Post # 1
I started a thread yesterday showing off our new puppy. Sorry I can’t figure out how to link to it from my iPhone. Anyway we got an 11 week old Lab/Vizsla hybrid on Tuesday. The first day the puppy slept a lot, was a total cuddle bug, super sweet. He slept in bed with us and our toddler. I noticed as soon as he got comfortable around our 6 yr old female lab he was humping her. He then would try to eat her food and steal treats right out of her mouth. My lab is so submissive and wouldn’t even growl to protect her food, she just walked off. She was trained for Dogs for the Deaf as a puppy and a lot of that has stuck with her. She never shows possessive traits, is very gentle, I can completely trust her with my toddler. She only rarely barks and I’ve heard her growl like 3x ever. I thought she could hold her own against this tiny puppy though. This isn’t really what concerns me, I just noticed it and figured I guess new pup will be the dominant one. What concerns me is last night the new puppy growled at me multiple times. Usually when I was pulling him away from something he couldn’t play with. He would get mad and do a mean growl and snarl at me. It happened a few times and I was rather alarm. The deal breaker is during one of these growling sessions my daughter came up and he snapped at her face. DH was furious and my daughter pretty scared. We had him sleep in the playpen last night and DH told me to figure out what we’re gonna do about him. So far today he seems normal but I’m keeping a close eye on him. Is this behavior normal at such a young age? Can he be trained out of it or will he be an aggressive dog? With a toddler in the house I absolutely cannot take risks. We got a puppy because I wanted to make sure we raised it and was too paranoid to get a shelter dog not knowing their history. I’ve had many labs growing up and never noticed these issues before. I admit I don’t know much about the Vizsla breed but I read they were great family dogs, easy to train, a hunting breed. Will getting him fixed when he is old enough help? What should I do when he growls to correct the behavior? I’m trying to figure out if this is a serious issue. Oh and I’ll add that my daughter is extremely gentle and well behaved around the puppy. The girl I got him from said he never showed signs of aggression before. Anyone have any experience with something like this?
Post # 3
How are you pulling him away? Grabbing his collar, pulling him by the hind quarters?
What kind of atmosphere did he come from? Were there other animals, kids? How was he handled?
It sounds like puppy behavior, he may be trying to show dominance. You need to make sure that he knows he is not the dominate personality in your household.
I have a 10 year old pit/american bulldog and I have taught her something that I couldn’t believe she took so easy to. Whenever she growls or barks, or something else grabs her attention, I snap as close to her face as I can until she looks at me, and then I stare her straight in the eye, without making a sound. That is enough to snap her out of the behavior, and then she calms down. Since he’s a puppy I doubt it would work right away with him, but I highly recommend the snap over a clicker, only because you always have your fingers with you!!
I also prefer this training along with praise over treats, because some dogs will learn the behavior, but as soon as you stop giving treats every single time, they get bored and refuse to do what you want. You should also not be giving treats in excess, which can also be a problem with treat training
Post # 4
Most trained dog trainers do not believe in “dominance”. It sounds like your puppy was resource guarding (acting like things are his) which is a trait that can be trained out of a dog. You just have to show the dog that everything is yours and he has to behave well to get anything.
I recommend signing him up for puppy classes immediately with a trained professional that uses positive reinforcement. I also recommend starting to use the NILIF method with him now. This stands for “Nothing in Life is Free”. I make my pup (lab/shepherd) sit for EVERYTHING. Before I feed him, before he gets his leash put on, before we play with him… everything. I would also make sure you monitor the older lab eating and make sure the pup knows he is not allowed to still her food.
Puppy training is very hard and time consuming. The theory is that you have to give them a consistent command 100 times before they ‘get it’.
