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Hi guys I am new and in desperate need of some help. I have a 23 week old male entire chihuahua named Brows Blue. He is the love of my life. I have had no real issues with Brows until now, he is a typical pup he chews and is given toys instead to discourage him and is still having accidents in the house. He sits and gives paw on command, he is great with children, animals and other adults but for the last 2 weeks Brows has began growling and gas snapped on 2 occasions causing bleeding. Brows has only done this when he is tired. He will get onto the sofa for cuddles then go rigid and lick his lips and then growl. He has also began doing the same with toys but again only occasionally. I have been given poor advice and have shouted at Brows, tapped his bottom and put him into the kitchen where he sleeps. I now know this is the wrong thing to do and am upset that I have caused this and made him worse. I'm not sure if having him castrated will help? Please help! Thank you.
 

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Hi Charli29,

Again, welcome!

From reading your posts, it seems that at least two factors are contributing to your puppy's discomfort: overstimulation as well as a reaction to punishment techniques you were mistakenly using.

Unfortunately, due to the popularity of one television "trainer," dominance training has seen a resurgence among the general public. What you've learned the hard way is that "correcting" a dog can lead to a dog shutting down and then acting out aggressively. This thread is a very helpful one in explaining why Brows is acting as he is:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/

I'm wondering, in particular, how you have reacted to his growling. Growling can be a bit alarming, and a lot of dog owners punish their dogs for growling. Unfortunately, this can quickly escalate the dog's frustration and lead to snapping and biting. Here's another thread on this subject:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/growling-86338/

The good news is that you are not alone and there are ways to turn this around. I'd like to direct you to this thread by another new member as it contains lots of helpful, insightful advice.

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/i-hit-my-puppy-now-she-241561/

Good luck!
 

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When Brows has growled I snap no and put him away. I thought that would teach him that it was a naughty thing to do but from research I now know that was a huge mistake and I could have made things very dangerous if I stopped him from warning me. Thanks so much for the links I will get reading and hopefully can nip this straight in the bud. Thank you again x
 

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When you say over stimulation do you mean I could be playing with Brows too much? As you can probably tell this is my first pup as an adult. My family had a Rottie when I was young and she was a vicious girl indeed, I really don't want that for my boy he is such a lovely happy and friendly boy. I had a nightmare about his behaviour I have been so worried that I've ruined him.
 

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Its as normal for puppies to growl and lash out when they are tired as it is for kids to hit and throw tantrums when they are pooped. Even still, you don't want him "practicing" any behavior that you don't like.

You clearly have a good eye for his body language since you noticed that he went stiff and licked his lips before he snapped at you. In the future, if you notice any of these signals that he is stressed out (licking his lips like he did, wide exaggerated panting and yawning) or simply hyped up beyond control, that would be a good time to end the play and get him settled down in a favorite quiet place of his with a good chew (like a bully stick or an antler, or really any 'animal part' for that matter). Chewing is actually shown to calm dogs down and relieve stress, as well as keeping them busy doing something that isn't eating your carpets or shoes!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is all great advice. I'm already feeling more relieved that I can hopefully correct al the bad habits ive learnt. I've never had my own pup before so it's really hard to know what is "normal" and what isn't. I'm also unsure as to where he should be at with his training. I worry I've left things too late. For example he just does not grasp stay or wait and thinks I'm playing. He jumps and barks in a playful way. I guess I should just continue to try? I feel he gets frustrated with me and I don't want to push him to the point he won't sit for a treat incase he thinks I wont give it to him. I've taken him for a walk this evening and found calling him in a soft and happy voice works SO much better! Do you think I should encourage him to remain on the floor not the sofa incase he falls asleep and gets grumpy?
 

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It sounds like there might be a touch of resource guarding in all of this too given the mention of growling over a toy and a favorite spot to sit. Counseling on not using aversive methods is all well and good but let's not forget the RG!

Someone around here usually links the book "Mine!", which is a fantastic ... resource for ..resource guarding that feels redundant to me. Here is a sticky! http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/resource-guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/
 

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I've removed a few posts here that were getting away from actually helping the OP, and moving more towards a discussion on corrective training vs. force free. While these discussions are ok provided they do not involve promoting compulsion training, this thread is not the place. Lets focus on giving the OP helpful tips so they can solve the problems they're having with their puppy.

Also, remember that this is a positive reinforcement training forum. Training suggestions that involve physically correcting or punishing the dog, or using force or fear to coerce or stop a behavior is NOT allowed.
 

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What you can do for the snapping when he is tired is to stop the play when you notice he's getting to that point, it's sort of like when a toddler starts getting frantic with his playing and can no longer control his self, at that point put him in his crate, x-pen, or puppy proof room with a nice chew and leave him to take a nap. Before putting him in there you might want to take him outside for a potty break to make sure he's on empty.

