Sweet Bichon Pup Is Extremely Aggressive when Playing

by Bobbie
(Upstate New York)

My 9-month small (6.5 lbs) Bichon puppy is so sweet and adorable, cuddly, funny and loves people and other dogs.

She was top of her class in puppy school and intermediate level. She is way ahead of the other dogs. Learns quickly.

However, when we play, her personality becomes the opposite. She ripped open the seam on a 12" stuffed Kong Knots bird toy in less than 4 minutes--before I got to her. She did the same with TWO Nylabone Floppy Fred toys (18" long)--under 3 minutes. These are not chew toys, so I toss them and she runs and grabs, then goes in for the kill (instead of bringing the toy back to me like she used to do since she was 9 weeks old). She grabs the toy and wildly, aggressively "shakes it to death", lays it on the floor and bites it. By the time I get to her, she has ripped a seam and pulled out 40% of the stuffing.

She loves the bottle toys--a plush animal with an empty plastic water bottle inside. I toss it (instead of playing tug), she runs to it and attacks. The bottle is crushed and somtimes pulled out of the toy.

She wants to play tug ALL the time, with everything. But I stopped playing tug because she becomes aggressive toward the toy and because when she's losing her grip, she let's go and grabs the toy again to get a better grip. Many times, she accidentally catched my hand or a finger when biting the toy. Her bite leaves marks and even breaks my skin. She wants to play tug with her nylabone, her 3" teddy bear, etc. I don't because she'd bite me whenever she refreshed her grip. She does not intentionally bite me--just catches my hand when re-gripping. I squeal sharply then look away and ignore her for 10 minutes.

I got her in March and immediately started training her. We worked outside spring, summer and fall. I rolled or threw a ball and taught her to drop it between my feet. She learned in one day. Now that the weather is bad, we play indoors. The only way she will bring the toy to me and drop is if I use a treat each time, but even that's a chore now. The only game I want to play with her is using the ball because she doesn't bite.

We walk 30-45 minutes every day. She goes to dog school once a week, where she gets exercise and socialization. Once a week, a dog walker walks her with 5 or 6 large dogs. She gets along great with them. She plays with Shih Tzu down the street. I take her with me to any store that will allow me to bring her in, so she gets exercise and socialization. I play with her several times a day for half an hour to 1.5 hours. I train her 3 times a day for 15 minutes or so each time. Weather permitting, I throw each time the ball from one end of our yard to the other, which is about 150 ft and uphill. Yikes! I can't exercise her more than that. So please don't tell me she needs exercise or to play with other dogs. THANK you!

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Your dog doesn't see you as a leader
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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