Dog Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I have this adorable toy poodle named Beau. My boyfriend and I added him to our little family about 3 months ago. He was a little over 3 months old. Now he's 6 months old. He is our first pet so please don't judge us too bad🙈. My boyfriend tells me I'm too soft on him and let's him get away with too much. So he has spanked Beau a few times for peeing on the carpet or tearing up something as usual. The thing is that he stopped spanking Beau probably a month ago. Recently Beau has begun biting at him and succeeded once. What's wierd to me is that he will run, cuddle, and play with my boyfriend, then all of a sudden he's attempting to bite his finger off. The most recent happened one morning when he was attempting to take Beau out of his kennel so he could outside and handle business before he left for work. Beau attempted to bite him 3 times trying while he tried to bring him out of the kennel. Is that he spanked him causing this behavior or is he aggressive of his space?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
615 Posts
Ok.... well good on you for raising an alarm. I think you've found a good place to start. There are some very knowledgeable people here (moreso than me) so I'm sure you'll get some good advice.

To start you need to do 3 things straight away.

Step 1. You MUST stop being violent to the dog IMMEDIATELY.

The dog is just being a dog (I'll explain more in a follow-up post) and spanking him (a) won't help a damned thing and (b) will make every nightmare you have about the dog becoming fearful and aggressive come true! STOP IT NOW. If you can't do that then you need to find a new home for the dog.

Step 2. You need to get that dog into puppy training. You're royally late for that already so don't delay. Puppy training does a few things that you badly need. First, it allows the dog to learn basic commands together in a group of other young dogs. This is necessary for socialization so that the dog learns how to be a dog and get along with other dogs. Secondly it teaches you, the owner, some techniques for training that you clearly need to acquire and finally it gives you a way to network (get to know) a trainer and some other dog owners in your area who you can consult when you come up against a problem like the one you're having right now.

Step 3. Get a couple of books and start learning about dog behaviour. I'll recommend one right now. "Decoding Your Dog" by Horwitz et. al. This book will teach you some basics about dog behaviour and body language that you need to know. There are also some youtube channels you might want to check out. I'll link a couple at the bottom of this post.

Don't delay any of this. If you can't stop being violent to the dog then you need to relocate him now. If you can't find a trainer on the short term because of the Covid-19 thing then at least prioritize step 3. Get the books, find the online resources and learn what you can starting right now. The reason your BF is doing #1 is because you haven't done #2 and #3 yet. Learning the skills isn't optional, some of it isn't obvious and you're not just going to magically acquire the skills from the universe. It takes some time, a commitment and patience. Since you are here I think you have taken a good first step and I'm sure we can help you if you are open to it.

links to a couple of decent youtube channels:

link to the book I mentioned:
other suggtions: 10 Best Dog Training Books in 2020 – Review & Buying Guide

See next post.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,878 Posts
I'd guess he doesn't like being handled by your boyfriend, possibly because he associates bf handling him with pain. Please tell your boyfriend not to hit him, especially not for toileting - first up, he is a baby with no bladder and bowel control so indoor accidents are the owners' fault for not having him outside at the moment he needs to toilet. I hope, if he ever has children, he won't hit them for filling their diaper. Second, if you get annoyed he may learn to fear your reaction and avoid you if he needs to toilet (by going off and toileting out of sight) - the opposite of what you want. Dogs cant make the distinction between you being annoyed at him TOILETING, as opposed to toileting INDOORS.

Next, you and your boyfriend need to learn a bit about canine body language.
Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals or reprimand the dog for giving them; stopping the dog from giving them would be like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm. I'd guess he has been giving these signals but you haven't seen them and that's why it has come to this.

So, to get him out or move him, use something to lure him. Depending on how food focussed he us, that could be something from his allowance or it might need to be higher value like chicken. Maybe consider using a house line on him indoors (a light leash with no handle to catch on anything) so you can lead him without touching - hands should only ever be the source of good things.

