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.
I would personally give him back and get the replacement as the breeder has agreed. Having an agressive dog, even if it dominace can be quite a lieablity. If he is to much to handle, let the breeder have him back. I would rather give a pup back, then live in fear of him. Just my personal opinion
Gosh, sounds like otis.. i rescued otis and the organization never said anything about him being agressive or dominate, just "hyper". well he is, all three. There was times I thought about the things you did, realizing he would probably get put down, as I dont think most people would have the patience or tolerance I do. I put otis in obedience asap and have kept going. I have found he is extremely smart...and food motivated. I have also found out that yelling at him or using any kind of punishment/corrective training is not good. We used a shock collar on him and it only made him angry. I have found that he is so much better when he is stimulated and has plenty of exercise. I keep toys that he can chew (and not destroy) and challenge him to keep him stimulated. He also will be going into agility soon. he still has his moments were he is not fantastic, but i do not have children and he is never around people off leash even in our house. ( i have found he acts wonderful if he is on his leash in the house when people are over) Look into NILF (nothing in life is free)training (google it) or contacting a behaviorlist. hope i helped a little
I say return him to the breeder or find another trainer w/ a different approach. Even better, find a behaviorist. I don't know you and am not trying to offend you, but you might want to consider if a Lab, or any dog is the right for your family right now. Maybe a smaller or less energetic breed would be better. If you decide to go with a repacement from the breeder you might want to consider a female.