Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
I posted the following on Puppy Madness and Adina suggested that I share with this group as well. I've made a few edits (in italics) based on questions posed. So here it goes:
So relieved to have found this website and group (sorry for no puppy pic, they’re on my better half’s phone)! Hoping that you’re willing to share some advice. We’ve had Maggie a month and over that time her behavior has deteriorated from calm to increasing episodes of fearfulness and aggression.
Background: She came from a reputable breeder and had decent exposure to a variety of people and limited exposure to a variety of places. She started obedience training the week we brought her home. She gets 2 short walks and 1 longer walk a day. Plus there is play time in the yard and obedience practice. I am home most of the day, so she is only crated when I’m out and at nite. She growls at the cats in the house (they are on different floors, separated by a baby gate). She growls when meeting new people or dogs (even after correction) and has started barking for as long as anyone is in front of the house (30 minutes w/o success at distracting/re-directing her = current record) or if she hears loud noises. And, she now growls at my other half when approached while enjoying a high-value treat.
I’m working off the assumption that she doesn’t believe we’re the ‘alphas’ despite what is being done to establish that (people out doors/down stairs first, people eat first, snap and release leash corrections, calmly ignoring her when reunited). Any suggestions on what else can be done to change this?- Thx
If I am understanding this correctly, Maggie was with her breeder until she was 6 months old, at which time she came to you? And she has been with you a month? Was she in any other homes besides with the breeder during her first six months?
She just lived with the breeder's family for her first six months before joining our family.
It generally takes at least two weeks, and often longer, for a dog's personality and temperament to emerge after they are rehomed. After 6 months in the breeder's home, Maggie was essentially rehomed when she came to your house, so what you are seeing may not be a "deterioration" or change in her behavior, it is most likely her true temperament coming out now that she has had a month to adjust and feel secure in her new surroundings. During the first few weeks in a strange place, most dogs are on their best behavior, because they don't know yet what to expect at this new place. If she didn't receive any obedience training on a regular, consistent basis during her first 6 months,( which is likely, despite how reputable the breeder may be- it's just not possible for most breeders with multiple dogs and puppies to establish and maintain a consistent training routine for each dog and and follow through on a daily basis), she is essentially a teenager who has never been corrected for bad behavior or taught that she is not the owner or boss of anything, lol.
A month is not very long in terms of training. Maggie just needs to learn some manners, and to understand what is expected of her and what she can expect from you. That takes time. I would stop thinking in terms of being the "alphas" and just make sure that you are following a good overall training program and being consistent day in and day out. It's going to take time and patience. Each time a dog is allowed to get what she wants by growling, it reinforces that behavior, and I think she probably has been doing this to successfully guard her treats and other resources from the other dogs in her former home. It took a while for her to develop the behaviors and it's going to take awhile for her to learn that this won't fly in your house. I am sure the others here will have good advice on specifics training techniques.
I would start a "nothing in life is free" program right away. This means she "works" for anything good. She would need to do a sit/stay and wait for her dinner. She would be in a sit/stay while you walk out and then she can follow when you give the okay. I'd have her do an obedience command before getting any affection...it is earned. I would never allow her to bark at anything for 30 minutes. I would correct, back her away from the window or door and put her in a down/stay.....and don't let her get up. She'll try, but just keep correcting and putting her back. I agree that right now I'd withhold high value treats. Start with less value treats and get her used to your partner giving them and taking them away. With a little obedience reinforcement and leadership, I really think you can turn this around. Good luck.
She is still a puppy and just started to come into her own. It has taken her a little while to adjust to your home and she needs to form her habits that are acceptable to you. Since most puppies come to you at about 8 weeks, she is essentially a 3-month old puppy. It takes some time, but think of her as younger that she looks (at 7 months). Reputable breeders do not keep puppies for 6 months. Was she a rehome already?
I don't agree that reputable breeders don't keep puppies six months. I think that a truly reputable breeder who had a puppy who didn't sell for some reason would keep her as long as it took to find her a home. Maybe they were considering using her for breeding and changed their minds or couldn't find an acceptable guardian home, or maybe someone who had given a deposit had an emergency or backed out for some reason, but for whatever reason, sometimes there are not buyers for every puppy when they are 2 months old, so what could a breeder do other than keep her?
Thank you again to all! We met with a trainer, and on his (and your) advice Maggie is now 'working' for everything. She is also being kept on lease and tethered to us, which has has really calmed her down. And we has strategies for dealing with her growling.
This is great to hear...please keep us posted.