Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
Teddy is now 5 years old and he is starting to act differently around other dogs.
It's not every dog, but I do think I have a behavior issue that needs to be addressed, I am not sure where to start.
Within our social circle, we used to be the only ones with a dog. Now, everyone is getting a pup!
Teddy reacts great with some, and not so great with others.
I am not experienced with dogs, and need all the help I can get. I have found that introductions go better if I take Teddy off leash, to let the dogs circle and sniff each other. Sometimes it's all great, sometimes it ends in a skirmish with growling and snarling. (and it could be small dogs or large dogs)
Teddy knows his commands and loves people more than other dogs I believe. But I am not knowledgeable enough to know when is a growl serious or play?
At first, I feared that we taught Teddy to growl during play time, as we the humans would growl when playing with the toys. Now, because of repeated bully behavior, I think I might have an issue I need to work out.
It is normal for us parents to play with Teddy and he growls and he likes to show his teeth, but his mouth is always open. It's not an angry or scary 'show your teeth'. Our hands are always going in and out of his mouth and even his body posture Teddy is either on his back or head down in a mid summersault position.
I have noticed he does the same growl, snarling when he is playing with other dogs. His one buddy, a lab, continues to play, but the lab's hair is standing straight up, which makes that owner nervous. I am like, tails are wagging, so let them be. But do I have a problem here?
Other interactions when I am playing with the dogs together, and I correct puppy behavior, Teddy will try to bark at the pup. I have corrected Teddy when this happens as I want him to know it's not his place to correct puppy behavior.
When it's quiet time and dogs are looking for places to snuggle (people laps, couches), I have had a couple instances with Teddy too. Our social circle allows dogs on couches. And this particular instance, Teddy was curled up next to a human on the couch. Another dog Bear (large dog in size, but only 1 year old) decides to also curl up to said human on the couch. Teddy growled and jumped on Bear and Bear got off the couch. It sounded so horrible, but no bite marks or hair or harm to either dog. Teddy was put into another room, locked in a crate immediately.
I have noticed that when Teddy is playing with his buddies (labs, terriers, doods), that they do 'nose each other ears' to get the game of 'chase' going. Sometimes, it ends up with a barking/growling skirmish which freaks out all the owners. Since I am the one with the 5-year-old, I feel responsible. how does one know when play and chase goes from calm running buddies to growl/snarling ball of dogs?
We love our circle of friends and that they are all adding puppies to their lives, but it is causing some stress in all the get-togethers.
I am afraid I have raised a Bully. The majority of our time it's just us parents and Teddy. He is a well-mannered dog and knows his commands (he still likes to jump up to greet people) but he does have a pretty cushioned lifestyle.
He goes to play camp with other dogs sometimes, more frequent in the Summers. Play camp officials say he really doesn't engage much during Play Time. As I have asked them to see if he exhibits Bully behavior while at camp. Their official response is 'he is not really into dogs'.
So, what have I raised? A dog that thinks he is better than other dogs? That he is the top dog?
How to correct this? Where to start with the re-training of appropriate dog behavior towards other dogs?
I have a Doodle who can be a bully and reactive with some dogs. We have his behavior under control now, and I'll share some of the key things that we have learned along the way.
I think he'll be fine...he just needs you to take the lead and show him your expectations for how he needs to behave around these new pups who have joined your social circle. Consistency will be so important so you may need to be sure that everyone interacting with him in these situations knows "the rules".
Hi Missy! I will just throw out some random thoughts for you.
- now that Teddy is 5 he may have less patience for puppy antics. It may be natural for him to issue corrections when the puppy gets too carried away. This is called “revoking his puppy licence.” I can see a new puppy owner freaking out a bit when they see this but it may be natural. Is it your sense that the corrections are over the top or within reason?
- i think that growling and snapping during play time can also be natural. It depends on the energy of both dogs. Do you think it is over the top? The bottom line though is that if either owner is uncomfortable with it, then you should intervene to stop it. I don’t see anything wrong with how you play with Teddy, but again you can try playing a different way with him and see if his behaviour changes. I think the important part is that you set the tone and decide when playtime starts and stops.
- do you have any sense that Teddy is acting out for any of the following reasons: fear, insecurity, attempting to protect you? If so you need to project to him that you’ve got this. You may need to keep him on leash and issue a correction then redirect if he is acting out with your friends dogs.
- the couch, well i would not allow him on the couch. From what you describe he is either claiming the couch or claiming the person on the couch and i would not allow that to happen. Also you need to get the jumping under control as i think that he is exerting himself on people.
- how are your walks going? I would start elevating the humans a-bit. I would do this by starting super structured walks. Walking at heal, no sniffing etc. Make yourself large and in charge. Also keep any feeding structured. Make him wait for his meals. No treats unless they are earned. Talk less to him and be more action oriented (for example don’t say “wanna go for a walk?” Just leash him up and take him with no words. Ignore him more (i know its hard but it is so powerful).
I hope you find some of this helpful.
I think what you're doing now...giving a time out for Teddy to calm down when you feel the behavior is getting out of hand is a great way of teaching "manners". Every now and then my two Doodles get too crazy and the behavior starts to escalate from rough play to some aggression....that's when I verbally correct and separate them. They calm down and then they go back to playing appropriately.
Luna was always super gentle and submissive with adult dogs but would put puppies in their place. If they got on her nerves she'd snap at them (never bite) and do a high-pitched yip to get them to back off.
Experienced dog owners did appreciate the reprimands she gave when the puppy was being "rude". Inexperienced dog owners may have seen it as aggressive but she really didn't have an aggressive bone in her body.
Teddy himself was corrected by older dogs when he was a puppy. So I can understand how this feels as new dog owner. I put my trust in the older dogs owners (experienced owners) and after a few puppy corrections, it was peaceful gatherings.
Because I don't view myself as an experienced dog owner, I don't have the confidence in knowing proper puppy corrections. :) thanks for the encouragement.
oh, I have to read this article. Thanks for posting.
Thanks for the encouragement that Teddy might just be correcting puppy behavior. And that he is ok NOT playing with other dogs. He really is a great dog, and others have gotten a dog because of seeing Teddy as the family pet.
I need to educate myself, so that I might educate all these new dog owners. thank you
Sadie, too, has zero patience with puppies. She will growl and even bark at them if they get in her space, but never snaps or bites, and almost all the puppy owners we've encountered seem to appreciate her willingness (ha!) to help with their training.