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post #41 of 72
Oh, and I just want to say that I for one, trust that the OP can tell the difference between a moaning, grunty puppy being picked up, and growls. There is a world of difference, and things like hackles, tail/ear position would not be applicable at this tender age.

I've seen puppies like this before. Not normal. And they don't raise their tails or ears or hackles.

And the one and only thing that I will say about alpha rolling, is that regardless of whether or not you approve of it, it is not appropriate for a baby puppy.

I'm really scratching my head here. Are people forgetting that this puppy is 9 weeks old?

Here is my dog when he was 9 weeks old. See the sort of 'lost' look in his eyes? That is because he is a BABY in this picture. Here is another (excuse the mess in this picture). He would never have had a growly thought cross his little head at that age. That is normal. And he is a LARGE dog, as you can imagine by the fact that those were taken at 9 weeks. He weighs in at nearly 150 lbs now, at 22 months old, has a VERY dominant temperament, and yet has never once growled at any of us.

ETA: I know my dog's exact date of birth, and I first went to view the litter when he was 4.5 weeks old. A 4 week old puppy has some very distinguishing characteristics. Just saying, in case anyone doubts that he was actually 9 weeks old in these pics.
post #42 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SevenVeils View Post
Oh, and I just want to say that I for one, trust that the OP can tell the difference between a moaning, grunty puppy being picked up, and growls. There is a world of difference, and things like hackles, tail/ear position would not be applicable at this tender age.

I've seen puppies like this before. Not normal. And they don't raise their tails or ears or hackles.

And the one and only thing that I will say about alpha rolling, is that regardless of whether or not you approve of it, it is not appropriate for a baby puppy.

I'm really scratching my head here. Are people forgetting that this puppy is 9 weeks old?

Here is my dog when he was 9 weeks old. See the sort of 'lost' look in his eyes? That is because he is a BABY in this picture. Here is another (excuse the mess in this picture). He would never have had a growly thought cross his little head at that age. That is normal. And he is a LARGE dog, as you can imagine by the fact that those were taken at 9 weeks. He weighs in at nearly 150 lbs now, at 22 months old, has a VERY dominant temperament, and yet has never once growled at any of us.

ETA: I know my dog's exact date of birth, and I first went to view the litter when he was 4.5 weeks old. A 4 week old puppy has some very distinguishing characteristics. Just saying, in case anyone doubts that he was actually 9 weeks old in these pics.
Yes, I can tell the difference between grunty/moaning puppy noises (which he does do) and growling. No, he doesn't have his hackles up and he's not baring his teeth. I think I'm having a hard time buying the notion that this growling is sooooo abnormal. I'm not saying everyone on here is wrong, but I'm just not totally convinced. I mean, don't puppies growl at their littermates?? That is what I always thought anyway.

As far as my breeder, I really like her and she is not irresponsible or your typical "backyard breeder". But that is neither her nor there because the advice I got about the alpha rolling actually came from the sire's owner, not my puppy's breeder. I realize she is not a behaviorist, but she seems knowledgeable and has raised a lot of puppies in her lifetime.

Oh, TJ is 10 weeks today!
post #43 of 72
I guarantee the sire's owner knows what she is talking about, too. And her knowledge would apply, since your boy would probably have a lot of the same characteristics.

I would just not listen to the "armchair" dog trainers and listen to the ones, like the owner of your dog's sire, and the breeder and people you know IN REAL LIFE who have REAL experience and do the alpha roll as suggested. No harm will come from it and you will be so happy with the results.
post #44 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SevenVeils View Post
Oh, and I just want to say that I for one, trust that the OP can tell the difference between a moaning, grunty puppy being picked up, and growls. There is a world of difference, and things like hackles, tail/ear position would not be applicable at this tender age.

.
I was just asking because we often had clients call for training help with young pups who were "very aggressive, they growl and bite" and then we would get them in and it would be normal puppy stuff, not true aggression. We did see a couple who truly were aggressive as well, but a lot of first time dog owners, or people who didnt have lots of experience with puppies, didnt know the difference. I am not saying the OP doesnt, just throwing out a possibility. Like I said before, if this pup is truly being aggressive and growling, something is wrong.
post #45 of 72
Yep, and I've said that before, too. It's so hard to tell without seeing it in person, but aggression from a puppy that young is very very odd. But growling to "test" his place in the pack is normal. He's still pretty young to be doing even that... but he could be a really dominant puppy and in that case, I would neuter him asap, and practice the alpha rolling and other dominance related exercises, like going out the door before him, eating before him, never letting him on the furniture, etc.

