Help, my puppy is getting too aggressive.
Please help, I have a 3 month old Aussie, German Shep, and Timberwolf mix. She is very sweet but she has started doing more aggressive things this week, she has started biting at my kids and barking and growling at me or anyone who tries to tell her its not ok. We got her at 5 weeks, I know that's too young, but she was a gift for my birthday. I've tried everything from wrapping my hand around her muzzle and saying NO, to even a water bottle at other peoples suggestion. We've tried the yelping thing. My brother says its because she is part wolf. We've been very patient and understanding that she is a puppy and will grow out of it but she's started to hurt my kids, not just play biting anymore.
on Sep 11th 2009
in Behavior & Training
- This question is closed.
Give more details of the events surrounding her biting. What methods do you use to "tell her it's not okay"? If a dog gets aggressive, it's almost always because the owner neglected to go about training and socializing her correctly. Genetics has little to do with it.
Have you tried a reward-based approach? Rewarding her for the right behaviors?
There are two categories of punishment: Positive punishment, and negative punishment. Positive punishment is adding something into the picture as a correction, such as a slap, a shock collar, etc. Negative punishment is correcting a behavior by taking away the thing that the dog desires until he does the desired behavior.
This is an excellent website on positive reinforcement training:
This site contains excellent articles, but requires (free) registration:
It mostly sounds like you've gone about correcting and rewarding her the wrong way, perhaps even spoiled her.
Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011) answered on Sep 11th.
The key to most behavior problems is approaching things using the dog's natural instincts. Dogs see all the people and dogs in the household as a pack with each having their own rank in the pack and a top dog. Life is much easier if the 2 legged pack members outrank the 4 legged ones. You can learn to play the role of top dog by reading some books or going to a good obedience class. A good obedience class or book is about you being top dog, not about rewarding standard commands with a treat. Start at www.dogsbestfriend.com For more on being top dog, see www.dogbreedinfo.com.
Young Labs, which I know best, and other puppies tend to very bad about biting. You see a litter of them, and all the ones that are awake are biting another one or themselves. I am not even sure they realize that when they are alone, if they quit biting, they would quit being bitten. At 3 to 4 months they are getting their adult teeth, and it seems they spend every waking moment biting or chewing. One thing you can do at that stage is to knot and wet a piece of cloth. Then freeze it. The cooling will soothe the gums. Only let the puppy have it when you are there to watch it. I maintain a Lab's favorite chew toy is another Lab. Otherwise they settle for any person they can. They keep hoping to find one that won't yelp, jerk their hand away, and leave.
You just have to keep on correcting them, hundreds of times, not dozens. Provide sturdy, safe toys such as Kongs and Nylabones. Avoid things they can chew pieces off and choke on them. Keep them away from electrical cords. Crates are essential for most young Labs and other dogs.
The pet stores are full of toys that many dogs will quickly chew up into pieces they could choke on or cause intestinal blockages. If you are not there to watch, stick to sturdy stuff such as Nylabones and Kongs. Keep a close eye on chew toys and quickly discard anything that is coming apart in pieces. Rawhide is especially bad because it swells after being swallowed. I don't trust any of the consumable chews. The dogs just gnaw them down to a dangerous size too quickly. These problems are the worst with, but not limited to, large, aggressive chewers such as Labs.
Aster answered on 9/11/09. Helpful? / 0
Wolves are not aggressive, they are shy and timid. It is most likely a puppy stage combined with your kids not knowing how to effectively correct your puppy.
It would be good if the entire family could meet with a trainer to discuss the best way to handle your concerns. If that is not possible, do some research and choose a method that stresses positive reinforcement.
Get everyone on board and give it at least 30 days of concerted effort. Part of the confusion might be caused by trying too many different techniques or different people using conflicting training methods.
There are many ways to train dogs that work, but they all rely on the trainer being consistent. If you try one method today and a different one tomorrow, the poor puppy will be totally confused and not learn anything.
Fritz answered on 9/11/09. Helpful? / 1
Stop with the physical corrections. Putting your hand around her muzzle isn't helping her one bit and I don't think squirting her with water is helpful either. The less said to her the better. Dogs understand body language better than they understand words.
You need to bring a trainer in who uses positive reinforcement methods.
She is only 3 months old so when she's biting at the kids and the kids yell she most likely thinks they're joining in on it. It engages her. Make sure the kids stop saying "NO!" to her and aren't hitting her. That'll backfire for sure.
You've got lots of other methods to use as punishment, but you need to learn how to use them.
A good trainer will get you started or get her enrolled in a puppy class.
The more positive method you use to modify her behavior, the better outcome you're going to have. And I'm not just blowing smoke here.
But, just to reiterate, putting your hands around her muzzle and scolding her--not a good idea at all.
She is not a puppy, she is a cub. If at 3 month old your Wolf mix is too much to handle, you need to rehome her with an experienced hybrid handler. Wolf and wolf mix need extremely consistant and confident masters or they will NOT mind. Don't risk you kids safety or your own.
Pepper answered on 9/11/09. Helpful? / 0
I have to agree with the above poster. Wolves are timid of humans in the wild but mixed with dog they no longer have that fear and really are horrible with kids. I would find someone to take it that can deal with hybrids. When it gets older if not trained properly it will seriously hurt someone.
Kitana answered on 9/11/09. Helpful? / 0