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  1. 4 month old puppy agression

    I have purchased my first pitbull male puppy at 6 weeks old and now he is 4 months old. He is loveable as heck but when being trained he shows a bit of aggression. I was told both of his parents love people but didnt get along well with other dogs. We have a male beagle, who he gets along fairly well with. We've had 3 episodes in the house since he has gotten older showing dominace towards the beagle but other than that they are best buds. My mistake was when he ran for a door that was open to the outside I quickly took him by the collar and he turned around to bite me. That I know was a no no on my part. But now when I stand over to make him stay and sit in a gentle way he growls at me, he snaps his mouth at me. So far he has caught me in the mouth and in the head biting during play time but it was done with a growl. I dont understand cause he is very loveable but def does not like authority. He is very nipping even during play and he when he does bite, I say "NO BITE" in a stern voice. He is forever running and getting into trouble grabbing things ( which I know is normal). I know he recognizes when he does wrong and I feel bad when I have to crate him but is there anyway to stop this aggression attitude he has? He continueously messes with the cats too. We have two with no front claws and one with front claws, which he seems not to care cause he still bothers her. Thanks all info is appreciated

  2. #2
    You did not do anything wrong by grabbing it by the collar. The dog shouldn't be redirecting like that towards you. You took a very young puppy away from the mother litermate and you are going to have issues. The dog is not a human so you shouldn't feel bad if you have to correct, never use the crate as a punishment. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets any better, you need to contact a solid trainer that will help you curb behaviors because your dog is a ticking time bomb.

  3. #3
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    Pitbulls are genetically disposed to being dog aggressive they were bred for dog fights. You can try to control it, but you can never train it out of them. Don't ever leave them alone together without supervision.

    They can also have high prey drive so you can expect them to chase cats, birds, rodents, etc. if you let them.

    You really need to get this pup in training, as he needs structure and some excercise and mental stimulation. You need to get control of the biting.

    Last edited by #1 stunner; 10-13-2012 at 06:10 AM.

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    Some dogs do not like having their collar grabbed and react. Obviously re-directing isn't a good thing but it also isn't that uncommon with an untrained dog either...I think you are better served if your goal is to help the pup grow into a well adjusted dog by working with positive reinforcement to help the pup become acustomed to and comfortable with all manner of handling instead of addressing the issue by becoming more dominant and forceful which I think would cause more problems.

    Here's a video that shows you how to work on the collar issue:


    The biting during play even when accompanied by a growl is still more likely than anything nothing but play. Some dogs/pups really get into it and get really vocal. You should start teaching a 'gentle" command and bite inhibition. Personally I prefer this method: Start Page 63
    http://codeazur.com.br/pix/blogs/CultureClash.pdf

    As far as the other dog and cats: Constant 100% supervision. Maybe start another thread about teaching dogs to get along with cats. It's not 100% guaranteed; but some members are very methodical about it and manage the situation quite well (K9Love comes to mind). But in other words, don't just hope the pup grows up and likes the cats do what you can now to teach and reinforce positive interactions between them and never leave them unsupervised ever.

    Same with the other dog really; always expect and plan for a dog fight and do what you can now and on-going to foster only positive interactions between the 2. Never leave them unsupervised even for a second. It only takes one second for a fight to break out, especially as the pup matures.

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    Here's a good one for touch in general:

  6. Correction: Puppy was 8 weeks old when I brought him home and error of many I see when I was typing this late at night. :/ I don't feel I use the crate as a "punishment", when he gets over excited example: nipping etc or I have to leave where I cant take him for the ride. I tell him "take a break", put him inside and AFTER he comes out praise him with or without a treat for good behavior. He has some structure,plenty of excercise and mental stimulation. Yes I agree with finding a trainer and I have been looking for one that doesn't want my arm and leg. :) (not easy)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by davidfitness83 View Post
    You did not do anything wrong by grabbing it by the collar. The dog shouldn't be redirecting like that towards you. You took a very young puppy away from the mother litermate and you are going to have issues. The dog is not a human so you shouldn't feel bad if you have to correct, never use the crate as a punishment. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets any better, you need to contact a solid trainer that will help you curb behaviors because your dog is a ticking time bomb.
    Getting a puppy at 6 weeks doesn't cause human aggression.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brindlexpitt View Post
    Getting a puppy at 6 weeks doesn't cause human aggression.
    I always thought 8 weeks was ideal; but...according to The Handbook for Applied Dog Behavior and Training
    (for what that is worth) 6 to 8 weeks is considered the appropriate window (I comment because I was surprised), and 7 weeks for several reasons is considered "optimal".

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by brindlexpitt View Post
    Getting a puppy at 6 weeks doesn't cause human aggression.
    I was implying at instability and lack of confidence. As well as lack of bite inhibition, True HA in my opinion is purely genetic.

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    The pup just sounds sassy. Which should be dealt with but in the appropriate manner. I groom dogs and when we get a new pup in there is always some biting/nipping, puppy use their mouths. We work with them with just mostly tone and praise, AND we keep doing what were doing(holding a leg, brushing, washing, drying).