OP, PLEASE get the book Mother Knows Best and read it cover to cover. It will really help you with this particular puppy.
post #46 of 72
Thread Starter 
Oh man, I just don't know about this. He growled at my 4-year old a few times this morning and I really got a chance to have a good look at what's going on. He is not raising his hackles or baring his teeth. It's like he's saying, "I'm really irritated, leave me alone!!" That's definitely aggressive right??? For example, puppy was walking along and Myles came up behind him and put his hands on puppy's sides (not hard or anything). Puppy growled and turned around and nipped at him. I'm really getting uncomfortable with this. My dad is here for a couple of days and he's defending the puppy saying that he's being "bothered" too much and needs to be left alone. That is probably the case, but it's not like Myles was hurting him. Maybe my boys are just too young for a puppy. Ugh, I really don't know what to think. The breeder and the sire's owner didn't seem concerned, but I'm uncomfortable with it for sure.
post #47 of 72
It's totally normal for puppies to growl when they are playing. The problem is, your puppy isn't playing when this happens, and that is what is abnormal for a dog this age.

"Play growls are usually high pitched, short, and repeated frequently. True aggressive growls are lower pitched and prolonged." That's from Karen Overall, she is a board certified veterinary behaviorist.

I have a lot of resources at my disposal, veterinary-wise (I've been a practicing vet for 11 years), and I would not have a dog displaying this behavior in my house with my children. If I didn't have kids, I might consider it, but I'd be working with a behaviorist. NOW.

If you're going to proceed, seriously get the dog a full physical. A really thorough one, because there is a possibility the dog is growling due to pain (and now is growling at your kids because he's anticipating pain). I don't mean your kids are hurting him - I mean that there may be something physically wrong with the dog. If you rule that out, then go to a behaviorist. If this is truly aggression because the dog's a little wonky in the head, then not knowing what you're doing will make the situation worse, and someone will get hurt.

Bear in mind that no matter how responsible you feel your breeder is, there is a financial incentive for her to keep this puppy exactly where he is. It would not be easy for her to find another home, and there's the potential for liability if this dog later attacks someone and she knew of the behavior and didn't disclose it to the new owners.
post #48 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadydid View Post
It's totally normal for puppies to growl when they are playing. The problem is, your puppy isn't playing when this happens, and that is what is abnormal for a dog this age.

"Play growls are usually high pitched, short, and repeated frequently. True aggressive growls are lower pitched and prolonged." That's from Karen Overall, she is a board certified veterinary behaviorist.

I have a lot of resources at my disposal, veterinary-wise (I've been a practicing vet for 11 years), and I would not have a dog displaying this behavior in my house with my children. If I didn't have kids, I might consider it, but I'd be working with a behaviorist. NOW.

If you're going to proceed, seriously get the dog a full physical. A really thorough one, because there is a possibility the dog is growling due to pain (and now is growling at your kids because he's anticipating pain). I don't mean your kids are hurting him - I mean that there may be something physically wrong with the dog. If you rule that out, then go to a behaviorist. If this is truly aggression because the dog's a little wonky in the head, then not knowing what you're doing will make the situation worse, and someone will get hurt.

Bear in mind that no matter how responsible you feel your breeder is, there is a financial incentive for her to keep this puppy exactly where he is. It would not be easy for her to find another home, and there's the potential for liability if this dog later attacks someone and she knew of the behavior and didn't disclose it to the new owners.

Okay, so what is a normal response from a puppy who is irritated with the kids? I mean, if he's not supposed to growl, what should he be doing instead?

I really don't know if I'm up for hiring a behaviorist. I realize puppies are a lot of work, but I don't want a project above and beyond normal puppy stuff. He's been to the vet twice and deemed perfectly healthy. I really don't think he's in pain or anything like that. I just think he gets annoyed and that's his way of letting the kids know.

Also, I really want to thank everyone who have given advice here and continued to respond to this thread. Thank you!!
post #49 of 72
I do have a project dog-in the space of a month she snapped at a child and bit a man at the dog park. I chose to work with her and have successfully managed her for eight years but it is very hard work. I have done extensive training with her, and spend time every day working with her.

So, I totally understand you not wanting a project, and if this had happened now when I have a child, I do not know if I would have been able to make the same decisions.

That said, a behavoiralist could at least let you know what you have on your hands, and, if you decide to reurn the pup could assist you in getting a dog that does fit in with your family.
post #50 of 72
I miss joanna.

