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3 month old puppy growls and shows teeth when chewing his bone

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[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 20, 2008
990 posts
326 upvotes

3 month old puppy growls and shows teeth when chewing his bone

Lab puppy. Doesn't do it with his toys or food but with his favorite bones he often growls if I put my hand near his head when he's chewing on his bone. Then if I don't move my hand he will snarl and show his teeth.

Have read varying opinions on how to stop this behavior so not sure the best way to deal with it. Anyone know the latest advice on how to deal with it?
22 replies
Deal Addict
May 18, 2015
1627 posts
628 upvotes
Ottawa,Ont
1C5 wrote: Lab puppy. Doesn't do it with his toys or food but with his favorite bones he often growls if I put my hand near his head when he's chewing on his bone. Then if I don't move my hand he will snarl and show his teeth.

Have read varying opinions on how to stop this behavior so not sure the best way to deal with it. Anyone know the latest advice on how to deal with it?
try offering him a different treat and reward if he gives it up
Deal Fanatic
Nov 15, 2008
9517 posts
3821 upvotes
1C5 wrote: Lab puppy. Doesn't do it with his toys or food but with his favorite bones he often growls if I put my hand near his head when he's chewing on his bone. Then if I don't move my hand he will snarl and show his teeth.

Have read varying opinions on how to stop this behavior so not sure the best way to deal with it. Anyone know the latest advice on how to deal with it?
You are the boss. Take the bone away and shout so the dog is submissive. It is terrible behaviour for a dog to be possessive like that towards a human, and a real danger if there are kids around.
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2011
840 posts
250 upvotes
Kitchener
lecale wrote: You are the boss. Take the bone away and shout so the dog is submissive. It is terrible behaviour for a dog to be possessive like that towards a human, and a real danger if there are kids around.
Don't do this, it's just asking to get bitten
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jul 7, 2005
575 posts
150 upvotes
While your at it, add a swift back hand to reinforce the need to be submissive lol

Joking aside, always use positive reinforcement with your pet especially the smart ones, it may take some time but you had to keep at it.

I did something similar like the above link but for a skittish puppy going through separation anxiety, it really takes a while and you have to be patient and keep at it. I was a first time dog owner, with a dog that wasn't recommended for first time owners (Shiba Inu) but if you care you will get through it....
Newbie
Jun 23, 2007
4 posts
2 upvotes
Richmond, bc
1C5 wrote: Lab puppy. Doesn't do it with his toys or food but with his favorite bones he often growls if I put my hand near his head when he's chewing on his bone. Then if I don't move my hand he will snarl and show his teeth.

Have read varying opinions on how to stop this behavior so not sure the best way to deal with it. Anyone know the latest advice on how to deal with it?
Ian Dunbar has a great site with many free resources - tips for training a puppy/dog, an ebook on puppies etc. He is an excellent well respected vet with great training tips.

http://www.dogstardaily.com/training

http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/gu ... ed-objects
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 20, 2008
990 posts
326 upvotes
Thanks guys. And both of the links have great advice. I'll follow these tips and update how it's going.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 15, 2008
9517 posts
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starrlamia wrote: Don't do this, it's just asking to get bitten
Grasp the dog on the back of the neck so they can't. Roll them over on their side to make them submit. But take control.
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2011
840 posts
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Kitchener
lecale wrote: I would call this rewarding bad behavior and really bad advice.
sure if you wanna ignore scientific evidence
Deal Addict
Apr 25, 2011
1381 posts
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British Columbia
My opinion on positive reinforcement is try it first. It doesn't always work. All dogs are different and are driven differently. Some dogs do not care for food based rewards or praise as much as others.

I've used a shock collar on my puppy; it is that, or she will chase and bite tails. Saying no and calling her and giving her a treat when she does this behavior does not work. She is in her element and thinks it's fun, she is playing and will not listen in this scenario. For her own safety and for dogs around her she needs to learn that this is NOT ok. Shock her hard enough a few times consistently and well timed, and she learns this is a terrible idea. I have just started on this but notice her willingness to go after tails has gone down about 80% - she will have to wear the collar consistently with me watching her like a hawk for next month or so to make sure she has learned not to for good.

I also used the shock collar on vibrate to teach her not to bark in the yard and to come to me instead - her recall would not work when she was barking at people in the yard, it did not matter if I had the kindest voice and best treat ever. The vibrate brought her out of her barking trance and has improved barking at people a great deal, she also knows to come to me if I call her instead of continuing to bark. Her recall is now really fantastic everywhere and I don't need treats or her shock collar on for her to listen (except for the tail biting...). She doesn't know the collar is what hurts her - that's a key element. They need to wear it in every day use for a few weeks with nothing happening so they don't associate the collar with what's happening.

I think positive reinforcement only works for some things, and that balanced training has its place. I've seen a lot of dogs where owners only use positive reinforcement; they act out to get treats, they can be overweight, they don't listen to commands when it is important.

In this particular case I'd start with offering higher reward treats and giving lots and lots of praise when they drop the item. I would work on the drop it and leave it command ASAP as this is very bad behaviour in a young puppy.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 15, 2008
9517 posts
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starrlamia wrote: sure if you wanna ignore scientific evidence
I would not train my two year old human to behave using nothing but love and a bag of skittles, because I would get nowhere.

If you cannot say no to a child, you should not be a parent, and if you cannot say no to a dog, you should not be a dog owner.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 15, 2008
9517 posts
3821 upvotes
Karala wrote: I think positive reinforcement only works for some things, and that balanced training has its place. I've seen a lot of dogs where owners only use positive reinforcement; they act out to get treats, they can be overweight, they don't listen to commands when it is important.
Absolutely. And negative reinforcement means being firm and clear, not mean.
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2011
840 posts
250 upvotes
Kitchener
lecale wrote: I would not train my two year old human to behave using nothing but love and a bag of skittles, because I would get nowhere.

If you cannot say no to a child, you should not be a parent, and if you cannot say no to a dog, you should not be a dog owner.
You're just doing a good job of showing your ignorance, positive based reinforcement training absolutely includes saying no and correcting bad behaviour. Hell it's been used to train chickens, fish, marine mammals and even hyenas. The problem people generally have with using it is user error and not understanding the science behind it.
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Apr 7, 2012
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Toronto
starrlamia wrote: Patrcia McConnell has a PhD and is a certified behaviourist (and also has written many books) her advice is what i would recommend:

http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theoth ... prevention
Great link. ;)
Your lab is showing signs of resource guarding.
Read everything you can on the topic. It's a biggie.

http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theoth ... prevention

https://positively.com/dog-behavior/agg ... -guarding/

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/3339

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