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We have an almost 15 week old Standard pup that we brought home at 9 weeks. When we first brought him home, I immediately noticed he was very food motivated - he inhales it and tried to bite my hands when I pulled it away. I have since broken him of this by putting my hand in his food and taking it away and he doesn't do this anymore. The real issues with jumping and biting remain.

I have a two year old daughter and another Senior Standard who is 11.5 years old that I cannot leave in same room with the pup, even with a lead on because he pulls toward them so quickly and strongly now trying to lunge and jump. He knocked down my daughter the first week home, lunged and pushed her flat on her back and I swear his mouth was open, like he was trying to bite her neck/face but I couldn't tell for certain from my angle. The other day, she was standing at the baby gate while he and I were in the kitchen and he jumped toward her head with such force, he almost cleared the gate, however thankfully didn't as he bounced off and back onto the floor. My sweet senior guy has had IVDD issues for the past year and has difficulty moving quickly. He barked at him a few times when we first took the puppy home, in trying put him in his place but has since given up since the puppy jumped on him with his two front paws up before I could tug on his lead to stop it and he let out a cry like a baby. The pup tries to jump and lunge at him whenever we walk past my senior laying on his bed.

When I let him out of the kitchen to play one on one while my husband is at work and daughter and senior are in another room, he literally jumps and lunges at all parts of my body, hands, arms, legs, butt, and stomach today, biting HARD! I tried yelping the second week he was home, but soon after doing this he peed on my bed so I definitely think he is trying to be the leader in this house. I have emailed the breeder to which she has replied the puppy was submissive to my dog during our initial visit which is simply not true because he wouldn't go near the puppy for us to even determine that. This concern wasn't brought up then anyway because the puppy was very calm during this visit being held mostly held by the breeder and myself.

I got my senior guy as a 10 week old and he was the easiest, sweetest puppy ever. I also grew up with two Standards and they were not aggressive like this as puppies. I have talked to a couple of trainers now and they have said there is no such thing as a dominant dog, however I find that extremely hard to believe because this pup and my last are like night and day temperament-wise. My question is; is this normal Standard Poodle Puppy behavior and should I try to work with this guy or return him to the breeder (for only a partial refund now). At this point, I just think it may be too risky with my sweet old guy and young little gal in the house.
 

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Sounds pretty normal to me, but I wonder if you are really in the right place to deal with typically rambunctious puppy shenanigans at the moment. Managing a large breed puppy around an elderly dog with spinal issues and a toddler is going to be hard work and risky for at least the first 6-18 months, requiring constant supervision and care. It doesn't sound as if any of you are enjoying it much, not least the puppy. I don't think he is being "dominant", just a typically obnoxious puppy, but I think you should return him to his breeder while he is still young enough to find a good home that is a better fit. I would let your old guy live out his twilight years in peace, and think about a puppy - or young adult - when your daughter is a little older.
 

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It sounds like you got an energetic puppy. When chose our spoo pup Matteo, we were conscious of choosing a pup that would match our Luca, a tpoo. We needed a calm, but confident pup. However, puppy behaviour is awful landshark attitude with alot of " me first, me too" thrown in as spice.
11.3 years ago, you most likely didn't have a toddler and a senior dog with health issues. So you had alot of time to devote to your pup. Now your attention is divided and maybe the pup just isn't getting enough attention and is therefore trying to bring you attention to that. It's the most formative months in the dog's life, just as it's the most formative years in your daughter's. What you put in, you get out.

The trainers you have spoken to are right. Former dominance theories are bollocks. The pup will do anything possible to please you and himself. He just needs consistent guidance. Just like a toddler.
 

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I have talked to a couple of trainers now and they have said there is no such thing as a dominant dog, however I find that extremely hard to believe because this pup and my last are like night and day temperament-wise.
"Alpha/Dominance/Boss" theory was based on faulty research in the 1930's and 40's by a behaviorist who was studying captive wolves. Not only has that theory been debunked for wolves, it ignores the fact that dogs and wolves are diverged species. This happened anywhere from around 10,000 to (probably well over) 40,000 years ago. Humans and dogs have been co-evolving in that time. It's been observed that dogs will be more inclined to "follow the friendliest".

