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 I need help, my 7 week old puppy is snarling

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yacob841
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PostSubject: I need help, my 7 week old puppy is snarling   Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:24 pm

Hey, I got my puppy pretty young at 6 weeks old, his name is Steel. The first week everything was fine, he was happy, playful, sometimes he would bite pretty hard but he is teething so that seems normal. The only time he ever growled was when I would be putting food that he dropped on the ground back in the bowl but after some food aggression suggestions he stopped doing that. There are other dogs in the house but I have kept him in my room majority of the time except for in a controlled setting to make sure the other dogs aren't overly aggressive with him. I have now had him for a week and on Saturday I went to my parents house for Easter and there was a total of 7 dogs there, however all but 1 were too afraid of him to play so he only played with one dog whose name is Bo. Bo is a 3 year old labradoodle and he was playing pretty calmly with Steel, instead of biting to pin him down he would just use his chin to pin him and then let him back up. He would even stand still to allow Steel to get an advantage on his back before he would start playing, however after playing with him my sisters boyfriend picked him up and played with him semi aggressively. I didn't see this part but other people did and it was kind of like pushing him from side to side, something I have seen many people do with their dogs however Steel went from a growl which could have been a playful growl to a full on snarl. Eyebrows raised, lips raised, tone of growl got a lot higher (almost like the sound a cat makes hissing), started turning his head a lot more suddenly, etc. After setting him down he seemed to be completely normal, however ever since then he snarls pretty often, I'd say probably 3-4 times during the rest of Saturday and 5-6 times on Sunday. Generally if I pick him up, take him away from the scene (outside) and just hold him he will calm down. I thought it might just be because it's a new place, there are a bunch of dogs, he normally sleeps a lot but since there was so much going on he had barely slept etc. I let him sleep a lot during Sunday and whenever he played with the dogs it's fine but once he get's picked up after playing with the dogs he did it again. I went back to my house Sunday night, played with him normally, no issues, went to bed, no issues, played with him for 4 hours this morning with no issues, took him downstairs where he played with Bo again, after awhile I took him back upstairs, played with him for a bit, then picked him up and he snarled at me and bit me really hard (first time he snarled at me, generally it's at someone else then once I take him he might snarl but once I face him towards me he stops). I told him no and he cooled down after 1-2 seconds and then as I started moving to set him back down he snarled again, repeated the no, he calmed down, then I set him down and he went back to playing with me. From what I can tell it's a combination of playing with the dog and then being picked up. However like today I had already picked him up, taken him upstairs and then he didn't snarl until a few minutes later when I picked him up again. Any ideas? Is this something just more socializing with dogs will solve because he won't be so on edge?

To answer some of the standard questions,
How do I discipline?: I general do a "No", "Bad", "ah ah" or "Chh" to get him to stop and then once he stops I normally pet him and tell him "Good boy"
Does anyone take away his toys?: No, no one takes away his toys, I do play tug of war with him, most of the time he doesn't growl, sometimes he will do a playful growl but that is it, there has yet to be an instance of tug of war to start the snarling.
Is he ever outside alone: No, he is never alone anywhere, I always have someone watching him.

Something else I was possibly thinking is that I might be making him too independent. I wanted a couch dog but first wanted to crate train him. But a combination of me not knowing the difference between a howl to get out and a howl to go to the bathroom and him falling in love with his crate super quickly that I normally just leave his crate open, then during the night if he can't sleep he'll play with his toys, if he needs to go to the bathroom, he goes on the mat (I'm afraid to train him outside until he has had all of his parvo shots), if he needs water he has it, etc. The only time he will wake me up is when he wants to get on the bed to sleep, which he has done at least once every night so far except last night. Last night he didn't wake me up to sleep on my bed. We also normally take a nap mid morning but when I put him on his spot in my bed he just got up, got off the bed, walked to his crate, and laid down in there. This is good in regard to crate training but I feel like I might be turning him into a lone wolf kind of scenario. There is also a possibility with being independent with his food. I’ve heard from some people I should be feeding him straight from my hand but I generally just touch his food as I'm preparing (to get my scent on it), set it down, have him wait, and as soon as he calms down I let him eat, but again there seems to be no food aggression...
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: I need help, my 7 week old puppy is snarling   Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:39 pm

I'm going to pick your  message apart a bit since it'll be easier for me to answer that way.

Food aggression:  It's a lot easier to not let that develop than it is to stop it once a dog has decided that his food is his!!  I rescued a dog who was food aggressive - have the scars on my arm to prove it - it's taken me the better part of 4 years to get to the point I can get her to wait for her food and not bite if i move the bowl.  You're on the right track with making him set / wait but carry that one step further, step away and have him continue to wait until you give him a release - "get it" or "okay" for example.

Biting: you're paying the penalty for getting him at 6 weeks (don't know the situation and that wasn't intended to be critical).  Puppies learn so much in the last weeks they're with their siblings and one of those is bite inhibition - how hard to bite in play is the gist of it.  He's your pup now, so you're going to have to teach him.  The only comment I have in what you've said is "get him to stop and then once he stops I normally pet him" - this is the time for a "time out", he's done something he shouldn't have and since you're his prized possession (from his viewpoint) backing away (depriving him of your company) is the best penalty for him.  He bites (and at this point, any biting it too much!) and you yelp "ouch" or similar, stop playing, leave, go away for a few minutes .... he'll get the idea.
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yacob841
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PostSubject: Re: I need help, my 7 week old puppy is snarling   Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:50 pm

Thanks for the advice! Ok, I'll try the waiting as I walk away thing but I might need to train him to wait in general before having him try to wait while there is a pile of food in front of him haha.

I definitely understand the biting part, I have scabs all over lol. I have tried the yelping thing and it worked for awhile but then stopped, it looks like I will have to add in the walking away part for him to understand.

So in your opinion would you say the snarling thing he does is more of an aggressive playfulness that he never learned was too much instead of just straight up aggressiveness? I am mostly just afraid that he will become aggressive or think he is the Alpha.

Also thank you for your time!
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: I need help, my 7 week old puppy is snarling   Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:06 pm

At that age puppies don't know aggression, they know "I like that!" - like when you're petting and playing with him - and "I don't like that!" - like when your sisters boyfriend picked him up (puppies don't generally like to be picked up by people they don't know and trust) and was "playing aggressively" with him, if I'd been there I'd have intervened - rough housing with a puppy isn't a really good thing.

I have an Alaskan Husky - I can knock his feet out from under him, roll him, pretend I'm going to "wallop" him and he's just ready for more - he knows I'm not going to hurt him (at least not on purpose) and it's all in good fun - yeh, more scratches on the arm that already has dog bite scars on it!

Like I said at first, puppies know what they like and what they don't - a wiggly tail and happy bark or "woo...ooo" when they like what's happening and a growl and trying to get away when they don't like it. It's funny but puppies are like babies in a lot of ways. A baby will coo and laugh when they like you and scream their heads off when they don't - puppies do the same - differently. Steel knows you and will get to know you better as time goes on. Teaching him, now, how to be the dog you want him to be later is going to go a long way to building his (and your) confidence.

Teaching him to wait for food is a good way to teach him to set and wait. You can do either of two things (or both for that matter) - if he starts to run to the food as you start to set it down, then don't set it down, tell him to "set" - when he's setting, tell him to "stay", when he stays (with you and your hand close) then gradually back up. If he lurches before you tell him it's "okay" you can pick the food back up or just put your hand in front of his face, make him go back to set and wait. You have to have more patience than he does! and sometimes that's a problem!!
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