New puppy sweet ...but snapping and growling

Our beautiful new OES puppy who is 9 weeks old is playing Jeckyl and Hyde with us. Most of the time she is very sweet and loving, but if our 7 year old son tries to pick her up when she does not want to be held (he tries to pick her up gently) she growls and snaps at his face. He has scratches on his face and arm. I know this little one is too small to have any socialization issues. We love her and cuddle with her frequently...which she seems to love. She seems to think he is another puppy in her litter. Does anyone have any suggestions that we may give our 7 year old. We have told him not to pick her up until we are around. She sometimes growls at us when we pick her up but not as bad. Do a lot of OES puppies growl? I know some of the time she is play growling, but we are seeing an annoyance growl too. Otherwise she is the love of our life!! :)
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Weezie, I had the same problem with Drake. Drake would growl and nip, especially if he was sleeping or not wanting to do what we wanted him to do, when we picked him up. My kids were so excited about Drake that they had a hard time leaving Drake alone at that age. First of all I tried to teach my kids not to bother Drake while sleeping and I emphasize tried because I found I had to constently remind them. Second if Drake tried it whith me I would not back down, I would keep Drake at arms length to bring Drake to were I wanted him to go. At 16lbs I could do that. Now at 13 weeks the excitment has pretty much weared off and I have found ways to get Drake to move most of the time without having to pick Drake up. Now I have the problem of Drake wanting to play to ruff with the kids, but thats for another post. My kids also had the scratches and they to are becoming fewer as my kids learn how and how not to play with Drake. One thing I tought them is to not sit down on the floor with Drake but to kneel next to him. Another is to not but their face close to his. I found I was training my kids as much as I have been training Drake and both at times forget. Believe me it is a work in progress. Just be persistant about your rules with your son and puppy and it should work out in the end. 8)
Thanks Intradan, We will need to train our son as well as our puppy. They are just so irresistibly cute, it is hard not to pick them up all the time. Our children too, want to rough house with her. I keep telling them not to for fear of making her aggressive. She has come so far in the 1 1/2 weeks we have had her. She has learned her name, has learned to come up and down stairs, and we are working on SIT. I am hopeful that she will learn NO when we tell her to stop.
Our pup is 9 weeks old as well, and she likes to use her teeth and nip alot. She bit my daughter the other day, but it was while they were playing and she was just getting too excited. When my wife came to look for her, she was hiding behind the toilette. She knew she had done something wrong.

We talked to our Vet about her nipping and she suggested we make a high pitched yelping sound like one of her litter mates would make. This is a sound she knows and understands as pain. We have just started trying this and so far when we yelp, she stops nipping right away and starts licking our hands. Previously we have been saying "NO!", but she heard it so often, she probably doesn't know what is means anymore.
All these new pups! Congratulations all.
I have three girls and when we first bought Abbi she was 8 weeks old. I have since been told that if we had waited until she was 10 weeks old a lot of the nipping would have been dealt with by her mom and littermates.

Instead we had to deal with it. Whenever the chewing started I had all of my girls put a chew toy in her mouth instead of their hand or arms. I kept after them on this. If they ran in and said she had chewed on them I asked if they put the chew toy in her mouth .... pretty soon they didn't run in complaining. And they must have worked things out as she quit chewing on us.
Since we travel a lot I had a travel crate and I put the pup in there to sleep. The girls were not allowed to fool with her while she was sleeping, or in her crate. Whenever she was tired of playing with the girls she would head for her crate and I would tell the girls to leave her alone.