Temperament is likely to vary a great deal, however. I don't hear bad temperament in your description. I hear rambunctious poodle puppy. In Volhard temperament testing, he sounds like he's 2s and 3s. Your older boy, unless your memory might be glossing over his early days with your family (mine sure did), sounds like he was 3s and 4s.

You have more work than you anticipated if you plan to keep him, but it will almost always get better. If this isn't the right time for that, then it might be best to return him.

Do you keep him on a schedule for eating, sleeping, playing, napping, training, play, exercise?
What kind of training have you been doing with him?
Do you restrict his access by using an expen/crate/tether unless you're actively engaging with him?

Labeling "aggressive" is counter-productive and inaccurate. This colors your view of him which can affect how you engage with him and then a feedback loop is created, usually a downward spiral for all.

He's a puppy who is different than you expected. Using the management tools will give you all a break.

A recent short thread on this (more if you search the forum for "biting", "land shark", "overwrought toddler", keywords on those lines and you'll see you're not alone in this.
(14) SPoo Puppy aka The Shark! | Poodle Forum
 

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P.S. Please don’t put your hand into his bowl and take his food anymore. You’re teaching him that humans can’t be trusted. This is especially dangerous with a toddler in the home. :(

Your pup needs to know that a hand approaching his food means even more yummy things are coming, not that he’s about to have a precious resource taken from him. Just because he’s tolerating your actions now, doesn’t mean he’ll still be okay with them a month or a year from now.

Some common myths about resource guarding, excerpted from Resource Guarding – How to Teach Your Dog to Share | Grisha Stewart:
  • Resource guarding is abnormal behavior.
  • Resource guarding is a symptom of “dominance” or “pushiness.”
  • Resource guarding is the result of “spoiling” a dog.
“So if the answer is not to ‘dominate’ your dog, then what is it? Simple. Make your puppy or dog understand that the approach of a human to his food, toys, space, etc. is a Good Thing.
 

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Not only was the alpha dog theory debunked, my understanding is that the lead scientist who claimed it was a thing retracted the theory himself.

You’ve got some excellent guidance from everyone above. A schedule for pup and enforced naps would be super valuable. And oh gosh yeah please research into the resource guarding PtP shared above. This is one area where I have to beg to disagree with Zac George, and his “prevention” methods sound an awful lot like what you are doing.

Personally I can’t fathom training a puppy with a two year old human at home, just given that it would feel like having twins for me. And that is a lot. I don’t say that to be discouraging but rather to say a) to each their own and b) it’s important to be very pragmatic and know it’ll take some work!

It is really critical with our pups and human children that we resist labeling. At the end of the day, our behaviours occur in environmental and relational contexts. This means, as Rose said so eloquently, that how you perceive them will impact how you treat them, and in turn how they respond. Pups have all sorts of personalities and temperaments, as do human children.

Do you have a pic of your guy? And what’s his name? What’s your older standard’s name? Can we see and celebrate them?
 

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I recently had the opportunity to spend time with my 3 year old standard and a not quite 2 year old kid.

I have no idea how people raise puppies and toddlers together. My girl was very gentle and good, but it took her a ton of self control to be polite with the baby, and she really needed her outdoor stress breaks to run around and burn off steam.

As a puppy? She was a really easy puppy but keeping her and the baby safe and separated would have been a full time job.

Anyway - all of this sounds like a fairly normal silly bouncy standard poodle puppy. Not the easiest, not the most difficult, but definitely a handful!

I always ask this - but is he getting enough sleep? My sweet, perfect puppy was a biting, jumping hellbeast when she needed a nap. Rather like an overtired toddler, puppies need A LOT of sleep and quickly lose all self control when tired. X pens and crates are wonderful things.
 

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He sounds like a normal bored poodle puppy. Poodles puppies are very active, very mouthy, and very playful. They think the world exists for their entertainment, and they can become very obnoxious when the world isn't delivering the fun on their schedule.

I agree that dominance theory is not valid, and following it will get you into all kinds of trouble. A bunch of wolves that weren't related were confined together in what was effectively a penal colony for canines. Occasionally, just as in any such situation, tensions would build to the point where one wolf would shiv another wolf. A normal wolf pack is a family. The members normally follow the lead of a smart capable leader, much as a human family defers to a wise elder. Think about how the kitchen works when a family comes together for Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, I could punch out my elderly aunt and force everybody use my green bean casserole recipe. But why would I? A puppy isn't looking to take over your family any more than you are looking to kick your aunt out of her house over a recipe quarrel at Thanksgiving.

