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12 week old puppy has just growled and went to bite me

(26 Posts)
Retreatbynameretreatbynature Sun 23-Jun-19 21:55:25

My 12 week old puppy was under a chair trying to get to some cables. I tried calling him out calmly and firmly but he refused. So I then bent down and placed my hands gently on him to guide him backwards away from the cables. At that point he growled aggressively and turned round twice to bite me on the arm. My puppy is treated exactly the same as the five other dogs we’ve had before him and I don’t know what to. I’m really worried that this is the start of true aggression in him.

OP’s posts: |
OverFedStanley Sun 23-Jun-19 22:06:20

Nope not aggression just fear and unease at being handled this way.

Best to lure the dog out of the situation with food.

You need to build up positive association with being touched so this is quite normal behaviour for a young puppy.

Costacoffeeplease Sun 23-Jun-19 22:08:49

Very normal puppy behaviour, as above best to lure them out with food or distract with toys

caringcarer Sun 23-Jun-19 22:13:58

The puppy is still a baby. It was probably scared. The puppy may not have been handled much before you got him. Give him lots of gentle handling and give him a few treats from your hand. The puppy will soon get to enjoy being handled if associated with a nice feeling (food).

Sarahlou63 Sun 23-Jun-19 22:14:23

You've had 5 dogs before and you're worried about 'true' aggression in a puppy who's cross at being asked to leave his new toy? C'mon! A stern "no" and scoop him out of the situation without fuss. Do not use food as a reward for bad behaviour.

tastetherainbows Sun 23-Jun-19 22:15:11

Totally normal. Mine did this at the same age and scared the life out of me as I was worried she would be an aggressive dog!
Since then we try to lure her to places we want her to go or to leave with treats.
I would say twice in the past 6 months she’s grumbled slightly when we’ve moved her off our bed when she was comfy without a treat.
But definitely not a growl or a snap.

Retreatbynameretreatbynature Sun 23-Jun-19 22:24:04

I don’t know what to think really. Some advice is to use positive actions like treats or toys to lure him out of the unwanted situation but others are saying don’t use food to reward bad behaviour. It is very confusing. My puppy is treated with kindness, calmness and gentle handling all of the time but I think he just really didn’t like being brought away from the “scene of the crime”.

OP’s posts: |
Costacoffeeplease Sun 23-Jun-19 22:33:24

You’re rewarding the good behaviour of leaving the cables and coming to you. You’re not giving him a treat while he’s chewing at the cables!

Retreatbynameretreatbynature Sun 23-Jun-19 22:40:05

Thanks Costa for explaining it. That definitely makes sense. I may get some puppy treats so that he has something different to his usual food as a treat.
But I’m still concerned that he will still not like being touched and may retaliate with aggression which is a great worry. There will inevitably be times where he needs handling and I don’t want to fear him biting us.

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justasking111 Sun 23-Jun-19 22:42:57

What breed is he?

Retreatbynameretreatbynature Sun 23-Jun-19 22:44:42


OP’s posts: |
justasking111 Sun 23-Jun-19 22:49:07

golden retriever do you mean?

Jeeperscreepers69 Sun 23-Jun-19 22:50:30

Get on top of it asap. Dont reward with treats. Your the boss hes a dog

ilovesocks Sun 23-Jun-19 22:51:36

If you don't want to constantly fish out treats you could also leave a lead trailing in the house providing it is safe to do so. Then if he gets into mischief you can call his name and encourage him with the lead. I used both methods with my boy, he was more opinionated when he got to 5-6 months age it wasn't fear, he just knew showing his teeth and growling would make people reconsider their actions. Bit of a smart git, he still takes the mick with my DM because he knows he can walk all over her.

He is also a Retriever. He's 11 in a couple of months and quite frequently goes and finds something he shouldn't have like a tissue, then comes and flaunts it in my face, growling (playfully, I should probably add). He knows he'll get either a big fuss or a bit of kibble for surrendering such a prized possession wink

The phrase 'do you want a treat?' Is always very effective in this house!

