Hi all, I have had my GSP puppy for about two weeks and she is nine weeks old. When I scold her for biting pant legs and feet she growls and barks at me, this is the only time she does this other than when we play tug-o-war. Can anyone tell me if this is the beginning of an aggression problem and how to properly correct it? Thank you.
It may or may not be agression, but that hardly matters- sounds like you've got the makings of a brat on your hands!
I had a pup that was a real challenge at that age and I responded by being as stern as I needed to be to get that nonsense to stop. He's still something of a handful but nothing like back then. I figured since the older dog in the house was trouncing his little butt without 'breaking his spirit', an immediate firm scruff shake wasn't out of the question. It worked, but we also had to be on the lookout for escalating situations and try to head him off before things got out of control.
We still have a crate with a sticker on the top that says "QUIET ZONE", lol. It was purely wishful thinking on our part since he sounded like a police sieren if he was really agitated in it. That usually got the crate + pup shoved into a dark bedroom with the door closed, only to come back out to civilization when he calmed down.
Thank you all for your replies. This is a great site and I'm sure it's going to be a big help for many years to come!
So although I don't do hunting with my dogs, I never have problems with my dogs playing tug when they are retrieving. Tug of war is a reward and I always end the game, but we never do this when we are retrieving. Also, I have taught my girls to drop on command. However, they know the difference between their tug toy and other retieving toys. They never try to tug when we are retrieving. So, I believe the secret is teaching drop and also you end the tug game. They have to earn the tug game, but you end it. I use the tug game as a reward for both flyball and obedience. It really helps their prey drive and motivation. By the way, my girls still retieve birds and are very soft mouthed. They will hand me the bird. I have taught them on the retrieve to place whatever they are retrieving in my hand. Never have had any problems with them deciding they want to play tug with anything they retrieve. These dogs are smart. Good luck.
Bev and the Pointer Sisters (Belle and Halo)