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Dalmatian 9 weeks

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Fordyce, Sep 25, 2013.


  1. Fordyce

    Fordyce PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there,

    I'll try and keep this as simple as possible to prevent wasting anyone's time. We have a carefully bred 9 week old male Dalmatian. He is displaying signs of calm, submission, affection, eagerness to please in the following areas:

    Toilet training, mealtimes, greeting, going to bed in his crate happily. He often lolls around with his tummy up on show. All of which indicate a submissive, content, secure dog. I am able to move his bowl while he eats, even take it away briefly. He is being thoroughly socialised, with our own 4 & 6 year old and frequent visits from more kids after school. I'm also carrying him into town regularly.

    Now here's my concern. The play biting often gets out of control (mainly with me). He flies at my trousers, clamps his teeth on, shakes his head with jaws clamped on and most worryingly, growls and barks at me while this is going on. SHOULD I BE WORRIED? I must be exacerbating him in this process. Say it happens in the garden after he has weed in his designated area, he'll suddenly decide it's time to go for my shoes or trousers, jump up. I had tried reprimanding with 'No' or 'drop'. I tried a short 'bop' on the nose with my hand and all of these made him worse. The growl/ barking got louder and he was jumping up at me. He sounded more aggressive than I was comfortable with. I had to walk away, close the door and stop the 'game' as he saw it. When I return a moment later he is still, alert and realises he's done wrong and we cuddle. I have Gwen Bailey's puppy book so am re-reading this section. I realise playbiting is normal and essential to learn their 'bite inhibition', but I just would like to know if this actual growling and snapping at me in this way is normal or signals an aggressive dog. I am nervous because I have two children and I've brought this dog into our house in good faith and their safety depends on me.

    Thank you very much for any help or reassurance you can give me.
     
  2. LucyLloyd

    LucyLloyd PetForums Junior

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    It is a natural behaviour and he is just playing in his dog world, I would not say it is agression at all.

    However, for us, it's an unwanted behaviour so if you decide that it's not something you want him to do then you need to train him otherwise.

    I think the best option is to continue to walk away when he starts biting or you could re-direct him to play with a toy instead. The most important thing is to be consistent with this everytime this behaviour begins.

    Hope that helps.

    Lucy
     
  3. Spotalot

    Spotalot PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there
    I've had 3 Dalmatians over the last 20 years, they are a very bitey breed as puppies...we often call it the crocodile stage....but...they turn into such soft mouthed adults
    The link posted below is excellent

    The Bite Stops Here by Dr Ian Dunbar

    With my last pup I found she was always as you describe when either hungry or overtired.
    If you have young children make sure they know that just like any baby would a pup needs lots of sleep.
    I did find that I could use my crate for time out with my last.....some would say that's a no no as you don't want the crate to be a punishment, but for me I would put her in and just sit next to it telling her to" settle" after a few minutes she would lie down and as soon as she did I let her out...she was usually a different dog and I could then play with a toy to distract.

    Make sure she has plenty of chew toys as she will be teething. I also found that the puppy teething gels that you can rub on the gums really helped and after the first few times she would happily let me rub the gel on.

    Try not to play too roughly with him, ie tugging and shaking games, as these make them worse. A good excersise is to give him a toy then after a few minutes say " leave it" and offer a tasty treat....as soon as pup lets go feed the treat and give loads if verbal praise...very useful later on for all sorts of situations.
    I also do something similar when they have something I don't want them to chew...but then the word is "swap" and give a differnt toy or treat.

    Dalmatians are an intelligent energetic breed that need lots of training...short sessions fairly often.
    Train pup to let you do an exam as a vet would..look at ears, eyes, nose, teeth...lift one paw at a time and say the word for each thing as you do it, also brush pup with a zoom groom daily.

    I hope you will go to training classes when he can go out as these are invaluable, but find one that uses the reward system and not dominance.

    He certainly sounds like a normal dally pup to me...oh and a kong rubber beehive toy stuffed with tasty teats...a few bits of cheese a couple ofbiscuits and some peanut butter is a wonderful distraction toy.
     
  4. Fordyce

    Fordyce PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you both very much for the advice and reassurance. I will employ all the tactics you suggest. He's getting it, and I see what the books say is spot on; he is a very quick learner.

    Yes, he's booked in to a very good, reward based, outdoor training class which we start in two weeks, a week after his second jab. I imagine a lot of this could improve then, and also once he's able to work off all the energy which is currently confined to the garden and the house! I know I have to be very careful with his walking times, to allow his bones to fuse. Must be tricky to limit the running around though!!

    Yes the toys you advise I do have, but will make sure I make them even more appealing with the food you suggested, so he can get stuck in for longer. I must say though, I've been very impressed with his learning curve and how hard he is trying to get things right, bless him.

