Puppy turning very aggressive

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Puppy turning very aggressive

This is a discussion on Puppy turning very aggressive within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; So me and my fiance got ourselves a 8 week old cocker spaniel. He was really calm during first 3 days. We drove him by ...

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Old 10-28-2014, 06:53 AM
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Puppy turning very aggressive

So me and my fiance got ourselves a 8 week old cocker spaniel. He was really calm during first 3 days. We drove him by bus for several hours, introduced to lots of children and other animals and he behaved amazingly. Now to the point... We have been reading a lot of articles and watching lots of Cesar Millan + other dog trainers on youtube prior to buying a pup. We have tried a lot of things, like touching him while almost asleep, taking his bowl with food, sit, come when called. He has been resping really well untill when my 4 yo cousin came in to play with the pup. He just was really fine at first, but soon just went nuts. He would start biting her all over, jump around, roll like he was on fire. We tried to call him down, but it didnt help. Everything was supervised by us.

The main issue now is that my fiance admitted she was really smothering him when they were away for the weekend. Taking him everywhere under her shirt, sleeping with him, basically not leaving him for a second.
Now when we go to sleep he just climbs onto our bed and goes nuts. He doesnt want to sleep, but rather eat us alive. Tethering him to the spot where he sleeps during the day didn't help at all. He started whining and pulling the leash making a lot of noise. The problem is my mother is sleeping next door and we cant let him whine all night being locked in the bathroom. Our only option is to lock him in a garage which is 5min on foot away.

We just dont know what to do now with the pup. Nothing really works on him now. When he climbs up on the couch and we say NO and gently put him down, he doesnt listen. Then we try locking him in the bathroom for a time out, he whines and once calm down we let him out. But shows the same misbehavor after 2-3 min.

I would really love to see a profound answer to my call, because we are both really tired of him and sleep depravation.

We have ordered a doggy cage the same day we got him, but we are getting it today because of some delivery issues.
My idea would be either sell him or try training him all over again as the pack leaders not his overprotective and too loving parents.

We would really appreciate any tips what to do from now on.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:11 AM
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So.. I used to watch the Dog Whisperer... but now I know better. I can't say this loud enough: The Dominance/Pack Theory and method does not work!!!! Dominating over your dog will NOT yield long term results. Only short term, fearful ones. BUNK everything you saw from that show.

It makes good TV but it does NOT work.

Try looking up Positive Reinforcement and Clicker Training. Karen Pryor's clicker training is used in zoos and by those dolphin shows at marine places. It's used by Hollywood trainers for films. Operant conditioning (say, like Pavlov's dogs)uses both punishment AND reinforcement but the larger science shows that positive reinforcement works in the long term.

There is no such thing as a calm dog ALL THE TIME. You have adopted a living, thinking animal which will not always follow predictable lines of behavior or logic.

You have a puppy. A very young puppy. Your puppy will behave like a nutzoid sometimes. You basically have a toddler. Human toddlers go nutzoid sometimes and behave illogically - so will your pup. Running wild, rolling on the ground in glee is normal behavior for any infant of almost any species. Preventing your pup from expressing this will stilt his ability to socialize and understand modes of play.

Your complaint about your fiancÚ smothering the dog is bit off to me. No offense. Your pup is a baby - literally. When you can't monitor him he's supposed to be in his crate. She is not supposed to ignore him. She's actually doing the things she's supposed to be doing. Watching him, learning his signals, putting signals out so he can learn hers.

Biting and mouthing for puppies is very, very normal. They are teething and learning with their mouths. While humans learn by touch with hands, dogs do so with their mouths -- that's why dog put everything in their mouths. Perhaps not evolutionarily smart, but hey, it's worked for them so far. Your pup needs to bite to learn the strength of her jaws.

