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Jumping, growling & nipping

(10 Posts)
JethroTull Sun 30-Sep-12 11:10:21

We have a 3 month old Boxer. Can someone knowledgeable please help me?

He seems very agitated when one of us leaves the house or when we are both getting ready to leave. He growls & 'attacks' our legs. My husband deals with this much better than me, firmly says ah! and 'off'. It takes a while but usually works. I panic. It scares me. I know this makes him worse.

How can I learn to handle this situation & work on getting this lovely little puppy to trust me? It's making me sad.

daisydotandgertie Sun 30-Sep-12 14:18:49

How long is he left for and what are you scared of?

JethroTull Sun 30-Sep-12 15:34:43

I work 3 days a week. One of us come home at lunchtime for a full hour. We have a puppy sitter that comes for 45 mins in the afternoon so the longest he's on his own for is 3 hours in the morning.

I'm scared because he has bitten me twice.

Most of the time he's a lovely lovely dog. I just want him to be happy.

JethroTull Sun 30-Sep-12 15:36:06

A family friend also cleans our house on one of the mornings that I'm at work and spends at least an hour with him then too.

daisydotandgertie Sun 30-Sep-12 16:22:06

At 12 weeks old, his bites aren't malicious. He is still such a baby and has worked out that you leave him alone quite a lot. I appreciate you have made efforts to get walkers and so on, and you only work for 3 days a week but it obviously upsets him.

Biting, nipping and jumping is completely normal puppy behaviour. It is how they play with each other - he is trying to be at his most enticing to encourage you to stay with him and play.

It is a demonstration of separation anxiety, tbh.

You need to teach him that it is OK to be left; that it isn't always for ages and that you will be back. He is very young to be left for such a long time by himself - only 4 weeks ago, he was surrounded by all his litter siblings and now he is on his own for 3 hours, which is a long time for such a young puppy.

Can you increase his puppy sitter for a few months? Someone to come in for an hour in the mornings just to be with him?

There is no reason to be frightened of him. He won't have a clue why and is likely to misinterpret it which isn't ideal. A 3 month old puppy is incapable of being vicious and while the bites will hurt there is nothing to be actually frightened of. Google 'bite inhibition' by Ian Dunbar and read about why they do it, why it's important and how to deal with it.

JethroTull Sun 30-Sep-12 19:04:36

Thank you. I've spoken to the puppy sitter & she's going to come round tomorrow to sort out doing some more hours. We're also starting puppy classes at the weekend so I'm hoping that will improve my confidence.
Thanks for the advice.

daisydotandgertie Mon 01-Oct-12 08:47:43

Classes will improve your confidence - and the behaviour of the puppy too! He will learn that leaping, nipping and growling aren't appropriate for humans; it will just take time.

Puppies make the most blood curdling noises when they play and it means absolutely nothing; they are trying out their repertoire of sounds and enjoying the sound of their own voice.

And a few more hours from the puppy sitter will really help him and with any luck it will tone down the behaviour too.

I meant to say earlier that adopting a going to work routine and sticking to it will also help. Mine are expected to get into their beds and are given a biscuit or stuffed kong if I am going to work. They, like your puppy just KNOW which days are work days and which aren't and leap into their beds and wait for the treat. I wonder if your pup isn't being taught how to behave when you go out and is making it up for himself and getting it wrong?

JethroTull Mon 01-Oct-12 14:11:40

Yes you're probably right, I think we feel guilty for leaving him on his own so probably give him a treat and then rush out. Getting into a routine will help.

I've been looking at Ian Dunbar's articles & they are already helping. We did lots of bite inhibition 'games' with him last night & this morning.

Just out of interest how long do you leave your dogs for when you go to work?

daisydotandgertie Mon 01-Oct-12 18:20:32

I work for 3 mornings a week and they are left from 9 - 10 then my DH comes home for coffee for half an hour, then they're on their own from 10.30 until 1.00.

Mine are very lucky though; we don't have to lock our house up, so they can play outside or snooze in the garden if they want to. There are also 4 of them, so they aren't ever actually alone. I can't remember far enough back to remember having just 1 dog though!

On one or two occasions over the past few years, they have been left for about 6 hours, but that is exceptional. If we are out and about, then we leave them for no more than 3/4 hours at a time.

Not sure if that helps!

My best advice for owners of teeny puppies is to always bear in mind the adult dog you hope to end up with, and teach him consistently, kindly and firmly what you expect that dog to do. He won't know what to do unless you teach him; he can't guess and absolutely hasn't a bloody clue. The term blank canvas could have been invented for puppies grin.

Enjoy him!

Anomaly Mon 01-Oct-12 20:16:23

We had a boxer and as a puppy she hated being left alone. Despite doing all we could to keep the time to a minimum she did have to be left at times. We found the best thing was to make our leaving a good thing. So we used to buy those filled bones and then once they were empty we refilled them with a mixture of tinned dog food and mixer. We then put them in the freezer. Each time we went out she got one. She was very destructive but I found the destruction was happening when we left and by giving her this bone to play with meant she stopped being destructive and in time was fine about being left. I would say we had to keep the routine up until she was 2 or more though.

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