Should I be concerned about this behavior?

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  1. My new dog (we just celebrated a month together! :yahoo: lol) is relatively well behaved. He had a lot of separation anxiety problems but I took a lot of the tips posted here and he's now fine...doesn't even bark when I come home and no more running out the door when I try to go to work/school/out.

    He had been snappy about taking medicine, but now I've discovered he responds very well to being petted and coaxed into it as opposed to using force. He'll comply if you pet him and say "Aww, it's okay".

    However, twice, he has bitten me in the face. The first time I should have taken the signals and I understand what I did wrong. I picked him up awkwardly and he started growling and I just kept going, then he nipped me on my jaw.

    Then today, we got up early this morning and I went over to him and tried to pick him up while he was lounging under the TV stand. I guess the angle was awkward but he didn't really even growl, he just snapped at my jaw and drew blood.

    9/10 of the time he's really good, but this is concerning me. Someone suggested puppy training courses, but I don't know how that would correct this random intermittent behavior? :confused1:
  2. I'm no dog expert but I think he is clearly saying he does not like to be picked up.

    How old is he and what breed?
  3. #3 Aug 19, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
    I would keep a leash on him while you are home, ad when you want him to go from Point A to Point B, yank him! (I don't mean hurt him!) but he needs to know when you want something done he had better do it. You can work on getting him to realize this without getting hurt.

    Defintiely some obediance training ASAP! This will reinforce your position OVER his, and teach him manners.

    Don't coo and ooh and aah over him right now. unless you are praising him for doing something good, like obeying a command correctly and with no crap I don't mean to be this way forever, but he needs the law to be laid down.

    I have had 20+ dogs in my life, and only one has ever challenged me when I wanted him off a piece of furniture. He was entering his adolescence and was testing me. He had no leash on since he had never done this before. He was growling and showing some teeth.

    I looked around for something I could throw at him that would not hurt him, (large empty soda bottle , or a magazine) and bellowed OFF! Haven't had to do it since. Off means off and now he knows it. If I have to have a stern word with him, he does what I ask, and then comes over and puts his paw out like, "Mom, I'm sorry"

    I am not a trainer, and I am not telling you to try anything that will injure you, which is why I say keep a leash on him so he can be maneuvered without harm to anyone. Conult your obediance trainer for advice. I am only giving my $0.02 cents, which is about whatit's worth,,,

    I think with obed class, things could improve.

    Also, does he come to you, bumping his nose at you or rubbing for affection - Don't. He gets it when YOU want to give it to him; otherwise he sees you as giving in to his demands and he is Boss.

    When/if his problems go away, then of course you can respond to him should he ask for pets - I do that now with most of my dogs except two pushy teens (and I mean adolescents) who still want to mentally push me around.

    I see he has been with you only a month. He is testing the waters. Get into a class s soon as possible.

    DISCLAIMER: "I am not dog trainer nor do I play one on TV"
  4. Thanks guys!

    He is an adolescent dog, about 1.5 years and a shih tzu. He does LOVE to be picked up, but not if he doesn't want to. We will look into obedience classes for him.

    His last family surrendered him when they had a baby and I can see why! lol, but I think if they had taken the time to train him they would have wanted to keep him. 99% of the time he is a very sweet dog.
  5. I am a dog lover
    That behavior would not be tolerated in my house. He is testing you to see who is going to be alpha in the relationship. You cannot let him get away with it - it will escalate.
    My first male tried getting snippy and the vet even warned us it would happen. He tried it separately on me first and then my DH. We both gave stern corrections.
    Please don't let this behavior continue!
  6. #6 Aug 19, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
    I am fairly versed in dog (and other animal) behavior. A general rule of thumb .....
    I also would not agree with picking up your dog unless you absolutely have to. He has legs, he can walk on his own. A lot of times people have the misconception with smaller dogs that it is just easier to pick them up to get them from point A to point B. It may be easier but it sends your dog the signal that you are submissive to him.
    How much time occurred doing the two bites? Did he flatten his ears at all or growl before biting you? These are big clues that a dog means business and you are at risk of getting bitten. If he didn't give you those signals, that could be problematic and I would definitely recommend training classes. What did you do after he bit you? Did he get a time out or any other type of punishment, so that he knew his behavior was wrong?
    It also wouldn't hurt to pick up a dog training book or to read up on dog behavior. I think once you understand pack behavior, it becomes a lot easier to deal with dogs.
  7. He growled the first time, which meant I should have put him down and listened to his cues. This time, there was no growl, just a bite. I called him a bad dog and yelled at him a little (which I know he hates). They say you should hit him on the nose, but I feel badly about doing that. He followed me into the bathroom and looked at me like "I'm sorry!" I went back to bed, but I put the doggie stairs away so he couldn't come in with me or look out the window, which is his favorite activity.

    Thanks for the tips guys. He also does that sometimes when wanting to get on the in wants to be put there and not walking up the stairs. More and more I just encourage him to use the stairs and tell him he's not coming up here if he doesn't do it by himself.

    The lapse between the bites was about 2.5 weeks maybe?
  8. I don't think any one should ever smack their dog, even on the nose. You may want to try using rolled up news paper and smacking next to your dog or smacking it into your hand with a firm 'no'. This is a strong visual cue and audio cue.
    The second instance does concern me. He didn't cue you and he bit you hard enough to draw blood. I can't hurt to take him to a trainer. I think what you did was a good start, but I am not sure it sent a strong enough signal to him that he was wrong. Taking him to training classes will help both of you learn to be better dogs.
    And this next part will probably get me flamed, but from a training standpoint, it is not recommended that you let your dog sleep in your bed. You need to have a clearly defined space that is yours only. He needs to understand that you have your den and he has his. He can sleep in his own bed or in a crate. It also helps to strongly assert your alpha position to him.
  9. You should definitely do an obedience class. They will show you different hold techniques that will train you how to hold your dog in different positions, particularly for grooming or giving medication.
  10. I would second the idea of an obedience class. Your dog needs to understand that your position is above his. If he bites you, I would say he doesn't respect you at all (unless he is in serious pain. I could excuse that).

    You have about three seconds to correct your dogs behavior. After that he will not connect the correction to his behavior. So you need to be fast and clear. I would go with your voice, since you always have it with you ;).

    Please don't try to comfort him when you do something he doesn't like. If he's afraid of a situation, it will only encourage him in the thought that something's wrong. Relax and act like everything's totally normal.

    I really like the Calming Signals books by Turid Rugaas. I learned to understand my dogs body language and how I can use my own to communicate with him.
  11. This happened to me with one of our rescue dogs. When it happened the 2nd time, I called a personal dog trainer who helped us with the "alpha" thing. The dog tried to challenge the trainer during one session and it was really fascinating to watch the "staredown". She needed to know she was safe with us, but we were the "alpha" in the pack, so to speak.

    Maybe regular obedience would've helped, but with a specific problem, I wanted one-on-one help. Good luck. You'll be able to work through this.
  12. I am glad i found this thread. My doggy nipped me last night. i startled her by stroking her when she was asleep. She sleeps right next to me on the sofa in the evening. I was so upset and she was too, she barked and howled for 30 minutes. She sounded like she was crying. I need to get a trainer too but this was unusual for her. I think I just scared her. I am so mad at myself.
  13. -Well, the quote, "let sleeping dogs lie", came from somewhere!

    I had doga that never did get out of that startle response; so I just called their name, clapped, whatever, to make sure they were awake before I touched them.

    Some that sleep in bed withme, I can push them around trying to get ME comfortable, and they are like dead weight and act like just a sack of potatoes. LOL