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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I'll try to give enough background without making this a book

When we decided to get a Labradoodle I did a lot of research, read a lot of books, picked a great breeder, observed the litter for weeks before we made our pick and even video taped the puppies playing and nursing to help us determine personality. I was looking for a companion, a dog that would do well with my young children (3 & 6), and had high hopes of being able to train this dog as a therapy dog. Both of my children have numerous health problems and visits during hospital stays from therapy dogs have been a God send for us - I'ld like to be able to do the same for others.

So, even though I really wanted a cream, when it came down to picking our forever puppy we picked a black since we felt he was the best fit for the family. He was a middle of the road puppy - not overly shy, not dominant, not vocal, interested in the kids but not all over them, always the one pushed out by his litter mates when eating, etc. He was the last born of 9.

Dante has been so awesome at home - great with kids and friends that come over, sticks by my side, plays with his toys and mostly leaves the kids toys and laundry alone. He shows no agression when eating and will sit and wait to be "released" for his meals. He will respond to commands from the kids. Anyone can touch any part of his body, is great for toenails, pulling ear hair out, baths, etc. I have not found anything he is afraid of - he learned stairs quick, has been great at the vets...

So I enrolled Dante in a puppy socialization class that is held at a local nursing home and is only open to young puppies that are all on the same vaccination schedule. Dante was so excited to see other puppies - whining, barking straining to get near them. Well, when it was his turn to be loose playing with the other dogs he turned into CUJO!!!! He chases after other dogs, snarling, barking, and trying to mount them. After three weeks of mostly missing class since he has to be removed from the room when he exhibits this behavior I called and checked out a different class. The first trainer's opinion is that he is a very dominant dog and wants to keep control of the situation.

The second class I took him to had much more room for the dogs to spread out and play. His behavior is the same - mounting, snarling, etc. This trainer said Dante is easily aroused and vocal in his play but his play is not innappropriate.

Dante isn't showing any dominant behavior at home so I just can't believe his actions around other dogs. I have noticed that he tends to leave the smaller dogs alone and it's the larger ones he wants to "play" with. I want to be able to go to Doodleromps this summer and have him around other dogs without it sounding like he's trying to kill them. I have been very careful and he has never been cornered or bullied by another dog - he is always the agressor.

Has anyone else had any experience with this? Does it get better or worse as they get older? Once he's fully vaccinated and can be out and about with other dogs more than once a week will that help? I know neutering him will not fix the problem but hopefully it will keep it from becoming worse. He is 12 weeks now.

Any suggestions or input (other than get him a playmate for home!) would be greatly appreciated!

Heather and Dante
 

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Sounds more like puppy play to me

sounds more like puppy play to me
You are aware that any interaction without being fully vaccinated should be nill ,, only takes one germ to get a puppy sick
during the time you pickup and all vaccines completed should be a time for pup to bond with family,learn proper behaviour, you can also start leash and sit down stay training,
it seems a bit to earlier for anyone to make that kind of call on a young puppy, and yes he will grow out of this,with socalization,after his shots and training
 

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Does Dante get to play with other dogs? Not just puppies. Maybe a play session with an adult dog that can put him in his place will changes things. On our walks we met two big labs that Hershey saw almost daily when she was a puppy and they showed her she needed to be submissive sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. I have wondered if my neighbor's Lab who doesn't always tolerate puppies well wouldn't help show him the proper way to behave. I plan on waiting until after that last vaccination to start walking with the nieghbor and her lab and see how it goes before they are allowed to play.

I do understand I need to limit Dante's exposure until that last vaccination - Dante isn't even allowed in the front yard yet. However, the vet was okay with the socialization class since it is held at a nursing home and all the puppies would be the same age.

I have read so many articles that say the age between 8-12 weeks is so critical for proper socialization. I have also had a trainer tell me that many of the dogs that end up in the shelter missed proper socialization during that period and that it was, in her opinion, worth a bit of risk. That being said I do know how awful parvo and chrono virus is. When I was 14 we brought our Dalmation puppy home from the farm we purchased her from and she was at the vet with Parvo within three days. She did pull through but it was touch and go.

I'll be patient and not worry so much about his behavior for another month when he can be out in the big wide world!

Heather
 
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Boyd was wild in puppy class when it came to off leash time so the trainer suggested he attend daycare one day a week so he could be socialized to older dogs. It has done wonders. In puppy class Boyd would play and play with the other puppies, even when they clearly didn't want to be bothered! :roll:

He still plays a lot but he has learned when other dogs have had enough.
 

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Hi Heather, I agree with Nancy...this is so normal. Puppies change as they grow and sometimes they attack and other times they become the target. Sometimes 3 gang up on one...it is natural and very normal.
I do agree that letting him play with an older dog is good, but I'd select a very docile one. Your pup doesn't need to be frightened by an older dog at this point and a calm, docile dog will allow a lot and then just growl or walk away.
I would also enroll him in another puppy class. You can certainly keep him in the classes for Therapy Dogs, but you can let him get used to other puppies at puppy kindergarten classes offered by vet clinics.
It used to really worry me when I saw my puppies growling, snarling, biting and attacking each other...I thought that they were all just horrible...but I found out that this is how they learn.
Your pup was the one pushed aside...he has probably had to learn to be pushy if he wants to get anywhere.
Don't worry, don't over-react by pulling him away and scolding him or by coddling him. As long as the other dogs are just doing the puppy yelp, let him play. They will put him in his place soon enough!
 

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Puppies behave this way and it also a way for them to learn. Puppies all mature at different rates and some are more extroverted than others.

Max is great with all other dogs...Peanut pushes buttons to see how far she can go.

and Jac is sooooooooo correct and giving great advice!!!! :D
 

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Sounds to me he just needs dog socialization. They all have to learn dog etiquette :) He'll be fine, listen to Jac.

LizziesMom
 
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