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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just discovered this forum last night after our 13-week-old golden, Maggie, was tearing through the house like a mad dog. Wow. Thank you everyone for giving us hope to get through another day! :)
We can't start puppy class for another two weeks so we're trying most things on our own after reading books, asking friends, etc. We haven't had an accident in the house in almost two weeks (knock on wood), she knows many commands already (sit, down, off, fetch, crate--which she absolutely loves to be in, speak). We're working on come, stay, off (yes, sometimes she knows that command--and other times she doesn't "hear" it), and drop it. We are noticing less pressure with her nipping/biting...and will be grateful if we can get through this phase like so many of you already have.

After our first vet visit, which included some shots, we went to pick her up and she growled at us. It's happened several times since then when we've had to redirect her from chewing on the water valve behind the toilet, for example. Had a trainer visit who gave us two choices: Work hard with her or give her away. Wow. My heart sunk. I know she's a pistol at times, but is learning so much so fast that I can't believe we couldn't teach her by improving our leadership just what is appropriate or not. She's never been a puppy that loves to be held (except during the first week honeymoon phase). I think she transferred the pain she felt the first time to us... but maybe I'm thinking too much. Maybe she's just being a stinker and knows this behavior gets what she wants (she's only done this to us, to the trainer who had her in a near chokehold, and at the vet's because now she's anxious about going there). I know there are some posts about growling which I appreciated reading. We put her in her crate for timeouts, we're doing the ignore thing (which she seems to react to), and working intensely on patience and impulse control (hers and ours).

If anyone else has other ideas for us, please let us know. After the trainer left, we felt like well, of course, we'll work hard (I agree some people maybe wouldn't) but she sounded still so hopeless that we could ever correct this. Maybe I'm being Pollyanna, but I refuse to believe that right now because she's so young. Thanks for any thoughts.
 

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Welcome to the forum GoPack.

I, too, felt down after reading what the trainer had to say about your pup. Maggie is 13 weeks old and sounds like a typical puppy - crazy energy levels and pushing the envelope at every opportunity. Am I missing some information here? Growling is always a concern but she is still a young pup and with time will learn her place in the pecking order. She should also come a long way after puppy classes and consistent training from you. If she is high energy then walks/exercise would benefit her.

I'm sure more experienced dog owners will give you specific advice soon. Hang in there. Would love to see pics of Maggie when you get the time to post them.
 

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Isn't this forum great? These wonderful people have answered so many of my questions the last few weeks. I know you'll find so much good advice, too!
My Josie is 14 weeks and she growls at me sometimes too. I have had a consult with a very highly recommended trainer, I spoke to the breeder, and we go to puppy kindergarten with a great instructor and they all said the same thing. She's a puppy! Just tell her in a firm voice "Don't you growl at me". Sometimes she gets so hyped up, she's just in a zone, and afterwards, she acts so sad, and feels bad, I swear. She also does it less often now (she started doing it the first week we had her - scared me to death), and I am starting to know what triggers it - overtired, overstimulated, etc.
So, don't give her back, go to classes, and you'll all be fine. Myself, I put a little extra emphasis on preventing guarding things, since I have little kids and they really don't like the growling. I make sure I own her toys, stick my hands in her food, etc. every day. Hopefully that will help me down the road.
Oh and yesterday, the trainer at puppy class said that Josie was the most stubborn Golden she's ever met (so happy to hear that), and she's been doing this for years. And that she'll probably end up being the smartest, too. Stubborn, yes, naughty, sometimes, but I wouldn't trade her for anything!
Good luck !!!!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the comments so far. We do understand growling can be signs of so many things. She's never been possessive about her food and we've been sticking our hands in there often. The growls have never progressed to a bite, although her puppy nipping and biting is certainly annoying enough, especially when she hits the frenzy time of day (and again, thank you everyone--we thought it was just our puppy that ran through the house at 100mph with that faraway look in her eyes from 7 to 8 p.m.). The trainer called it frustration aggression. But our vet just said she's being assertive, our vet said she's seen this before and we just have to show her who's boss. She was much less of an alarmist, I guess. Got some good techniques to use with Maggie from the trainer...but we're finding nothing works ALL the time. So we have to keep changing things up. We're challenging her to work harder for her food (some good mental exercises), and trying to get her out as much as possible--not easy in this frigid, snowy Midwest winter! Also, Maggie is very social. Loves to meet new people and new dogs.
Thanks again. I can't tell you what a relief it is to read so many of you have been in these same situations.
 

