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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all
Alfie is just over 6 months and a great puppy. The only problem we seem to have with him is when we try and put a harness on him or towel dry him. He becomes aggressive and bites us. I mentioned it to the vet and she said he was just trying to be dominant over us and we should calmly tell him off and only give him a treat if he behaves and doesn't bite. I had tried distracting him with a treat whilst drying him. am I making it worse? Any advise please!!
 

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how is he when you brush him. has he been like this from a puppy. i would sit in the living room get him to sit and put the harnes over his head and gve him a treat then take it off, then put it back on and give him a treat. do that several times. then when you think he is happy with that move on to trying to put it on properly.

what is he like if you were to rub him the way you do with the towel after a walk but with out the towel
 

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Hi Kendal

Thanks for your reply! I will try what you suggested with the harness. I haven't tried to rub him without the towel. He's not very keen on his paws or legs being touched. He's never liked to be dried since we got him but it seems to be getting worse and more aggressive which is worrying me. Apart from this problem he is a perfect calm loving puppy.
 

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Sorry Kendal forgot to mention he's ok when I groom him with a brush if he's distracted with a treat!
 

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for his paws, if he is up sleeping next to you sit and play with his feet. teach him paw with all feet but hold it for a wee bit longer each time as he get more keen to give it you you.

start rubbing him the way you would with a towel if he doesnt react lotsa of prase, then use a small face cloth in you hand when doing the same. he needs to see it as a good thing. keep moving up to bigger towels if possible.

he needs to learn to let you touch his feet, or you may have problems with thorns in his feet, or problems with his nails.

feet and face are always the arias that are the worst and it makes life dificalt for groomers and stresses the dog out.

just work on making touching him a pleasent thing, as you will eventualy find nots on his feet that he wont like you brushing out. tri and keep a toy or something so at the end of each sesion of training(it can be as short as an add brake between your fave TV show) you can toss the toy or play a wee bit of tug with him as a reward.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks kendal I will try what you advise! The vet seemed to think it was more of an adolescent dominance problem but I'm not convinced!
 

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thanks kendal I will try what you advise! The vet seemed to think it was more of an adolescent dominance problem but I'm not convinced!
it is, he is testing you. he knows that if he bites you back away. its something that is harder to sort the older he gets, so best nipping it in the bud now.

the thing with dog is they learn to work us faster than we learn to work them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
so how should i react when he does bite me if I'm trying to use a towel, put the harness on etc until I can nip this behaviour in the bud?
 

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so how should i react when he does bite me if I'm trying to use a towel, put the harness on etc until I can nip this behaviour in the bud?
Are you sure he is being aggressive and biting not just growling and mouthing/play biting. When Flo was younger she would sometimes growl and get hold of things in her mouth (lead, towel, etc) quite aggressively but it wasn't aggression, just a young dog doing doggy developmental stuff which they would do with litter mates and other dogs. The best thing to do would be to have a 1:1 assessment then additional sessions with a good trainer, who will be able to watch Alfie then advise. Make sure, if you do use someone, they use reward based methods and not punishment which could just make things worse. Maybe also read up on dog behaviour as well, the more you know about why dogs do what they do the better. Try 'The Other End of the Leash' Patricia B. McConnell - a good read with lots of examples. Dog behaviour is a complex thing and it's so easy to mis-interprete dog behaviour and label them as dominant/aggressive/submissive etc when they are not.

When Flo used to try and mouth/bite my hands when I was putting on a collar, drying her etc I would just gently hold her muzzle in my hand, mouth gently closed and say 'ahhhhh no', tell her to sit to change her behaviour to what I wanted then treat her or stroke her down the back and say good girl when she stopped. It you react loudly, roughly or suddenly you excite them more.
 

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thanks for the advice! You are so right dog behaviour is very complex! Sometimes I feel like i'll never get it. I have read a few books but not the one you mentioned! I will try and break the habit by rewarding him when he doesn't react and see how we go. apart from this problem we couldn't be more happy with Alfie and are so pleased we chose a cockapoo as a breed!
 

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thanks for the advice! You are so right dog behaviour is very complex! Sometimes I feel like i'll never get it. I have read a few books but not the one you mentioned! I will try and break the habit by rewarding him when he doesn't react and see how we go. apart from this problem we couldn't be more happy with Alfie and are so pleased we chose a cockapoo as a breed!
I had never had a dog until Flo and when she was just a few months old she would growl, bark, mouth etc and at first I thought she was being dominant and aggressive. It took a lot of reading and research until I figured it all out and realised it was just a puppy learning, developing and trying to figure out what to do in her 'human' pack. At 14 months old she is the most gentle natured girl who follows me everywhere and tries so hard to work out what us strange humans want. 'Other End of the Leash' is fascinating and it's a great credit to dogs that they assimilate so well into their human family once you know more about their body language, signals and responses that are often opposite to what we do and how we react.

Try gentle slow rubbing with the towel along his back to start with (which they find soothing and quiet them down mostly) quick, energetic drying will get him excited and maybe he's play growling and tugging the towel just like he might do if you were playing with a tug toy, especially if you start trying to pull it off him.
 

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thats reassuring to know how flo turned out! Alfie is our 1st dog too and we are learning as we go. I will definately get the book you recommended. I will try gradually introducing the towel gently and see if that helps. I have sat tonight and slowly managed to get the harness over both paws without Alfie biting and rewarded him with chicken so will keep that up and hopefully see an improvement. Thanks again for the advice and i'll keep you posted to how I get on!
 

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Hi everyone. What else should we be doing when Brontie nips, and quite hard sometimes. We always say NO Bite, and turn away, but she doesn't seem to take any notice and just moves off to do whatever else catches her attention. So far, she doesn't seem to associate what we say and do with what's just happened! She's 10 weeks old. What are we doing wrong? (Kate, James' mum)
 

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Hi everyone. What else should we be doing when Brontie nips, and quite hard sometimes. We always say NO Bite, and turn away, but she doesn't seem to take any notice and just moves off to do whatever else catches her attention. So far, she doesn't seem to associate what we say and do with what's just happened! She's 10 weeks old. What are we doing wrong? (Kate, James' mum)
if she isnt understanding the word, use something els, "no bite" is just a noise now, she doesn't associate it with anything, try screaming or yelping loudly something that will give her a fright (not to terrify her you just want her to jump and think what was that) try getting her to sit or something after it and pet her and tell her good girl, teach her a good behavior rather that the bighting. she gets a fright when she bites but if she is good and sits she gets a good girl pat.
 

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Thanks Kendal, we'll try that. Different subject, we've started changing her food over to James Wellbeloved but her stools are quite loose (3 days ago). Is this just temporary do you think, while she adjusts, or might it mean that this isn't a good food for her? How long should we give the new food before we decide its not a good choice? Kate
 

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Hi Kate

Just read your last post. We started Alfie on James well beloved when he was about 9 weeks too and found for 1st couple of days he had loose stools. We mixed it with the original food the breeder had weaned him on gradually increasing it so as to not upset his stomach too much. Within the week his stools were nice and solid and we haven't had any problems since. We were advised its a good high quality food so stick with it and hopefully things will settle down!
 

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Thanks Leone, we'll persevere as we've also read its a good food too. The one she came with from the breeder was Chicken Beta/Purina which we've since read is not a very good choice and she didnt seem to like it very much anyway! Just discovered that softening her biscuits up for her in her Kong with a bit of hot water really gets her to enjoy them too.
 

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Give her a chicken wing .. she'll love them and this will harden the stool cos of bone, raw not cooked as the bone is then brittle, I hold the end of one with a piece of kitchen roll as Mabel chews it ... to stop her bolting it down and allowing her to chew it x
 

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OK, will try that thanks. Just bought some lambs liver but is Brontie too young for this yet, at 10 weeks? I've just fried in then cut it up into tiny pieces and was going to use it with training. Or just freeze it until she's older??
 
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