I have a three-month-old goldendoodle, who on the whole is very sweet and fun, but when playing with me in particular, he gets very aggressive. He will bite me non-stop and sometimes just run and jump at me and start biting.
I am home with him all day and his primary caretaker. I know he is trying to dominate me. I’ve tried distracting him with a toy, turning my back and ignoring him, leaving the room for a minute and even putting him on the leash and tying him up for a minute for a time out.
I know he is still a baby, but we’re worried it will become a larger issue as he grows older. Do you have any other suggestions? We find it particularly strange that I’m the only one he is this aggressive with.–Mia
Ah puppies, they are just so fun and sometimes so persistent. Here is something I would like you to consider: if your doodle was with his liter mates, they would be jumping, chewing, wrestling, growling, etc. and one pup would usually dominate the other. If mom was around, she would put her foot down and the pups would defer to her as her energy is the most clear and consistent. While what you have been doing is great, it is unfortunately not working.
So here is what I would suggest: just like mom would assert her leadership and authority over the pup, this is what you will now be best doing in those situations, and you will only need do it a few times till your pup gets the message. Your pup’s moms would in all likelihood place her mouth over the pups mouth and exert a low gutteral growl letting the pup know she means business. She would hold that position until the pup chooses to give a big sigh and release mom’s focused and dominant energy as well as its own pent up energy.
What I will do with a biting pup who is out of control is give them a new boundary, which means I will wrap the pup in my arms and hold the pup to me with my outside forearm across the dog’s outside shoulder and my palm near the outside of the dog’s mouth. I will hold the pup in my arms, even if they are struggling to get out and use my palm to keep the dog’s head straight till he understands that he’s not getting out until he lets go of his pent up energy.
When I am holding the dog it is not to dominate the dog, simply to give him a clear boundary of his size and a limit to what he can do until he relaxes. It’s kind of like with kids when they are over tired they need a safe boundary in which to fall asleep. You will need to be consistent with this for a few days every time your pup does what you described above and he will get it in a safe way that you mean what you say and say what you mean.
Try it out and let me know how it goes; remember to be firm and clear but not angry or aggressive. And remember it will be much easier to do this now that he is small and manageable. Also I would recommend using the Walk In Sync(tm) Harness and Leash System with him as it will assist him in knowing the boundaries of his body better and give you the consistency and clarity he needs to work for you.
Alecia Evans is the inventor of The Walk In Sync™ Humane Dog Walking and Training System with her exclusive 5 Minute Manners Makeovers using the Walk In Sync™ Harness and Accu-Grip Leash, along with her Walk In Sync™ 3 Easy Steps to teach any human/dog duos to Walk In Sync in just minutes.
The former host of the award-winning GrassRoots Aspen TV Series, The Whole Animal-An Alternative Approach to Animal Care, Alecia takes a natural approach to dog training and health care. Her work has been featured on Fox and Friends, The Sandra Glosser Show, NY 1, and in Aspen Magazine, DogTipper.com, The New York Daily News and Woof Report.