Op I'm not a dog behavior expert by any means. I just wanted to add from a different side. About 6 years ago I was severly bitten on my face/neck by a dog that had issues with growling from as far back as it's puppyhood. A dog seen by multiple behavirists and trainers. Truly this dog had a screw loose. I am now fearful of almost all dogs. I, thankfully, have very little scarring. Other victims of wacko dogs are not as lucky.

Please make sure any dogs kept around kids are 100% sound 100% of the time.
post #51 of 72
Thread Starter 
Betsyj- I appreciate that, thanks.

Everyone keeps saying this puppy has a screw loose, but I'm having a hard time understanding why. He's getting irritated with the kids and letting them know. If he shouldn't be growling, then what should he be doing?? Or is it wrong that he's getting annoyed in the first place??
post #52 of 72
Let's say theoretically that this is the dog's way of expressing his boundaries. You have a dog that is growling and now nipping at your children. You've been told you need to leave him alone more. You don't need to respond to this, but answer it for yourself: is this the type of companion you imagined for your family?
post #53 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlin View Post
Wow, I am totally surprised by everyone saying that growling is abnormal in a 9 week old puppy. If you've ever seen a litter of puppies together they growl, and snap, and yelp at each other to let their litter mates know when they've crossed the line. Being woken up by a litter mate who wants to wrestle (which is what being picked up by your kids probably seems like for your puppy) would be a perfectly good reason to growl.

What you need to do is teach your puppy that your kids are not litter mates and that what is acceptable with other puppies is not acceptable with them. But this is not something that you can expect your puppy to know intuitively. Especially at 9 weeks old, which in my opinion is on the young side to be away from Mom.

I think you really need to get some guidance (perhaps from the breeder?) on what is normal and what isn't and how to deal with various behaviours in order to turn your pup into a valued member of your family.

Good luck! I can tell you want what's best for your family and your dog, and that's a great place to start.
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post
The reason to not alpha roll your puppy are legion. Read up on alpha rolling and see if this is really what you want to do. And when that stops working what will you do next?

Breeders are not automatic experts in dog behaviors and often times simply blame the new puppy owner rather then admit faults in their breeding program. There could be a million reasons this puppy is growling-you are a novice home and advising you and your kids to do alpha rolls is horrible advice.

If you are going to keep this puppy please enroll in an obedience class that the whole family can attend-including your hubby. Get a second opinion on what is going on with this puppy from a behavorialist. Where are you located?
Quote:
Originally Posted by DogMomforNow View Post
I'm so sorry you're going through this!

Please do not "alpha roll" a puppy, I'm going to be blunt - it's an out of date, unfounded, and dangerous practice, especially if you haven't been around dogs much. There is not one certified veterinary behaviorist in the country that recommends rolling dogs. Not one. Breeders are really great at bringing dogs together to reproduce, but they are not behaviorists and many times not great trainers either (just look at dog behavior at dog shows lol).



from: http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/Bouvier/...ha-roll_no.htm

I've had labs my whole life, and know a number of breeders around the country. This is NOT normal lab puppy behavior, and imo, it is certainly beyond any quick fix like rolling the puppy onto its back. I would seriously consider returning the puppy to the breeder. You haven't had it much longer than a week if it's only 9 weeks right?

From your other post it sounds like an "adult" dog might be a great fit for your family. There are TONS of really great 4 year old labs in rescue. They're still young enough to play around with kids but past the puppy "seek and destroy" stage Plus, they will have been in foster care and evaluated for their suitability for a life with kids! This is one that has a couple adult dogs available that are listed as good with kids:
http://www.rockymountainlabrescue.co...2/Default.aspx

Sending you all good thoughts and prayers in the meantime.
Quote:
Originally Posted by slimkins View Post
Puppies that age do not test rank. Not with other puppies or people. They haven't really figured out the dominance thing yet, and that is why puppies usually get "puppy license" with most adult dogs.

I also disagree about it never being ok for a dog to growl. Dogs growl sometimes to let you know that they do not like something or they are uncomfortable. It doesn't always lead to a bite, but it can sometimes. If you punish your dog for growling, you take away their voice and that only leaves them with the option to bite when they are uncomfortable. I also do not think it is ok for a puppy to think it is ok to growl at everything. If it is growling when the kids are picking it up, then I think the kids are probably hurting it. I also think that kids should always listen to signs that dogs give, because typically kids are the ones being annoying and ignoring the animals' behavior and in the end being bit the most. I do find it very odd that a puppy that age is growling in an aggressive manner.

