Rough Play

by Bree C.

Athena. Goddess of Wisdom & Warfare

Athena. Goddess of Wisdom & Warfare

I have an adorable 10 week old black lab & brindle pit mix. Everyone who meets her loves her. She's very intelligent, lovable, and playful. I have had her for two weeks and she already knows commands such as sit and no. She can walk on a leash, is mostly potty trained, enjoys car rides, & is now learning to "speak" (bark) on command. Whenever she meets someone new, they give her something such as a treat or toys. Her favorite is the rope. I guess that's when I first started noticing her aggressive personality, or so I thought.

The first week I had her she would practically inhale her food. I fed her a full bowl of food, twice a day. Half soft & half solid dog food at breakfast and again at dinner. Every time she ate I noticed her chowing down on her food, gorging herself, like it would be her last meal. So I started feeding her more times a day with a smaller portion of food. I fed her half a handful of food every 4 hours until bedtime. She still had her two meals a day on top of that. Now I have her slowed down to 3 meals a day and a half a handful once in a while. She's slowed down on her aggressive eating behavior unless you try to take her bowl while she's eating. If you do that, she just tries to eat her food faster.

Her favorite play toy is an old lead rope for a horse. She is at the age for teething so that is perfect to chew on, it wont break. She loves to play tug-a-war also. Here's the problem: she seems to get bored of tugging on a rope and in the middle of playing with her & that rope, she'll forget the rope & attack your arm, hand or face (just playing of course). Everyone thinks it's just a puppy thing & that it is kinda funny but I'm afraid it'll make her mean when she gets to be an adult dog. I'm trying to teach her "no bite" & "no bark" during play when she gets aggressive like that. She does pretty decent on "no bark" for the most part. To teach her this I would grab her snout and bottom jaw not enough it hurts but enough to control her head to look at me & make it extremely uncomfortable for her. I would then look at her and sternly say, "no bark". I never held her mouth together for more than 15 seconds though.

"No bite" is more difficult for us though. I tried giving her a chew toy instead of my arm, said "oww" or yelped loudly (when puppies play rough they let each other know it is to rough of play by giving out a yelp!), pop her on the nose (or flick her) & say "no bark", bite her back, and ignore her. She just keeps on going. I've also tried holding her down and telling her to settle & be sweet. She has no choice but to listen the best to her ability & calm down.... for the time being. I want my dog to be protective of me and "get it" (whatever is trying to hurt me), when (and only when) I tell her to and "that's enough" just as quickly. But she also needs to learn how to "be sweet" because we are both around a bunch of different kind of people and animals every day.

I would appreciate any advice or help you can give me on how to teach her to play nice & not use people as chew toys. Also, just as a bonus, how do I get her to sit still on my lap while we are in a moving vehicle instead of constantly wining?

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Nothing In Life Is Free
by: Adam G. Katz

Employ the "Nothing In Life Is Free" approach, so that your dog starts to view you as the "pack leader." If your dog doesn't see you as the leader, then your corrections will be meaningless. So, if you're doing subtle things (inadvertently) to undermine your leadership role around the house-- it will be counter-productive.

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