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Old 12-28-2012, 12:45 PM
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New puppy behavior?

We just brought home a 8 week pup, and gave him to the kids on Christmas. First day sooo sweet and happy. Yesterday we bought him a new chew toy (a flavored bone) and he got very aggressive, growling and nipping when anyone came to him or tried to take the toy. Today I went to touch the toy while he was chewing it to pick him up and take him outside and he growled, got vicious and bit my hand really hard drawing blood. He is not aggressive toward his food or anything else. Although he does chew and bite at everything!
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:47 PM
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So the question was: what do I do? We have small kids who could get really hurt.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:54 PM
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Zeus was the same way with rawhides when I first got him. Even though it might not have been the correct way to approach the situation I would take his rawhide away from him being as gentle as I possibly could, but if he growled or snapped at me I was very assertive and let him know I was the leader and I could take away anything he had(but if I did I always made sure he got something else in return whether it'd be the same treat or a toy). After a few take aways he eased into it and hasn't growled or snapped at me since. I also taught him easy which was really helpful for when giving him treats and rawhides so he doesn't rip my hand off in the process of taking the treat/rawhide. Now he just takes treats easily and if he gets out of control I just remind him to be easy and he settles down quickly.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:02 PM
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He did seem to 'trade' for the bone fairly easily which I saw suggested on another post. But he is vicious when you just try to take. How did you teach him easy? He will be in puppy training as soon as possible, but I did not think I would have to deal with this already at only 8 weeks.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:27 PM
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Puppies need some time to figure out the setting around them has changed for the good...this is his third day, so he hasn't quite worked out how things work at your house. You don't mention the age of your kids. Do they play a lot with the puppy? Do they take things from him ( all in play of course) and give it back? He might feel the need to defend himself, like he did when he was with his litter mates. And things like bones are high value things for a dog. Of course he should not bite, but I would start by giving him less value chew things, like nylabones and rope toys. Practice trading with him, and once you feel confident start giving him higher value things. It sounds to me that at the moment he is doing what he did when he was with the litter, and doesn't yet understand that things work differently with humans.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:47 PM
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It's a very puppy thing to get aggressive and misbehave, and it's a dog thing to feel inclined to protect high value things.

Whatever you do, don't snatch their high value things away from them when they're in that state - it just teaches them that they were right to fear that you were going to take away their high-value treat, and you'll only encourage the behavior.

My dog trainer suggested that whenever this happens, we pick the puppy up right away, and hold her like you would hold a baby...where the puppy is on its back in your arms...like a cradle hold.

The puppy will probably outgrow this behavior, so long as you're not unintentionally encouraging it. Once our Ella hit 4 or 5 months old, she didn't really have any of those issues anymore

You can also practice trading...practice a lot, even when the puppy isn't in that state.

Here's an article on resource guarding that I found really useful - http://www.azgrc.org/goldenCommunity/healthEducation/foodResourceGuarding.pdf
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:00 PM
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that article is great, and yes the kids do take things and give them back in play. Lots of stuff for us to work on! Thankyou all so much I was getting really upset thinking I had a randomly mean dog!
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:13 PM
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Don't let the kids take things from the puppy unless you're there and they're all working on teaching "trade" or "leave it."
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:18 PM
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This is definitely a situation where you should call the pup's breeder to get their advise.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:23 PM
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Wow! At 8 weeks old? I would be concerned. Yes call the breeder. And in the meantime no high value chews.
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