Post # 5
@FMM: I agree with everything you’ve said. We got our dog as an adult, and she was pretty well trained, but we still had to teach her some things. I agree with making them work for everything. Especially as a young dog, because if you let him get away with things, then the lab may start to act out as well
Post # 6
I believe as well that your puppy is trying to be the alpha so to speak of the house. My puppy was that way as well in the beginning growling, rough in play. The first time she ever growled in my face we both told her NO very loudly, slapped her on her butt and put her in timeout. The was the last time she ever growled at me or anyone in the face.Every now and then she still “plays” like she’s trying to be the alpha but she knows who’s boss in the house. My husband and I. Find something that works for you, your husband and the pup that gets her to see she is not the dominant one and aggressiveness is not OK. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. And definitely keep an eye on her with your daughter until she learns.
I agree that signing her up for a puppy class will probably help a lot. They’ll know better than anyone of us what to do to rectify her behavior.
GL and please don’t give up on her so easily! It sounds like your husband is ready to give her back already. 🙁
Post # 7
Honestly, this sounds like pretty typical puppy behavior to me that you should be able to train out of your new dog. BUT, you WILL have to put in the time and effort into the training before you see results.
I agree with many aspects of the NILF method but I don’t use it for things like playing with our dog. But she has to sit to get her food (and wait until we say okay, even after setting the bowl in front of her), sit to get her leash on, sit to go inside and outside, sit to cross the street, etc.
Post # 8
It sounds like your new puppy has some resource guarding issues. When you approach him to take something away, don’t go and grab it immediately. I would go over and stand very close to him, stand up straight and slowly inch your feet towards him until he walks away or gives it up. Make him work for anything you give him and limit him to what toys/chews he has out. You should decide when he gets things and when it gets taken away.
Or try using soft treats to lure him away from the things he is guarding. Maybe do some research on trainers in your area that do resource guarding classes or have experience with it.
There’s probably some YouTube videos that you could find if you search “resource guarding training”
He can absolutely be trained out of this. I knew a couple Vislas and they were super sweet dogs and great family pets.
Post # 9
It started when I took one of my daughter’s toys away from him and then again a few times when I had to pick him up and remove him from somewhere he shouldn’t be. I picked him up after he refused to listen when I called him out. I actually got a little scared cuz I was so surprised and got this uneasy feeling in my stomach. I’ve only given him treats a few times to reward him for going potty outside along with some pats and a “good boy.” Usually I try to replace whatever he’s chewing with one of his owns toys but last night is when he flipped out when I did that. He is pretty loud, play growls and barks at his toys when he plays but this was a totally different scary growl along with the snapping. He hasn’t acted like this at all with DH but a few times with me and then snapped at my daughter. So it might be a dominance thing. We got him from a college student who only had him a few days. She realized between school, work and living in an apartment a puppy was way too much work. She purchased him from a local family. She met both parents and said the father, the Vizsla was extremely smart and well trained. The mother, a yellow Lab very sweet and gentle. The family had a 3 yr old daughter and there were a few puppies left. So basically other than with his doggy parents and siblings he only lived with the college girl a few days.
Post # 10
Another thing that could be happening is that there has been a lot of upheaval in this pup’s life in the last week or so. He is likely stressed. I am not sure that a young dog would be attempting to exert dominance at this age. His resource guarding/aggression is more likely caused by stress or fear (not your fault–he has had many recent changes and young pups, like kids, thrive on routine).
I agree with other posters, especially Future Mrs. Martin:, that his resource guarding is something that can he can be trained out of. If you can, start him on a routine with his exercise, feeding, napping, etc. and keep to it as best you can. Look into trainers or classes who will work with resource guarding and aggression issues. The good news is he is young and this is a great time to catch any problems.
Until you are confident that any aggression issues are under control, keep a close eye on the pup around your daughter and don’t allow them to be together unsupervised.
Post # 11
It sounds like you have…a puppy! All of that behavior is normal and then some. Puppies go through a lot of stages but none of them will last forever 🙂 I would also recommend puppy classes and that you start training ASAP so you can get him started off on the right foot. I don’t think an 11 week old puppy is showing dominance or aggression issues, even “snapping” at your daughter is normal for a puppy who is used to roughhousing with his littermates. He needs to learn a whole new way of thinking about his new pack and playmates that doesn’t involve normal puppy play. Even your lab, while laid back, recognizes that she’s dealing with a baby.
