to use n° 1 to 5. But I did n° 6. And another thing, don't show them that you are afraid. Don't be, snap back.
I am careful too now if I want to take something out of his mouth. If he has something that he really wants to keep he growls but does not bite.
This afternoon I took a look at his paw because he was licking it (he does not like to show it when he does that), He gave me that "nice smile" you know but he did not dare bite. I told him he does not need to show me his teeth, I know they are nice
 

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Punishing or "correcting" a dog for biting is ineffective. The "alpha roll" of putting the dog on its back does not change this type of behavior. I've seen video of the dog submitting a few times and then biting the "trainer" in the face. A true alpha never uses force to demonstrate their position. You need to treat the root of the problem which is your relationship.

Start NILIF/Boot camp type program. This means restricted freedom, taking priveleges (like couch and bed) away, and instituting some rules like sitting/doing a trick before any attention. I also like to put all toys up other than a few boring chews and I initiate and end play with the toy of my choice.

I really like this link:
http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/dance.html

Get into a positive-based (like clicker training) obedience class. Obedience is a great way to build your relationship with your dog.

Specifically for resource guarding, start playing the trading game. Have a toy and treat and trade things (I take the toy, you get a treat, I take the chew, you get a treat - always give the first thing back). Hand feed your dog. If your dog is eating out of its bowl, walk by and throw really yummy treats in. Slowly work up to walking closer and closer until you can put your hand in the bowl to deposit the treat. That will take quite a bit of time. Teach your dog an out command to drop whatever is in their mouth.

Your dog did not like what you were doing and took control of the situation from you. The dog decided it did not like something, it bit, it succeeded.
 

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Originally posted by chloeandj@Jul 13 2005, 11:38 PM
This is just my experience of what has worked for us. I have a feisty little yorkie, 6 1/2 months old now. She bit my son over a greenie. My son didn't even touch it, he was playing too close to her on the floor and she felt he was going to take it away.  The only thing that has worked on her, and it worked right away, is flipping her on her back and holding her down until she was done squirming and growling. I yelled at her very loudly "NO! NO! NO!" <div align="right">index.php?act=findpost&pid=81155
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I have never seen a training book that recommends yelling as being an effective training technique. Also, from what I have read, the alpha roll is out of favor with reputable trainers.

Google "alpha roll" and there are lots of articles about it. From what I have read, if your Yorkie bit your son, I don't think the alpha roll is going to stop it in the long run. Here is what JMM posted on another thread when someone asked about the alpha roll.

Originally posted by JMM@Jan 11 2005, 10:31 PM
The alpha roll is not effective and the wolf researcher who originally published on it found that his initial observation was wrong. I have seen video of a trainer who does it to a Dobie. The dog submits the first few times and then bites him in the face.

The alpha never has to use physical force to assert his or herself. Submissive dogs actually roll over on their own in the presense of the alpha. The physical stuff is what you see from the lower dogs who are trying to assert themselves in the middle of the pack when they are insecure about their position.

The BEST ever book for a new puppy owner is Jean Donaldson's The Culture Clash. It has a nice, simple explanation of learning theory and explains lots of misconceptions about training dogs. She also has step by step for training basic behaviors.

Relationship building changes like Nothing in Life is Free will give you better results and make life a lot more pleasant.
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I was going to post about this same topic today! :excl: Abbey is generally a very sweet puppy (she's 6 months), but for the last week she has been being very mean towards the kids. She is fine with me (I think she has established me as alpha) but everytime the kids try to hold her she goes crazy and tries to bite them. She did bite my 4 year old last night and punctured through her skin!
She used to be so good ~ my 4 year old used to carry her like a baby, put her in her baby stroller and stroll her around, etc. My oldest daughter does alot to help out with Abbey ~ she takes her out to potty, feeds her, has her do tricks and gives her treats, trying to teach her to lead (my daughter is going to show her at our local fair next month), brushes her hair, etc. I even stood beside my daughter last night and put her in my daughter's arms and tried to tell her NO, Abbey~ Be Nice!! but I'd always have to take her out of my daughter's arms. My daughter has never done anything to hurt or scare Abbey so I don't know what's up with that!
But I know it has to stop!

Any suggestions would be great! I'm going to look into the clicker thing.
 

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Originally posted by Abbey@Jul 14 2005, 07:26 AM
I was going to post about this same topic today!  :excl:  Abbey is generally a very sweet puppy (she's 6 months), but for the last week she has been being very mean towards the kids.  She is fine with me (I think she has established me as alpha) but everytime the kids try to hold her she goes crazy and tries to bite them.  She did bite my 4 year old last night and punctured through her skin! 
  She used to be so good ~ my 4 year old used to carry her like a baby, put her in her baby stroller and stroll her around, etc.  My oldest daughter does alot to help out with Abbey ~ she takes her out to potty, feeds her, has her do tricks and gives her treats, trying to teach her to lead (my daughter is going to show her at our local fair next month), brushes her hair, etc.  I even stood beside my daughter last night and put her in my daughter's arms and tried to tell her NO, Abbey~ Be Nice!!  but I'd always have to take her out of my daughter's arms.  My daughter has never done anything to hurt or scare Abbey so I don't know what's up with that! 
But I know it has to stop!

Any suggestions would be great!  I'm going to look into the clicker thing.
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My first question is does Abbey have some way to tell the girls she wants to be left alone without growling or biting? Does she have a crate or a bed she can go to where the girls are not allowed to touch her?

Dogs are not dolls or toys. Abbey may be very tolerant of playing with the kids for the most part, but most dogs are not going to put up with that type of attention constantly. From your brief paragraph, it sounds like Abbey may be frustrated with the constant attention and does not have a way to avoid it safely.

