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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, my mum and dad have just purchased a Westie pup-the 6th one that they have had. She is now 10 weeks old. She is a feisty little character and used to growl when picked up but has learnt not to do that when 'no' is said in a sharp voice. We have been really concerned with aggressive outbursts when putting a collar on her/jumper (her hair is quite thin at the moment and she shivers!) Tonight, I was 'puppysitting' and she got her claw stuck by the collar and as I moved to release her foot-she went bonkers and bit my hand and drew blood. She did this to my dad too. I have been thinking about this and 10 days ago, she went for her first injection and the vet put advocate on her neck and she had a really nasty reaction to it and was in lots of pain. This aggressive behaviour always occurs when we touch her neck/scruff. I was wondering if she is relating this incident when she was in pain with having her neck touched now. We are keen to start lead training with her but we are so concerned with her reaction when we touch her neck. Has anonye any advice please? We have never had any problems with westie pups and aggression before! OUr 13 year old westie puts her in her place when she needs to and Izzy the pup never shows any aggression towards Poppy! :)
Nicky
 

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Hi there, my mum and dad have just purchased a Westie pup-the 6th one that they have had. She is now 10 weeks old. She is a feisty little character and used to growl when picked up but has learnt not to do that when 'no' is said in a sharp voice. We have been really concerned with aggressive outbursts when putting a collar on her/jumper (her hair is quite thin at the moment and she shivers!) Tonight, I was 'puppysitting' and she got her claw stuck by the collar and as I moved to release her foot-she went bonkers and bit my hand and drew blood. She did this to my dad too. I have been thinking about this and 10 days ago, she went for her first injection and the vet put advocate on her neck and she had a really nasty reaction to it and was in lots of pain. This aggressive behaviour always occurs when we touch her neck/scruff. I was wondering if she is relating this incident when she was in pain with having her neck touched now. We are keen to start lead training with her but we are so concerned with her reaction when we touch her neck. Has anonye any advice please? We have never had any problems with westie pups and aggression before! OUr 13 year old westie puts her in her place when she needs to and Izzy the pup never shows any aggression towards Poppy! :)
Nicky
It could well be that she has become sensitive to being touched or having anything put around the neck because of the pain and has a negative association with anyone going near her neck or scruff. So that could possibly explain that one. Has it completely healed up now and pain free though? if she is still experiencing pain or discomfort she likely wont want anyone going near it.

It doesnt explain though other things like not wanting to be picked up and being touched and handles in other areas especially if she was like that before the reaction. Depending on where you got her and where she was borm and raised Im wondering if she had enough early human interaction and handling? Pups go through many critical stages of developement in the early weeks from birth.

This may be of some help its called The puppy plan its a socialisation plan for pups in the first vital 16 weeks of life, at the end of the breeders and early caregivers section there is a plan to download which may be of some help.http://www.thepuppyplan.com/

The best thing maybe to start building confidence and trust and bonding with you encouraging her to want to co-operate because its rewarding. Have you started any training with her? if not it might be an idea to start, using praise and treats as rewards when she does as asked and gets things right. Teaching her the basics of sitting and waiting and coming when called and following you to heel off lead at first.

You could also perhaps start by introduction of a collar, you can get fleece lined collars and harnesses that may be softer and kinder. Just introducing it first for her to sniff, and when she shows interest and is calm praise and treat her. Then gradually introduce it that way working up to having it touch her and if she doesnt react praise and treat. Then once she will allow the collar to be put on, introduce the lead in the same way, if you get a light lead, work up to clipping it on at first and just seeing if she will walk around with it and get used to that, then pick it up and encourage her to walk and follow you with treats and praising and treating when she does.

You could also if she doesnt like that area touched work on other areas of the body first she doesnt mind being touched again praising and treating when she isnt reactive. This may help its a video explaining tellington touch and how to go about it.
Sarah Fisher from TTouch UK introduces TTouch - YouTube

Usually growling is a way of expressing they are not comfortable with a situation, I notice you said at first that she growled when picked up, if she has stopped doing that now and instead does to snapping and biting with no warning that may be why. If you stopped the growling or carried on when she growled and the growling which is a warning is supressed or ignored then they sometimes dont bother and go to a snap and a bite instead.

I would deffinately try training her and getting her to co operate that way, and also desensitising her to the collar and lead, in small stages and praising and rewarding for calm non reactive behaviour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks so much for your reply! She was in a shed when she was a tiny pup and she left the mum at 6 weeks which has been a concern for us too-they said the mum was turning on her so they wanted to part them sooner. When she is picked up now, she kisses and cuddles in rather than growling. When we first introduced her to the collar, before the injection, she was fine. Scratched when it was on but not aggressive. This aggressiveness has only started since the injection and treatment that she had a reaction to. She is doing really well on the training side of things-comes to her name, responds to a whistle and is doing really well with toilet training-some tinkles inside but no pooing at all. She is doing well with 'sit' and is playing really beautifully with the older westie (who has been fantastic with her). She is such a friendly little thing and this sudden aggressiveness has been a concern. I will have a look at the links you have put on-thank you so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
She is only showing aggression when we try to do anything near her neck-put her jumper on, a collar etc. She does bite when excited as other puppies do but a sharp yelp or ouch stops that. She goes loopy when we try to do anything near her neck though.
 

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Perhaps get the vet to check her neck area (won't be much fun though) to be on the safe side.

It sounds from what you said that there were issues between Mum and pup - Could Mum have known something was wrong, therefore rejecting pup? Or perhaps bitten pup in that area - vet could look for an old injury. Or has pup got mum's temperament.

Whichever, it sounds like you will have to go very softly softly.

If pup is OK being touched elsewhere, howabout trying some relaxing doggy massage - well away from neck area.

Then over time, you could very gradually work towards that area, hopefully to eventually desentise her.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
well, thanks to all the advice, Izzy is uch better having her collar on and is beginning to walk on a lead! She is allowing us to touch her neck and collar and is receiving a treat each time. She has mastered 'sit' and has stopped the aggressive 'temper tantrums'. I am wondering if we rushed her a bit with the collar. She has taken to 'cuddling up' to her collar if it is not on her neck and loved walking up and down the drive on her lead with Poppy the older westie. Poppy must think we are loopy-putting her on a lead to walk on the drive but she seems to be happy to help her new little friend!!! :D
 

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well, thanks to all the advice, Izzy is uch better having her collar on and is beginning to walk on a lead! She is allowing us to touch her neck and collar and is receiving a treat each time. She has mastered 'sit' and has stopped the aggressive 'temper tantrums'. I am wondering if we rushed her a bit with the collar. She has taken to 'cuddling up' to her collar if it is not on her neck and loved walking up and down the drive on her lead with Poppy the older westie. Poppy must think we are loopy-putting her on a lead to walk on the drive but she seems to be happy to help her new little friend!!! :D
So glad that you have seen improvements already and shes a lot happier at being touched and handled.
 
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