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Struggling with new puppy


charity
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So, myself and my two kids got a puppy. My son, 13 is afraid of dogs and i thought bringing a small puppy into the house could help that. We had been thinking about it for ages, I did my research and thought we were ready. We were so excited! Well well well......

 

So I chose a cocker spaniel puppy . I bought her from a very nice and responsible breeder at 9 weeks. I met her parents and older siblings. All seemed like great dogs. She's now 11 weeks. I choose a puppy who was a 'middle of the road puppy'. In the litter of 8 pups she was not the shy quiet one but neither was she the hyper dominant one. She seemed playful yet calm, quiet but affectionate. The first few days everything was great. She was finding her feet, she was affectionate, happy and calm.

 

Two weeks later...she's a terror! I dont mind the mess, I dont mind the training, I don't mind the whining or yelping. But the big problem is that she bites...a lot. As she"s gotten more confident I'm realizing she is very headstrong. I give her chew toys but she still bites me. If we yelp (common internet advice) she ignores and keeps biting. If we walk away she runs and lunges after us. If I am very strong and dominant with her ( common advice also) she seems to become even more aggressive. If i put her to another room she scratches and whines very loudly. While being affectionate with me she will bare her teeth and go for my face.

 

Now she has a lovely side too. She is affectionate and intelligent. She sleeps a fair bit and is not a hyper puppy. Neither has she drawn blood so yes she is mostly controlling her bite force. However, the bites do hurt and she looks quite fieresome when she open her mouth. My daughter gets scared of her though she loves her. I'm not scared of her but i do am actually struggling with her. I can safely say she is more difficult then either of my kids ever were. The sad thing is that the more she behaves badly the more I start to dislike her. Im worried I've chosen a headstrong dominant dog that will be hard to handle when older. I'm worried my sons fear of dog's will be worsened. I'm ashamed to say I'm considering returning her to the breeder.

 

Okay, advice is welcomed, particulary if anyone has had a puppy who bites a lot!

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She's probably teething and it's painful for young dogs. Twist a wet towel and stick it in the freezer. Have a bunch of them and take them out throughout the day and let her chew on them. Be patient with them during this time. It's very uncomfortable for young dogs. Nipping or play biting is also common especially with puppies. Your kids have to learn to deflect and stand their ground. Have dog/puppy-appropriate toys for her to play with and make sure she goes on sufficient walks. You didn't talk about how you walk her. Visit your local store and look into resources for training. Go on the web and be prepared to invest the time for some classes and training. Most of it will be in training YOU so that you and your kids know how to handle her as she grows and establish a more secure bond. It should be based on trust and be translated into every level of command. You'll need to be trained to speak her language and for her to understand your language.

 

A common mistake is bringing home a dog expecting it to be therapy to a sick or ailing child or other person and expecting a dog (untrained) to make a human better. That's not how dogs work. If you're looking for more of a therapy dog, try getting her trained (with you) or look into a dog that is already trained and older.

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Hi Rose, thank you. Yes I've been giving her lots of chew toys. It works some of the time. I'll try to be even more consistent with that. She hasn't been for walks as shes not had all her vaccinations yet. I hope it'll help when she starts getting more exercise. I do have a garden though so she gets lots of of fresh air. My son is not sick in any way. He was threatened by a dog when he was 4 and he became fearful of dogs. I thought intoducing a small puppy to the house would show him how great and loving dogs could be.

 

I guess my question here is....is this (biting, growling, aggression when corrected) normal puppy behaviour?

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I got a puppy for a few reasons. Firstly, because my son would not have accepted an adult dog due to his fear. A puppy has that baby cute factor that I hoped he' take to. Secondly my daughter so badly wanted a puppy. I had said no for years. For myself I was uncomfortable getting an adult dog who may have not been socialized correctly.

 

If whats she's doing is normal puppy things then thats fine because she will outgrow it with consistency and discipline. But is it normal puppy things?