  11. #11
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    Sound like a pup with a lot of spunk. Start NILF with the pup (found in the training forum) and get a trainer.

    Are you ok wirh C&R? You should really look into multi dog households since one day your puppy may not be able to be around your other dog or cats.

  12. My pit and my sister's beagle get along just had a couple episodes like I said. They play,sleep and even eat together even though they have sep feeding bowls. My pit will share his food (although I dont allow it cause of the age) My sister's beagle is more food aggressive than my pit. I feel my pit will be fine but my sister's beagle is spoiled to death by her and others so that is why (Logan the pitpuppy) will get an attitude( meaning the beagle does no wrong) I can work on the dog aggression but its important to me to work on the excessive biting/growling.

  13. #13
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    That state of mind might get a dog hurt one day. PLEASE seriously consider if you can one day handle crate and rotating dogs. Pit bull type dogs even when raised with other dogs sometimes grow up to be DA and not able to be around other dogs in the house hold.
    And no you can*t work on DA it can be MANAGED it can NOT be trained out of a dog.

  14. What I dont get about people, they will paint a pretty picture about pitbulls but once a first time owner wants advice about pits others will give information that would scare the pants off of anyone from owning a Pit. Just like a pitbull cetain dogs are not for everyone. i dont believe they are born or bred to be fighters, I believe the humans have a big part of how the pup/dog acts. Yes I understand they are not "humans" and they can not speak their feelings but they do show it in body language. My pup does not respond well with the voice, he is great with body language. Example if I discipline him looking him in the face with very few words, he pays attention and chills. If I verbally scold him more with less body language, he acts out in a negative way.

  15. #15
    My puppy will growl at my girlfriend when she tries to pick her up from the bed. Sometimes she just wants her daddy to get her and not her mommy. I was off work for a month straight as soon as we got her so I believe she has bonded with me a lot more. She has never bit or tried to yet. She just expresses her anger when she doesn't want messed with. She has never growled at me. Only barked when I'm in the shower and is throwing a fit because she wants me lol. I established dominance over her very quickly. I would say maybe get some tips from a trainer and try out to fix the issues yourself while its still young enough. I completely understand not being loaded. Not everybody has the luxury of picking up the phone and getting a local trainer out to the house ASAP lol. Just gotta do what ya can with what ya got.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsAcer View Post
    The pup just sounds sassy. Which should be dealt with but in the appropriate manner. I groom dogs and when we get a new pup in there is always some biting/nipping, puppy use their mouths. We work with them with just mostly tone and praise, AND we keep doing what were doing(holding a leg, brushing, washing, drying).
    Agreed...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitzie66 View Post
    What I dont get about people, they will paint a pretty picture about pitbulls but once a first time owner wants advice about pits others will give information that would scare the pants off of anyone from owning a Pit. Just like a pitbull cetain dogs are not for everyone. i dont believe they are born or bred to be fighters, I believe the humans have a big part of how the pup/dog acts. Yes I understand they are not "humans" and they can not speak their feelings but they do show it in body language. My pup does not respond well with the voice, he is great with body language. Example if I discipline him looking him in the face with very few words, he pays attention and chills. If I verbally scold him more with less body language, he acts out in a negative way.
    The information shouldn't scare the pants off of you, it should empower you to know how to go about responsibly managing your dog to keep it and all other animals safe.

    Technically pit blls are part of the Terrier dog group. The AKC describes terriers in general as "Terriers typically have little tolerance for other animals, including other dogs. Their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin. Many continue to project the attitude that they're always eager for a spirited argument". Add to that the fact that pit bulls were bred for decades specifically for DA tendencies...and you have a dog that is more likely to have a genetic predisposition towards animal and dog aggression. That is the reason that pit bulls aren't for everyone. Owning a pit bull means being willing to provide a higher level of supervision and taking responsibility to exercise sound management practices to maintain a safe environment around other dogs and animals. The dogs are fine. It's the people that screw up.

    As far as the rest is concerned, the general consensus is you have...a puppy!! A wonderful, sassy bratty puppy that is full of itself as most bully breed pups are. Love it, train it and enjoy the experience. I posted a couple of wonderful videos to get you started and frankly the exercises in those videos should be part of all puppy owners repetoire, regardless of breed.


    The link I posted to the exercises on bite inhibition, actually takes you to an amazing (and on the internet FREE) full length version of a great book on general dog behavior and basic training for all dogs; something that all puppy owners of all breeds should know and practice. So overall I think you got a wealth of information.
    Last edited by Jazzy; 10-14-2012 at 08:29 AM.

