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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20175
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 6 month puppy toy poodle male. I'm having a problem

Customer Question

I have a 6 month puppy toy poodle male. I'm having a problem with maybe aggression?
Basically, if he settles down next to you or lies down to sleep anywhere then you can't touch him otherwise he'll growl and snarl at you. I know you're supposed to let sleeping dogs lie but sometimes he'"" get on the sofa and lie on the TVs remote and you can't grab it from under him without him growling at you. We've tried luring him away with food and toys but he just ignores you.
I don't think its a possession problem as he'll do it whether he's in his bed, the sofa, the floor anywhere.
It's only when he's settling in somewhere or going to sleep but he's getting worse and I don't know what to do really.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

Is he neutered?

What obedience training has he had?

Can you take toys away from him?

Can you take food or bones away?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he's neutered (as of last week)He's been going to puppy class for the last 2 months. He's fine with sit, stay, lie down. We are currently working on drop and we are still at the stage of swapping a bone or toy for a treat when we want it off him.He does it more about being picked up. He's fine to be picked up if he's stood up but it's if he's lay down when he does the growling etc. Like if you adjusted his position on your lap or moved him across the sofa so you can sit. As soon as your hands leave him he's fine. It's only when there's hand contact on him. If he's in a deep sleep he'll even growl in his sleep if you touch him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, he's fine with food. You can take his food away, put your hand in the bowl whilst he's eating etc.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it's not that he gets aggressive about you taking toys from him, it's just that he doesn't open his jaw to drop it. He's calm and not holding a stiff position. He just won't let it go.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

This is dominance aggression. He is maturing into an adult and testing you. If he can control you by growling he will. If he gets his way, he will continue the behavior. Continue obedience training. Even if he knows his commands he needs the daily training to keep seeing you as the boss and dogs do not growl at the boss. Look at a group of dogs that live together. One dog gets to do anything they want and take things away from all the others and none of the other dogs growl or complain because that dog is the boss. You want the dog to see you as the boss. Now he doesn't or he would not growl at you.

Let me give you a site on obedience training. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Now there might also be another reason. Poodles, chihuahua and dachshunds suffer from disc issues so being picked up often causes them discomfort which can lead to them growling from pain. Many people pick up dogs like they do children under the front legs. This puts undue pressure on the discs in the back a the weight of the rear of the dog pulls down on the discs. The proper way of picking up a dog is to place one hand on the chest of the dog between the front legs and scoop the rear legs up in the other hand while lifting straight up. This keeps the back straight and the discs won't hurt.

With the obedience training you should be able to get your dog to do what you want without picking up your dog. Limit picking them up to when it is absolutely necessary. He'll learn quickly that you have changed and you will not see that behavior if pain in the discs was the cause.

I hope this information is helpful to you. 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 . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for this.I just don't understand why he'd only be dominant aggressive about being made to move though? Nothing else?Also, if you don't pick him up or touch him then he never growls.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

That is why I suggested that it might be due to the way you are picking him up and that this might be medical instead of behavioral. Poodles do have disc issues more often than many other breeds.

Also, he is still very young. dominant dogs generally start displaying dominant behavior around this age and it progressively will get worse as he matures into an adult. They start with one thing and if they can control you with that, they start exerting their dominance with other things. It is progressive. It also takes up to 30 days for the hormones to be reduced and help with behavioral issues.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know if it is dominant aggression then as he's been behaving this way ever since I got him at 12 weeks.He's happy to be picked up when he's stood up though so if it was his back wouldn't he care about being picked up all the time?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

If you pick him up the same way each time, then you wouldn't expect it to be different when he is laying down. However, depending on the way he lays down, picking him up might twist a disc and lead to the pain. I would get that checked out. You can also work with him on obedience so you can command him to come or use a stand command before picking him up. Picking him up in the correct manner is preferred though to avoid strain on the spine.