Rescue pup behaves aggressively

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Rescue pup behaves aggressively

This is a discussion on Rescue pup behaves aggressively within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; My family adopted a rescue pup from a shelter last week. They claim she is 12 weeks old, so 13 now, I guess. She's a ...

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Old 09-30-2013, 05:07 PM
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Rescue pup behaves aggressively

My family adopted a rescue pup from a shelter last week. They claim she is 12 weeks old, so 13 now, I guess. She's a total sweetheart with people - very comfortable being handled, snuggly, etc. But she behaves in a manner that seems super dominant and aggressive with my resident dog. She has never once shown any puppy submissiveness and growls and bites menacingly at my dog. She tries to climb on top of my dog while behaving this way. I thought perhaps it was fear aggression so I leashed my dog and made her do a down stay while the puppy roamed about and played and still the puppy would rush across the room and growl and bite at my dog. Today she did it to me when we were outside and she decided that she wanted to play tug-of-war with her leash. I calmly said No and then Leave It and tried to remove the leash from her mouth and she snarled and growled at me in not even a remotely playful way.

So here's what I know about her. The shelter labeled her as a lab mix - but at 12 weeks old she was only 11.5 pounds - so if she's a lab mix, the mix part was small. Or, she's younger than 12 weeks. I'm pretty sure she was taken away from her mother too early. She's from an unwanted litter in FL that was shipped up to a shelter in MA. She tries to find nipples on adult dogs to nurse from.

Anyway, I'm waiting to hear back from a local dog trainer for help in this situation, but in the meantime I'm at a loss. Any suggestions for reading material, approaches to this problem, etc would be most welcome. I feel like the sooner I start to correct this appropriately the better chance for success I have.

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Old 09-30-2013, 06:00 PM
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She's a puppy, and not only that she sounds like life has been turbulent. I would expect a puppy of that age to display some social rudeness, this is something they learn via experience, not something they are born with.

I am glad to hear that you are getting a trainer involved. For now (and even without the behavioral awkwardness) I would advise very little interaction between your two dogs. Give your older dog plenty of attention. I would use a crate for the puppy when you cannot keep an eye on her. If she is playing nicely, then play some games that work on impulse control/focus--such as fetch, avoid tug-of-war at the moment as this can escalate 'excitement'. Generally you want to work on calmer controlled behaviors for now. If she gets nippy with you, stand up and wordlessly walk out of the room for a moment or two. She will learn that the fun stops when she is obnoxious. And yes--they CAN be stubborn about that lesson, but they do learn it if you are consistent.

Good luck with your trainer.
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