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It will help once she has all her vaccinations. As soon as you have the all clear from the vet and the go ahead, take her on walks. You're absolutely right not to socialize her or take her out yet until all her vaccinations are complete. Growling and aggression are not normal puppy behaviour. Your dog shouldn't be displaying signs of aggression especially at this age... I'm not sure what you'd term growling and aggression though. Are you sure you're not a bit overly sensitive? (not meant as insult, just wondering) I've seen puppies test themselves but I've never seen a puppy growl with hackles raised. I wouldn't expect a dog that age to know fear like that so early unless something went seriously wrong. I'd definitely speak to someone about this in your local area and look into training (once vaccines are done) if you feel this is an issue or something that you're afraid of becoming an issue in the near future.

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I got a puppy for a few reasons. Firstly, because my son would not have accepted an adult dog due to his fear. A puppy has that baby cute factor that I hoped he' take to. Secondly my daughter so badly wanted a puppy. I had said no for years. For myself I was uncomfortable getting an adult dog who may have not been socialized correctly.

 

If whats she's doing is normal puppy things then thats fine because she will outgrow it with consistency and discipline. But is it normal puppy things?

 

You should consider training, as it sounds like your first dog.

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Adult dogs are almost always better behaved than puppies. And there are small cutesy ones that would help with the fear.

 

Puppies are a LOT of work. Like toddler level of work. Yes, the behavior is normal. Yes, it’ll take probably about a year before the dog calms down. Which is why it’s imperative to get it trained right away. And your whole family needs to be involved in the training b

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It will help once she has all her vaccinations. As soon as you have the all clear from the vet and the go ahead, take her on walks. You're absolutely right not to socialize her or take her out yet until all her vaccinations are complete. Growling and aggression are not normal puppy behaviour. Your dog shouldn't be displaying signs of aggression especially at this age... I'm not sure what you'd term growling and aggression though. Are you sure you're not a bit overly sensitive? (not meant as insult, just wondering) I've seen puppies test themselves but I've never seen a puppy growl with hackles raised. I wouldn't expect a dog that age to know fear like that so early unless something went seriously wrong. I'd definitely speak to someone about this in your local area and look into training (once vaccines are done) if you feel this is an issue or something that you're afraid of becoming an issue in the near future.

 

I agree, I doubt it’s aggression but rather puppy growling (play growling)

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I do think i might be sensitive actually. Well that's what I'm trying to figure out at least. I believe her growling and biting are part of her play. But when i say ' no' or dont play along due to the bites she becomes more determined and headstrong, chasing us and lunging with mouth open. I'm not scared of her, like i said she's lovely as well and she does control her bites. I'm just worried that she's extra difficult.

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Adult dogs are almost always better behaved than puppies. And there are small cutesy ones that would help with the fear.

 

Puppies are a LOT of work. Like toddler level of work. Yes, the behavior is normal. Yes, it’ll take probably about a year before the dog calms down. Which is why it’s imperative to get it trained right away. And your whole family needs to be involved in the training b

 

I've raised two children on my own. I can confirm this puppy is wayyyy more work. I was not prepared for this at all.

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Adult dogs are almost always better behaved than puppies. And there are small cutesy ones that would help with the fear.

 

Puppies are a LOT of work. Like toddler level of work. Yes, the behavior is normal. Yes, it’ll take probably about a year before the dog calms down. Which is why it’s imperative to get it trained right away. And your whole family needs to be involved in the training b

 

I agree. You should have gotten an older dog, as you would not be dealing with these issues.

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i do think i might be sensitive actually. Well that's what i'm trying to figure out at least. I believe her growling and biting are part of her play. But when i say ' no' or dont play along due to the bites she becomes more determined and headstrong, chasing us and lunging with mouth open. I'm not scared of her, like i said she's lovely as well and she does control her bites. I'm just worried that she's extra difficult.

 

get some professional training!

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I do think i might be sensitive actually. Well that's what I'm trying to figure out at least. I believe her growling and biting are part of her play. But when i say ' no' or dont play along due to the bites she becomes more determined and headstrong, chasing us and lunging with mouth open. I'm not scared of her, like i said she's lovely as well and she does control her bites. I'm just worried that she's extra difficult.