As for the "alpha role", it is a touchy subject because it can cause more damage than good when done by most people. Only middle ranking pack members physically fight over placement. Typically, the dominant leader has enough of a presence that a lower ranking will submit themselves... not be forced into submission. Most of the time, when dogs do forcibly submit another dog, it is to attack them. So expect your dog to defend itself. I think there are probably other better ways to assert your dominance without having to use this method.

I think you should find a highly recommended trainer or even a behaviorist in your area to start working with your family and your dog... now. I would also recommend not letting your kids play with your puppy when it is all revved up (you know, in the evening hours before bed but after dinner when they are so restless and other times like that).

I also think you definitely need to start practicing NILIF with your puppy. And the best thing you can do is be consistent and fair every time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by slimkins View Post
:
I, too, have a hard time believing that a 9 week old is being downright aggressive. All my dogs have growled like crazy when they were pups, but it was never aggression.
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post

Now, the pup does need to accept being picked up and handled, but I would do that in a very positve environment when everything is calm and chill, and give treats/praise etc for staying calm and quiet.
But more importantly... your children must be taught how to respect the dog and treat him appropriately and learn pack dog rules to ensure they're not displaying aggressive or submissive behavior toward your puppy unwittingly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SevenVeils View Post
Just because someone puts a couple of dogs together to make puppies does not make them expert in behaviour. We have no idea what kind of "breeder" this is, and to be honest she sounds very inexpert at best when it comes to behaviour.

Like I said before, if this behaviour is somehow normal for this breeder's dogs, she needs to stop breeding NOW.

Oh, and I have been involved professionally in dogs. Not in breeding, but in behaviour (and, separately, in rescue). And I'm not throwing stones, and I haven't mentioned one word about the alpha roll question.

Oh, how I wish that Joanna would come back. Sigh.
I agree with all who have posted and I miss Joanna's wise advice, as well.
But after reading your post about your puppy snapping when your son (5 yr old or 2 yr old?) pressed your puppy's sides....it made me feel your puppy is in pain.

So:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cadydid View Post
It's totally normal for puppies to growl when they are playing. The problem is, your puppy isn't playing when this happens, and that is what is abnormal for a dog this age.

"Play growls are usually high pitched, short, and repeated frequently. True aggressive growls are lower pitched and prolonged." That's from Karen Overall, she is a board certified veterinary behaviorist.

I have a lot of resources at my disposal, veterinary-wise (I've been a practicing vet for 11 years), and I would not have a dog displaying this behavior in my house with my children. If I didn't have kids, I might consider it, but I'd be working with a behaviorist. NOW.

If you're going to proceed, seriously get the dog a full physical. A really thorough one, because there is a possibility the dog is growling due to pain (and now is growling at your kids because he's anticipating pain). I don't mean your kids are hurting him - I mean that there may be something physically wrong with the dog. If you rule that out, then go to a behaviorist. If this is truly aggression because the dog's a little wonky in the head, then not knowing what you're doing will make the situation worse, and someone will get hurt.

Bear in mind that no matter how responsible you feel your breeder is, there is a financial incentive for her to keep this puppy exactly where he is. It would not be easy for her to find another home, and there's the potential for liability if this dog later attacks someone and she knew of the behavior and didn't disclose it to the new owners.
post #54 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarathan View Post
Okay, so what is a normal response from a puppy who is irritated with the kids? I mean, if he's not supposed to growl, what should he be doing instead?

I really don't know if I'm up for hiring a behaviorist. I realize puppies are a lot of work, but I don't want a project above and beyond normal puppy stuff. He's been to the vet twice and deemed perfectly healthy. I really don't think he's in pain or anything like that. I just think he gets annoyed and that's his way of letting the kids know.

Also, I really want to thank everyone who have given advice here and continued to respond to this thread. Thank you!!
He's not allowed to get irritated with the kids. That's the point. Just. Not. Allowed. Grab that puppy and toll him over if you hear that growl. at all.

I;m thinking more and more that this puppy may not be the right dog for your family. You need a more laid back dog and this dog is going to be one of those that is a challenge at every turn.
post #55 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
He's not allowed to get irritated with the kids. That's the point. Just. Not. Allowed. Grab that puppy and toll him over if you hear that growl. at all.