The vet gave you splendid nipping advice. It is what I told my girls. I explained that puppies play and nip each ohter. Whenever they don't like it they squeal and nip back. Since my girls were going to be the puppies family they would have to do the same. I had them yell OWW! and then give a slap IN FRONT of her nose. They were not to actually hit her unless ... The idea was to give them the tools to work things out between them with as little interference from me as possible, yet safe- guarding the pup. The girls had to learn how to deal with her without using much force.
I had to show them how to teach Abbi to fetch, to give her paw, to speak, to be quiet, ... (We started sit, fetch and paw right off ... but most of the other stuff takes time. Don't think a pup is a dog. Their attention is very limited. They can pick up sit, paw, and fetch small toys ..)
Later they came up with tricks, like teaching her how to bow down, shake, tilt her head ....
I also explained to them that I would not put up with bullies or an aggressive dog. Children over 10 understand consequeces much better than the younger ones, so I explained what could happen if they started down the wrong road with Abbi ... and they seemed to explain it to the younger one pretty well.
An occassional scratch, welt, or nip is going to occur ---dogs are not perfect and have no hands. And they do go through stages of acting out just like our children. But if you just stick with it and are persistent things work out.
You might want to read other posts here about nipping, growling and aggressive tendencies ... just use the SEARCH feature at the top of the page, but make sure to choose search by post and NOT by topic. We go off topic here all the time. :wink:
Anouther good way to stop the bitting is completely ignore the behavior.put the puppy down and walk away or put her in her crate for at least 30 seconds.What this teaches is that bitting gets her left alone and not many pups like to be alone.I would also use the sit before you get method.This can be used in pups of all ages.This behavior has got to be stoped at a young age or it will only get worse If you have time I would do a puppy behavior serch on the net.I would also talk to your vet :) .There are great books out about puppy training, I think you can start clicker training at a very young age.The best way to nip behavior problems in the bud is to teach obediance.Good Luck and keep us posted
Congrats on your new puppy! I would highly recommend puppy school and involve the children in the training. Children need to be taught how to respect a dog and understand their behaviors. I would suspect that they would not like it very much if someone came by and scooped them up. The "nipping" and "growling" is your puppies only way to communicate right now. Certainly, she needs to know that this isn't appropriate behavior. She is young - and still developing socialization skills - this is a critical time right now!!! Puppy classes often have "play" time - where she could spend sometime with other dogs. Alot of them will allow you to bring children - as long as they behave (a lady brought her son to puppy class that I was at and he drove us all crazy! LOL)

I would make sure that your children are not left unsupervised with your puppy. Teach them the appropriate way to socialize with the puppy - and they'll all learn together. I would discourage any "rough play" - especially tug of war type activities - these can all lead to aggressive behaviors. Plus, before too long - she'll be much bigger and even when playing - someone could get hurt!

She's not too young to start training - and it's a must! Raising a puppy is difficult - especially with children involved! OES can sometimes be particularly difficult to raise with children.

Good LUck!
Kristen
agingright wrote:
Whenever the chewing started I had all of my girls put a chew toy in her mouth instead of their hand or arms. I kept after them on this. If they ran in and said she had chewed on them I asked if they put the chew toy in her mouth .... pretty soon they didn't run in complaining. And they must have worked things out as she quit chewing on us.
Congratulation on training all of your girls, including Abbi ! :lol:
Thanks for all the great advise. Our puppy "Jules" definately has a mind of her own. We have told our children not to mess with her when she is sleeping, or eating. Today it was a little better on the growling. She loves to be with us, but she seems to need a lot of sleep. Our vet said some puppies need up to 20 hours of sleep a day.
Hi Weezie,
I figure Jules must be about 6 months old now.... any updates?
I know this website is about sheepdogs but I'm looking for puppy advice. My husband and I got our little cavalier puppy right after Christmas. She is now just a little over 3 months old. Over the last few weeks she has been growling/grunting at us a lot. We've been very affectionate and loving with her. We've done a ton of research on the proper ways of training puppies. We even bought a book about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They aren't supposed to be aggressive or dominant dogs. She only growls at us when we move her. Like she'll be laying in our laps and we'll barely even move her and she growls. We asked our vet for advice and she said put our finger to her nose and say "No!" and scold her for the behavior. We asked a trainer at the pet store and she said don't scold the puppy, that that would confuse her about growling. But to hold her somewhat tightly, like restrain her, until she stops wiggling and growling and then her reward would be being released. I asked the trainer what to do if she growled again after that, and she said that the puppy shouldn't growl again after that. Well she does! We don't want her to be aggressive or dominant. We have done our best to show her that we are the leaders and the boss! Help!!!
Tatum wrote:
I asked the trainer what to do if she growled again after that, and she said that the puppy shouldn't growl again after that. Well she does! We don't want her to be aggressive or dominant. We have done our best to show her that we are the leaders and the boss! Help!!!


See, this is what happens when our dogs don't read the same books our trainers do. :wink: :lol: :lol:

Actually, the reason the trainer told you not to scold her for growling is that dogs who have been repetitively reprimanded for growling can learn not to growl, but that may just mean that they don't give warning before they bite. Growling is useful information.

That doesn't mean you have to tolerate it! Both your vet and the trainer have the right idea in that you disrupt it and make sure she gets the point that it is NOT going to get her what she wants.

Little dogs can turn out to be tyrants just as much as big dogs can. Some times more because there's such a tendency to baby them. No more babying. Pretend she's going to grow into a 120 lb dog. What behavior do you envision as acceptable in a 120 lb dog? Because that's the standard you're going to set for her too.

