My boyfriend and I recently found (and ended up adopting) a puppy...someone abandoned him at PetCo. The people at PetCo told me the guy who dropped him off said he found him on the side of the road (although he said he was 6 weeks old). Who knows the real story. ...all I know is he was in really bad shape, and we didn't know if he would make it through the night. Anyhow, he's about 11 weeks old now and he's really happy and healthy...he is the sweetest and most loveable little dog ever. ..but we have a little problem with him..
...he absolutely loves my boyfriend and me (and my family), but he hates strangers. If someone comes over to our house and they try to pet or hold him, he''ll nip at them or bite them. ...and its not the playful puppy bite. I took him to PetSmart with me a few days ago, and people would come up to him and want to pet him. If anyone tried to pet him, he'd nip at them or bite them. People would automatically try to pet him without asking, so I had to quicky warn them about touching him. I thought bringing him out to "socialize" would help him, but I think I made the wrong decision! He's great with other dogs..he plays with our Yorkie all the time and they are best friends...but he's not so good with humans (besides people he knows). Could this be due to the fact he may have been abused? Any advice on how we could stop the behavior? I know he's only a puppy, but my boyfriend hates this behavior!
Hi Kristi. Firstly, congratulations on your puppy and doing such a nice deed by rescuing him. He's very cute.
Part of what you are seeing is what happens when people take pups away from the litter, they do not have proper socialization skills and become fearful. Another part may be due to breed inherited traits however I am not sure.
There are a couple of things you can do/try. Call your vet and ask for a name of an acutal behaviorst who may be able to assist you, this is not through one of the pet stores, this would be someone specializing in behavior problems.
Also, when people, your friends, come over do they already know about the situation? If so, perhaps they can slowly, easily, see if they can reward the pup for coming to them. Find something as a treat (perhaps a little piece of a raw hot dog) and ONLY give that particular treat he loves so much when you are working with him and another person.
You also want to to put him on a leash, walk outside, be outdoors around people. I would be honest with the public and not allow them to try and pet the cute puppy but for developing social skills, that's another place to begin.
I'd guess a pom mix, judging from the ears, size and cuteness factor. They can also be a very protective breed, despite their small size. Is he food oriented at all, enough so that he will accept food from strangers? Give people tiny treats to give him before coming up to him. Try it in the house first with some friends who understand the situation with the pup. Hopefully then he will recognize good things (food!) come from visitors and strangers.
Never trust a tall dwarf... he's lying about something.
What an adorible little guy!! My guess on the breeds would be pormeranian, I definetly see that in him, which could also have a lot to do with the behavior problems. I have a Pomeranian, but he lives with my Grandma, he is extreamly terriorial/protective, and doesn't like strangers. If you pet him when he doesn't want to be, he'll turn around and nip/bite you. Your guy isn't pure Pomeranian, but its in there. I would say maybe Pomeranian / American Eskimo Dog or Pomeranian / Golden Retriever, who knows? But one thing is for sure, and that is that he is a doll!!
Definetly, I would have to go with what the others are saying, start really trying to socailizing him now, while he is still young, enroll him into puppy school, that will help with the socailization somewhat, and try to do a lot of hands on type of things. When you take him out and people want to pet him, tell them to let him smell their hand first and slowly go to pet him where he can see their hand, like the top of his head, and talk to him ensuring him that everythings ok, pet him while other people are petting him. Little things like that is what will really do the trick, it just takes time and a lot of patience.
Thanks for the advice! I will definitely be trying that throughout this upcoming week. When my boyfriend last took him to the vet last time, he snapped at/bit the vet helpers and vet, and the vet told my boyfriend he should think about making him wear a muzzle. …I wasn’t quite sure about that, as he is only a puppy. I told him I want to try something else first…so hopefully this will work!!
…No, I haven’t tried having someone else give him treats, although I know he LOVES his treats, so I would assume he’d be willing to take a good treat from anyone. I will try that this week!!
Savannah, you say to only give that treat he loves when I am working with him and another person. Should I not be rewarding him after he goes to the bathroom outside anymore? (well, we don’t always give him a treat for going potty outside (but we always praise him), but we’ll give him a treat if he stands by the door, insinuating he has to go out (since he still isn’t quite sure how to tell us he has to go)). Or should it just be an extra special treat for him when someone new comes to the house?
Daphne, almost everyone that he has snapped at/bit did stick their hand out first to let him smell them…sometimes he’d even bite them as they were moving their hand to let him sniff it!!
My last question is, is he old enough for puppy school? The lady at Petsmart told me they accept them once they are 10 weeks old, but since we’re not exactly sure how old he is, would it be worth it, or should I wait a few more weeks? Also, are there certain classes that are better than others? (such as those at Petsmart vs private ones)?
For puppy school, usally it is once they have had all their shots. As for where to enroll him, where ever you feel most comfortable, whether it be PetsMart or a private one, just as long as he is getting socailizied with other people/dogs, and having a lot of hands on.
Are you crate training your dog? If so, it might help with the socialization. When friends come over have him in his crate. If he is nice and calm, you could have your friends give him some treats through the bars of the crate. Do this several times until he appears to associate new people in the house with treats. Then try him on the leash when they come over. Keep this up until he is less territorial/fearful of people and then try him off his leash.