  18. #18
    this pup is going to be a handful ,i can tell you that right now, you need to sit down and do some serious thinking about this.
    this is going to be the type of dog who your going to have to be extra digilent about manageing/controling , meaning EVERY SINGLE DAY your gonna have to work your $#@! off training him. your going to have to work 3 times as hard as the normal puppy owner does training this boy.
    if you ever leave him with anyone else your going to have to be careful about who he gets left with when your gone because the wrong person doing hte wrong thing MAY set him off as an adult and cause a bite,growl or snap.
    like you yourself said he doesnt do well with verbal commands or shouting.
    well for most people thats the first thing htey automatically do, and a person whos not used to being around a dog where yelling or shouting "NO!" is a NO NO that could cause a big problem if you were to go to work and leave him with someone, went on a trip somewhere, ended up in the hospitol overnight or a few days, ect. he starts noseing somenes plate of food left out at a new persons house, that person runs at him saying "NO! NO! dont do that!" SNAP! you end up with a lawsuit or some major fines to pay or worse a dead dog and a breed ban in your area.

    am i saying this dog is aggressive, terrible, will never be managible/ will be dangerous, not at all nor am i trying to frighten you, im just telling you what COULD happen as right now at 4 months he is showing you what he is capible of doing, and if not dealt with properly, it will escalate or could possibly s=rear its ugly head when hes a full grown dog.

    so take this information and use it, if you have too contact a behaviorlist or a trainer with alt of experience and get to work.
    the training of this pup should be to hte point where you feel like your life revolves around training him, you should wake up every morning and think about how your gonna wor with him or what your going to work on with him that day.

    i personally would reccomend desesitizing him to shouting, yelling, screaming, firm sounding voices, then move onto quic movement towards him, then firm grabbing of hte collar ect, but this should all be done SLOWLY, dont jsut begin running at him or yelling ect.

    its not uncommon for a young dog to precieve a person coming towards them yelling or talking firmly as a threat and feels hte need to react to protect themselves.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzy View Post
    Some dogs do not like having their collar grabbed and react. Obviously re-directing isn't a good thing but it also isn't that uncommon with an untrained dog either...I think you are better served if your goal is to help the pup grow into a well adjusted dog by working with positive reinforcement to help the pup become acustomed to and comfortable with all manner of handling instead of addressing the issue by becoming more dominant and forceful which I think would cause more problems.

    Here's a video that shows you how to work on the collar issue:


    The biting during play even when accompanied by a growl is still more likely than anything nothing but play. Some dogs/pups really get into it and get really vocal. You should start teaching a 'gentle" command and bite inhibition. Personally I prefer this method: Start Page 63
    http://codeazur.com.br/pix/blogs/CultureClash.pdf

    As far as the other dog and cats: Constant 100% supervision. Maybe start another thread about teaching dogs to get along with cats. It's not 100% guaranteed; but some members are very methodical about it and manage the situation quite well (K9Love comes to mind). But in other words, don't just hope the pup grows up and likes the cats do what you can now to teach and reinforce positive interactions between them and never leave them unsupervised ever.

    Same with the other dog really; always expect and plan for a dog fight and do what you can now and on-going to foster only positive interactions between the 2. Never leave them unsupervised even for a second. It only takes one second for a fight to break out, especially as the pup matures.

    I really like this post. Copper doesn't mind when I have to snatch her up by her collar (usually for things like trying to get in the trash etc..she's taught herself to push the "button" to open it).

    My sister in laws dog, however..who I am getting increasingly happy about not having to live with anymore once we're totally moved on our property, is going through a thing where she's trying to piss on everything. Her owner is $#@! of a dog owner and never around. She will get up in the AM and hold her pee when everyone else comes out of their crates to go outside. She went to squat on my SILs couch and I grabbed her collar to get her outside.. she grabbed ahold of my $#@!ing thigh and wouldn't let go. She weighs over 50 lbs. I went for a tet shot and reported it.. AC did $#@! all.

    Not totally On Topic but yeah.. at some point I am convinced she was allowed this behavior as a puppy.

    ETA: Not the first time that bitch has bit me.. so all I can do is look forward to moving.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Mitzie66 View Post
    Correction: Puppy was 8 weeks old when I brought him home and error of many I see when I was typing this late at night. :/ I don't feel I use the crate as a "punishment", when he gets over excited example: nipping etc or I have to leave where I cant take him for the ride. I tell him "take a break", put him inside and AFTER he comes out praise him with or without a treat for good behavior. He has some structure,plenty of excercise and mental stimulation. Yes I agree with finding a trainer and I have been looking for one that doesn't want my arm and leg. :) (not easy)
    My pit puppy who is almost 4 months old also gets over stimulated, almost like an over tired child. I know you aren't supposed to crate as punishment, but I have to give her a "time out". She doesn't cry, she lays down and takes a nap. Sometimes when I open her door, she doesn't come out, but it seems to calm her as well. All my rescue pets, 2 cats, and a Mastiff mix, who is 13 and a Maltese about 8, get along with her fine. She does go thru a stage when she won't stop wrestling with them, and I have to intervene.

    She was taken from her mother at 4.5 weeks old. We had no control of that. I volunteer for the rescue where I got her from. She's a good dog and listens, most of the time.

    I believe that consistancy should break bad habits. Also, when she did have some aggressive moments, snapping and growling because of disipline, I grabbed her quickly and submitted her and she snapped out of it fast!

    Don't give up. Many people do and thats why many of them end up in shelters. Keep working with him.
    Good luck.

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