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I'm glad you're feeling more assured about Maggie's zomming around and growling. It happens and it doesn't mean that your pup is bad. I had a dog (not a golden) who challenged me for position for a good year or more but he turned out to be great dog who grew up with my kids and is sorely missed now that he has passed. If there was any fault in that situation then it was my own because he was my first dog I raised up from a pup and I certainly didn't know enough about dogs at that time. Don't give up!

Also, I was a bit alarmed by the trainer's advice: "Work hard with her or give her away.". The work hard bit I agree with but lets suppose that Maggie really was a holy terror with serious behavioral issues (which I don't think anyone can determine in a 13 week old pup). His/her advice is to just give her away? Why, so that she becomes someone else's problem and/or gets PTS? A scary thought.

Maggie is doing some things very right - not possessive with her food and loves to meet people/dogs. Good girl Maggie!
 

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I agree with the vet, show her who's boss. Stop any growling now. It is OK tey know you are the boss. You go up the stairs first, you come in or out the door 1st. I pick mine up & firmly (not yelling or screaming) tell them NO GROWLING. Make them sit & leave it until you release when feeding. Sit before their leash is put on.
Have you been taking them to meet people? Socialization is very important while they are young. Meet as many people as possible. Meet as many (Known) dogs as possible.
I made it a point to meet 100 people with my puppy before 12 weeks. I went to pets mart, the schools, for walks. I had friends bring their dogs over. (Only people you know care well for their dogs while the puppy is young before shots) I also kept my puppy in a cart at Petsmart while they were young before all immunizations.

The nipping is a typical puppy. The yelling ouch is a good idea if they bite too hard. Will help them learn soft mouthing.
The running around we call zoomies & I love to watch it.
I was fortunate with my 2nd puppy, the first one has taken all the brunt of the puppt biting.
Give them as much exercise as possible. A bored puppy is more likely to want to bite & get into things.

Have fun, they are a riot!
 

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Two ideas for you to try:

1. If you think she may be growling at you when you pick her up because she is associating it with something unpleasant, then work to make her start associating it with something pleasant instead. Get a handful of really yummy treats, and while she is distracted with the treats, pick her up and continue feeding. After several times of doing this, the new rule is she doesn't get the treats until you have already picked her up.

2. My own puppy didn't like being restrained in any way, whether it was me holding him, putting a hand in the collar, whatever, he would thrash around like a crazy dog. So I put him in my lap and held tight. He thrashed about and tried to get loose, so I tightened my grip. After awhile he just gave up. I calmly stroked him for a bit and then let him go. I repeated this quite often. Now when I put him in my lap he automatically relaxes.

Adding in idea 3: Kind of a combination of 1 and 2, the hand in the collar game. Everytime you put your hand in the collar, you offer a treat. You should be able to put your hand in the collar and move her around different ways. If she starts struggling against you, just hold on tight like in idea 2 until she settles down.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Your pup sounds pretty normal. For the growling I would start hand feeding her every meal. Sit right on the floor and feed her every piece of kibble.
 

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Hi GoPack, isn't this a great place? I'm a new owner also and every time I have a question, I know I can find a GOOD answer here.
I had a similar experience with our 11-week-old. At his first vet visit, he complained a little when the vet tech held his head tight and looked in his ears. I wouldn't call it growling, really, but he did make some noise to let us know he was unhappy. The vet told us that he had a dominant personality and would require serious obedience training. She just went on-and-on about his behavior. That really put us on edge, as he is our first puppy (but I had 4 of the gentlest Goldens growing up). The next night, I had him at my parents house and he suddenly became crazy puppy, showing his teeth and really being awful. I thought it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. We had never seen him act that way until the vet mentioned his behavior.
Since then, we've met with a vet friend who specializes in dog behavior and she assured us that he is not a vicious dog, he's just a puppy with some extra energy that we have to learn to channel (I think you called it frustration aggression). We're practicing with lots of treats and fun mental games. I think you'll find, like we have, that he is SO happy when he's being good and we're happy with and praising him. Archie really has been much better and when he gets a little nutso, we sing him a happy song and put him in his crate for a little rest. Like you said though, we have to change it up all the time, nothing is a sure-bet with these guys. Hope things get a little better for you as each day goes on!
 