 

She doesn't know what "no" means. She can't connect her behavior with the word "no".

 

She will be like this until she is an adult. While she's becoming an adult you must get her into training and involve the entire family.

 

I will say, if you're already thinking about giving her back, do it sooner rather than later. That way someone else who actually wants the puppy will get her before she gets too much older.

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She doesn't know what "no" means. She can't connect her behavior with the word "no".

 

She will be like this until she is an adult. While she's becoming an adult you must get her into training and involve the entire family.

 

I will say, if you're already thinking about giving her back, do it sooner rather than later. That way someone else who actually wants the puppy will get her before she gets too much older.

 

Well she can 'sit' and give the 'paw. I do obedience training every day. So I think she probably knows what 'no' means. She just doesn't want to do the 'no' if that makes sense.

'I really don't want to bring her back. I'll look into the socialization classes to get some help.

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Honestly, I'd return her. Not because she's a bad dog, but because I can assure you she hasn't permanently bonded exclusively to you or your family that young and after only two weeks, and that it's quite simply not too late. She's enough of a headache for you now without involving a trainer, being trained yourself, and fronting even more money for the benefit of the additional effort. Who knows how effective it will all be, and even if it is, whether you feel it will be worth it for you and your family. Additionally, there's no guarantee your son will overcome his fear of the dog. You're vastly better off making friends with someone whose adult dog is demonstrably well socialized with strangers and acquaintances, and bringing your son over to interact with him than you are. Or perhaps better yet him volunteering at shelters at his leisure once he's old enough to (should he desire to overcome the fear) would be better. Or even just getting an older dog. There are about 1,000 better ways.

 

Being frank, and knowing it's not your explicit intent, dogs are living animals not meant to have their most adoptable and formative weeks / months gambled on whether it'll help Timmy overcome his fear. Additionally, it doesn't appear you're getting or intend to get any working / functional benefit from the dog. I just don't see the point. I'd chalk it up as an experiment that wasn't meant to happen and eat whatever costs you may have forfeited adopting and returning the dog.

 

I'm not judging. Everyone makes mistakes. And so long as it's two weeks back and forth and the puppy's still at prime adoption age for another loving family, I don't see much harm done. Best of luck.

 

And FWIW, I don't think it's possible to "responsibly" purebreed a 150+ year old bloodline.

Edited by j.man
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Honestly, I'd return her. Not because she's a bad dog, but because I can assure you she hasn't permanently bonded exclusively to you or your family that young and after only two weeks, and that it's quite simply not too late. She's enough of a headache for you now without involving a trainer, being trained yourself, and fronting even more money for the benefit of the additional effort. Who knows how effective it will all be, and even if it is, whether you feel it will be worth it for you and your family. Additionally, there's no guarantee your son will overcome his fear of the dog. You're vastly better off making friends with someone whose adult dog is demonstrably well socialized with strangers and acquaintances, and bringing your son over to interact with him. Or perhaps better yet him volunteering at shelters at his leisure once he's old enough to (should he desire to overcome the fear) would be better. Or even just getting an older dog. There are about 1,000 better ways.

 

Being frank, and knowing it wasn't your express intent, dogs are living animals not meant to have their most adoptable and formative months / years gambled on whether it'll help Timmy overcome his fear. Additionally, it doesn't appear you're getting or intend to get any working / functional benefit from the dog. I just don't see the point. I'd chalk it up as an experiment that wasn't meant to happen and eat whatever costs you may have forfeited adopting and returning the dog.

 

I'm not judging. Everyone makes mistakes. And so long as it's two weeks back and forth and the puppy's still at prime adoption age for another loving family, I don't see much harm done. Best of luck.[/Q

 

 

 

 

That's honestly so hard to read. I always respect your advice so I'm not dismissing it. I absolutely hear you. But I have to give it some more time and effort before I do that because that would be a very very sad thing for me to do.