It is GREAT that your girls help take care of her. I would have both girls do a short training session with her daily and let them each hand feed her a meal every day. Ideally, an obedience class that is family oriented would go a long way into helping the girls learn how Abbey understands things. It will also help establish the girls as above Abbey in the pack order.

In general, I think this situation would benefit from professional help with a trainer who can watch you, the girls, and Abbey interact. Being able to see Abbey's reactions and the girls' body language can go a long way to changing simple things that will help everybody get along. A private consult with a trainer experienced in toy breeds and behavior issues or a veterinary behaviorist would be ideal.
 

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Like I said, it's what has worked for us. It has worked very well and instantly. We already practice the other types of training methods. By the way I have never yelled at my maltese. They are well trained. It's the yorkie that gives me a run for my money. Many yorkie owners agree with the methods I have used on her, and actually gave me some of the advice.

Tinkerbell is not aggressive or alpha in any other way. Often rolls right over for a belly rub to me and other dogs.

Good luck to you!
 

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Originally posted by Abbey@Jul 14 2005, 07:26 AM
I was going to post about this same topic today!  :excl:  Abbey is generally a very sweet puppy (she's 6 months), but for the last week she has been being very mean towards the kids.  She is fine with me (I think she has established me as alpha) but everytime the kids try to hold her she goes crazy and tries to bite them.  She did bite my 4 year old last night and punctured through her skin! 
  She used to be so good ~ my 4 year old used to carry her like a baby, put her in her baby stroller and stroll her around, etc.  My oldest daughter does alot to help out with Abbey ~ she takes her out to potty, feeds her, has her do tricks and gives her treats, trying to teach her to lead (my daughter is going to show her at our local fair next month), brushes her hair, etc.  I even stood beside my daughter last night and put her in my daughter's arms and tried to tell her NO, Abbey~ Be Nice!!  but I'd always have to take her out of my daughter's arms.  My daughter has never done anything to hurt or scare Abbey so I don't know what's up with that! 
But I know it has to stop!

Any suggestions would be great!  I'm going to look into the clicker thing.
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I can't help but think that something must have happened while you were not looking. Maybe she was handled too roughly or almost dropped? All of my dogs absolutely love my children. The only incident we had was with the greenie. Although my children are not allowed to hold them or put them in a stroller. They play on the floor with a ball and toys, that's it. My children are 4 and 7. Maybe your dog gets tired of playing and they won't let her go?
 

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I will try some of your suggestions. I picked info from vet on obedience classes, so I will look into this. I can't seem to figure this one out. It's like a flick of a switch. The girls are never with her alone 'cause wherever I'm at so is Abbey!
She does have a crate that is open all day but rarely goes in and girls know if she is in there they are not to bother her. Abbey bothers them more than they bother her!
She always wants their attention! She wants to play with them but it seems like she doesn't want them to pick her up anymore. She'll let me but not them. Which is bad because Abbey still does not do steps so we have to carry her down and up the steps to go potty, this is where my oldest daughter really helps out. Do you think the spray bottle thing would work in this situation?
 

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Originally posted by Abbey@Jul 14 2005, 01:31 PM
I will try some of your suggestions.  I picked info from vet on obedience classes, so I will look into this. I can't seem to figure this one out.  It's like a flick of a switch.  The girls are never with her alone 'cause wherever I'm at so is Abbey! 
She does have a crate that is open all day but rarely goes in and girls know if she is in there they are not to bother her.  Abbey bothers them more than they bother her! 
She always wants their attention!  She wants to play with them but it seems like she doesn't want them to pick her up anymore.  She'll let me but not them.  Which is bad because Abbey still does not do steps so we have to carry her down and up the steps to go potty, this is where my oldest daughter really helps out.  Do you think the spray bottle thing would work in this situation?
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Could the way they are holding her be hurting her in some way? It seems if she doesn't mind your holding her but does mind them doing so, that perhaps there is something about the way they are doing it that is uncomfortable, painful, etc.......
 

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I remember Chanel barked at me once when I reached for her food while she was chewing on it...freaked me out, so whenever I want something that is in her mouth, I tell her "no" and she drops it. She doesn't try to lunge at me either. But I have definitely worked on making sure that she knows that I am her boss!


~Elegant
 

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My one incident with Tav happened maybe a month after he started sleeping with us in the "big bed" at night. Before that he slept in his bed in his ex-pen. We were all in bed for the evening and I had a cold at the time. I brought some kleenex into the room, and meant to put it on the table beside me but forgot it on the bed instead. About five minutes after lights out I heard Tavish chewing on something and for a minute I couldn't figure out what it was because we had no food in the bed. Then it hit me... my kleenex!! So I said, "Oh, Tav, come on... hand it over." Kleenex and paper towel are Tav's favourite things in the whole world, but I had never had a problem taking either away from him before, so I wasn't worried this evening either. As I reached for it and began to take it away, he growled and snapped at me. He didn't bite me. I was shocked and amazed! And to tell you the truth a bit upset and hurt as well. But I knew this was something that had to be dealt with, so I got out of bed, turned on the light and scooped him up. He went right downstairs to his ex-pen and had to spend the rest of the night in his bed all alone. I haven't had any sort of a problem since, and he cuddles me every night in the big bed. I do however, trade with him now if I see he has something I need to get. He also has learned the drop it command. I also agree with the other posters and do not advocate using the alpha roll.
 

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Thanks everyone for replying. I thought I had the alpha roll established but obviously not. I'm working on a lot of the stuff and I'll be putting her in obedience class (after she gets spayed) and hopefully everything will work out.
 
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