Costacoffeeplease Sun 23-Jun-19 22:53:37

You need high value treats like roast chicken or hot dog sausages. Try stroking him gently when he’s calm and treating at the same time. You’re going to have to handle him, groom him, have vet checks done, so you need to get him used to it

Costacoffeeplease Sun 23-Jun-19 22:55:03

Ignore jeepers, and anyone who talks about dominance and pack theory

Retreatbynameretreatbynature Sun 23-Jun-19 22:56:13

He’s fast asleep now and looks so angelic!! But I’m going to get some “high value treats” as pp suggested. Being a retriever, his stomach definitely rules his head.

OP’s posts: |
AnthonyCrowley Sun 23-Jun-19 22:57:03

A growl is a warning which should be listened to and acted on. It isn't letting him boss you about but instead responding to the fact he was worried/scared and wanted to be left alone. Ignoring his communication will lead to an increase in defence, ie a bite/snap.

He was trying to warn you.

So backing off and instead getting him out with treats is a much better solution,

He's only little and doesn't know/trust you much yet. If you show that you're trustworthy now by showing him you listen to him he will trust you more and won't feel the need to growl/bite.

Retreatbynameretreatbynature Sun 23-Jun-19 23:08:59

Thanks Anthony for your advice, it sounds very sensible and I’m going to follow it. For my family’s and puppy’s sake, we want to eliminate unwanted behaviour but simultaneously reinforce in the puppy that he’s safe and we can be trusted.

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EveWasShamed Sun 23-Jun-19 23:14:52

You’ve received plenty of good advice, and some shit advice - glad you’re listening to the sensible posters smile

BorderlineExperimental Sun 23-Jun-19 23:21:54

Being happy with handling is something that comes from making it a positive experience for the puppy, handling a puppy who isn’t comfortable with it would just be counter productive.

Have a look at Positive Dog Husbandry, it’s got loads of information about training a puppy (or any age of dog) to not only be happy with being handled but also a willing participant in things like grooming, nail trims, teeth brushing and even vet trips.

adaline Mon 24-Jun-19 06:13:56

Lots of dogs don't like being grabbed and manhandled like that - mine is certainly one of them!

Like PP said lure away with treats and put a verbal command to the action. We use "leave" - not scarily or shouting, just "ah ah, leave it" and now he comes pretty well without the need for a treat, though if he has something he considers high value (normally smelly socks) a cocktail sausage works wonders!

OverFedStanley Mon 24-Jun-19 08:30:53

Read the book easy peasy puppy best book on the market for puppies with excellent advice on situations like this

longearedbat Mon 24-Jun-19 08:50:32

Possibly easier said than done, but the simple answer is not to let the puppy get somewhere where it shouldn't be/is dangerous. Don't set it up to fail. (I mean this kindly, I am not being critical, I know they like to get into everything). Block off the bottom of your sofa or lift/move the cables out of his way. It's a bit like leaving valuable ornaments at toddler level, and then hoping that by saying 'don't touch!' they will leave them alone.
As for the growling, we had a puppy like this. If you tried to stop him doing something he shouldn't, he got very cross and bitey; I can only describe it as a tantrum. Like you, I wondered what I had got myself into, but he grew out of it. Puppies don't understand commands until they are trained to, so they just react like thwarted children (sorry to use a child analogy again). Just ignore and distract him with a toy or a treat.
Hopefully he will soon be too large to get into places he shouldn't.

Hoppinggreen Mon 24-Jun-19 15:35:54

My Goldie puppy bit me badly when he was about 12 weeks old when I tried to put him in his crate to do the school run, I was surprised at how much it hurt.
GR’s can have an issue with resource guarding app, which I didn’t know as none of my previous ones did - I’m not saying yours does or will but just be aware as we had a few incidents in the first year.
We worked with a behaviourist and ddog is now 3 and absolutely brilliant but it’s been hard work. Goldies quite rightly have a good reputation as a family dog but they are large powerful animals and need to be well trained

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