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Google Nothing in Life is Free (NILF). It's a fairly easy-to-follow program that quickly lets the pup know that you're in charge without any harsh methods, and it hones your obedience training skills. Any puppy will take charge and push your buttons until they understand that everything comes from you. Hang in there, and that trainer shouldn't be in business at all!
 

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Greetings! As Maggie's new "dad," I can offer up some pics. :) This one is Maggie in GoPack's arms on the day we picked her out, November 14. She has grown a lot since then! One of us will post some other newer pictures soon....
 

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Ohhhh she is precious. I have to say that I always worry when trainers use choke holds or the pushy I am the boss handling. Our first golden was really a tough nut to crack. He wanted to be THE boss in the house. Assertive training with a choke collar and you will do this or else training was THE WORST thing we ever did with him. Positive training is what changed him into a wonderful obedient loving golden who never lost his spirit. He did, however, check with us occasionally to see if he still needed to follow the rules. ha ha I have used positive training methods with all our goldens since and what wonder experiences we have had. Check out Victoria Stilwell on Animal Planet(It's me or the dog). She has some great techniques. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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We just picked up a puppy in Wisconsin too. What breeder is she from? She sure is cute!
 

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Our girl Rosie is our first puppy and there were moments in the beginning that I wondered if we got a dog from hell! She would go into a frenzy of nipping and biting, and put holes in some of my pants. Now that she's a bit older (7 months), she has turned into the sweetest, most gentle puppy I could ever imagine. I'm not sure when it happened...I guess it was gradual. Whenever she has growled, we've told her no, and stopped interacting with her. Also, I find that when she's misbehaving, if I put her in a sit, it helps remind her who's boss. We have been very lucky with Rosie, because I think she's a bit on the submissive side. Even so, when they are puppies, they can be little stinkers. Have fun with Maggie. She sure is cute!
 

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Maggie is beautiful! I love her eyes and ear (I would say ears but I can only see one).
I'm so glad and grateful that others have chimed in with some great advice. Enjoy that beautiful puppy.
 

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Well, now that Maggie has worked through another evening of crazies and is sleeping soundly for the night ( we hope :crossfing ), I have a little time to put up a couple more pics. In the first one above, she was only about six weeks old. In the first one here, she was about 11 weeks. In the second (trying to see beyond one of our dirty snowbanks), she was nearly 13 weeks. Today, in fact, she is 13 weeks old.
 

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She is just Gorgeous! She will be a pretty redhead when she is full grown!

I did not notice in your posts about how much exercise Maggie is getting. She sounds like she is a bundle of energy and the "zoomies" are part of that. It is not uncommon for her to be doing this. Both our Goldens did it and as another poster mention it is funny to watch. Unless, they knock over someone or something.

Walking her 3 times a day will help a lot. You don't want to go too far then she will get tired and you have to carry her home. LOL I think this will help you with some of the other issues you are having. Be sure to have her walk even with or a little behind to have her follow you.

One thing we did with our first golden a few times to exhaust him was to have a doggie relay. This happened when between 1 and 3 years old. There were four of us in the house at the time One of us would walk and walk and then hand off the dog to the next member of the family and so on and so on. It exhausted him and it showed the dog that the entire family was in charge of him. In the end the dog was tired and the four of us were not exhausted. A little family teamwork certainly helped.

Also, if you are going to the vet be sure to take her for a long walk before going to the vet. She will not have the energy to protest.

A couple of puppy training reminders : If you have stairs make sure you go up and down first. When exiting the house make her sit, open the door, go through it first and then have her follow you. Don't let her up on the furniture or bed without being invited. Eat first and then you feed her. I don't think it is a bad thing for her to be in the crate while in the living room to show her that you expect calm in there and other rooms.

These are probably things that you have already read but your little girl is pretty smart and she is absorbing everything that you do right now. She is trying to figure out her place in the house and if you spoil her to much it will only get worse. Keep an eye out for demand barking. We thought it was cute at how our pup was trying to "speak" with us. Now, we are having to retrain him because he barks all the time when he wants something.