Try reading some Turid Rugaas, Brenda Aloff, Karen Pryor instead of watching TV. The Dog Whisperer is reality TV -- like the Kardashians. And god knows how realistic THAT is.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:20 AM
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Puppy should be in a crate or cage during the day, not under my fiance's shirt.

i am just asking for options here.
Is keeping my dog in a garage when he goes totally nuts in the night ok for his mentality?
How should we approach the puppy when the positive reinforcement doesnt really work. It enhances the good behavor but does nothing to stop the misbehavor.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:38 AM
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Whether under your fiance's shirt or not, your pup should not be in his crate all day. If someone is home and able to monitor him, he should be out of his crate and integrating into family life, socializing and learning how to be a member of your family. He can't do that if he's only watching from inside his crate.

And no, keeping your dog in your garage when he goes nuts is not a solution. Your dog is still a dog, he will not make the connection, and will likely only become more frantic.You have to really treat and imagine your pup is an infant, with a brain that is not yet fully developed. Besides, shutting your dog out is not going to teach him how to behave when inside the house.

If you are willing to watch TV to learn, try reading. Positive reinforcement does reduce negative behaviors but there is no quick fix. It will take time as most things that have long term effect generally do.

As for sleep, you can expect to kiss a full night of sleep goodbye. You have adopted a puppy. It will be months before you get a full night of uninterrupted sleep. There are several stickies on the puppy help board which will be helpful for you to get an idea of how to manage your frustration and expectations for your puppy.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:46 AM
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Dominance theory and being the pack leader is outdated and probably won't get you anywhere.

I've never used clicker training with my dogs. They were always relatively well behaved and just picked things up naturally. I have a Cocker mix now, though, that sounds a lot like yours - he's full speed ahead, into everything, doesn't seem to care what I think of it.

I bought a clicker and honestly, it has done wonders. It reaches further than reinforcing certain good behaviors - it shows your puppy what good looks like and gets them really excited about learning. I've been working on Sue Ailsby's training levels that another user here linked me to and they're awesome. They give you a good place to start and a plan to follow, and working on the "zen" exercise with my puppy is doing wonders at teaching him self control. I used to eat on the couch and he'd be trying to climb all over me and steal my food - after a few days of practice, he now sits patiently on the floor. The actual zen exercise is really about teaching him patience - it has nothing to do with teaching him not to beg - but it transfers over.

Here's a link to the levels I'm using. They're free - she has some available for a cost that are updated, but I used the free ones just to see how my dog would respond:
TRAINING LEVELS (new)

Puppy maybe could be on the floor instead of in your fiance's shirt, but he shouldn't be caged all day either. No more than 8 hours -- as an adult -- and as a puppy, he shouldn't be in there more than an hour or two at a time. The crate works best for puppies when it is used only when you truly can't watch him, like when you are making dinner or cleaning up. The rest of the time, he should be monitored as it will make housetraining so much easier, and will give him exercise so he's not wound up at bedtime.

It sounds less like your puppy is aggressive, and more like he's mouthy and has a lot of energy (been there with my pup too!). Get a lot of chew and tug toys, and when you play, play with those. If he starts to bite you, stay "stop" or "no" firmly -but don't yell- and replace your hand with a toy. If he continues, say "stop" or "no" again and refuse to play at all. If you need to, get up and leave. He'll learn that playing includes toys, not your hand. Of course, it's also important that when he does good you reward him. So if you catch him chewing a rope toy instead of a shoe, click/reward. If you are playing with him and he bites the toy instead of you, get excited and make the game tons of fun. Too many people try to correct the negative instead of supporting the positive, which takes longer in the long run and is a lot less fun for both parties.

For bedtime, try to tucker him out before you go to sleep. Make sure he's been outside before bed so he doesn't have to use the restroom. I also have a long-lasting bone that I give to Chisum when he doesn't want to sleep as it keeps him occupied and not in my face.

Another tip that will help in areas such as jumping on the couch: teach an alternative behavior - this is positive and fun and he'll learn it faster. So teach him what "off" means, and when he jumps up, tell him "off". Or click him when he's laying on the floor while you're watching TV, and gradually increase the time he has to stay there before you reward him. Giving him something to occupy him is great as well.