Here's another way of showering her with love and affection that won't give her the idea that she's the most wonderful thing to ever walk the face of the earth: take her to a well run puppy class and begin teaching her basic obedience. Practice at home. A lot. Put your inclination to want to shower the little missy with affection into rewarding her for doing the things you want her to do. I.e. she has to earn your affection. Work for it. Does she like to chase things? Toss something and teach her to retrieve. Give her interesting challenges instead of cuddles on demand: i.e. change the way she interacts with you.

If she's growling when she's sitting on your lap and the princess doesn't like you to move, don't let her sit on your lap. If she can't behave, sorry, that priviledge is gone. If she growls it's "Oops, too bad", and on the floor she goes. And then I'd walk away from her. Frankly, I wouldn't let her on the furniture, period. Sorry. Furniture is for humans, not pushy little dogs who think they can run the show.

Puppies (and dogs for that matter) will try various behaviors and then stick with what works for them. I've raised a couple of puppies, including one of my own, who had delusions of grandeur when it came to being handled. I know Cavs don't have the hair our hairballs do, but do you brush or comb her? Will she submit to that? If not, I simply hold the wiggling puppy until they quiet, quietly chanting to myself: "resistance is futile" (optional :wink: ) I will brush you. I will trim your nails. I will pick you up. You will move out of my way when I tell you so. You will tolerate these things because I say so.

Twice I've handled young puppies who when either picked up or brushed have put up a terrific display of growls and protests. I place them (gently!!) on their backs and hold them their until they stop wiggling while stroking their tummies (honestly, this should be done with puppies regularly from the time they're days old). As soon as they stop acting like idiots, we resume with our regularly programmed activity. In these cases, that was all it took. But if she has a long pattern of not letting herself be handled or moved and so on, you may need to be persistant and keep at it.

The bottom line is she will let you handle any part of her including picking her up and moving her. Sorry, but that's the way it is, puppy.

At that age it's pretty rare to see genuine aggression, rather some impressive displays to get what they want. If it works, they'll keep doing it. If it doesn't, they'll move on and come up with more subtle ways to try to run your life to their liking :wink:

Dogs are basically just hairy little opportunists who come pre-programmed with a list of things they want. It's up to us to show them how to get these things in ways we find acceptable. With some dogs, that seems to be a fulltime job! The smart social-climbers are almost always the most challenging, but at least they're never boring :wink:

Kristine
Our brand new puppy is doing the same at 8 weeks old --sometimes you can pick him up no problem and he is fine-but if he is playing or in the middle of a nap he will growl real nasty and nip. I never see this before in a pup--makes me worried he might have issues but so young???? Otherwise he is lovable and plays nice nice temperament until you do those two things to him. We bought him from someone at 7 1/2 weeks old-they had young kids between the ages 3-8 myears old I was maybe even thinking the kids were maybe dropping him or playing to rough. We going to work with him --i feel better I am not the only one that has ever seen this-I never had a puppy act out at such a young age ---it scares me....thanks for any input:)
Talk with the breeder first to get some input from him/her on the behavior you're seeing.

I'm not a trainer but I'd would work on desensitization, the way people with blind/deaf dogs do it. Teaching the puppy that you waking/handling him is a good thing. For me (low vision puppy), that entailed soft words to gently ease puppy awake along with a super yummy treat in front of the nose immediately upon waking. Gradually adding gentle touches and strokes. This way puppy learned I wasn't simply annoying and obnoxious but rather something to eagerly welcome. Your puppy likely hears just fine but still, this approach may help you to get past the negative behavior on waking... http://deafdogs.org/training/#desensitization

I'd also start working on "settle"... that means teaching a puppy to come down from fast play to lying quietly with you.

All's well and truly wonderful with puppies being raised with children!... as long as those experiences are positive for the puppy. You of course never want kids pestering or inappropriately handling puppies. 7 1/2 weeks was also a bit young for puppy to leave a good mother in my opinion... 8 weeks minimum... but that's not something that can be undone so you just move forward from here.

I would also begin shaping this puppy with early in-home training that's fun using techniques they naturally/instinctively follow. 9 week old puppies can learn to sit on command (this is the low vision puppy on day 3 after arriving at 9 weeks of age- http://oesusa.com/KayteeSit.html ). Training is something your son might be able to do... to encourage the puppy to see him as an authority figure. You'll of course need to supervise and instruct. You might consider getting a trainer to come in to help you all get off to a good start. A friend of my son's has a toddler under 3 that can command the family's Boxers with her firm commands and by pointing her little finger. :lol:

Best wishes to you.
Possibly it's a pain issue, dogs are not picked up from underneath in nature so why should we expect them to be okay with it?

The mother may grab it by the neck but the soft under belly and possible discomfort to shoulder and hip sockets maybe something worth considering?