    I really appreciate the reassurance from you both about the growling. Meeting some dogs will help I'm sure, to reinforce my traning to gently put him in his place I think.

    Thanks again!
     
  5. Spotalot

    Spotalot PetForums Newbie

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    Another thing you could try is when playing indoors and he gets a little rough, turn him gently onto his back and hold him still, but gently, with one hand under his chin, just till he stops wriggling, then immediately release.

    Also get him to sit and try and do an exam , just like the vet would do, look in one ear at a time, look in his eyes, try and lift the lips and examine his teeth, open his mouth and look inside, then lift one paw at a time and finally gently lift his tail.
    It will seem impossible at first, but tge more you do it, every day if you can, the more he will get used to it and will make life much easier for you when you need to clean his ears or teeth.
    Oh and your Vet will love you for it...lol

    Also groom him daily with a rubber pronged zoom groom...helps him know that you are in charge.
     
  6. Colette

    Colette PetForums VIP

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    Please don't worry, your pup is perfectly normal. Bouncing, barking, growling and biting are all normal puppy play - he just hasn't learned yet that's its not acceptable to do the same to people. It isn't aggressive, although obviously it can be annoying, painful and even scary.

    Please stop hitting him on the nose or anywhere else. Chances are he will think you're playing along and it will encourage him. If you actually smack him hard enough to hurt he could easily become handshy and possibly develop serious aggression.

    Just in with usual bite inhibition techniques, if he does something you don't like such as biting then remove all attention immediately until he calms down. This may just be standing still ignoring him, no talking, no eye contact etc. If necessary leave the room or put him out. He'll soon get the idea that grabbing and biting causes all play to stop.

    Lastly please forget any ideas about showing him who's boss. Dominance theory is outdated and disproven, he isn't being dominant and doesn't need you to assert dominance over him. He's just being a normal pup who needs to be taught how to behave in the human world. So please ignore any advice to smack him, alpha roll, pin him down etc. Its not necessary and can cause more problems.

    Hope that helps :)
     
  7. Emmily

    Emmily PetForums Member

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    Are you sure the noises your puppy is making are growling, as there is a noise similar to growling that dogs and puppies make when they are playing, my 2 make these noises when they are playing. Have you observed your puppies body language while he is 'barking & growling', is his tail wagging, if it is he's just playing.

    I'm not saying it's ok for puppy to bite clothing, just that most puppies do it until they are taught not to. Daisy bites my trousers, not as often as she used to. I tell her 'no' if she doesn't let go I gently push her off telling her 'no', come to think of it, I can't remember the last time she bit my trousers, so maybe she's stopped doing it.

    With the puppy biting I say 'ow' when she bites hard, and sometimes say 'ow' when it's not hard. I think it immitates how puppies tell each other they are playing too rough, by yelping.
     
  8. northnsouth

    northnsouth PetForums VIP

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    This is the best thing you can do, Dalmatians are intelligent, stubborn as hell, with an inexhaustable amount of energy, as you are finding out. None of mine will do anything without seeing first if there is something in it for them . The dalmatian union policy is clearly "A fair days wage for a fair days work". The dominance theory, alpha roll etc will ruin him..
    The biting stage is a hard one, personally I found the yelp tactic and offering a nyla bone to chomp on as an alternative pretty useful. It mostly occured when he was bored. With the second dog the hard work was done for me by the older dog!!
    Over excitement is best dealt with by time out. Even now my 10 year old has to, on the odd occasion, be sent to his bed to calm down.

    And excuse me...... where are the pictures:D :D
     
    #8 northnsouth, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  9. Spotalot

    Spotalot PetForums Newbie

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    Hi guys
    Just to clear up any misconceptions.....I was in no way suggesting an " alpha roll"
    Just a mid game gentle hold to see if he was a strong personality.

    I have done dog training for 30 years and certainly agree that you Never dominate ANY dog, least of all a dalmatian, for whom everything in life has to be fun, which is indeed why I love the breed so much.

    In fact I fell out with the trainer from the first class I took my first dally to 20 years ago, because, she would lie down when asked, but pop straight back up again.
    It was sugested to me that I put my foot on her , lead, very close to her collar, and just let her struggle, quote" Untill she gives in" unquote. Yeah right...NOT

    When I refused the trainer tried to make me look silly in front of the other members by suggesting I was an overprotective mum and had a strong willed breed that would run rings around me......

    Hmmm this resulted in a private row, where we agreed to disagree...it was a good class in the main, and in actual fact the trainer eventually became a friend and ate her words, when 2 years later I added another dal to the mix, and a male, whom after initial training on his own, I worked them with her for a good 10 years as a pair, and funnily enough she would use us to demonstrate to the rest of the class.....

    She never did quite admitt that she was wrong about Dallys though....lol
    In fact both dogs passed bronze, silverand gold GC awards.

    The trouble with text is that things don't always come across as meant :(
     
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