Originally Posted by cpht
So things have been going great with my beagle puppy. She is 9 weeks old now. Within the past week she has started something I don't like AT ALL. When I pick her up to take her outside (I have to or she won't make it without an accident) she growls and snaps. She only does it sometimes, but it is NOT acceptable. I see different opinions on corrections for this. Some say don't pick her up. That just won't work. I will have situations where she must be picked up-she is a small breed. I also want her to understand that I am her leader and she must do as asked. I don't constantly pick her up, only when I have to. I have tried giving her a firm NO!, I have tried holding her muzzle shut-nothing is working. I believe she is a bit on the dominant side. I make her work for everything-the nothing is free approach. She is doing great with her learning and I have been pleasantly surprised at how quick she is. People say Beagles are hard to train, but I have not found that to be the case! We were doing so good and I hate this issue has cropped up. I just want a well behaved dog and I have been trying so hard with her. This has me very upset and frustrated. She does not have anything physical going on, so I don't suspect it is from any pain at all. I think she just wants it HER way and that is not going to fly. Any suggestions on what I can do? And one more thing, I am enjoying this forum, but I am having an issue with logging in. I am constantly having to reset my password because it says it is invalid. I reset it and can log in once with it and after that I get the same message. I sent an email about it but never got a response so I am curious to see if anyone else is having this problem.
Some of what you're saying (bolded in the quote) is raising warning flags in my head. Dominance theory in which the humans need to be alpha and dominant over their dogs in order for dogs to respect or obey has been debunked now. It used to be the default ideology and still is a commonly held belief, but is a mistaken one. Domestic dogs are not wolves and domestic dogs know the difference between humans and other dogs. And even dogs in packs with other dogs don't do the things humans do when trying to be alpha to their dog.
I found this Ian Dunbar video on dog social hierarchy very interesting. Dogs definitely have a social hierarchy, but it's one that's built on mutual respect and conflict avoidance, not on constant challenges for physical dominance over the other members of the pack.
As for things that might help your current situation:
Take her outside more often so that she can learn to walk the distance herself without having an accident on the way. At the very least, you don't want to set a precedent for the dog to expect you to always carry her when she needs to go out.
Then work on counter conditioning and desensitizing her to being touched and picked up. Here's a video of a Jack Russell Terrier being desensitized to having air being blown in his face. Different trigger, but same principle. Associate the undesirable (from the dog's perspective) action with something highly desirable.
Get her used to being handled and picked up gradually and calmly and patiently with lots of super yummy rewards so she learns that very good things happen if she lets her people touch her and pick her up. That way if you do
have to pick her up in an emergency, it'll be no big deal to her. She'll have learned to trust you.
Your puppy is very very young. She's looking to you to teach her the right way to behave. Punishing her when she does the wrong thing (especially since she doesn't know it's wrong) doesn't teach her the desired behavior. The fact that you're finding her easy to train speaks to how much she wants to do the right thing and how much she wants to please you.
I'm far from an expert on dog behavior, but I'm willing to bet she's not growling and snapping out of spite or stubbornness or as a dominance challenge. It could be she's picking up on your frustration and is afraid. It could be she's just afraid of being picked up in general. That's a high distance for a little pup. It could be that picking her up when her bladder is full is uncomfortable or even painful.
(*wince* It makes me think of when I had to have an ultrasound with a full bladder. I wanted to punch the tech who kept pressing the scanner thing on my stomach. If I'd've been a puppy who didn't understand what was going on, I might've growled and snapped at him, too.