I also agree that I wouldn't pointlessly mess with the food bowl or take things away just to prove I can. It's likely to be counterproductive. Do you randomly grab your toddler's dinner just to prove you are the alpha mom? Resource guarding is partially genetic and partially trained. A dog which isn't prone to resource guarding won't learn anything from having you mess with the food bowl. All you are doing is pointlessly annoying the dog. A dog which IS prone to resource guarding will learn that you are a threat to his food bowl. He will become increasingly edgy as you move in on the bowl, and eventually you will have an unpleasant incident. @PeggyTheParti has a thread on dealing with her dog's resource guarding tendencies. It is worth reading. In so far as I mess with my dog's bowls at meal times, I mostly just put more food into the bowl. Thus my presence and handling of the bowl is always a good thing.
 

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You already have a lot of good thoughts here. I will add some emphasis. Your pup is high energy but normal. However it sounds like you are feeling stress and picking up on that stress will amplify the pup's feelings and inappropriate behaviors. If you are truly calm your pup will be calmer in all likelihood. I never recommend to people to yelp when their puppy makes nip contact. I think it makes an already amped up pup even more excited. I recommend folding your arms to protect your hands and turning your back on the pup. If that doesn't work then give the pup a short time out in a crate (or ex pen). Only release the pup when he is quiet and do so quietly. I agree with fjm that you may just have too much on your plate at the moment to be able to juggle it all effectively.

Forget about dominance hierarchy. Your pup is trying out all of these behaviors because he has already had some success with them. Dogs need guidance and structure, not a free for all environment. I just got a request for training an adult dog who is not housebroken at over 2 years old. He also apparently bites and destroys all manner of household objects. Without knowing more I would bet dollars to donuts that this dog never learned to be calm in a crate and imagine that the training will be hard because of the lack of structure in the home. I doubt any of what is going on with that dog is any different than what is happening with your pup. The solution is orderliness, much easier to attain with a pup than an adult, so get on it now.

I do think you need to make it clear to your pup that you are in charge through food as one good tool. I would recommend starting each meal with you hand feeding the pup. Give at least half of each meal by hand. Train while you do so. Offer kibble in return for sits and downs. I also will say that it can be good to put hands in the food bowl, but just rest your hand there quietly once the appetite has been whetted by feeding the first portion of the meal. It is important that people be able to put their hands on and in their dogs mouths, but you have to be fair about the criteria.

As a final thought I will say I would not have gotten a puppy at this time. Elderly dogs deserve peace in their lives. Part of me would love a puppy now, but it would not be fair to Lily. I also would not have a puppy with very young children in my home. In fairness to all concerned if you decide to rehome this puppy do it now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
"Alpha/Dominance/Boss" theory was based on faulty research in the 1930's and 40's by a behaviorist who was studying captive wolves. Not only has that theory been debunked for wolves, it ignores the fact that dogs and wolves are diverged species. This happened anywhere from around 10,000 to (probably well over) 40,000 years ago. Humans and dogs have been co-evolving in that time. It's been observed that dogs will be more inclined to "follow the friendliest".

Temperament is likely to vary a great deal, however. I don't hear bad temperament in your description. I hear rambunctious poodle puppy. In Volhard temperament testing, he sounds like he's 2s and 3s. Your older boy, unless your memory might be glossing over his early days with your family (mine sure did), sounds like he was 3s and 4s.

You have more work than you anticipated if you plan to keep him, but it will almost always get better. If this isn't the right time for that, then it might be best to return him.

Do you keep him on a schedule for eating, sleeping, playing, napping, training, play, exercise?
What kind of training have you been doing with him?
Do you restrict his access by using an expen/crate/tether unless you're actively engaging with him?

Labeling "aggressive" is counter-productive and inaccurate. This colors your view of him which can affect how you engage with him and then a feedback loop is created, usually a downward spiral for all.

He's a puppy who is different than you expected. Using the management tools will give you all a break.

