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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18811
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hello We have 4 dogs, a female Collie cross Shepherd 14, a

Resolved Question:

We have 4 dogs, a female Collie cross Shepherd 14, a female Springer Spaniel 3, a male Springer Spaniel 2 and a 9 week old female Springer Spaniel who is the daughter of the two Springers.
Prior to the litter being born our boy only ever growled over food, not his own, we can take his bowl away without any problem but he occasionally bullied the others off their food or they left anything he would growl if we tried to stop him eating his.
When the litter of 6 puppies were born he was great with them when we allowed him access, he played with them happily lying down and letting them climb all over them etc. Then one of the puppies mistook his man parts for a feeding point and tried to latch on, he did jump. After that he was very aggressive towards them so he had no further contact. Which does mean that his whole routines had to change.
He has during the last few weeks had a pop at both older dogs and seems to go from ok to attack without the steps in between, when we tried to introduce the puppy we kept to him everything seemed to be going well, he was lying down and encouraging her to play and playing chase. When he had his back to her she jumped at his back and he turned straight to aggressive, in hindsight we should have ended things there but puppy got of my partners knee and was nowhere near home and he lunged full on at her.
We have had him neutered in the last couple of weeks, booked him into training classes to help him and me. When he goes he switches off just as quick and it is almost as if he knows he has been "bad"
We also feel looking back and now having had puppies ourselves that he was not as old as we were told when we got him, our puppies were his size at 4 weeks.
Please help he is a great dog, at other times so well behaved, if we meet dogs when we are out he will come back when called,and he will either play chase or if they bark run back and hide.
Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Did he draw blood with the puppy?
Is he aggressive with the other dogs beyond his normal behavior?
Has there been other incidents with the remaining puppy?
So he didn't have obedience training before now?
Is he allowed on furniture?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He did cut her lip
Not 100% sure what you mean on this one, but I would say no, he can be a bit boisterous when playing but nothing bad
No but we are keeping them apart at the moment, they have been in the garden together but both on leads with distance between, he just sits and watches her.
No he didn't go to a class but we did training with him ( life events just made it difficult to get to a class). We did all the basics with him, and he is a good dog on his commands.
Yes, but only when invited and will get off when told.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the information. It is helpful. I suspect you are NOT dealing with real aggression. I think he is a dominant male. Now a normal pack order would be most dominant intact male, then most dominant intact female, the less dominant males and females that are intact, then most dominant neutered males and females.

You may have upset the pack order by neutering him though we do recommend neutering for aggression in dogs. What I think may be happening is that the male is attempting to teach the pup manners. When pups are very young, adult dogs give them a break and allow them to do some things that are unacceptable for an adult dog to do. However, once a pup gets older, it is the adult dogs job to teach a pup what is acceptable behavior and what isn't. As the alpha male he not only has to teach the pup how to act around adult dogs but also how to act toward the alpha dog.

Normally when an adult dog is attempting to teach a pup, they start with a growl and if that is ignored, they go for a nip. It will sound ferocious and sudden. Sometimes they will catch the pup accidentally and have a small injury, but usually the adult just snaps close to the pup.

Some things that are acceptable for very young pups but not older pups are eating an adults food, jumping on an adult without them giving their approval (no jumping them without an invitation to play or approaching from the front), taking a toy from them or even pushing an adult out of the way to get attention first.

I do understand that you do not want him able to hurt her, but she also needs to learn how to interact with other adults. Normally mom start the teaching and other start once they go to new homes. In this case, it is not a total strange dog that has to reprimand and teach the pup. The pup gets a little confused as they are not allowed to do the same things they did just a week before, but they do learn.

You might get your male a basket style muzzle and allow them to interact in that manner. She should be more cautious around him now that he had nipped he. He should not need to connect to reprimand her since now she knows he will nip, but he will likely growl and lunge at her. With a basket style muzzle on, he can still sound ferocious and nip at her and growl but won't be able to hurt her.

You want a basket style so he can still eat, drink and breath relatively normally. The learning process is an ongoing issue and will likely last months but as the puppy learns how to act, there will be less and less reprimands and you shouldn't have to worry about them together any more.
If he continues to attack and it isn't a case of the puppy acting inappropriately then you may need to get him checked for a medical condition such as hypothyroidism. Read about medical causes here:

If it is strictly behavioral, then setting aside time each day to retrain in obedience works to establish you as he boss. Just 15 minutes having him sit, stay, get down, come and do what ever other tricks he knows will help him become calmer and see you as the boss. It is the boss' job to reprimand others. Of course, you will need to actually monitor them closely and if you see the pup go to jump him out of the blue or push past him or go for his food, you need to reprimand the pup yourself. Once your male sees that you are doing your job of making the pup behavior, he will stop.

Also start training the pup. I usually start around 6 weeks of age, but as young pups they learn very quickly . If you start now, you can use that to stop her when she goes to do something that isn't allowed.

You can keep the leashes on and use that to get their attention off the other dog by giving a short tug and a firm "NO". When they act appropriately reward them with tasty hot dog sliver.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18811
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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