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Hello,
I adopted a 7 month old Lab/Beagle mix a week ago. She was a calm, sweet dog for the first two days, but has since taken a strong turn toward being aggressive.

My wife and I are both covered in bruises from her bites, plus she's broken the skin on several occasions. I have been using only positive, reward (clicker and treat) training, but when she attacks, I have had to gently restrain her on a few occasions. I have read elsewhere that the best positive approach is to ask her to sit and lay down, or to just walk away. However, she continues to bite (hard) while you walk away from her, and continues to bite you as you give "sit" and "lay down" commands.

While some of her biting is likely puppy biting, she quickly starts biting to inflict pain. I tried saying "ouch!" to show her that it hurt and to get her to stop, but this seemed to make the problem worse. Once she knew I was in pain, she aimed to hurt me more. This morning, the first thing she did once out on the crate was jump up on the bed and start biting my wife. Thinking she needed exercise, I took her out to a park and ran around for a while, but after 15 minutes of this, she became aggressive again and attacked me there.

I am at a loss for how to handle this. I know that this is a positive, hand-off forum, and that is my overall goal as well. How you would handle the dangerous situation of a dog attacking you and refusing to let you walk away?
 

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1) Have her checked out by a vet to see if she has some sort of condition that might be causing her pain
2) Temporarily use a muzzle
3) A muzzle is not a solution, it is a tool. Do some obedience training (if there is no physical cause, see #1)
 

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1) Have her checked out by a vet to see if she has some sort of condition that might be causing her pain
2) Temporarily use a muzzle
3) A muzzle is not a solution, it is a tool. Do some obedience training (if there is no physical cause, see #1)
Thank you for your response. I like the muzzle idea much better than holding her down. I just don't want to reinforce her aggressiveness with perceived aggression from me.

I have made an appointment to see the vet and will be taking her there in a couple hours. I will reply back with what the vet says.
 

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Have you had any luck at all redirecting/luring the dog to a tug toy which she can latch onto the moment she lays teeth on you or even beforehand? Sometimes putting a simple chew toy in front of their face is insufficient unless you put some life into it. Positive verbal marker and enthusiasm on your behalf when she's biting on the proper object. Flipside of that coin if she lays teeth on you while you redirect to the tug.
 

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Have you had any luck at all redirecting/luring the dog to a tug toy which she can latch onto the moment she lays teeth on you or even beforehand? Sometimes putting a simple chew toy in front of their face is insufficient unless you put some life into it. Positive verbal marker and enthusiasm on your behalf when she's biting on the proper object. Flipside of that coin if she lays teeth on you while you redirect to the tug.
Thank you for replying. Yes, I have tried to redirect her. Between the half dozen or so aggressive attacks, I have tried to redirect her with a dozen different toys (chews, tug toys, stuffed toys, balls, etc). She will not put them in her mouth when she is focused on attacking me or my wife - it's a single minded attack. That is why I resorted to gently holding her on the floor until she calmed down. Basically, I withstand as much of her attack as I can while trying to redirect, then eventually resort to holding her down and waiting for her to calm down.

Note - the attached picture is just the leg injuries. She has also attacked our arms and (alarmingly) our necks.
 

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While it possibly is just over-the-top play, the first thing I would do is get a behaviorist or qualified (positive) trainer in to evaluate the situation and be sure. Obviously, you will treat it differently if it's just overstimulation as opposed to fear or resource guarding or some other type of biting that is actually meant to be aggressive.

My Cocker mix is a spunky, playful, MOUTHY dog. I've found that freezing completely has been the most helpful. No noise, no yelp, no trying to get away - just freeze. I become very uninteresting to him by doing this and he stops. Now I'm at the point where I can just say, "ouch, Chisum" very calmly and he'll stop and start licking...but it's been a long road and he still forgets sometimes.

But the thing with mouthiness is it seems every dog has a different 'off switch'.

