Hello. This forum looks very imformative and empathetic so I am hoping to get some sound advice. I have received much advice in teh last couple weeks and am really at a loss of what to do. It's one of those things when your heart says one thing but your brain, trying to be logical, is saying another.
We brought home an 8 week old male lab puppy after carefully selscting him from the breeders. He is almost 9 months old now and has been a constant source of stress in the household which is evolving to fear at this point. From day one, he was never one of those dogs that loved to be pet, held, cuddled, it was always met with biting (which I attributed to "puppyhood" and gave the corrections of ouch, no, ignoring, etc. He also got in to and still does of his fair share of puppy michief (garbage, peeing in house, etc and I am willing to accredite some of that to "puppyhood". The scary behaviour is that he is constantly biting me, my husband, and whoever comes over to visit. he is NOT breaking skin but leaving teethmarks, briuse marks, etc. He will jump up on someone entering our patio and start this nip/biting. When given a correction he only does it more. It has gotten to the point that I will not leave him around our two young children and will crate him when we have company. He has been thru 12 weeks of training with a very reputanle trainer who picked out some dominance issues when he wouldnt heel, walk.. etc. He also was very hard to toilet train, and still will come in after being outside and pee on floor or to my husbands dismay he jumped on the bed with my husband in it and peed on him yesterday morning. I know I am dealing with severe dominance issues because of other factors that are far too many to list but it is the biting that scares me. I keep trying to think that he is still a puppy but he should have some fear of us, especially when he is given a correction, which only makes it worse. He thinks he is the alpha male and we just cant seem to cure it. So....here is my situation... I called the breeder to inquire if any other in the litter had come back with temperment issues and he said no but asked me to describe the behaviour. After hearing it, what I was referring to mouthing, he said is biting and that this is possibly uncorrectable and that he would replace him with another puppy as per the gaurantee. He said that I have to think outside the bo acting like this now after training, no tug of war hitting, no cruelty, etc, then it can only get worse and that I could end up in a big lawsuit OR worse, him attacking one of our kids. In my heart I know this is the best option BUT I also know that I hold his fate in my hands and that he will not be us rather probably put down. I have been working with my trainer who says that the last option in the bag of tricks is to use the e collar(shock collar).He says all dogs are trainable I am rather against it because from what I have read they can furthur aggression and can turn the dog against you as you give the correction or what he associates the correction with. BUT, as a last chance I ahve used it for the last couple days and on day one he had no reaction to it, I know it was working because I used it on myself before him to know what he would feel. Yesterday, as he started biting at my arm I gave him a correction with it and he growled(not baring teeth or lips) and bit again, He repeated this 3 times with each correction. Today, it seemed to work on things like the garbage, counter surfing, etc, But these behaviours are not really my main concern although I know they are all intertwined with dominance. My husband wanted me to surrender him to the breeder weeks ago but is giving me these options until now. He is completely fearful and says he is tired of watching me try to get this yellow lab to be that people and kid loving dog that he should already be, and that if at 9 months he is acting this way, in a few more, he may attack our children. That is of course becoming my secret fear as well, yet, I am trying not to give up.
I have called a few humane societies because i would rather lose the money than know he may be put down but they will not acceot him because he is a liability, and tell me that the more humane thing would be to put him down rather than the punishment he may get after attacking someone and that he would then get put down anyhow. I thought of selling him a month back, but know that even being honest with potential owners, that it is still a liablity in case this is true dominace aggression.
I really know the writing is on the wall but am grasping at straws, at success stories, etc.
I just dont want my dog to wear a shock collar for the rest of his life to prevent a disaster when I know that with my previous 2 labs this was NEVER an issue. nd my female that is still with us is 9 and has never put her mouth on anyone. My trainer said that maybe he acts this way because the home is busy with two children BUT the 9 year old has never displayed this behaviour and I am sure never will. My husband says that the trainer will say anything because he doent want to see a dog possibly put down but where will he be in 2 years when he bites someone.
Thats about the jist of it and if you've stayed with me this long I really really appreciate it. It's just come to a desperate choice for me as my husband wants him gone like yesterday, the trainer says keep trying, andI am really cut in two.
Hi there i was wondering if he is neutered? I wonder if that would eliminate some of the dominance? About 10 yrs ago i had a black lab blue heeler cross that was extremley dominant. I took her to a trainer who trained border collies for farmers. It sounds very odd but he made my husband and myself prove that we were the dominant ones in the "pack" we did this by pushing our dog on her side (NOT THROWING). And once our dog was down we made her lay on her back and we also were on the ground, and then we "growled" and said no when she tried to get up. We spent a week-end with this man on his farm and when we left we left with a totally different dog. She still tried things but when we forcefully said no it was absolute submission. This is worth a try as opposed to death. And you have a female dog with him? I am surprised she isn't keeping him inline?
