5 month old puppy aggression

(21 Posts)
Lou0607 Mon 06-May-19 23:17:43

We have a 5 month old Cockapoo who for much of the time is great to have around. We have been taking him to training classes for the last couple of months and he’s doing really well. However, over the last few weeks he’s started to guard toys and food with growling and biting and is now very aggressive if we try and get him to do something he clearly doesn’t want to do. We’ve abandoned crate training because it was taking around half an hour to try and coax him into the crate at nighttime and he’d be growling and trying to bite. We always take things gently, try and exchange with treats and as hard as it is, try not to get cross with him. We’re at a bit of a loss and it’s beginning to upset our 8 year old who has been snapped at on plenty of occasions despite giving the puppy lots of space and not getting him overexcited. I’m going to take puppy to the vet this week just for a general check to make sure nothing physical is bothering him but I wondered whether anyone has any suggestions of things we can try. The evenings in particular are difficult at the moment and we’re just at a complete loss! HELP!!!

OP’s posts: |
adaline Tue 07-May-19 07:26:43

Ah, welcome to the teenage stage!

The evening bit will be because he's overtired - you need to pre-empt it and give him something to occupy himself before it gets to the stage of him being silly - natural chews, frozen kongs etc. are all good options and should keep him busy.

We had a couple of minor resource guarding issues too though he's fine now. I would never take anything from a dog that has guarding tendencies without luring them away from the item first. Try having him on a house lead and you can then give him a command to come to you, and lure him away with the lead if he ignores you.

I also find for food guarding, adding something nice to his food while he eats means he associates you with good things. So take his bowl and return it with cooked chicken in, or fresh veggies or something so he doesn't mind you doing it.

longearedbat Tue 07-May-19 08:09:18

How much time does he spend in his crate? (When you can get him in.)

LittleLongDog Tue 07-May-19 08:14:56

Always trade up with a resource guarding dog. Don’t even ask for anything from them until you’ve gone and got a treat to exchange. Say whatever command you use (‘leave it’) as you do the trade and eventually they’ll get the hang of it.

It will take a while to come out the other side of a resource guarding teenager so get in the habit of trading up every single time for a year or so!

(This is about focussing much more on not letting the bad habit form then getting them to actually learn ‘leave it’.)

Nettleskeins Tue 07-May-19 09:18:10

I have a 6 month old poodle mix, and I put mine to bed at 6.30 sometimes! Then he wakes for a little bit at 8pm, but is basically into the sleepy evening mode until morning. If all else fails and my timings are better he goes to bed at 7.30pm on the dot, brief surface to lie on the sofa and watch telly till "bedtime" (10.30pm?) or else back in the crate. Mine sleeps in his crate, but is now definitely happy to sleep on the sofa next to me or on the floor too, if it is snooze rather than a proper sleep.

He needs his sleep. He will get snappy and aggressive if he is overtired, and I particularily notice this in the morning if he has woken up too early by overeager humans wanting to play with him before they go to school!. Cheeriness and greetings turn to frazzlement within an hour. So morning he usually sleeps till 8.30 if someone doesn't wake him, and if they do (at 7.30ish), we put him back to bed after breakfast at 8am again at 8.30 or 9am.

could training also be tiring him out? It is very stimulating. My dog hasn't done training since puppy stage, and seems quite calm when he is not racing round the park and wrestling other young dogs. I think the combination might tip him over if he is getting a lot of walking/play in other parts of his life.

Coronapop Tue 07-May-19 09:21:06

It's the poodle in him, they have an aggressive streak in my experience. If he is upsetting your DC I would get rid of it.

Nettleskeins Tue 07-May-19 09:23:08

btw before we cracked the enforced sleep (in a crate) evenings were a mess. I used to sit next to him in his crate for at least three weeks to get him to like it and associate it with happy peaceful things. But that was at about 14 weeks. Funnily enough we are now trying to get him settle outside a crate...it can become a habit to only sleep properly in a crate, which can be limiting.


Nettleskeins Tue 07-May-19 09:30:51

I think poodles are very sensitive creatures. We had a massive growling, refusing to walk out of the house incident two days ago and dd had to bring him home because he was being so stubborn not budging an inch. To my mind it was no coincidence that there was mini hurricane in our area half an hour later. I think he sensed the air pressure changing and was determined not to be out in the storm! He can also remember exactly where the stale crusts of bread in the brambles are in our local park, and has it at the back of his mind, day after day that he is going to get them...whatever it takes...

Nesssie Tue 07-May-19 10:54:33

Coronapop There's always one...