Work on teaching him that letting you have your hands in his food bowl, on his chews, and on his toys, is a good thing and brings him even better things then he has, that will keep him from thinking he needs to resource guard. Kikopup on youtube has some excellent videos that will demonstrate how to start teaching him that. I can post some links to them if you need me to.

Don't worry about his not grasp stay or wait, those are hard to teach older dogs, much less a young puppy with the attention span of a gnat LOL. Keep your training sessions short and fun, and if you are not using clicker/marker training consider looking into it, it's a great way to train dogs and helps keep it fun. Another thing to remember when training is that young dogs tend to regress in training when they get around 6 to 8 months of age, that age is the doggy teenage stage and they start wanting to do what they want to do and will get back to you on what you are asking them to do. Keep up your training when that happens and remember that it does pass.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much every one I can't wait to try all these lovely tricks with Brows. I'll have a look at where I can get a clicker too as never heard of that until now. So glad I signed up, its such a huge relief to not feel lost!
 

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Thanks so much every one I can't wait to try all these lovely tricks with Brows. I'll have a look at where I can get a clicker too as never heard of that until now. So glad I signed up, its such a huge relief to not feel lost!

I'm glad that we can help!

If you decide you find the clicker awkward you can always use some sort of marker word or sound which works like the clicker. Just make sure it's a unique one and not something that Brows hears often. I use both, I use the clicker for more formal training, and a marker word for when we are out on the street because I find it awkward to juggle clicker, leash, treats, and whatever else I may have in my hands.
 

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Brought the clicker yday and will begin using it today. Brows has another new behaviour to add to the list....he started cocking his leg up household things...I noticed it was when he had his lead on ready to go out or just coming back from outside. Also when driving he has always sat on my lap (dangerous I know but it is just short journeys and he goes nuts in case) and yday he fell asleep on the 5 min journey home from my sisters and I stroked him and there was the growl. He was in his bed and my boyfriend only walked in his direction and he growled. It makes me so sad, I used to have him fall asleep on me and snuggle him for hours. He would fall asleep on my young nieces and let them cuddle him and now I'm frightened of him even being around them bcuz these behaviours have popped from nowhere and it happens so quickly when he seems so happy. :( any ideas guys?
 

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Brought the clicker yday and will begin using it today. Brows has another new behaviour to add to the list....he started cocking his leg up household things...I noticed it was when he had his lead on ready to go out or just coming back from outside. Also when driving he has always sat on my lap (dangerous I know but it is just short journeys and he goes nuts in case) and yday he fell asleep on the 5 min journey home from my sisters and I stroked him and there was the growl. He was in his bed and my boyfriend only walked in his direction and he growled. It makes me so sad, I used to have him fall asleep on me and snuggle him for hours. He would fall asleep on my young nieces and let them cuddle him and now I'm frightened of him even being around them bcuz these behaviours have popped from nowhere and it happens so quickly when he seems so happy. :( any ideas guys?
Make sure you load the clicker.. click treat click treat click treat until he knows that the click equals a treat.... before you start using it for training. Here's an article and youtube:
Fifteen Tips for Getting Started with the Clicker | Karen Pryor Clicker Training
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omZt5Eu8nfE
This youtube is longer but goes into a bit more detail:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPDOrEEsAJ8

For the resource guarding, please know that it is NORMAL dog behavior. It's instinctual for some dogs to want to guard what they value, and it's not the dog being bad. To work with him to fix the behavior you need to teach him that people being around him when he's lounging or on the bed means that great things happen to him. For that you need some high value treats like real meat, hot dogs, cheese (if it doesn't upset his tummy) and when you walk past him, touch him, boyfriend walks into the room with him, toss him one of those treats, don't worry about if he already is growling still toss the treat. You will not be reinforcing the growling but will be working to change how he's feeling which is causing him to growl.

Here's a break down of how to work with him.
Keep the treats somewhere they are easy to reach but out of sight, that's so that he does not need to see them to be calm, so think somewhere like a treat pouch, pocket, container within reach.
When he's laying on your lap touch him and immediately give him a treat, let him settle back down then do it gain. You want him to think that you touching him when he's dozing on your lap is a good thing. You can pet him a few times for good measure.
When your boyfriend walks in the room and Brows is on the bed have boyfriend toss him a treat, and ignore him. Y'all can practice that one by having boyfriend keep walkng in and out tossing Brows the treat as he walks in. The think you're teaching is that boyfriend coming in the room means Brows gets a treat.

If you are having trouble getting him to move, and he's growling when you do so, the easiest solution is to teach him commands so that he does it himself. You can use Move to ask him to move over, Off if you want him off the bed, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you, I have charged his clicker but think that needs a little more work. Brilliant info, thought I had broken my pup so great to hear this is normal behaviour. We had great day yday, lots of playing, training and no growls! Can tell the difference in just one day!
 
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