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20 week old Cockapoo biting(19 Posts)
I’m hoping for a bit of advice and a hand hold!
We have a 20 week old male Cockapoo who is mostly lovely. He was nippy in the usual puppy way, but it is getting much much better in that respect.
However, there have been 2 occasions in the last week when a child has come to stroke him on the head and he has growled and immediately bitten (and drew blood yesterday). If there were any warning signs that he was unhappy, I clearly missed them!
I think he is probably trying to tell them that he wants a bit a peace and quiet, but obviously biting that hard is unacceptable.
I’m seeing a behavioural specialist on Weds, but I feel a bit down about the whole thing.
We’ve put so much time into training him and trying to do things the right way, but now I feel I can’t leave my children (aged 7and 8) alone with him and also dread any situations where other children are around.
So although he is lovely and the children (still!) love him to bits, I’m kind of regretting getting him at the moment :-(
Has he seen a vet? It’s the first thing I would do if a dog is suddenly biting out of character when being touched. It could indicate that he is in pain. The behaviourist is a good next step.
Hang in there - puppyhood sucks but it doesn’t last forever.
Yes, saw the vet on Friday - all fine
I would be inclined to keep any contact with children to zero until you have spoken to the behaviourist. He's biting and drawing blood. And you don't want this behaviour to become self rewarding.
What's his daily routine like?
a child has come to stroke him on the head and he has growled and immediately bitten (and drew blood yesterday
What the child did was not a good thing. At 7/8 years old they should know not to touch a dog without the owner being there and definitely not to go straight to a pat on the head. Your puppy thought he was being attacked and got scared
What was the dog doing when the child approached?
When he drew blood, it was actually my daughter that stroked him and he was sitting quite happily on my lap awake and looking around
What about the first time? I'm just wondering if the first time he was eating/sleeping and when the same child approached again his immediate reaction was to bite.
But you should never be leaving your children alone with him anyway, they're too young to be left alone with a young puppy. If you can't be there to supervise then you need to crate the dog or use stairgates to keep them apart.
You don’t want to be leaving a dog that age alone with your DC anyway, no matter what had happened so far, so that’s not a huge deal, just what you wanted to have been doing already... if you leave the room just take him with you, it’s the easiest short term fix.
Most dogs do not like being stroked on their head - they learn to tolerate it as many humans approach dogs this way. So in one way the reaction from the puppy was not surprising.
What does concern me as a behaviourist is that the dog was on your lap at the time and that the dog actually drew blood.
It is great that you are seeing a professional later on this week as this does need to be looked at in RL. Do not consider "what if" scenarios until this has been assessed but obviously keep your puppy and children apart for the next few days.
Good luck and let us know how you get on on Wednesday
Sorry to hear OP. I've got a Cockapoo now six months old. It's possible he's teething and that's making him narky. I think the spaniel side of them can be very possessive of items and people and if you had the dog on your lap and the child approached basically the dogs saying "Bugger off rival, this is MY mum". I'd actually avoid having the dog on your lap or on a raised chair ....keep him on the floor. Maybe he's getting ideas way above his station and needs bringing into line quickly. Feed him strictly after the family. We've always isolated our dog when she's out of line - we put her in her area and ignore her for 15 mins.
You do need professional input. It sounds to me like the dogs trying to raise its position in the pack. It's sees the kids as rivals. The psychologist will seek to change this and probably have the kids re positioned as food providers. Best of luck and stay posted.
7 & 8 is too young to be left unattended with a puppy so supervision is key. Patting a dog on the head is not recommended...most don't like it. Patting with one hand, collar to tail, and then stopping to see if the pup invites more is the best way. If the puppy turns away from an approaching hand, licks its lips, pulls its ears back etc it should be left well alone.
Dogs are not pack animals and there is no dominance issue going on here. Possibly a bit of guarding but it's impossible to say based on the info here. Make sure your trainer/behaviourist is qualified and uses non-aversive techniques. In the meantime this infographic might help your kids
I think it is pack mentality from what you’ve said, so a behaviour specialist will be able to help. We have a cockatoo nearly 7 now, the first couple of months were difficult with our than 5 year old. He’d nip her, take the legs from under her if she was running in the garden. They want to advance up the pack, we showed our daughter how to stop him doing this with some tips from a specialist, she had to show she was above him in the pack. He became devoted to her and still is, so hang in there.
Hi Smithy, how did you get your little girl to show the dog she was above him in the pack? I have a 10 week old cocker who I can see is getting uppity with my 8 year old son...
I don't think dogs usually like to be approached face to face and patted on the head, do they? I think I read it somewhere that they may see that as something threatening approaching them.
I always offer my hand to a dog, for them to sniff it, before stroking. I would normally pat/stroke a dog on the back.
I must add that I've never had a dog - only cats, but it seems common sense to always approach a dog (any animal really) with care, and not to touch it on the head unless the animal is comfortable in allowing it
OP please run a mile from any behaviourist who approaches this from 'pack theory', it's outdated nonsense. Are they accredited with any official body? APDT, APBC or CAPDT/COAPE should all be fairly reliable.
Pack theory has been entirely discredited. If your trainer mentions pack theory, alpha, dominance, status run a mile. The IMDT are also a good place to look for s modern, educated trainer
How did the appointment with the behaviourist go?