My (soon to be) 5 month old Pem, Dexter, is becoming more and more aggressive. I believe it is because of his teething, but I can't be sure. I know his teeth are really bothering him, they are falling out and growing in, and he sometimes bleeds. I feel terrible about his pain, but the way he has been acting is unacceptable. He has a Nylabone, Kong, etc. I freeze rags and give them to him, and he loves pieces of ice. I feel like I'm doing the right thing for his teeth, so could it be something else? He gets exercise, but not as much as I'd like. We don't have a fenced in yard at this point, so we have to go outside and walk around the block. Maybe I'm just not forceful enough in training him. He never listens to our "No!'s" and is alllllwaaayyys biting both my husband and myself. I'm guessing it's due to his teeth, but again, not acceptable. He's very vocal, which can be funny, but not when he's ALWAYS growling or barking for attention. We play with him often, but the times that we aren't, he feels like we should be, and let's us know. 

Bottom line, Dexter thinks he's the boss, and I don't know how to fix this. I don't want him to grow up this way, so any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

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Comment by Kelli & Ethan K on January 25, 2012 at 1:17am

That's just how Dexter is. Thank you, great advice!

Comment by Kelli & Ethan K on January 17, 2012 at 3:35am

Wow, thank you for the responses everyone! I will use your suggestions. In fact, today was a pretty good day for Dex. Our "block," which is really a circle, takes about a half hour to walk around. My husband took him around the circle today and we played fetch for a while, also did a little basic training, and Dex has been out like a light for a few hours now. I didn't mean to sound as if we never exercised him, I just wish he could have a yard to run around in as he pleases. I do agree that a tired puppy is the best puppy! Thanks everyone, and feel free to leave me more suggestions :)

Comment by Beth on January 16, 2012 at 2:59pm

Jennifer, I am sorry if it sounded like I was attacking you personally. That was not my intent.   From all I've read on the subject, and all the time I've spent watching big groups of dogs play together, the roll (as done by wolves and free-roaming dogs) is actually a "beta roll;" submissive dogs will voluntarily roll to show submission.  Regardless, it's become very controversial and I don't want to get too far into it but there are a lot of researchers who say that the alpha roll is rarely used by dogs themselves. 

Comment by Carry Mackenzie on January 16, 2012 at 1:57pm

Heres some thing I have been doing with Milly that might work One of our first tricks is sit then lay then I pretend to shot him with a gun & say bang bang bang & he has to lay on his back... He does not get a treat every time we practice but that having him lay on his back in front of you is a sign of submission also every time he bits me I put some thing in his mouth so he get the idea he has stopped bitting for the present while some times he seems infatuated with my ankles as I walk but he is getting good about that as well:)))

Comment by Sandy Stickney on January 16, 2012 at 1:41pm
I would agree w/ Bev that personally I know I am not experienced enough to try a pinning technique. I do know that our puppy school trainers taught us to gently, but firmly hold/restrain the puppies until they gave the little huff or sigh of submission, however, this was not taught as a means to stop aggression, but I do think it helps build a bond, and helped teach them that we were the leaders. I watched one of the trainers do it with a more rambunctious puppy in our class, and within 5 minutes, she had the puppy calm and relaxed.
Comment by Bev Levy on January 16, 2012 at 1:31pm

Jennifer,  I have to comment that most dog owners are not experienced enough to use this technique. It is controversial and probably if someone has a 5 month old puppy that is behaving terribly they will not know how to do it with the correct timing and can make the situation worse.  I have no interest in debating whether it is valid just want to comment that it is not for a novice.

Comment by Jennifer Markley on January 16, 2012 at 1:21pm

Beth, although I totally see and understand your position, I do not agree.  If you do research, dogs that are wild use this method.  I add that I have had numerous "packs" of dogs, and have never had aggression issues with any of them.  My dogs have always been extremely well mannered, well socialized.  Everyone that meets my dogs comments on how well behaved they are and ask how I get them to get along as well as they do.  It's simple- I am their leader.  You may not agree with my decisions, but they work, and have been proven to work. There is a time and place to use them, and this is where you have to be smart about it.  If you notice, I mentioned that in the post.  I do not however, feel the need to personally attack someone for their views.

Comment by Susan , Radar and Cooper on January 16, 2012 at 12:52pm

Radar was just like that when I got him at 8 weeks. He would chew on your arms like they were bones. You could never hold and cuddle him. He would chew on my sisters Great Pyreenes ears and feet and yank his hair out. Believe it or not he grew out of it. Now he is 3 years old and a mush mouth. My second Corgi never did this. Maybe it's a teething thing or not enough exercise. Just be patient, it will get better.

Comment by Beth on January 16, 2012 at 12:04pm

Carry, Jack went through a spell as a pup where he would bark the entire time we were eating.  We just put him in his pen and ignored him.  It made for some uncomfortable dinners, but he eventually learned that the barking got him nowhere and stopped.

Comment by Carry Mackenzie on January 16, 2012 at 11:08am

Our puppy is a little younger we have a tun of bully sticks laying around (6 at a time) & the white rawhides too...  When our guy some times barks at us when we are eating we just ignore him or I have a pen that he eats in I will put him in there...  We never yell at him... We have a older female & they have already played hard for a solid hour this morning your little guy has a tun of energy I am training Milly on the treadmill as well... 

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