My DH and I recently got an 11 week old German Shepherd puppy and yes, they are a LOT of work. Think of it as having a toddler that bites. I’m happy to say that she’s now 6.5 months old and there is no more biting/chewing/teething etc. You need to start teaching bite inhbition right away. We used this forum for a lot of our information, they have a whole section dedicated to puppies and how to train them, regardless of their breed. You will see a ton of threads about teething puppies who are later perfectly behaved adults. As young puppies 1mth-4/5mts, they’re called “Land Sharks” followed by their “Butthead” stage 5mts-12mts where they turn into teenagers who decide they don’t have to listen to you lol.
Post # 12
DH’s main concern is obviously our daughter. He said it would be different if it were just us adults in the house. I just need to make sure these behaviors go away asap. As for the older dog, should I let them work it on their own? Do anything about him humping the lab? The food thing is hard cuz I keep just putting the lab’s bowl on the counter but she is used to snacking throughout the day. She never eats at a specific time so I feel bad I can’t just leave her bowl out. I figured she would put the puppy in his place but she has not.
Post # 13
In addition to the training, I would suggest overall socialization with older dogs. Puppies need to learn how to behave. Sounds like your older dog is very gentle, and might not put the puppy in place when he needs to be re: taking food/toys/treats from others. If you get your pup in a class, or to the dog park, etc, older dogs will correct him when he displays inappropriate behaviour, and he will learn.
This will not take the place of training however. We’re still working with our 8 month old cocker spaniel. Everytime she does something “wrong” she gets a load sharp “AH AH” (no is too common of a word in normal language so it’s hard for them to distinguish). After 6 months of this type of correction, she stops dead in her tracks when we have to use it – and she knows what she’s not allowed to do.
She gets praise when she follows a command and the occasional treat, and we haven’t really had any major behaviour problems with her at all.
EDIT: just read your last post. you claim that your DH wants to make sure that YOU make the behaviour go away? This is his responsibility too. If you train the pup and he doesn’t, then it won’t be consistent, and youll have a hard time training the pup.
As for the stuff between the two dogs, our trainer said that’s their business. If you give a treat to the older one, make sure you say his/her name and give the treat so you are differentiating that it’s his/hers. If he/she then LETS the puppy take it, that’s their business, and not for you to interfere. Our puppy does this with our older dog, and we’ve never had a fight. When our older dog wants it, she makes sure the puppy knows.
Post # 14
@7-9-11bride: RE: your daughter, that is a judgment call. Try keeping your DD away from the pup–teach her not to touch when the pup is “busy” eating or playing or whatever–and see if that is feasible for you guys. I agree that it is far better to be safe than sorry, but if it’s puppy issues that will be trainable then there’s no reason to get rid of the dog without a “fair trial” so to speak. But that is something you guys can judge more accurately.
Post # 15
Our dog growls sometimes when we try to pry toys away from his mouth, but it’s more of a “hey, stop that!” than dominance or anything. He’s never snapped at anyone.
When he was a puppy we trained him to lay down if he wanted ANYTHING (food, toys, treats, etc). So if he’s playing with a toy we don’t want him to do, like PP say, we will stand next to him and inch our foot in between him and the toy. He’ll back up, and then he’ll lay down in front of the toy. We do the same thing with his food, he can’t eat until we tell him to.
Post # 16
- Wedding: October 2010 - Ladder 15 Restaurant
Vizsla’s are extremely active dogs. Make sure she’s getting enough exercise and that you’re stimulating her mentally, using positive reinforcement to train her. Once she gets used to taking commands from you, she’ll settle down.
Sign her up for puppy classes to help her and help yourself. Also, I’d crate her at night. If you get her in the routine that she is just another family member, you might have her acting like the “older sibling” to your daughter. If you give her boundaries around your daughter, she will learn to respect her. Also, it’s never too early to have your daughter give her simple commands like “sit” and “stay.”
Definitely go with puppy classes though!! It’ll help everyone!