Why is my dog suddenly showing some signs of aggression (nipping, biting, growling, jumping) towards us?

My boyfriend and I adopted our dog one month ago. She has always had lots of energy and we've been giving her more exercise by taking longer walks with a backpack on her and playing catch, both daily. For the first 3 weeks, her behavior was great. She'd do a little bit of nipping during play and we would tell her "no bite" and stop playing with her.

The past week or so, she seems to have more energy or maybe she's frustrated?? She seems to always be up and moving around; never rests or just lays down and watches us like she used to.

For the past few days, she has repeatedly jumped, barked, tried to bite and growled at my boyfriend and I. We have been grabbing her collar and asking her to lay down (which she does) and lay on her side to be submissive. We hold her there for a minute or two and then try to re-direct her to her kong, nylabone, etc. She's still doing it and has been nipping the back of my legs as I walk away.

Would appreciate any advice.We're not giving up on her!

Asked by Member 742345 on Sep 25th 2008 Tagged barking, nipping, dominance, growling in Aggression
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It seems as though you have started out right with her, but somewhere along the way, something went wrong. At some point, you didn't make it perfectly clear to her that you are her leader, because the behavior you are describing is something that a dog would do to another member of it's litter, so she is treating you and your boyfriend as her littermates, and this is unacceptable. Begin by keeping her on a leash when you have her in the home. This will allow you to have more control of her, and keep her from chasing you, or running away if you go to discipline her. When she nips at you, do you make any contact with her? Or do you just tell her no? If you are not touching her in any way, then you aren't really stopping the behavior. The dog won't understand the meaning of 'no' unless you give it meaning. When she nips or bites at you, or does ANY unwanted behavior, touch her in the neck or in the flank and THEN tell her no. The touch simulates another dog's bite, and is what a pack leader, or even their mother, would do to them if they were doing something that was unwanted. If you have the leash on her, you can also pull on the leash and tell her 'no' as well. Make her lay down, not sit. Sitting is okay and works for some dogs, but with a dog like yours that has the amount of energy you say, sitting can actually create a lunging effect, and she will begin to jump at you. Making her lay down forces her to submit to what you want, and forces her brain to relax in the process. You are doing right by exercising her everyday, but make sure that you re-enforce the rules in the home. Keeping her on a leash will help you gain control quicker because she cannot escape you or your boyfriend. Please message me if you need more help.

Sergeant answered on 9/25/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

~Emma~ RL1

I would not physically ask any dog to lay down to "submit" to you. That's just asking for trouble. If that would work, the dog should offer the action to you, not have you perform the action.

Honeymoon is over. If it is a sudden change, try the vet. Make sure there is nothing going on physically with her. Ask the shelter/rescue if they have or could suggest a behaviorist. Even a couple of visits could be of huge help to you.

Look into N.I.L.I.F. (nothing in life is free).

Your dog needs you to be the Teacher and Protector.

~Emma~ RL1 answered on 9/25/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer

Mocha Bear (Mokie), VGG, KPA,

I disagree with the suggestion of a conditioned punisher.

What breed of dog do you have? How old is the dog?

It sounds as though you are giving her physical exercise, but what are you doing to tire out that brain of hers?

Suggestions include:

making her work for her food (positive training, kongs, tug a jugs, kibble hunts, tracking games, buster cubes, etc.)

Flirt pole: if her biting/nipping is motivated by her prey drive, giving an appropriate outlet for that drive is important. Google flirt pole for instructions on how to construct and use one.

Training: positive reinforcement training, in particular. The Behavior & Training forum on dogster is a valuable resource for all types of training advice, but for advice on positive reinforcement specifically, the best site is or

I would discontinue the alpha rolling. If it were working, the behavior would have stopped, right? It's obviously not working as you intended.

Mocha Bear (Mokie), VGG, KPA, answered on 10/2/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer