Biting and Growling and Barking...Oh my! - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2013, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Biting and Growling and Barking...Oh my!

We had to go out of town this weekend, and we took Tux with us. We all stayed at my parents' house on Friday night and spent the day with them on Saturday. Tux did GREAT in the car and GREAT overnight, but some troubling behaviors have crept up over the past few days. I'm wondering if the trip stressed him out.

He's being very aggressive in his play with us...biting/nipping despite being redirected to his chew toys. He's also started to growl at us sometimes when we pick him up. And, finally, he's barking anytime we put him in the ex pen (he loved it the first few days) and anytime he hears the neighbors' dogs barking.

Do you think he's stressed and will return to his sweet self after we have several days back in our routine or do you think the honeymoon is over and these are permanent behaviors we're going to have to manage? He's almost like a completely different dog over the past 72 hours.

~Lindsay
wife to Mike
mom to human kids, Ruby and Burke, and canine baby, Tux
very happy lady!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2013, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by DapperTuxedo View Post
We had to go out of town this weekend, and we took Tux with us. We all stayed at my parents' house on Friday night and spent the day with them on Saturday. Tux did GREAT in the car and GREAT overnight, but some troubling behaviors have crept up over the past few days. I'm wondering if the trip stressed him out.

He's being very aggressive in his play with us...biting/nipping despite being redirected to his chew toys. He's also started to growl at us sometimes when we pick him up. And, finally, he's barking anytime we put him in the ex pen (he loved it the first few days) and anytime he hears the neighbors' dogs barking.

Do you think he's stressed and will return to his sweet self after we have several days back in our routine or do you think the honeymoon is over and these are permanent behaviors we're going to have to manage? He's almost like a completely different dog over the past 72 hours.
I'm sure that some of it was the change in routine... Just as with a human baby, changes in routine can put them out of sorts. That may also be behind his reluctance to be left in the ex-pen too. He may be a bit worried and unsettled.

The bitting and growling is NOT aggression. It is normal puppy play behavior. The honeymoon is over there! HOWEVER, that doesn't mean it's "permanent" behavior... It's something you will have to live and train through. Think of it as the "terrible twos". For the biting and nipping, the first thing to try is to screech "OUCH!!!!" in a high pitched voice and walk away. For many puppies, this (which is what another puppy would do) gets the point across, and they learn to inhibit their bite. If that doesn't work, particularly if the pup follows you and continues to bite at your ankles, is to pick him up, gently but firmly, with no words, and place him in his crate or ex-pen for a few minutes. Some puppies catch on faster than others, but they all eventually outgrow this phase.

As far as the growling is concerned, it depends when and why it's happening. If it's happening when he's wound up and wild, it's like a toddler having a tantrum. Back in his pen he goes (again, do it gently, but with no words) until he settles down. If he's tired or eating when he growls, don't bother him, and PARTICULARLY make your kids leave him alone. Even dogs deserve to have some "alone time", and he may be saying it in the only way he knows. (read the articles Dave has posted about resource guarding, and start some early preventative work if you think this may be part of his growling) If you HAVE to pick him up and do something with him, and he growls, make sure it's an adult who picks him up, and just matter-of-factly move him to where ever you need to put him. Don't make a fuss about the growling one way or the other.

The last thing to consider is whether the growling is play. LOTS of puppies (and adult dogs too) growl in play, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. Kodi sounds totally FIERCE when we are playing tug. You'd think he was Cujo! But if I say, "drop it!" he immediately lets go and backs off, all wags and wiggles, ready to start the game again. The "drop it" part is taught... That doesn't come naturally. But the "tug and growl" game is born into most of them!


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2013, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Karen, thank you for the reassurance. I was really worried that I had somehow taken a hard turn left down the wrong path! We'll start implementing these tactics ASAP.

~Lindsay
wife to Mike
mom to human kids, Ruby and Burke, and canine baby, Tux
very happy lady!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 05:44 AM
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Karen is so good with her answers!!!!!!!! About the Honeymoon, When Atticus got home he was pretty perfect...... then I started to see all these normal puppy behaviors. I do think it takes them awhile to feel comfortable at home and at the same time they are growing up. As fun as it is to have a puppy it IS hard and often frustrating.We have all of our adult dog behaviors plans, don't bark,chew,growl, bite,jump up, go crazy, pull on the leash,poop in the house etc etc (all normal puppy behavior) It's a lot we are asking of a little pup so keep up your training and try not to get discouraged and love him through puppyhood. What is so great about Havanese is they mature pretty quickly. A two year old Lab(no offense anyone, I loved my yellow lab Loretta) and a two year old Hav are VERY different dogs!!!Enjoy him I'm sure all the puppy moms on here will help you along as they did for me when Atticus was a little beast!

Jody ,lucky Mom of Atticus
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 06:42 AM
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This morning Leo attacked his bear buddy with the ferocity of Cujo! It was hilarious but if a person weren't use to doggie play behavior it would have been alarming! Fortunately, the attack was short lived and Leo and bear buddy are again friends! Leo, does fuss in his expen when I am up doing other things. I just ignore that behavior and anytime he's quiet I speak to him, ruffle his fur or get him out to play if I'm done with what I'm working on. I know he needs to learn to appropriately entertain himself. I try to balance those times with play times and time outdoors so that he when it's time for him to be by himself he doesn't have too much pent up energy!


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 06:47 AM
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About a month after I got Mr. Olive, it was holiday season and we brought him along for all of our home/family visits (thanksgiving, Xmas, etc). I found the trips had a pretty big impact on his behavior. He got especially clingy after traveling and spending so much time in close company with me and my family. I think the play pen whining might be something similar. As for the biting/growling that is totally normal. There was a period of about two months when Olive simply could not play nicely with my gf - he would bite her, hump her, chew her clothes, even growl and bark at her. I was so concerned at the time that I posted on the forum about it. We did the "ouch" method, and sure enough Olive eventually cut it out. It takes time and patience. Make sure everyone is on the same page and reacting the same way to undesirable behavior. Tux will come around!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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I'm SO glad to read all the reassurance. Thank you, everyone!

~Lindsay
wife to Mike
mom to human kids, Ruby and Burke, and canine baby, Tux
very happy lady!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 05:41 PM
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Bitey puppies don't get played with. They get the Ouch squeal and then ignored. Think of it as a 'time-out' you gave your kids.

Don't let the puppy grab the socks or pants of your kidlets. They may think it is funny or cute the first couple of times but it is old quickly. They aren't able to properly make him stop. Tux will keep jumping and biting unless you train/redirect the behavior. The kids will get chewed and scratched. There is nothing worse than a crying little kid on the floor getting their socks stolen by a playful but biting puppy.

TTFN,
Pam


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 06:03 PM
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I didn't read all the responses, but my guys were all little angels for the first couple days. It's almost like they wait for you to fall in love with them and then turn into devils You will just need to make corrections. He will learn what you want from him. Nip the behavior you don't like in the bud. My fred growls all the time. He would never bite me it's more a grumpy growl. He is a very vocal boy!





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