Try to see things from his point of view. He's a puppy. He doesn't come programmed knowing what you want from him, or what all of these words mean. The reason clicker training is so effective is because it makes the language more clear. Click = he did something right. He knows that "no" can be scary, but not much else - you may as well recite mathematical functions and expect him to solve them as telling him "No" or "stop biting" and expecting him to understand just what that means. He must be taught.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:05 AM
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none of these methods work in a long run because puppy never makes an eye contact. if we say off when he goes nuts or tries to climb on the couch he runs 1m away and does the same exact thing.

we tried to use excersise but even after a 45min walk and 4 hours of playtime he would still go nuts at 1am. you see we dont see a problem in trying different methods to make him behave well, clicker, positive reinforcement, tuckering, the problem is we cant sleep. Our live is currently devoted to him in 100%. We dont mind occasional whining at night, because this is what we signed for when taking him, but this is way too much. We just cant get a decent sleep at all and it destroys us. When we look at him we just see a terrorizing monster not a pup.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:35 AM
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I'm going to assume neither of you has ever had a young puppy. Everything you've mentioned is normal puppy behavior.

To answer your specific question, no it is not a good idea to have the pup isolated in a garage. He needs to be sleeping in a crate, in your bedroom. Yes, he will object. You've got to learn how to crate train him properly so he thinks of the crate (cage) as his safe refuge. It takes time and patience.

Everything about raising a puppy takes time and patience. You will lose sleep. It's part of the process. If you aren't prepared for this then you should return the pup to the breeder. Assuming you got this pup from a reputable breeder who will take the puppy back. Did the breeder not prepare you for what it's like to raise a puppy?

Watching Cesar Millan and believing you need to be pack leaders is going to cause more problems than it solves. You are correct that the puppy doesn't need to be under your fiance's shirt all the time. There is a balance that needs to be learned by you and your fiance. If you're willing to commit the time and effort to learn how positive reinforcement works, then you'll make some headway. If you expect a young pup to "learn" how you want him to behave in a few short weeks, you're going to be disappointed.

Puppies are hard sometimes. They are babies. They miss their mother and their siblings. They're in a new place with many new experiences. They don't know anything about how to live harmoniously with their owners. They have to be taught all these things. Gently and with proven methods.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:39 AM
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Hi Roflol,

Welcome to the Dog Forum!

One of the typical concerns of new puppy owners is that the commitment is really around-the-clock at the beginning. It's just like having a newborn child. Sleep deprivation goes with being a new parent or pet owner. It does and it will get better.

I'd like to recommend this book to you:

Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right - Kindle edition by Sophia Yin, Lili Chin. Crafts, Hobbies & Home Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right - Kindle edition by Sophia Yin, Lili Chin. Crafts, Hobbies & Home Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

It will help you develop a good foundation in training.

Please be open to the advice you're getting here. I see a lot of frustration, and I understand that you feel overwhelmed. However, it's pretty clear that you haven't yet explored all that positive reinforcement training can offer you and your puppy.

Your puppy is not out to destroy your quality of life. He's really just being a typical puppy.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:42 AM
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Here's a thread on how to properly crate-train your puppy:

https://www.dogforum.com/training-beh...ning-faq-3974/
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:12 AM
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One last post before I head to work.

I think you might find this article helpful in understanding why this site advocates positive reinforcement training rather than dominance-based training:

De-Bunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal Article

I was in your shoes a year ago. Before I ventured into dog ownership, everyone in my real life told me that I had to watch "The Dog Whisperer." Cesar is certainly a charismatic guy, and he's got quite a following. I saw maybe all of two episodes and then I joined this site, and like you, I was advised to turn off Cesar. And, as I began to read and learn as much as I could about dogs and their behavior, I realized that this was the best advice I could have gotten.
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