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Should I be worried my puppy will become aggressive?

Question by Gwarshness: Should I be worried my puppy will become aggressive?

So I’ve currently got a retriever/st. bernard cross puppy, at four months. Since she’s been three months we’ve been taking her to a local dog park very often, but lately I’ve been seeing some signs that unnerve me. The first time anything happened was when a 5 month old german shepherd with food aggression pinned her down, and that scared her quite a bit. I’m wondering if that’s the cause. Recently I was walking with her at night, and she gave a warning-like snort to people on their driveway as we walked by. I’m aware that St. Bernards are usually protective, but I wasn’t sure how to feel about that. Then, today, I was walking with her at the dog park and she got overwhelmed by two bigger dogs while on a leash, and she reacted with baring her teeth. We came across another woman with two huskies, which chased her while she was on a leash, and she gave the same reaction. For the rest of the time she was okay with other dogs. I think she might have felt restricted to an area and had to fight when her “flight” response wasn’t an option, so I’m not sure if I should feel that her reaction was appropriate.
After that though, she had a little episode and just wouldn’t calm down. She even bit me, and I tried to hold her down to calm her but that worsened it. She’s always been a bit nippy, but I’ve been trying to stop it and it’s shown signs of improvement (bite inhibition), but I’m not sure if these other signs are a warning that she’s going to become aggressive. I also don’t know how to correct her when she does anything like that, especially since she doesn’t listen to me as well when I don’t have treats.
Any suggestions ASIDE from “take her to training”, since I’m already in the process of signing up for a class?
She also lives, and gets along quite well with a 5 month old berner, if that helps anything
5 YEAR old berner, haha

Best answer:

Answer by TNR
Besides, “take her to training”, be sure you let her be around other people as often as possible. I didn’t realize that we had to keep up on even an adult’s socialization skills until a bad episode. You want to expose her to all kinds of people, especially since she’s a puppy.

What do you think? Answer below!

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  • Her reaction to being crowded by other dogs is normal. She was simply showing the other dogs that she didn’t appreciated what they were doing.

    Perhaps some more socialization in a controlled atmosphere would be good for her(like at your house or a friend’s house).

  • It almost seems to me that your dog is acting aggressive in appropriate circumstances.Since she has had some experiences with dogs coming after her while she was leashed and FELT unable to defend herself she is on alert for trouble when she encounters other dogs. I think if you can find just 1 dog for her to interact with at a time you may be able to reduce her fight/flight res ponce if she sees not all dogs want a fight.You are wise to seek help and since you are concerned you should do very well in any classes or with any help you get from a Professional. Until you get to training I would not go to dog park because you don’t want any more bad experiences for her to have to get through.Try very hard to have a good walk experience and treat her when you get home if she acts well.You need to come up with a word for aggression……..not NO but a special word that you only use for those incidents where she growls.Maybe say NICE.or BE NICE.She will quickly learn what that means if she starts to growl at a dog across the street then stops after she learns the new word the give her a quick pet and continue on you walk.

  • Her response to these other dogs is normal if she got “overwhelmed” by two bigger dogs, pinned down by a GSD, and then chased by two huskies.

    The problem as I see it is that YOU as the owner should of prevented all these things happening. She needs you to watch out for her, not leave her at 5 months old to fight her own battles.

    Damned well tell these people whose dogs shouldn’t even be coming up to yours if it is onlead otherwise you are going to have a problem with her and other dogs. I’m not surprised she bit you either. You have put her in a situation that made her very uncomfortable and you haven’t done anything about it other than hold HER down instead of sort out these other dogs and protect her.

    Sorry… but I think you’d be best not taking her anywhere that bad mannered dogs are likely to be. You need to get her confidence back because right now she has lost it with you.

    I’m afraid this is down to you and your handling of those situations that you put her in – nothing more.

  • Your puppy could be developing “dog-to-dog aggression”. That can be worked out of, but the puppy has a good chance of growing up to be big. Big and aggressive don’t go well. If you’re at the park and a bigger dog is on leash and approaching, if the tail goes between the legs, tell the other handler to back-off. Also, you can bring treats, and every time a big dog walks up and she responds well, give her high praise and a treat. Do not let a dog sniff her nose-to-nose. In doggie language, that can be a threat. So, you should turn her around and let the other dog sniff her back end. While that’s going on, give her treats and praise her
    I recommend clicker training. It is a great option for training. A “prong” collar also can help her if she’s the one picking a fight. If she’s starts growling and gets ugly, give her a correction with the collar. Your Dog Trainer can tell you more about it.
    Going to outing as in a parade, let some of the kids pet her. You can give them some treats to give her. Pretty much where ever you go, Treats should be in your pocket and give her high praise if she’s being good when a dog or person walks up.

  • First of all, she’s a bit young to be going to the dog park. Most dog parks don’t allow puppies under 5 months since they wouldn’t have had all their vaccinations.

    Her reactions are completely fine and justified. She bared her teeth to tell the other dogs to back off. That reaction is completely fine. My dog will growl at other dogs at the dog park when they get in her face. This is not something I discourage. If I corrected her and told her that her reaction as not appropriate, then her response could likely turn from growling to biting.

    Just leave her be, although, truly, I would not take her back to the dog park until she has had all of her vaccinations. When you take her back, just let her do her thing. If the other owners react and seem wry just explain that she’s warning their dogs and it’s nothing to be concerned about. She is not going to become aggressive because you are letting your dog respond like a dog. Remember that teeth baring, growling and barking are all ways that dogs communicate.

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