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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

We purchased a puppy from a breeder earlier this afternoon and have seen him behave in what seems to us as very aggressive behavior that we'd like to have some input on.

He was playing with a larger dog who was showing submission by laying on it's back when our puppy lunged at the dog, growled with a very low growl, showed his teeth, and proceeded to bite the dog until they were separated by two adults.

The second event happened two hours later when our chihuahua made a warning growl that the puppy was too close to his personal space, the puppy responded by lunging, snapping, and growling very loudly and very low.

The last incident occurred when I was holding my chihuahua. I was sitting on the floor with the chihuahua in my lap, the puppy approached me, placed his paw on the shoulder of my chihuahua (who then growled) the puppy responded by fully attacking the chihuahua in my arms and growling with a very low growl. My husband removed him and placed him on his side with a firm hand until the dog showed a calm behavior.

We have never seen a puppy so assertive before. I've personally never witnessed a puppy growl in any situation other than playtime. Are these signs of aggression that we should reconsider this purchase?

We have 2 small children and worry that this behavior is more than an "un-socialized" puppy.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Steadfast
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Some puppies make growly noises during playtime but doesn't mean he is acting aggressive. He may be more dominant in personality but at 11 weeks and your first day with him I would not label him as aggressive.
 

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Kate
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Keep in mind two things...

Golden puppies are mouthy, growly, bitey, snappy, chewy, barky, leaky, and poopy. And not always in that order. They generally take a week to settle in a new home before showing this crazy side, but because he is 11 weeks old and possibly very socialized and social, you are getting to see it right at the start.

At 11 weeks, he is teething. Which exasperates a lot of the above behaviors. And you can probably expect a lot of little puppy tantrums.

You can expect 1-2 months of this. Be patient. Don't pin him so much as distract him. When he gets really obnoxious, that's a good time to take him outside, sit down somewhere and encourage him to run around and burn off some of that energy.

The chihuahua and two small children need to be monitored when interacting with the pup, of course. This for a very long time.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies.

The only reason we were a bit concerned was due to the fact that these incidents were not really during playtime. They were moments when everyone seemed to be in a fairly relaxed state. However, we also realize that all time is playtime for a puppy an he may have been escalating purely in response to the other dogs reactions. This puppy is very tolerant with the kids and has shown no other signs of aggression (he's not food protective, toy protective, or territorial of his personal crate...) so we don't want to jump the gun. We just wanted some insight :)
 

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While everything said by the others is certainly true, I should add though that the flip side is that it could be an "issue" to some extent and something you need to manage. Since your puppy is so young, there is plenty you can do to improve his behavior. Lots and lots of socialization and training can only help. If I were you, I'd read up a lot on training dogs and socialization. Ian Dunbar's books which are freely available in PDF format are a great place to start.

Aggression is generally not supposed to be something that you should see in a Golden Retriever breed, but that doesn't mean that your dog cannot be a wonderful companion and cannot be helped to minimize any affects of this trait. There are plenty of folks here on the forums who have put in a lot of time and effort in managing some of the behavioral quirks of some of their furry friends. Your puppy is young, and there is a LOT that you can do to try and improve the situation.

While it could very well be something the puppy grows out of, to play devil's advocate, it also could be something your puppy doesn't grow out of. So the best thing to do is to assume that it is an issue and try your best in making efforts to socialize your dog with other dogs and training it so that he can control his impulse to snap/bite at other dogs.

Some of us get lucky with a dog that is perfectly behaved without any extra efforts, while others need to put tons of time and effort into managing some of their puppies behaviors. However, owners of both will still love their dogs to death and would never part with them. There is plenty that you can do for now to try and manage your puppies behavior. I would only really worry if despite your best efforts your puppies behavior escalates and he becomes a danger to himself or other dogs/people around him.
 

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He's a baby! He's been alive for 77 days and in that time has been taken from his mom and his siblings and plopped down with strangers. Give him a break!
 

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Have you enrolled in a good puppy class yet? A good puppy class is invaluable. He should be able to start as soon as his shots are finished.
Puppies can play very rough with littermates. Other dogs will teach the puppy good doggy manners. It all has to be monitored. Example...my old man, Billy, is surprisingly tolerant of puppies, to the point that he allowed Max to bite and pull on his tail as a puppy. Last week, during play, Max attempted that again for the first time in two years and Billy corrected him.
Older dogs who are well balanced are excellent teachers. Your puppy will be told "enough" when the other dogs have had enough.
But do invest in a good puppy class. I can't see your location on my phone, but if you happen to be in Maryland I suggest Peaceable Paws by Pam Miller. (Or is it Pat Miller?). Positive trainer using a clicker.
One last thought....using force with a willful puppy may only result on a bossier puppy. Better to teach self control than applying external physical overpowering methods. I understand that method may be effective on certain dogs, but it can be counterproductive on babies.

Sent from my iPhone using PG Free
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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If you go to YouTube and google puppy litters you can see how as the litter matures they start getting more social, more aware of their own space, lots of growling and noise. I think your pup is acting like your chih is one of his littermates. I would start checking into a good training center so when he is old enough he can start his first class which will teach you good ways to handle this. You can also take him outside in the backyard and start working on following you when you call his name, learn the basics of sit, down, stay all with lots of treats. At this age he wants to play and his idea of play and space might not be your own. He must learn, in a loving way, what is acceptable or not. He will be growing a lot in the next months, lots of biting and crazy times ahead. You might invest in a good x-pen so when he cannot be monitored he can have his space in the pen or crate. They do grow out of this, but it is very important you keep him learning every day, socialize all you can, AND protect your children and little chih by watching every minute your baby golden is with them. Remember, though bigger, he is a tiny baby, his mind is an open book waiting for you to help him fill in the pages. Lots of treats for good behavior, monitor, love, socialize, train, train again. He will turn into the dog of your dreams, but it is your responsibility to guide him towards this end.
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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Golden pups are rough and tough 'landsharks'
 
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