Aggressive with puppies

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by LoobyLooEFC88, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. LoobyLooEFC88

    LoobyLooEFC88 Registered Users

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    Hello,

    My 16 month old yellow lab (not neutered) is really bad when meeting puppies. Is this normal? It’s not puppies which are misbehaving, but rather ones which submit and lie down. He’ll jump and growl at them aggressively. He did it twice today at the park, once with a puppy who lay down and rolled over but then the second time was with a puppy who was happily playing with a group of dogs (my dog included). The poor thing ran away scared.

    His recall is good so we have no problem getting him back, but it would be nice not to have to worry about him constantly when we’re at the park!
     
  2. Athena

    Athena Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    If Pippa or Jo respond to your post, please take their advice rather than my thoughts.

    Despite being very well socialized and friendly with other dogs, my 12 mo Maggie persistently approaches 3 dogs whom she knows are uninterested in playing with her. She gets in front of the dog, curls sideways, and lays down, whereupon the other dog pins her down and growls. After we distract them she goes right back at it. Eventually she's distracted enough to leave the dog alone. Maggie approaches these dogs, not the other way around. Personally I believe this is Maggie's issue, and not the growling dog. Could this be the case with your boy? If so distraction might work. Does he know "leave it"?

    One of the nicest dogs I know seriously dislikes puppies, so who knows. It's not as if she goes after the pup but rather warns them off if they approach.
     
  3. LoobyLooEFC88

    LoobyLooEFC88 Registered Users

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    Thanks for your response! I think it’s definitely our dogs issue - it’s not like the puppies approach and are too ‘bouncy’ or annoy him - it’s just as soon as he sees one he goes on the defensive and starts growling/ pouncing on them. I’m sure it sounds and looks worse than it is, as in most cases the puppies just lie there and come back for more, but I don’t want to risk it and it’s not nice on the other owners.
    Could it possibly be his age? I’m hoping it’s something he’ll grow out of.
    We can usually distract him easily with the phrases we’ve learnt and treats, but sometimes he has complete deafness and we need to grab his harness.
     
  4. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Puppies are very different creatures to adult dogs. They are like small aliens. Just because a dog has been well-socialised with other older dogs, don't assume the dog will therefore behave appropriately with puppies...

    I'll never forget someone attending my training classes with a border terrier puppy, who told me one week that they wouldn't be there because their puppy had been attacked in a local park and needed stitches. They had asked the owner of the other dog is their dog was "ok" with other dogs - and had been told yes - and then this had happened when they met. The owner said they had never known him to be aggressive before...

    If you know your dog isn't ok with puppies, then don't let him meet puppies! They are in a very formative time of their lives, and the experiences they have with other dogs are going to affect them lifelong in terms of fear and feelings about other dogs. It simply isn't worth the risk of your dog attacking them - or even just being intimidating and growling etc.
     
  5. LoobyLooEFC88

    LoobyLooEFC88 Registered Users

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    Thanks your reply!

    We keep him well away from puppies now but it’s just a minefield, especially after Christmas it seems that puppies are everywhere. I’ve been taking him to fields where I can see who’s around and stay away, but have still had puppies run across the field to him.

    It could be that he was bit on the ear when he was a puppy saying hello to another dog? He never seemed affected at the time though.

    He does seem more aggressive than I thought a lab would be. I’ve only ever had a female dog before though, so I’m hoping it’s a male and age thing.
     
  6. 4theloveoflabs

    4theloveoflabs Registered Users

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    My labrador will try and put puppies in their place by becoming really loud and scary sounding. Once the puppy is 5 or 6 months they become his best friend. I think it is a dominance thing? I just try and avoid the little guys by telling the people he doesn’t like puppies.
     
  7. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    Dogs tend to fall into one of three groups when it comes to how they feel about puppies. Those that don't like pups very much, but are fairly tolerant and let them get away with quite a lot. Those that love puppies but are far too rough and keep knocking them over. And those that can't stand puppies anywhere near them. Quite a lot of young labs (under two) fall into the middle group. But the vast majority fall into group 1. There's often a bit of growling but no-one gets hurt, provided the older dog can get away when he or she is fed up with the puppy's antics.

    Most older dogs learn to get on with puppies that they live with, but may still be pretty unfriendly to strange puppies. This is really quite natural and normal. Why would an adult dog welcome a young puppy from a strange family. It's not about dominance or gender, there's just no evolutionary advantage in welcoming or protecting another family's young. If you have a dog that really loves puppies and will play gently and tolerantly with any pup - I've had a couple over the years and it's a lovely thing to watch - enjoy them. Because most dogs don't do that :)
     

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