So, I highly recommend a trainer. In the meantime, I would work on impulse control exercises as well as capturing calmness. There are some great stickies here on that:
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/impulse-control-calmness-168218/

Good luck. :)
 

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How about a picture? Doesn't sound like this is a Lab/beagle mix to me.
I am basing her breed on several factors:

1. This is what the vet said she was at the shelter that I adopted her from
2. She has webbed paws like a lab, has a long body and short legs, and points like a hunting dog
3. She is currently 30 pounds, and the second vet thinks she'll top out at 50 pounds - that's about the right size.
4. She looks like many other lab/beagle mixes that came up in a google image search

All this said, she could be something else entirely, and I'm sure you'll agree when you see her pictures that she doesn't look like a killer. :)
 

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While it possibly is just over-the-top play, the first thing I would do is get a behaviorist or qualified (positive) trainer in to evaluate the situation and be sure. Obviously, you will treat it differently if it's just overstimulation as opposed to fear or resource guarding or some other type of biting that is actually meant to be aggressive.

My Cocker mix is a spunky, playful, MOUTHY dog. I've found that freezing completely has been the most helpful. No noise, no yelp, no trying to get away - just freeze. I become very uninteresting to him by doing this and he stops. Now I'm at the point where I can just say, "ouch, Chisum" very calmly and he'll stop and start licking...but it's been a long road and he still forgets sometimes.

But the thing with mouthiness is it seems every dog has a different 'off switch'.

So, I highly recommend a trainer. In the meantime, I would work on impulse control exercises as well as capturing calmness. There are some great stickies here on that:
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/impulse-control-calmness-168218/

Good luck. :)

Thank you for your reply.

Today we took Puprika to the vet. The vet was incredibly patient and took 1.5 hours to talk with us about our dog. Puprika was given a clean bill of health, so it is highly unlikely that pain is causing her aggression.

The vet agreed that this behavior is alarming, and was equally alarmed at our cuts and bruises. He recommended that we see a behaviorist ASAP, and provided the names of some trusted dog trainers and behaviorists in our area. I asked him about the possibility of using a muzzle vs physically restraining Puprika when she is scarily aggressive - his opinion was that physically restraining her is preferable to muzzle, but that we should ask a behaviorist this question.

So... I now have lots of ideas. I am just hoping to get her in to see a trainer and dog trainer before she does much more damage.

Thank you for the links about impulse control. I will check it out this evening.
 

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It's important to figure out why she's biting before formulating a plan to counter it. The thing about a muzzle is that you can't use it after she's bitten, a muzzle should be used to prevent bites, not as a consequence to a bite. Also you'd need to muzzle train her so that she's comfortable wearing a muzzle, and you'd want to use a basket muzzle so that she can pant, drink, and take treats while wearing it. If you wish to look into one these are the ones I recommend https://www.chewy.com/dog/baskervil...-4/dp/117373?gclid=COSc95uMg84CFQUEaQodFF8C-Q and here's a website about muzzle training https://muzzleupproject.com/

Whatever trainer you choose make sure that they do not promote things like pinning, hand bites, alpha rolls, or showing a dog it's place in the pack. Those types of techniques can make things much worse in the long run and often backfire. They usually simply suppress the dogs behavior and it can come back and be worse.

If your girl is simply over stimulated and has no bite inhibition so is playing way to rough, then you not only need to be redirecting her you need to have a consequence to her biting when the redirecting does not work. What I did when I had my terrier puppy, he had 0 bite inhibition and HURT when he bit, was always have some type of toy with me and when he bit in play I'd redirect onto the toy and play with him. When he dropped it, and in the beginning he always dropped it, and went for me again, I'd give him back the toy and try again. If he dropped it again I got up and left him for a few minutes before trying again. I did that every time he bit me, no exceptions. After a few weeks of cute, furry, land shark hell, it finally clicked with him and after that he always brought me a toy when he wanted to play. I never fussed at him for it just calmly got out of his reach. I never yelled ouch, or yelped when he bit me, to him that turned me into a giant, squeak, toy, what fun to get me to make that noise.

If it's play and you'll need to figure out how to get out of her reach, in my case I either hopped the baby gate, or got on the couch. My boy was a puppy so could not yet jump high. A baby gate may work if she does not know she can hop it, or if she's crate trained you could put her in that with some type of chew so that it does not turn her crate into a punishment place. If you have a dog proofed yard you could put her out there weather permitting. How ever you do it just leave her for a few minutes before rejoining her so that she makes the connection between biting you and you leaving.
 
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