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As she"s gotten more confident I'm realizing she is very headstrong. I give her chew toys but she still bites me. If we yelp (common internet advice) she ignores and keeps biting. If we walk away she runs and lunges after us. If I am very strong and dominant with her ( common advice also) she seems to become even more aggressive. If i put her to another room she scratches and whines very loudly. While being affectionate with me she will bare her teeth and go for my face.

 

Now she has a lovely side too. She is affectionate and intelligent. She sleeps a fair bit and is not a hyper puppy. Neither has she drawn blood so yes she is mostly controlling her bite force. However, the bites do hurt and she looks quite fieresome when she open her mouth. My daughter gets scared of her though she loves her. I'm not scared of her but i do am actually struggling with her. I can safely say she is more difficult then either of my kids ever were. The sad thing is that the more she behaves badly the more I start to dislike her. Im worried I've chosen a headstrong dominant dog that will be hard to handle when older. I'm worried my sons fear of dog's will be worsened. I'm ashamed to say I'm considering returning her to the breeder.

 

Okay, advice is welcomed, particulary if anyone has had a puppy who bites a lot!

 

It's hard to tell from your description whether this is aggression or just puppy-play. Puppies do bite and the baring of the teeth and growling is a form of canine-communication. Sometimes it means aggression, but sometimes it can actually be affection.

 

My dog used bite at my face. She did this to me as a puppy, and well into her adult years. Anyone seeing it would probably think she was attacking me. She'd bare her teeth right up against my face and snap her teeth shut a couple of times, all the while making her 'snuffling' noise. I bared my teeth right back at her and made the same noises. And I'd smack at her teeth and she'd nip at my fingers and growl like a rabid nut. But she never actually bit. This was what we did on weekend mornings as we sat on the couch and watched TV. Our bonding ritual.

 

If you have a dominant dog (like I did--also of the spaniel family), you can't be afraid of her. You have to be the boss. If you're not comfortable with that, then as another poster said, consider giving her away. This very early stage of bonding would be the best time for all involved. And she will be much more adoptable as a puppy than as an adult with a "record."

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My shepherd was a big goof even at 12 weeks but never growled. His paws were too big for his body and his ears were still floppy then. I didn't encourage any tug o war games or games that encouraged aggression or aggressive responses even at play. In this way I think he grew up very trusting in general and made friends very easily at dog parks and public places. He remained fearless around extremely aggressive dogs and never had confidence issues. He was often happy go lucky and a pack leader. When he was young he did tend to chase after more insecure dogs (yappy dogs that were poorly socialized) out of curiosity. He had to be taught not to prey on smaller dogs because of their insecurity or fearfulness because he had never come in contact with that before. I'd emphasize trust and confidence and always keep in mind that your dog is your liability from puppyhood to adulthood.

 

If he wanted attention in one way and it wasn't acceptable, I'd deflect and show him how to behave instead (replacing a non-acceptable behavior for one that is acceptable). Like Jibralta we also played but it was mostly playful. It wasn't unusual for me to get down to his level on the floor and sit with him or lay there and play. Dogs will test you and try to gain the upper hand. It's not because they disrespect you or have any personal vendetta against you. They're testing to see how far they can get and how malleable you are as a dog owner. For her safety, you should be able to establish that bond and trust/connection with your dog where what you say goes and it's non-negotiable. There may be any number of events that happen later on in your lives and it's on you to protect your pet and other pets or anyone else in the surrounding area (to trust that your dog is not a loose cannon).

 

There was some nipping too in puppyhood but he outgrew it (they all generally do unless there's no proper training). I think some dog breeds may be more prone to attention-getting or needing that secure bond/trust established. They may need to be told and trained more than other breeds. The shepherd I had was trusting and obedient by nature but very strong. I had my own challenges at the 6 month to 1 year mark and it took us awhile to get used to walking nice for example. I used positive reinforcements and if there was unacceptable behaviour, as I mentioned above, I'd replace it immediately with an alternate behaviour. Then positive reinforcement again. And again and again.

 

Every exercise you do with your dog will be an exercise in bonding and trust. I really hope it works out for your dog and your family. It takes work but it sure is worth it.

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