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Typical ACD Puppy Behavior, or Early Aggression?

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Member Since
12/29/2010
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 8, '14 3:47pm PST 
I have a 4 year old Australian Cattle Dog x Australian Shepherd mix who is a sweetheart and gets a long great with other dogs. I adopted her from her previous family when she was 1.5 years old.

I recently purchased an 8 week old purebred Australian Cattle Dog from a breeder who breeds AKC registered ACD's that are from conformation lines.

I have only had the pup for a week and already I am noticing some questionable behavior.

He gets in these weird, vocal moments where he goes nuts and is chasing and biting at my two older dogs. My 2 year old pointer is terrified of him, and my 4 year old cattle dog mix will snap at him to leave her alone.

Today I took him over to play with my friend's Siberian Husky puppy, and he started a fight with her 3 times. He is only 9 weeks old. I feel like this behavior is not normal for a 9 week old puppy. Isn't it too soon for a puppy to be showing signs of aggression towards other dogs? He will play nicely with her for awhile, but then he'll get carried away and start playing super rough until she snaps at him, and then they get into a fight. I've never seen a 9 week old puppy get into a fight (much less START ONE at that age).

I'm concerned that this could be the early stages of dog aggression, which is not uncommon for cattle dogs. Is there any kind of training or corrections I can implement to stop this kind of behavior? How should I respond when he tries to start a fight with another puppy? When he got into the first fight, I grabbed him by the scruff and lifted him up to hold him, but he struggled and tried to bite me in the process of me trying to hold him still. Eventually he stopped struggling when he realized I wasn't going to let him go.

I feel like this behavior is not acceptable for a 9 week old puppy. What should I do to correct him? Should I contact the breeder and tell her about his behavior? I doubt there is anything she can do about it - nothing on the contract says anything about returning a puppy for behavior issues. He's only 9 weeks old, do you think he'll grow out of this phase or will it get worse? If he ends up not getting a long with my other two dogs (despite proper training -- we've already started on basic obedience, but we may also need to get a behavior adjustment trainer) then I won't be able to keep him around because he'll end up fighting with my other two dogs when he's bigger. He'll end up being 50-55lbs and will be able to do some serious damage.

On the plus side, he is a great puppy and loves people. It's just his behavior towards other puppies at 9 weeks old that I find questionable. I've never had to deal with a situation like this before. I know how cattle dogs are, but is this really a common occurrence in NINE WEEK OLD puppies?

I want to do everything in my power to stop this behavior now before it spirals out of control.
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