My Luffy is starting to show a bit more aggression lately. Today when I tried picking Luffy up off the bed he started growling and showing his teeth. I wasn't exactly sure how to handle the situation so I proceeded in picking him up while being careful in not getting bit to put him on time out to show him that I wasn't afraid of him. It's only when Luffy is laying down and I try picking him up is when he gets aggressive, but if he is standing already he doesn't have a problem being picked up. He has also been getting aggressive over the water bowl and such at the dog park if another dog tries to approach him while he is drinking. I am wondering how I should correct these behaviors when they occur before they get out of hand. I do follow the NILF program. Is this just Luffy going through his bad twos? What should I do to correct this behavior when they happen?
I'll just answer your first question: Lilliput has never liked being picked up. I can hold her to clean her up for a few minutes, or just to mess with her a bit, but she'll forcefully squirm away. If my partner holds her, she tolerates the cleaning for a few minutes because she knows there's a cookie coming, but then she gets growly and fights it. He doesn't fool around with her. When I first met her at 12 weeks she was frightened every time I picked her up at the breeders. 6 years later this is where we are. I wouldn't call her aggressive, at least with me, I would say scared and defensive.
She will also guard her water at the dog park. It's hers, nothing else there is, so I guess it's all she has. I warn off other dog owners by loudly explaining to their dog that it really wouldn't be a good idea to mess with the corgi's water right now :) Most people get it. If not, I just step in front of an approaching dog, not looking at him, before he gets too close. Since she shares with her brother, and doesn't guard from me, these things don't bother me. Besides, it's really not a great idea to share water with strangers.
Is he guarding a particular sleeping spot? Is he startled when you go to pick him up from a lying down position? Would he react better if you first called him to attention?
Thank you for your reply. I wouldn't say he is startled cause he would be staring at me.. I don't believe he is guarding a sleeping spot cause he will do it whenever he is laying down anywhere but it could be he thinks the entire house is his, maybe? I believe if i did get his attention and had him sit then he probably wouldn't be as snotty but i'm just worried if i have people over and he is laying down he might snap at them if he thought he was going to get picked up.
Here we go...
I do not believe in time in time outs. Either for humans or animals.
The key to this behavior is not to back down. Let him know that you are serious, and that that behavior will not be tolerated. You don't have to beat a dog into submission, the key is to get them to respect you. They have to know that you are the boss.
I am a firm believer in pinning the dog with unwanted behavior. That being said, there are many that will disagree with me. If your dog is a puppy, start now, and you won't have to do it but once or twice for any scenario. Give a firm "No" and keep them scruffed and pinned on their side until they are completely still and will glance at you but look away quickly. Still do the NILF program, but the dog has to know that what you say goes.
@Jennifer Markley: Pinning a dog down is a training technique that works in some situations, when correctly applied by someone who knows what they are doing, has a good grasp of dog behavior and sufficient experience with dog training in general. That's a lot of requirements.... More often I have seen it misused and abused and I have seen many dogs ruined by the application of this maneuver, which also puts people in harms way because, if the dog does not submit, you have a sure bite situation. I would not recommend it because of this, particularly with an adult dog.
People aggression of any kind is never to be underestimated, or tolerated and is different from dog to dog aggression, which is normal in many dogs and can be managed. I would err on the side of caution and have my Vet check him out to make sure nothing is hurting him that is associated with the lying down position, or getting up from it. I personally don't allow my dogs on beds or furniture and would not recommend it to anyone with a dominant dog, but I also do not tend to pick dogs up. Many toy breeds become people aggressive simply because just about everybody wants to pick them up and it's disconcerting and dis empowering to them. Like Beth, I have taught my dogs words that convey what I want them to do. I'm assuming he's neutered, if not I would I would also recommend that.
WHY should a dog tolerated being picked up? For multiple reasons. One, because you are the human and he is the dog. Secondly, so he doesn't bite the humans at the vet when they reach down to pick him up to examine him. Thirdly, what if there's a fire in the house and you need to get the dog out and he's run under the bed and won't come out? There are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Growling, snarling, and nipping at humans should NEVER be allowed. EVER. Granted, there are times that a dog will warn you they are about to bite, and you should know what these cues are. BUT, it should NOT be tolerated. You may disagree with me, but none of my dogs has ever growled at, snarled, nipped or even attempted to bite or threaten to bite a human. ANY human. My vet actually just told me a month ago that they love it when my dogs come in because they are so well behaved. AND, I got a Christmas present from them for taking such good care of my animals. My dogs are a part of my family. I do not beat them, yell at them or mistreat them in any way. But I am the leader, and what I say goes. It's respect, and it goes both ways. You may disagree with my methods, but they work.
I totally disagree. NO aggression should EVER be tolerated. I can assure you, no dog of mine has EVER growled at me more than once. I can do whatever I like to them. The only time I would ever fear them biting me would be if they were injured- as any dog may do. Otherwise I don't fear them at all, because I know that I can do whatever I want to them, and they will tolerate it because they know that I will in under no circumstance, hurt them intentionally. We have a mutual respect, and trust. I don't just go up and pin them for no reason, there has to be a situation serious enough to warrant a stern correction. I don't agree that correcting growling will lead to biting. It simply lets them know that you are boss, and they can't pull that crap on you. I have never had to pin a dog more than twice. Ever. But again, I'm not scared, and I go at it with the attitude that I am going to win under any circumstance.
I've never pinned my dogs and I'm not scared of them either. AND they tolerate being picked up, though they don't like it. Jack starts to panic so we minimize it, but even my cuddler Maddie doesn't like it.
To each his own. I can show you the research about pinning dogs and about growling, but you are entitled to your opinions. Mine move when I say "excuse me" even if they are sound asleep on a cuddly blanket. Jack is an extremely dominant dog, and I never needed to pin him or even scold him to get him to comply. He DID used to growl if he was part way on my lap and I leaned over so I was looming over him. I would put him on the floor for this, and then over time I would gently condition him to tolerate the behavior by starting out small, praising, and gradually increasing the intensity of the activity.
I'll bet if your boss, your husband, your mother, or anyone you like and respect came and picked you up to move you, you would resent it and you might be frightened into going along with it but it would not improve your relationship. Parents no longer pick up their children to get respect once the children outgrow toddlerhood. And dogs don't carry each other around. It is not a natural thing to ask of a dog. We MUST accustom them to it for safety's sake, but we should do that using positive reward-based methods and then do it as seldom as possible, and always remember that it's an utterly unnatural and unnerving thing to ask an adult dog to tolerate being toted around and so minimize how often we do it.
So many confrontations with dogs, over food and over space, could be so easily avoided. The physics of picking up a dog while it is lying down are very difficult. So much easier to train the dog to move and if he still gets grouchy, just don't allow him on the bed. Dogs can growl for many reasons, including fear. If you physically dominate a fearful dog you just make the situation worse. Most amateur owners don't have the behavioral backgrounds to recognize the difference between fear aggression and dominance aggression, and correcting the former increases the fear while correcting the latter can just cause the dog to counter-challenge and is best handled with the guidance of a professional.
Here's more about why you shouldn't correct growls (I've done it, but I didn't handle the situation correctly).
With these methods, both you AND the dog win, rather than you winning and the dog losing.