A recent short thread on this (more if you search the forum for "biting", "land shark", "overwrought toddler", keywords on those lines and you'll see you're not alone in this.
(14) SPoo Puppy aka The Shark! | Poodle Forum
Thank you for your response and advice. So how is "Volhard temperament testing" different than determine likelihood for dominance then? Doesn't one of the tests determine which pup of the litter is likely to be more of a leader, head of the pack, or boss? Why would he pee on my bed after I yelped after not having done that for a week? It was like he won, and he was claiming my bed. After that, he behaved as if he had just gained a whirlwind of confidence when I had been ignoring the bitting and immediately ending play by pulling my hand, arm, leg, etc. out of his mouth.

I do keep him on a schedule for eating, sleeping, playing, napping, training, play and exercise. He wakes up, goes to sleep at the same time, naps at the same, eats at the same time (3x per day) plays one on one with me at the same time, and goes for two walks per day at the same time. He won't sleep anywhere but his crate, which I thankfully purchased because I didn't plan to crate him at all. When I try to play with him, it ends quickly because if he's not chasing a ball, every time I go into the same room, he corners, jumps, bites pulls my clothes, and mounts me. He doesn't respond to verbal commands, I have to physically push him off of me which I never thought I would have to use physical force with a poodle puppy. I have to back out of the room with my hands in front of because he is relentless. This is just myself, not even with my daughter or other dog. It just doesn't seem right. I don't know how stop this except to end play because he doesn't really understand "no" or "leave it" yet.
 

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Here is a link to Volhard's website on puppy aptitude (temperament) testing. Choosing Your Puppy (PAT) | Volhard Dog Nutrition Not all breeders do this testing which really has to be done by people the puppies don't know and right at 49 days of ages, so speculating about it now is not super important. But if the breeder had the testing done it could give you some insights. It doesn't sound like your pup's breeder had the testing done though. Otherwise they would have told you about it. One other prospective puppy owner did his own variation of the Volhard tests when they visited for pick day and he wanted Javelin as his first pick on that basis. I don't know what that person really wanted out of his pup, but I wanted a puppy to do performance sports with and Javelin did have many attributes that drew me to him as my first choice. I knew I would get my first choice pup since I had pick of the males.

This pup should not be loose to jump all over you for just walking into a room. You need to use your crate (I never suggest puppy raising without one) and perhaps an ex pen for longer term confinement rather than leaving him loose in a room. I also have to say again that I think it sounds like you are very overwhelmed. If you are stressing out over the pup the pup will respond with stress (which the craziness is about). If you are acting happy on the outside but stressing on the inside it can confuse a dog in such a way that they can't really know what to do. You cannot lie to a dog.
 
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I'm going to be an outlier on this thread like on the early neutering issue. I do believe some dogs are much more dominant, and like you said, the Volhard tests for this! Sounds like the dog's energy is NOT the right fit for your household. Frosty was a puppy you could have had with your older dog and child--I raised him in my nursery school with a group of toddlers and he never once mouthed or jumped on a child (although it was stressful for me to keep kids/dogs separated at times in the day so they could rest). The right fit is out there, or you could decide to wait until older pup has passed/child is a bit older. I would return the pup.
 
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Peeing on your bed is probably not a dominance gesture. Quite the opposite. A puppy often pees when confronted by an adult dog. Dogs can smell hormones in the urine, and an adult dog can smell that the puppy is sexually and socially immature. One of my dogs, otherwise decently housebroken by 4 months, did submissive/excitement piddling up until he was about a year old. The solution was simply to manage his encounters. I took him outside to play or to meet houseguests. Once he burned off the wiggles and peed if he needed to, we went back inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You already have a lot of good thoughts here. I will add some emphasis. Your pup is high energy but normal. However it sounds like you are feeling stress and picking up on that stress will amplify the pup's feelings and inappropriate behaviors. If you are truly calm your pup will be calmer in all likelihood. I never recommend to people to yelp when their puppy makes nip contact. I think it makes an already amped up pup even more excited. I recommend folding your arms to protect your hands and turning your back on the pup. If that doesn't work then give the pup a short time out in a crate (or ex pen). Only release the pup when he is quiet and do so quietly. I agree with fjm that you may just have too much on your plate at the moment to be able to juggle it all effectively.