It is just possible some of the mouthing (like while playing) is just an extension of the boisterous play he had with his littermates but he needs to learn this is not how to play with humans. Some people find a sharp 'ouch' works but it can just ramp up the excitement. Some people find putting a toy in the dog's mouth works, others find the puppy is still more interested in nipping hands. My preferred method is to teach him that teeth on skin equals end of fun. So as soon as he makes contact, walk out of the room for a few moments.

Finally, it sounds like your boyfriend has some ideas about training that are a bit outdated - understanding of canine psychology has moved on quite fast in recent years. So if you are looking to train something, or change a behaviour, please have a look at force free methods. There are some great resources online (Kikopup on YouTube is excellent) or post here for advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
615 Posts
Ok, first about dogs in general and about poodles in particular. Every dog has a different personality and the differences between personalities is likely bigger than the differences between breeds. That said, not all dogs like to be handled and/or handled in certain ways or at certain times. Poodles in particular (I also own a poodle so I speak from experience) can have a bit of a short fuse when it comes to snapping. I'll talk about snapping more in a minute.

What will help is to give your dog a "safe place" where he can go and be left alone. In our case we have two "no go zones" for the dog. He has a bed in the living room and he has his crate. If he goes in his bed we don't pet him in there. If he wants to play or be pet he has to come to us. This was necessary when he was young because it could be hard to predict how he would react if you brought the affection. The other safe zone is the crate. When the dog goes into the crate we don't interact with him at all. The door is always open except when he's sleeping and we never EVER take him out of the crate. In the morning we just open the door and wait until the dog comes out on his own.

Point of this is to point out a couple of things:
1) the dog needs a safe zone to withdraw to.
2) the dog needs affection but in the case of your dog it might be better for you to make the dog "come and get it" than the other way around.
3) dogs have different tolerances for being handled and poodles in particular can have a short "escalation" to snapping if you're not tuned in to the dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
590 Posts
You have had really good advice.. I hope you dont have children .. Your BF needs to get a handle on his behaviour because what he is doing is not acceptable.

If you are going to raise your dog together then you need to be on the same page regarding training . So sit down have a chat maybe watch a couple of those you tube videos with him and get him to see where you are both going wrong. Because if you dont and your dog really bites I know who will suffer and it wont be your BF.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
615 Posts
Next, dogs have a particular set of cues that they give you when they are uncomfortable. You will read about them in the book and see them on Kirstin's videos. Once the dog gets to the point that it feels a need to act on being uncomfortable there is generally a very predictable escalation

avoidance (walking away or turning the head away)
growl
snarl
snap
bite

What your dog did to your boyfriend is probably snapping. It usually happens after you have already ignored other cues but again in the case of a poodle they can skip a step or two (like snarling before growling). The difference between snap and a bite is intention and intensity.

First, a snarl is just that. It looks bombastic and there is a lot of noise and baring the teeth but the dog doesn't make contact. Obviously this stage is the dog telling you to back off. It's like a bar when the other guy says, "come at me bro". You can tell it's a snarl when it looked like the dog tried to grab you but missed. Dogs have incredibly fast reflexes and they don't miss when they want to grab you. If he missed he wanted to miss. That's a snarl.

A snap is when the dog nips at you. A tooth may puncture or scrape the skin if you don't back off but it's not the intention of the dog to hurt you. It's the dog's intention to make you stop. Well socialized dogs use this kind of nipping to correct each other too. It's normal dog behaviour when they are correcting each other (or in this case correcting you). As soon as you stop the dog stops. A snap is not aggressive. This is important. A snap is not aggressive it is DEFENSIVE. To use the bar analogy it's like when you get into the fase where you're giving the other guy a shove. The shove is intended to make him back off. That's what a snap is to a dog.

A bite, to use the bar analogy, is when the fists come out. When a dog bites you it hurts. The dog may clamp on and start shaking its head. It will apply a lot of force, the skin will be punctured and depending on the size of the dog there could be some severe injuries as a result. The attack may also not stop when you stop. This is aggression.

It's important for you as an owner to be able to read these signs so you can get a view into your dog's mental state when he escalates beyond being calm.

I think I'll leave it at this for now so you have a chance to absorb some of this and ask follow up questions if you have any.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top