My bet is that if you two take the time and exercise her and exercise her and exercise her things will calm down.

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I like the phrase......." a tired puppy is a good puppy".

Best of luck!

Patrick

PS- The trainer you met with seemed a little dramatic to me. I agree that you will have a lot of hard work ahead but you are under stress as well and this just put more stress into the situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you ALL! This forum has been the best New Year's gift we could have happened upon. The trainer visit put me in an emotional tailspin for days, because I just couldn't believe this was something "no one had seen before." Thankfully my "Bones" guy just kept saying over and over again "she's a great puppy." We believe her mouthing is getting better and softer just in the past week so I thank the trainer for the techniques we weren't doing correctly. We wonder if part of her strategy was to challenge us. If so, I guess it worked. We started feeding her by hand, we pick her up and feed her treats, we are working hard on stay while we go in and out the door. Exercise has been tough but we realize the total benefit. We're going through a period of below zero temps and snow much deeper than she is. We make it a point to take her on short walks (several), we play fetch on the deck and in the house, we play "call her name" games in the backyard as well so she can run to us off-leash. I love the game of walking her around the house on the leash and handing her off to each other so we'll try that tonight.
Must finish getting ready for work now but I'm sure I'll have more to report later. Mostly we just wanted to say thank you again. This forum has lifted us way out of our emotional lows from last week!
 

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If you have a long hallway or room two of you get on your knees on opposite sides of the hall/room. Both of you have little training treats with you. One person holds the pup while the other calls her and makes a big deal for her to run to them. The puppy will run to the other person. The other person tells her to stop, makes her sit and gives her a treat. The first few times will be hysterical. Soon the pup will be running back and forth, sitting down and waiting for her treat.

We used to call it Puppy catch and had a ball playing it.
 

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You need a new trainer, and the one you had needs a good swift kick in the .....

You have a normal Puppy. The "Mad Dog" stuff is called the "Zoomies". Search for it here. I don't think a single person has ever escaped Puppyhood without experiencing them. And they will continue, albiet at a MUCH reduced rate, for her entire life. You'll start to see a real improvement in this around 1 year of age.

Chewing? That's what puppies do. They chew the toilet pipe because it's cold and provides relief for the gums from teething. Most dogs go forever without ever discovering this little treat, but a few don't. Dakota was a member of the "Cold Toilet Water Feed Pipe" club. He was the only one out of my 5 Goldens that ever found it.

I don't see a lot that isn't normal here.



Just discovered this forum last night after our 13-week-old golden, Maggie, was tearing through the house like a mad dog. Wow. Thank you everyone for giving us hope to get through another day! :)
We can't start puppy class for another two weeks so we're trying most things on our own after reading books, asking friends, etc. We haven't had an accident in the house in almost two weeks (knock on wood), she knows many commands already (sit, down, off, fetch, crate--which she absolutely loves to be in, speak). We're working on come, stay, off (yes, sometimes she knows that command--and other times she doesn't "hear" it), and drop it. We are noticing less pressure with her nipping/biting...and will be grateful if we can get through this phase like so many of you already have.

After our first vet visit, which included some shots, we went to pick her up and she growled at us. It's happened several times since then when we've had to redirect her from chewing on the water valve behind the toilet, for example. Had a trainer visit who gave us two choices: Work hard with her or give her away. Wow. My heart sunk. I know she's a pistol at times, but is learning so much so fast that I can't believe we couldn't teach her by improving our leadership just what is appropriate or not. She's never been a puppy that loves to be held (except during the first week honeymoon phase). I think she transferred the pain she felt the first time to us... but maybe I'm thinking too much. Maybe she's just being a stinker and knows this behavior gets what she wants (she's only done this to us, to the trainer who had her in a near chokehold, and at the vet's because now she's anxious about going there). I know there are some posts about growling which I appreciated reading. We put her in her crate for timeouts, we're doing the ignore thing (which she seems to react to), and working intensely on patience and impulse control (hers and ours).

If anyone else has other ideas for us, please let us know. After the trainer left, we felt like well, of course, we'll work hard (I agree some people maybe wouldn't) but she sounded still so hopeless that we could ever correct this. Maybe I'm being Pollyanna, but I refuse to believe that right now because she's so young. Thanks for any thoughts.
 
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