Hoppinggreen Tue 07-May-19 11:01:39

Our Goldie used to resource guard at that age, especially around DS.
We banned him (Ddog not DS) from the sofa, didn’t give him high value items like bones and tennis balls, got DS to feed him and always swapped for something rather than took it off him.
He’s fine now but we don’t force him to hand things over as I can see straight away how tense he is if he thinks we are going to take something
He’s 3 now and has just picked up a discarded bone on our walk, straight away his body language changed and I could see how anxious he was. I sat down with him and stroked his head while saying in a sing song voice “ I don’t want your silly bone, let’s swap for something better” ( I know he can’t understand the words but he gets the tone). He was then happy for me to touch the bone and his mouth and then a minute or 2 later for me to take it in return for a treat
I know some people say I should just be able to take it or get him to drop it instantly but unfortunately I can’t but I do know the most stress free way for both of us to get him to hand things he shouldn’t have over.
I know it might be scary for your DS but the dog needs to associate him with getting things rather than feeling he will lose things around him. I’m not as familiar with poodles but for our dog being sent away was the ultimate punishment so he now know s that if he wants to be with us he has to be nice. Abandon the crate for now, if your dog doesn’t want to go in you shouldn't make him, especially if you could get bitten
You might need professional help, we only implemented our strategies averted seeking advice from a Behaviourist recommended by our vet.

longearedbat Tue 07-May-19 11:19:22

Poodles aggressive? What utter tosh.
They are very sensitive, and can be upset by noise, arguments and discord in a house. This upset doesn't come out as aggression though.

Coronapop Tue 07-May-19 14:38:35

All the poodles and poodle crosses that I have encountered have been aggressive. That has been my experience. The only dogs that have actually bitten me were poodles. Personally if I had an aggressive dog nipping and upsetting my DC I would get rid of it.

Nesssie Tue 07-May-19 15:03:15

Coronapop If you knew anything about dogs you would know that this is not an aggressive dog. Its a puppy going through normal puppy behaviour. If everyone got rid of a puppy for nipping, no one would keep their dog! Your post is not at all helpful so why did you even bother?

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 07-May-19 15:09:16

I gather from a local behaviourist that resource guarding is becoming something of an emerging theme with cockerpoos; I'm told it comes from the cocker side of the family.

I'm inclined to suggest seeing an APBC or CCAB accredited behaviourist before it becomes an ingrained habit that's a pig to resolve. In the meantime, reduce the opportunities that DDog

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 07-May-19 15:11:52

Hit post too soon...

Reduce the opportunities that DDog has to resource guard so DDog doesn't get to practice the behaviour and have it become a habit - leave the dog in peace when eating; don't leave chews lying around; limit the number of toys lying around, especially high value ones.

LittleLongDog Tue 07-May-19 15:58:22

Personally if I had an aggressive dog nipping and upsetting my DC I would get rid of it.
This isn’t an aggressive dog though. It’s a normal teenage puppy going through a standard blip that can be sorted.

adaline Tue 07-May-19 16:04:38

Personally if I had an aggressive dog nipping and upsetting my DC I would get rid of it

But this isn't an aggressive dog. ALL puppies bite and nip - it's a perfectly normal phase in their development. A 5 month old puppy nipping and growing is not the same as an adult dog doing the same thing!

But I suspect you know that anyway.

OverFedStanley Tue 07-May-19 17:34:32

Ok this thread shows you why you need professional advice - there is some dodgy conclusions and advice being thrown around here. Very soon you will get the put your dog down answer.

Your puppy is not aggressive from what you have said
Your puppy is stressed and frustrated and you all need to learn how to communicate with each other to prevent this and to get the behaviour you want.

You do not need anecdotal advice from strangers on the internet

A qualified trainer will show you in rl how to easily stop all this behaviour in the way that you approach your training. It may cost money but it will save you in the long run. If you need help finding a trainer start with IMDT or APDT

OverFedStanley Tue 07-May-19 17:35:05

is some obviously I meant are some!

squee123 Tue 07-May-19 17:42:59

I really recommend Jean Donaldson's book Culture Clash. It is fascinating and has an excellent chapter on resource guarding

OverFedStanley Tue 07-May-19 19:01:33

This is NOT resource guarding. The puppy also growls and bites when being asked to go into a crate and very aggressive if we try and get him to do something he clearly doesn’t want to do

The so called (diagnosed by MN) "resource guarding" is a symptom of the dogs emotional state and not the cause hence why a professional trainer will be able to give you the correct advice to help.

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