I;m thinking more and more that this puppy may not be the right dog for your family. You need a more laid back dog and this dog is going to be one of those that is a challenge at every turn.
Thank you, that's exactly the answer I needed to hear to make things clear for me. I get it now. The more I think about it, the more I think maybe I need to return him to the breeder. Either he's just not the right puppy or it's the wrong time for a puppy in general. The thing that sucks is that we spent A LOT of money on him and I mean a lot. We've spent well over $1000 when all is said and done (actual price of the puppy, vet, food, crate, toys, etc.) It's just sickening for me to think how much money will go down the drain if/when we return him.
post #56 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
I agree with all who have posted and I miss Joanna's wise advice, as well.
But after reading your post about your puppy snapping when your son (5 yr old or 2 yr old?) pressed your puppy's sides....it made me feel your puppy is in pain.
No, I didn't say Myles "pressed" his hands into his sides, I said he put his hands on his sides. The puppy is NOT in pain.
post #57 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
I guarantee the sire's owner knows what she is talking about, too.
How? How can you guarantee that? Do you know this person? Are you personally acquainted with their dogs?

Just because someone can make puppies from dogs, does not make them any sort of an expert.

I am not an "armchair dog trainer", I am just going to assume that was not directed toward me. I am not working as such at the moment, but I have in the past. I have also worked as a towing dispatcher, but am not at the moment. However, I am still quite qualified to give advice about dispatching, and I could pick up a radio and dispatch any tow truck at any time. The same applies to dog behaviour.

Aren't you a breeder? Have you ever worked as a trainer or behaviourist? Are you working as such now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarathan View Post
Oh man, I just don't know about this. He growled at my 4-year old a few times this morning and I really got a chance to have a good look at what's going on.
This is very alarming to me. This is a very young puppy, and he is now escalating to nipping at your son. This is not normal. There are poorly bred, aggressive dogs of every breed. There are well bred dogs with something wrong in the wiring of their brains, making them aggressive- of every breed.

If he was growling at 9 weeks, and nipping at 10 weeks, what do you think is going to happen at 11 or 12 or 22 weeks? Or during adolescence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cadydid View Post
It's totally normal for puppies to growl when they are playing. The problem is, your puppy isn't playing when this happens, and that is what is abnormal for a dog this age.
This.

Your puppy should not be feeling irritated at being approached, gently picked up, or touched. Not at this age, for sure.
post #58 of 72
This whole thread just makes me exhausted and upset.

I think you have gotten a lot of advice on how to help our puppy grow into a better puppy, but I think you don't want to do it. I really think your puppy is not growling in anger and I think he is just a vocal dog. I'm not there so yes, I could be wrong. Either way, if it wasn't this it would be something else... puppies are a project. A full time one just like kids. The more time you spend nurturing what you want from them when they are young the more stable they grow up.
I am never one for giving up on a dog, but if your breeder would take the dog back, that almost seems like the best option because you sound like you just want an out now. Like you are just waiting for someone to say it's ok. The money is a non-issue at this point. Donate all the stuff you bought to a local rescue. And know that even if you decide to get another puppy down the road, it will be a project too.

Also, I don't know how you KNOW that your puppy is not in any pain. Labs can be prone to hip problems among lots of other things. Did he get a vax recently? The site is always sensitive on most puppies for a couple of days.
As for the nipping, puppies need to be taught bite inhibition. If he was still with his litter they would teach him this. Since he isn't, it is your job. There is a lot of info out there on how to this without hurting the pup.

I really don't think you should give up on this baby. That is how so many dogs end up in shelters... because people get them thinking they will be easy and fun. They aren't easy and they don't train themselves. You haven't even started your major bonding yet. Puppies are tough, but they are so worth it in the end.... that is, if you want that. Labs are also really vocal and really smart. They need A LOT of mental stimulation and A LOT of exercise. That is something that they need daily. A tired puppy is a good puppy.
post #59 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarathan View Post
Everyone keeps saying this puppy has a screw loose, but I'm having a hard time understanding why. He's getting irritated with the kids and letting them know. If he shouldn't be growling, then what should he be doing?? Or is it wrong that he's getting annoyed in the first place??
I dont know if the dog has a screw loose, he may, he may not. Growling is never a good sign and the only two puppies I knew that growled and showed aggression at such a young age grew up to be raging, unpredictable, lawsuits waiting to happen.

This is my take on it... He is getting irritated with the kids for normal kid behavior (I am assuming your children are not harassing or manhandling him). It is not "wrong" for a dog to growl when he is irritated. The problem as I see it is if he is displaying these behaviors now as a NINE week old puppy, what will happen when he is a 70lb adult dog growling at your children when they do normal kid stuff to him?

As others have said perhaps this particular dog does not have the right personality for your family and should be returned. Even if you "train" the growling out of him you will not change his inherent temperament.
post #60 of 72
Take the puppy back.
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