Deep growling and biting - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Deep growling and biting

Sorry in advance for the long post...

Got our V pup at 8 weeks old. He is now almost 14 weeks.

From the get go, we set up play dates with people, other dogs, have taken him to lots of different locations, all without over stimulating him for the most part. There was one occasion where we went to a neighborhood block party while I carried him on my chest after a couple days of having him and I think he got a little overwhelmed by the amount people, but overall, he has had many socialization experiences and continues to have them. We also have him in a puppy class for the past 3 weeks now, almost 4. We use positive reinforcement, although we need to be better at training him more. My concern is that my pup has bit my husband, me, and my child in the last week when he has either been eating food or gotten something in his mouth that he shouldn’t have. I know I need to train “leave it” more and I will do so, and most likely get one on one training for our family, but my concern is the deep growling that has developed recently. Today in the garden he got a tomato in his mouth that my husband went to get from him and bit him aggressively with deep growling. He also got a hold of a shirt that was lying outside tonight when I took him to go potty and I know not to ever chase after my dog when this happens, so I waved a toy to him while slowly approaching him. He got excited and dropped the shirt for a second, ran towards me, but before getting to me, changed him mind and went back to the shirt. I was worried he’d start eating the shirt since He eats everything insight. So I stayed near him telling him to leave it in a serious tone. Most times, he’ll drop the object in his mouth if I stick my finger in the corner of his mouth between his jaw and gently pull back, but this time he had his jaw locked and deep growled at me. Since he’s never done this with me before, I wasn’t sure how to respond. I told him to sit and he did, I started to pet him to and talk to him in a soft voice. But he did it again and finally but me hard on the arm and punctured it. It made me cry because Well yes, it hurt for a second but more so because I was so shocked to see him aggressive like that. I will bring it up with our trainer but I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced this with their pups? I never once anticipated this before getting him and I’m heartbroken that we are seeming to begin to fail him. Help! Any suggestions? Is deep growling normal when a pup has something in their mouth they don’t want to give up?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 09:55 AM
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While not always completely normal, it does happen. Puppies do it to their littermates, and some try to do it with us.

My new puppy is about a month older than yours. We worked a lot, on her not thinking everything would be taken from her. That way she feels no need to protect prized objects, or run away with them.
I did this, even though she was not showing signs of guarding objects.
If something is not a danger to them, I don't rush up, and pry it out of there mouth. Instead it let them keep it a little while. Talk to them in my play voice, and play with one of their toys. They normally come over to see what I'm playing with, and want it. I give them the toy, and take the object. Make the object seem like fun, and return it to them. Repeat the process a couple of times, and then the object disappears without them noticing.
This way I have got what I wanted, and they believe I can be trusted with prized possessions. 99 percent of things are not going to hurt them, so they get tons of practice. When that 1 percent shows up, they are already accustomed to giving you things.
The only time Shine showed she really, really wanted to keep something. She was about 10 weeks old, and it was a meaty bone. I didn't hear any growl, she just would chew in a frenzy state if I got near. I left her alone for a couple of minutes, and then got a second bone. Sitting on the floor, I made the second one appear awesome. Saying mmm Shine, this is so good. She left the first bone, to see if mine was better. I lightly held it while she chewed on it. Then released it to her. Gave her a minute, then did the samething with the first bone.
She learned, she has no need to protect, or run away, with prized objects. She will now happily lay on my lap to chew her bones.

Your starting this a little later with your pup. But if he has a stable temperament, he should be able to learn to trust you.
I would personally contact the breeder, and let them know the problem your having. Also ask them for idea's on fixing it.

Not all those who wander are lost.

Life is just a leap of faith.
Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.

Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 11:17 AM
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You might need a pro on this one...

It sounds like what you've got there is a case of "Resource guarding"..in most cases, they'll become protective of their stuff and growl at you if you approach. But once they bite, it's a different category altogether, esp. when you have kids.

One way of addressing this is to start with the "OK" command, so everytime you put down his food or water, every time you give him a toy, you say "OK!"...so he associates the goodie with the term OK and the gen'l concept of permission. Then, when you think he's got that, it doesn't take very long...you have him wait until you give the "OK!" If you've been combining this with the "Wait" command, you should be able to stop him after he's got *whatever* with the "Wait" command, and take it away. But not just yet, obviously.

Part of the issue here is that you might have been doing too much with him too soon, and although he seemed OK with it, he might have been anxious enough to become protective. So, throttle those experiences back by about 1/2 or do field work/hiking instead for fun, and focus instead on at home "Wait" and "OK!" exercises, and never ever reach into or near his mouth when he's apparently resource guarding until you've got some training in.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 11:38 AM
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I agree with Gingerling, your going to need outside help. I would go with a trainer, or behaviorist that has a good track record in this area.

I would still contact the breeder. They need to know if one of their puppies is having problems. A good breeder will want help you.

Not all those who wander are lost.

Life is just a leap of faith.
Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.

Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Guys. I talked to my trainer tonight and she did suggest that I work with him more on “leave it” and “drop it.” But if after that and your suggestions don’t help, I will contact a trainer I can work with one on one.

Texasred, you made me realize that I and my children have overdone taking things away from him right away and we haven’t been good about replacing those things consistently with desirable items so I’m sure that has built anxiety in him and has sparked the resource guarding. He doesn’t ever deep growl at us in general...and the resource guarding has only started in the last week or two so I know we have contributed to this. I will contact our breeder and let her know. But you definitely explained well how I can possibly build more trust with him so I am going to implement that.

Thank you Gingerling for your suggestions too.

I’ll report back and let you guys know how things go after a month or so. Thanks again!!!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 12:32 PM
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This topic is definitely one of the tougher challenges we had with Ryker. He loved to use his teeth from 8-about 16 weeks. I think we all had a shark bite at one point. I ensured everyone was very conscious about saying ouch! loudly and stopping or pausing play whenever he bit. He would do the same thing when playing with a ball and learning to drop, always snapping at us when removing the ball from his mouth. But playtime would always end then. Between the two he learned quickly, they really do hate you ignoring them, they are pleasers. Now at 6 moths I can wrestle with him and his teeth never do more than brush skin. Stick with it, it will get better.
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