Every time I punish my 10 weeks old pit bull for chewing stuff and peeing in the house by yelling at her, she fights back by barking aggressively at me. Is this normal? Or should I just leave her alone because she is to young to learn?
Raymond from Hacienda Heights, CA
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10 weeks is not too old to learn. The issue is, she thinks she is higher on the 'food chain' than you. You have to make sure the puppy/dog sees you as the alpha. The case of it barking proves that it sees itself as alpha above you, which is not good for starting a relationship.
Also, yelling is not the answer to training, though I will not blame you since I punish my dog the same way, and ocassionally with a rolled up newspaper. It is affective, but you have to make sure to balance the punishment with treats and love, otherwise your dog will become less-confident and leads to behavioral problems.
I would get the dog to obedience training as soon as possible. Maybe even see a behaviorist. Your situation sounds like big trouble in the making.
She is definitely not too young to learn!
The most effective way I found to remind our dog of who was boss when she was a cheeky little puppy, was to do like a momma dog. (I couldn't hit her, it just isn't in me.)
I would still yell ("NO!"), because she needed to learn that word; but I would get a hold of her at the shoulders and push her down to the floor to "humble" her. She was held down until she stopped struggling. No pain, no violence, but she got the message. If you watch momma dogs; this is how they discipline their errant children.
She "talked back" at times, too; they have such spirit at that age; but she did learn the pecking order without pain on either of our parts! And to this day, I am "the mama"--even in play she won't bite me.
Enjoy her, she will grow up soooo fast. It never ceases to amaze me what loving companions dogs are!
Pushing the dog down is old old training. Don't yell & NEVER hit an animal unless you want them to fear you instead of love & obey you. You should find a class that teaches love & reward training. NOTHING negative at all in the training process. You can also search this site. This has been discussed many times. I have posted more than once & so have others on exactly what to do.
The dog reacts to your abusive behaviour to her. A puppy needs time. If you will take one weekend--all weekend and spend with her--when she needs to go out each time and praise her over and over again...it sounds monotonous-but it works. She will go out each time...but if she has no one to let her out, what is she supposed to do. The best way to keep a pup from chewing ---which is the normal thing for a puppy to do--is to keep things not to be chewed out of sight and reach of the pup. It takes much patience but is so rewarding when the puppy is better behaved....No hostilities, they never forget.
The best way to train any dog is by not yelling at them. Because you are actualy barking at them. Dogs only understand one or two word sentenses. If you yell the dog will yell back at you. If you watch how animals deal with each other it is with body language . If you disaprove no words show it better than silence and don't look at her. she will do her best to get your attention. take a while thro' ignoring and put her outside to let her know her business is to be done outside.
spray her with a water bottle when you catch her "in the cat" and loudly say NO. If you spray her from a distance she won't even know who is doing it-kind of like the wrath of God when she does naughty things.
Please don't yell at your puppy thats why shes being aggressive. If you talk in a stern voice she might understand better.
they are never to young to learn. but DONT yell at her. she was just having fun. it is YOUR problem the stuff was not put away.
I see that someone recommended the alpha roll: where you force a dog to lay down belly up. This is wrong. Yes, dogs higher in the pack will do it to lower dogs, but you NEVER want to let your dog feel that it's okay to have a physical confrontation with you. What also happens in the pack is that a dominant dog that is trying to move up in ranks may decide to be physical with you (i.e. lunging, biting).
There are other non-physical, non-aggressive ways to establish yourself as the leader of the pack.
I copied a post I sent to another person who had problems with aggression. I hope this helps.
RE: Dog Is Aggressive Towards My New Dogs
Post By Oberhund (Guest Post) (05/06/2008)
You have a serious problem here and it's only a matter of time before your dog bites a human and then you are ordered to euthanize her.
I am a dog trainer, and I see this problem a lot. First off, you need to educate yourself about pack order and canine body language. (Stanley Coren is a respected author on this to get you started.) You (and others in your pack) are giving her signals that she is the pack leader, and as the pack leader, she is merely correcting behaviour that she sees as being out of line. She's acting as any dominant dog will.
I'll give you some tips to get you started in communicating consistent messages to your dog.
You need to let her know that she is NOT the pack leader. You (and all other humans) are above her in the pack order. Let the dogs sort it out between them with you standing by to correct aggressive and other behaviours you will not tolerate.