Would you pick up a few month old baby from a face down position squashing in the stomach area? next time a child tries to pick up an animal watch how they struggle as cute as it may seem, I am not sure it's the best thing to be doing to them
I agree with Archie's Slave. Winston is our 4th OES, none of them liked to be picked up, even as puppies. They liked being in laps or cuddled but not being picked up to get there.

I don't like to be woken abruptly, why should they? Wake me and immediately pick me up and I would be upset, too.

I'm not saying the nipping should be overlooked but there is usually a reason. Fixing the reason could go a long way toward fixing the nipping.
Never had this issue with lily. You could literally pick her up toss her in the air and catch her. (not very high, like an inch) She would stay limp the entire time and when I put her down she would jump on me til i did it again!!! She loved it! I carried her like a baby and pick her up no matter what she was doing because she was so tolerant as a baby she was always in my arms. I've never seen a dog so ridiculously comfortable with being handled in my entire life. I can still pick her up (its getting difficult because shes full grown now) hold her like a baby, swing her bum like pendulum. She loves that kind of interaction.
Her in my arms...look how happy she is!

Hold her and she just goes limp, lol!
Image

Our wolf hybrid on the other hand, he never growled but has never liked being picked up. He has really long legs and they tend to catch your face when he flails. He got better about it the more we handled him but he still hates it.
What helped was rolling him on his back for tummy rubs, picking him up slightly then putting him back down with lots of praise and love. (mind you he never growled, don't reward if your dog growls) It starts with something positive and ends with something positive.
Our puppy was constantly nipping at my daughter (who is 16!)and we tried everything mentioned here, all to no avail. Then I watched the Dog Whisperer last night and Cesar's advice was to poke your fingertips in their ribs as soon as they showed intention to nip, to protect your child and get between the dog and the child and to say TSHHHTTT loudly. Or whatever sound that is he makes. The child is to be completely calm and quiet. One time and it worked! Worth a try I'd say, although some on here might not value his techniques. Better to have a well behaved dog in the long run.
I agree with Mark. Not very nice for a puppy to be picked up by a child. Most oesd like to climb on you so it might be a good idea to go that way.. We only picked up Georgi when we got her injections but then she went on the lead
Tatum wrote:
I know this website is about sheepdogs but I'm looking for puppy advice. My husband and I got our little cavalier puppy right after Christmas. She is now just a little over 3 months old. Over the last few weeks she has been growling/grunting at us a lot. We've been very affectionate and loving with her. We've done a ton of research on the proper ways of training puppies. We even bought a book about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They aren't supposed to be aggressive or dominant dogs. She only growls at us when we move her. Like she'll be laying in our laps and we'll barely even move her and she growls. We asked our vet for advice and she said put our finger to her nose and say "No!" and scold her for the behavior. We asked a trainer at the pet store and she said don't scold the puppy, that that would confuse her about growling. But to hold her somewhat tightly, like restrain her, until she stops wiggling and growling and then her reward would be being released. I asked the trainer what to do if she growled again after that, and she said that the puppy shouldn't growl again after that. Well she does! We don't want her to be aggressive or dominant. We have done our best to show her that we are the leaders and the boss! Help!!!
Guest wrote:
Tatum wrote:
I know this website is about sheepdogs but I'm looking for puppy advice. My husband and I got our little cavalier puppy right after Christmas. She is now just a little over 3 months old. Over the last few weeks she has been growling/grunting at us a lot. We've been very affectionate and loving with her. We've done a ton of research on the proper ways of training puppies. We even bought a book about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They aren't supposed to be aggressive or dominant dogs. She only growls at us when we move her. Like she'll be laying in our laps and we'll barely even move her and she growls. We asked our vet for advice and she said put our finger to her nose and say "No!" and scold her for the behavior. We asked a trainer at the pet store and she said don't scold the puppy, that that would confuse her about growling. But to hold her somewhat tightly, like restrain her, until she stops wiggling and growling and then her reward would be being released. I asked the trainer what to do if she growled again after that, and she said that the puppy shouldn't growl again after that. Well she does! We don't want her to be aggressive or dominant. We have done our best to show her that we are the leaders and the boss! Help!!!



oops I am sorry, what I typed didn't show up.. I have a female 13 week cavalier king charles, who is snapping at us now. I have a 2 year old boy cavalier who NEVER did anything like this.. I didn't even know a cavalier knew how to behave this way. lol.. I have done a lot of eaking, and refusing to touch her after she does it.. ect.. lots of hand mugging training and food aggression training.. but this is new to me. What worked for you in the long run? did it work? she she a sweet loving typical cavalier now years later?
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