Forget about dominance hierarchy. Your pup is trying out all of these behaviors because he has already had some success with them. Dogs need guidance and structure, not a free for all environment. I just got a request for training an adult dog who is not housebroken at over 2 years old. He also apparently bites and destroys all manner of household objects. Without knowing more I would bet dollars to donuts that this dog never learned to be calm in a crate and imagine that the training will be hard because of the lack of structure in the home. I doubt any of what is going on with that dog is any different than what is happening with your pup. The solution is orderliness, much easier to attain with a pup than an adult, so get on it now.

I do think you need to make it clear to your pup that you are in charge through food as one good tool. I would recommend starting each meal with you hand feeding the pup. Give at least half of each meal by hand. Train while you do so. Offer kibble in return for sits and downs. I also will say that it can be good to put hands in the food bowl, but just rest your hand there quietly once the appetite has been whetted by feeding the first portion of the meal. It is important that people be able to put their hands on and in their dogs mouths, but you have to be fair about the criteria.

As a final thought I will say I would not have gotten a puppy at this time. Elderly dogs deserve peace in their lives. Part of me would love a puppy now, but it would not be fair to Lily. I also would not have a puppy with very young children in my home. In fairness to all concerned if you decide to rehome this puppy do it now.
Thank you for your response! If I need to make it clear to my pup that I am in charge, then he is trying to be "dominant" over me, no? I thought that the majority of puppies don't want to be in charge and those that do are difficult as is my feeling about this one.

I will definitely try your recommendations regarding feeding. About sleep though, how much and how often should I be putting him down for a "nap" at 15 weeks? I have a feeling his "wake windows" are too long. He goes in his crate for the night at about 10:30 PM and wake around 7:30 AM. He then goes outside, eats in a slow feeder bowl (1/2 kibble and 1/2 raw), chews on a bone, then we try to play. He is awake for around 1.5-2 hrs. for all of this. I then put him to sleep in his crate for a 2-3 hour nap, then repeat this. He won't nap unless he is in his crate.

I agree with you about brining a puppy into a home with a senior dog and told myself I would never do that and here we are. I selfishly don't know how I'll get through his passing without another dog in the home. When my 17 y/o toy passed three years ago, thankfully I had him to help me through that.
 

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Thank you for your response and advice. So how is "Volhard temperament testing" different than determine likelihood for dominance then? Doesn't one of the tests determine which pup of the litter is likely to be more of a leader, head of the pack, or boss? Why would he pee on my bed after I yelped after not having done that for a week? It was like he won, and he was claiming my bed. After that, he behaved as if he had just gained a whirlwind of confidence when I had been ignoring the bitting and immediately ending play by pulling my hand, arm, leg, etc. out of his mouth.

I do keep him on a schedule for eating, sleeping, playing, napping, training, play and exercise. He wakes up, goes to sleep at the same time, naps at the same, eats at the same time (3x per day) plays one on one with me at the same time, and goes for two walks per day at the same time. He won't sleep anywhere but his crate, which I thankfully purchased because I didn't plan to crate him at all. When I try to play with him, it ends quickly because if he's not chasing a ball, every time I go into the same room, he corners, jumps, bites pulls my clothes, and mounts me. He doesn't respond to verbal commands, I have to physically push him off of me which I never thought I would have to use physical force with a poodle puppy. I have to back out of the room with my hands in front of because he is relentless. This is just myself, not even with my daughter or other dog. It just doesn't seem right. I don't know how stop this except to end play because he doesn't really understand "no" or "leave it" yet.
Wow, I just read your desperation in this. Before you consider my suggestion at the end of this post, have a good and honest talk with yourself. Have you got the time and energy right now for the work required for raising this pup. If not then return the pup to the breeder. That would be responsible, not only to the pup, but to yourself, your daughter and your senior dog. I think the peeing in your bed is an accident due to tension. The feelings of winning and claiming etc are human feelings, that you're reading in to the situation. I've seen both toddlers and pups pee because the are nervous. If you correct your pup physically, by pushing him etc, you are inadvertently creating a situation where you pup might become fearful of you. That worries me, and the peeing is the first warning of your relationship with your pup is strained.