Begin by understanding this basic concept: The pack leader is in control of all of the resources. This includes food, toys, treats, the best places to sit and sleep, playtime, access to outside, the direction and pace of a walk, etc. All resources. Remember this.
Here are some helpful tips:
1) DO NOT free feed. (free feed means to leave food in dish and refill when empty.) Feed your dog at times YOU decide and leave the dish on the floor for 10 minutes. Anything not eaten by then is picked up and she'll have to wait until the next feeding time. You are not starving her. You are merely communicating to her that YOU are the leader in control of the food -- how much and when -- not the magical bowl on the floor that refills itself whenever it's empty. If you already feed her this way, good.
2) Insist she says please before getting any resource (see above) by making her sit first. Sit before you feed her. Sit before a treat, toy, a pet, etc. Sit is the please and thank you in the dog world.
3) Do not let her sleep on the bed with humans. The pack leader gets the best place to sleep. She's already showing that she is dominant, so you need to be clear and consistent in your messages to her. Don't confuse her by letting her sleep on the bed. This may be hard if she's used to it, but be firm. If you are consistent with all the other messages you send her, then she'll resist this change less. Also, don't let her on the couch when humans are sitting on it. She'll see herself as an equal. You aren't being mean. Get her a nice blanket or a cushy dog bed. That will be her bed to sit and sleep on. Make it enticing by giving her treats and toys there.
4) Remove any toys laying around the house and keep them in a box that humans have access to but not the dogs. Then give her a toy (after she sits). One toy. You are not taking away her toys; you are just controlling her access to them. Then, when you want to put the toy away to clean up or to exchange it, have a treat in your hand and trade her a treat for the toy. You'll be rewarding her for giving up the toy. NOTE: if she doesn't want to give up the toy, then make sure you have something awesome to trade with. It can be a walk or a favourite game instead of a treat. Just something to get her give up that toy. You don't want to lose this battle.
5) The walk is very important to establishing pack order and the exercise is good for her mind. You need to do this right, though, or you'll be sending her mixed messages. YOU are the one in control of the direction and the pace of the walk. Begin when you hook up the leash. Make sure she sits and holds it on her own. If she breaks the sit, stop attaching the leash, make sure she sits, and try again. Be patient and don't let her boss you around. She'll get what she wants when she gives you the behaviour you want. VERY IMPORTANT: when exiting the house, make sure all people exit BEFORE the dog. In the canine world, leaders and higher members exit and lead, with the lower members in the pack following. It's best to also put her in a sit/stay and then when you command her to exit let her exit. But don't let her exit before you. Again, if she breaks the stay and exits before a person and/or before you've given the command, stop, take her back in (along with anyone in the pack she exited before) and do it again and again until she gets it right. No need for treats. The reward is the walk. When walking, if she pulls, stop, call her to you, and walk backward until she comes to your side, of her own accord. You'll know this because the leash will get slack. When this happens, praise her and continue in the direction she was heading. This will result in a lot of back and forth, but she'll get it quickly if you are consistent. If you let her pull on the leash, she'll think she's walking you and that is NOT what you want.
You don't have a bad dog. You have a dominant dog and she's taken over the leadership role because the pack members have let her. She'll probably always try to move up in rank, so you have to be consistent and firm with the rules. Never break them because she'll just take it to the next level.
I hope this helps. Again, educate yourself and try to use positive-reinforcement training methods rather than punishment-based. You never want to have a physical altercation with your dog. All aggression should be forbidden, including human aggression to dogs. CAUTION: you may find some trainers recommending the alpha roll with your dog. This is where they tell you to take your dog and roll her on her back. Do not do this. This is how the alpha dog will correct another dog, and if the dog resists, there will be biting. This is how they handle it. You do not want your dog to think it's okay to have a physical altercation with a human. If your dog challenges you, you will be bitten. Maybe not the first time, but sometime.
I guess I did not make my answer clear; I didn't recommend the alpha roll. I didn't recommend a roll at all; rather just pushing down to a crouch.
My dog is not an alpha personality type, but she did still have a period of time where she tested the waters.
My trainer had different ideas than you do; I guess all experienced trainers have some differences in technique. But I do know he recommended some personality checks before choosing from the litter, and I have never regretted our choice. (Especially when I see some of the dogs friends got from fancy breeders.)
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