Sorry-I would have to disagree with the above advice. I would absolutely NOT do an alpha roll on this dog! It is a very outdated method that very few professionals recommend anymore. More often than not, it does more harm than good.
What area do you live in? Depending where you are, I (or someone else) might be able to recommend a trainer in your area who specializes in this type of behavior. It sounds like something best not done on your own.
The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
Wow......It sounds like you are carrying quite a burden. First of all, if you do get rid of the dog you have, wait awhile before you get another. I think you will all need time to recover, and give yourselves a chance to forget all the negativity. It sounds like you are on the right track with trying to help the dog. I would consider removing the dog completely from your home for awhile. Maybe a kennel would be willing to see what happens with the dog's behavior for a week, to see if his habits can be broken by changing the environment, or if he will still exhibit the same behavior. ( just an idea, I am no expert, maybe they would consider him "dangerous", even though he doesn't break the skin ) That would also give you time to further analyze the situation. I assume the dog hasn't been teased, tormented in his crate, or other such things which could bring out aggression in a dog. Assuming that, don't beat yourself up anymore...... I used to think that any dog could be "rehabilitated", but I have seen too much to believe that anymore. Some dogs just aren't born with good temperment, and you cannot change it. He could retire to a farm life, but it sounds like he could still present a danger. So....Do all that you can for him, and then set a point at which you are done. Don't expect him to be perfect, but don't allow him to ruin your lives. You can try to control his behavior, but not his disposition. I am sure many will disagree with me, but I wanted to share my opinion with you. Good luck.........
Oh geez...no, don't place him in a kennel! I can't stress enough that you need someone who specializes in this type of behavior. Don't recommend him being a "farm dog", either. No farmer wants a dog that may potentially chase/kill livestock, other pets or kids.
You've been on the right track of trying to resolve the problem. Ask your vet for a recommendation for a trainer, and also to be sure there's no underlying medical cause for the aggression.
The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
A kennel would be worth a try, before you put him to sleep. If the kennel agrees to tackle him, of course.....Try ANYTHING before putting him to sleep. And yes, "cat lover", i said that a farm wouldn't be good because he could be a danger. Can't you read? ( you are one of those people who disagrees with anything and everything people say, so I will ignore you ) Hope you get the situation resolved and find the silver lining......
You say you have been sticking with a trainer, which is great. I wonder if you should try an animal behaviourist, one that specializes in true dominance aggression. No insult to your trainer, but perhaps there are others that can also help. What is he like with other dogs? Is there a chance that making him work, as in obedience/agility, could get some knots ironed out? Have you had him fully checked out by the vet to see if he is totally healthy, and there is no underlying disease process going on? Sorry, I'm reaching too. I wish you luck, but keep in mind that some dogs (a very few) have problems that cannot be resolved.
"He could retire to a farm life, but it sounds like he could still present a danger."
Sorry, but you make it sound like it's an option if the OP is willing to take the risk. And he's just a pup-how can he "retire"?
And why should she place him in a kennel? The idea behind training is for the OWNER to be able to work with the dog-not just to send him away to let someone else do the work. I have heard horror stories of dogs that were sent away to be trained by someone else. It's not something that I would EVER consider for my dogs.
The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
Yes, but she may end up putting the dog to sleep, catlover. Therefore anything that is SAFE is worth a try at least. I said that maybe not some things because he could "present a danger," but it might be worth checking into. Comprende? I really am going to ignore you now because you are very rude, to many people, on many occasions. Feel free to ignore this post but I fear you won't....
I have to disagree with keeping the dog. If it was just one person in the home or if everyone was in agreement I'd say keep the dog but you have people in the home who are afraid of the dog. For training a dog with dominance issues you need everyone in the household working on it 100%. This is extremely difficult for someone who is actually afraid of the dog and wants it gone. Unless everyone is in agreement with keeping the dog and working together to conquer his problems I think you should send the dog back to the breeder or find it a home with an experienced dog person who can correct the dominance problem.
If your lab was 8 weeks old and already seperated from his littermates, he has missed out on valuable feedback from sibblings and mother alike, as to where to draw the line between playing and 'oww'. At this point, i dont think that this feedback could be replaced. provention is much easier then having a dog relearn good behaviers, but its certainly possable. one point i feel i must stress, is to avoid the shock collar. It takes a very intelligent dog to realized that the pain attacking his neck is an effect of a behavior. it might end up just making him confused and paranoid. If he is not already neutered, i would rush him in for the surgery. many of these problems seem to be linked to domanence issues. I think you owe it to this dog to consult a behaviorist. try to give him a ton of exercise to lose some of the nervious energy he has stored up. If all seems lost, i would suggest not putting him down, but instead contacting a local rescue. they may have a behaviorist on staff who could work with him untill hes at a point where he could be adopted out to a new family