If you do have the time and energy, I suggest you press the reset button. Start all over. Get your pup to love your presence, either but feeding kibble, treats, redirecting biting with toys, etc. Let your pup earn the right to be with your senior dog, and the moment he's out of order, calmly put him in his crate. Any exasperation from you will be detected and reacted upon. Time out is until he can calmly leave the crate and join in. Bolting out, requires going back in the crate. Reward generously any calm behaviour. Reward him for biting a sqeaky toy and not you. Poodles are uncanny on picking up on feelings. They are very sensitive and do not react well to harsh words.
Our poodles have trained my husband to be less loud when talking. He could boom before, but has a gentler approach today. The result is a much happier relationship.
 

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Loki would start biting and jumping on everyone when he needed to go out to pee. He was trying to tell us that he needed out, but didn't know how. Once he learned to use the bells,. that behavior calmed down some, but he still wants to play. He bites at hands because he wants those hands to throw toys. He hasn't learned to bring the toy with him.
The one time he peed on my bed was when I had spent a long time attempting to get my younger child to go to bed. He was upset about something someone said at school so it too longer than normal. We had a gate on the bottom of the stairs so Loki couldn't get downstairs to get my husband to take him out. He peed a lot so he looked much happier and was much calmer when he was done. It wasn't dominance. It was relief his bladder was empty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow, I just read your desperation in this. Before you consider my suggestion at the end of this post, have a good and honest talk with yourself. Have you got the time and energy right now for the work required for raising this pup. If not then return the pup to the breeder. That would be responsible, not only to the pup, but to yourself, your daughter and your senior dog. I think the peeing in your bed is an accident due to tension. The feelings of winning and claiming etc are human feelings, that you're reading in to the situation. I've seen both toddlers and pups pee because the are nervour. If you correct your pup physically, by pushing him etc, you are inadvertently creating a situation where you pup might become fearful of you. That worries me, and the peeing is the first warning of your relationship with your pup is strained.

If you do have the time and energy, I suggest you press the reset button. Start all over. Get your pup to love your presence, either but feeding kibble, treats, redirecting biting with toys, etc. Let your pup earn the right to be with your senior dog, and the moment he's out of order, calmly put him in his crate. Any exasperation from you will be detected and reacted upon. Time out is until he can calmly leave the crate and join in. Bolting out, requires going back in the crate. Reward generously any calm behaviour. Reward him for biting a sqeaky toy and not you. Poodles are uncanny on picking up on feelings. They are very sensitive and do not react well to harsh words.
Our poodles have trained my husband to be less loud when talking. He could boom before, but has a gentler approach today. The result is a much happier relationship.
How would you suggest I get him to let go of my flesh then, without pushing him off because he doesn't respond to verbal commands. I don't think you're understanding how HARD he's biting - leaving marks and drawing blood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
How would you suggest I get him to let go of my flesh then, without pushing him off because he doesn't respond to verbal commands. I don't think you're understanding how HARD he's biting - leaving marks and drawing blood.
I am desperate. I would NEVER use force if I didn't have to. I am the most gently loving person ever and it breaks my heart that this is the reality of the situation.
 

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No your puppy is not trying to dominate you. Giving a puppy guidance about the "rules" of the house is giving guidance, not being the boss. We don't allow our human offspring to make rules for themselves and we shouldn't allow puppies to make their own rules either. Acting out in response to an unpredictable environment is not dominance. I suspect that a big chunk of the wildness is related to not enough sleep. Puppies sleep more than they are awake by a good deal.

For the biting, you must resist the urge to pull your hand away. Usually the person pulling against the puppy teeth is what breaks skin. Redirect the biting to a soft toy or a chewable thing like a bully stick or an ear. How many puppies were in your baby dog's litter? Unless he was a singleton or from a very very small litter he should understand bite inhibition from his time with his litter mates. People are not generally effective at teaching dogs bite inhibition if the dog didn't learn it from his litter mates. If you are not pulling your hand away and your puppy is applying hard pressure and breaking skin with some level of intent then you need a behaviorist to evaluate the situation and make a determination about the prospects going forward. I would not recommend keeping a dog that lacks impeccable bite inhibition in a home with young children.
 
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