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Sometimes Lucy has growled and snapped at us and to me it does not look like playing - it looks like she's trying to get her own way by being aggressive - but I could be wrong.

Today my husband was cleaning up her teetee spot on the carpet and she wanted to tug on the towel - which had cleaning agent on it. So he kept telling her no and pushing her away, but she kept coming for more. Granted, he should have just removed her from the situation but he kept pushing her back and she finally growled and started snapping at his hand. He didn't like this and pinned her to the ground and she fought and growled and kept trying to bite him.

I told him not to pin her any more - that we will try other methods.

The vet told me to practice holding her in the crook of my arm on her back while I stroke her neck. When Lucy is sleepy, she lets me do this and does not make eye contact. But when she is alert, she will snap at my face, growl and try to bite my hand - while wiggling. Obviously it means she wants down, but the snapping and growling concerns me.

Another time I was cleaning a teetee spot, same thing - she tried to get the rag. So I held onto her collar to keep her back and she growled and tried to bite my hand.

Surely this is not "play," right?

The things I am doing with her now are not letting her enter doorways ahead of us, we always eat a snack or something before I feed her, I don't let her sleep on the couch or our bed, and of course I praise her a ton when she comes or goes potty outside. We also working on the mouthing and not letting her maul the kids' clothes. When she mouths, I tell her no bite and stop playing with her. She is actually a very gentle mouther and never bites hard enough for a yelp, but I did the "OW" at first just to discourage her biting too much. That's why I've moved on to ignore. When she jumps on the kids and mauls their clothes, I have a can of coins that I shake and that stops her instantly. It has really helped as she will leave them alone after that for a good long time.

Some young kids came over today and played with her and she was very good. She did not maul them, she let them pet her and even hold her in strange positions without her protesting.

Do you think she is just being bossy and not really aggressive, or do you think the snarling and snapping at us is a sign of aggression? She's too young for puppy class right now and I really don't know what to do but I am a little scared of her right now.
 

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It sounds like some behavior I see out of Rowdy; how old is Lucy?  Rowdy was born March 22, 2008. Anyway, I will remove him from the situation if I see any sign that he his trying to assert himself, but what I have seen is the most effective is the "correction" he gets from the bigger dogs. They have no problem lettting him know they are finished playing and he needs to stop. Also, I have a command "no bite", and while I know that sounds stupid, I use it anytime any dog is trying to chew on me even in play. I am a firm believer that as the Alpha of the pack that the dogs never have the right to bite me even in play. It's like a respect thing with the kids, and I don't allow them to talk back to me and biting is similar. Rowdy has learned quickly that he cannot bite me even in play and when he is about to slip I firmly tell him no bit, and so far it is working.

I think some of your situaiton is having a puppy trying to determine where his place is in the pack, and you and your husband are heads of the pack and have to establish that. I am looking at puppy kindergarden soon, and think that will do a lot for Rowdy.

Susan
 

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She is 7 1/2 weeks old.

I keep reading where people say she needs to learn who is boss, but then they don't say how. Also, people don't seem to agree on how to correct snarling. I have read to give them a shake (she will try to bite me if I do that) and others say not to shake or pin the dog because that is actually wolf behavior and not dog behavior.

I am so confused!
 

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Sounds like the towel is a game that is quickly becoming a test of wills! Donner was this way with the broom as a puppy, he just could NOT leave it alone. I finally decided to eliminate the problem before it started by sweeping when he was in another room or gone with Kelly. Now he's older he couldn't care less about it. I'd put Lucy in another room and then clean the spot.The dominance roll rarely works anyway (often creates more problems) and in this case just adds to the game! Don't know about the vets advice to hold her, seems like she'd feel a little threatened and struggle harder? Sounds like you're doing great with everything else by eating first, doorways, the bed etc good for you. It doesn't sound like aggression to me..Lucy is learning what's acceptable and it'll get easier with time. :lol:
 

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Rowdy turned 8 weeks yesterday, so they are the same age. That is cool. I haven't had to deal with a puppy in a very long time, and I'm finding that the procedure is a little different. My older dogs are pretty well trained and if they get a little out of hand then all I have to do is sternly put them in a down/ stay position and let them calm down. Rowdy only knows sit, and that's not always consistent. I have held Rowdy's mouth closed and told him no, and that seems to work. I don't hurt him and I don't hold it for long, just enough for him to understand what he is doing with is mouth is a no.
 

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DonnersMom\";p=\"125561 said:
Sounds like the towel is a game that is quickly becoming a test of wills! Donner was this way with the broom as a puppy, he just could NOT leave it alone. I finally decided to eliminate the problem before it started by sweeping when he was in another room or gone with Kelly. Now he's older he couldn't care less about it. I'd put Lucy in another room and then clean the spot.The dominance roll rarely works anyway (often creates more problems) and in this case just adds to the game! Don't know about the vets advice to hold her, seems like she'd feel a little threatened and struggle harder? Sounds like you're doing great with everything else by eating first, doorways, the bed etc good for you. It doesn't sound like aggression to me..Lucy is learning what's acceptable and it'll get easier with time. :lol:
This is great advice; test of wills. Puppies have a lot to figure out and they do grow out of games. We don't have these problems with the older dogs and they in all honesty are great, your puppy is going to test you, just like your kids. End the end it usually works out.
 

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Ok, so just don't let it become a problem to begin with. I did a puppy time out with her today with the leash tied to a doorknob. She seemed more calm after I let her off the leash, but hard to tell if she was just winding down anyway or not.

The funny thing is that she wont' mess with our Pomeranian, Moonie. All Moonie has to do is growl and shoot a look at her and Lucy won't even touch her. Lucy tries to play with her, but won't get in Moonie's personal space. Moonie ain't having it and Lucy seems pretty clear on that. lol
 

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The pecking order in your home seems to be in place already so this doesn't seem like a dominance issue. She's being a puppy and testing the boundaries much in the way a child does.

When mouthing / snarling / growling / bite attempts - I tend to hold the snout and say no! - Patience and persistance will eventually win. The doggy timeout will also give your pup a clear picture of what is and or isn't acceptable by you the owner, aka = top dog. - I've done this with all my dogs including the foster we just got on Friday - she's a mouther, nipper - and already it has almost stopped.

Much agreed with DonnersMom - Remove the pup from the equation with regards to clean up and I also agree that the coddling and neck stroking is an unnecessary and possibly threatenning procedure.

But you are doing great!!!! - Keep your patience and don't worry!! :)
 

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Timeouts have worked best for me.  When going in or out of a door, I make the dogs sit and wait until I tell them it is ok to go out.  I am afraid that just letting them follow me out is not a good idea.  I don't want them following me out when I don't have them on leash, I don't have a fenced yard and the street is not a main one but there is a lot of traffic at certain times of the day.
 
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