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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok just so ya'll know... we have been practicing pretty stringent NILF with Jesse since he was 7 weeks old.

He is NEVER allowed on any furniture or our bed. He must ALWAYS "sit" or "down" for his dinner, and stay until we tell him "ok"...even if that means his bowl is on the floor for 5 minutes before he is allowed to eat out of it. He also has always had our hands in his food dish while he was eating... we sometimes feed him his dinner by the handfull or just put extra handfuls of food in while he is eating.

He also has a good "drop it" and we practice taking bones/toys from him while he is chewing them and then giving them back.

He is a cheerful pup at 5 months old who has never had a problem with any of this. He is not food or toy-aggressive in the least bit.

So tonight I was cutting his nails while he chewed a bone to distract him. He did fine for the first 3 feet... I just want him to get used to the clippers so I was only taking off the tiniest tip. He would try to crawl away with his bone while I clipped, but not a peep out of him.

Then suddenly while I was holding foot #4 he tried to crawl away on his belly with his bone, and he growled! He did not turn towards me when he growled; he was crawling away and just growled as he crawled. He had dropped the bone, too.

I was so shocked, I dropped the clippers and rolled him over onto his back, where he laid and turned his head away from me. He stayed perfectly still until I released him, and then he just sort of looked guilty, like he knew he did something wrong. I grabbed the bone and made him do a sit, then down, then I gave it back. Then after a while I took the bone again and "traded" for a cookie, after which I made him do a down/stay before giving back the bone... just to reinforce my position.

Please... advice? Did I react correctly? Was this ok puppy testing behavior for him? Please tell me it was... do I need to worry about aggression? He has NEVER growled at anyone except for Loki before. He is 5 months old, but he is already over 55 lbs and he is going to be a BIG boy... I MUST make sure that he knows I'm the boss (I'm a small woman -- 5'1" and, well, I don't weigh that much... Jesse will probably weigh almost as much as me when he's full grown).

Am I doing anything wrong? Is his behavior normal for a puppy of his age? Any advice is welcome; I want to nip this while he's still small enough for me to control.
 

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I wouldn't worry too much...sounds like you handled the situation well. Jesse is young and being a bully, will test you from time to time. Keep doing what you are doing (minus the alpha roll once he's older) and if he's stable enough, he should turn out alright.
 

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Growling is just an automatic response for dogs when they want to let something or someone
know that they are not pleased with what is going on. Your reaction was right on target. Do not
take it too seriously as he is just a pup. He knew he did wrong and that is what you want, He
just forgot himself for a moment. Your reaction will help him to remember next time.
:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Carrie said:
I wouldn't worry too much...sounds like you handled the situation well. Jesse is young and being a bully, will test you from time to time. Keep doing what you are doing (minus the alpha roll once he's older) and if he's stable enough, he should turn out alright.
If I minus the alpha roll once he's older, what do I do? If he growls at me in the future, what should my immediate response be?
 

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To very quickly take his collar and tell him NO! I really believe that this is
not an aggressive thing against you, it is just a pup that's had enough and wants
to be left alone. We need to learn their limits and respect when they have had enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you... my mind is a bit at ease that this is normal puppy behavior.

It's just that when you read the boards too much and it's all about bully aggression and instability -- Jesse is a pound puppy and we do not know his lineage and sometimes I worry that he will have this aggression in him that we read about. We are doing everything we can to prevent it... believe me, I would love for Jesse to curl up on the couch with me... but I know it is better for us to be consistent, making him stay on the floor and having him know his place in our pack.

I think I am perhaps blowing it out of proportion... I just got my feelings hurt a bit. He has never growled at me before and he is getting much bigger. I will continue with the NILF and keep an eye on this, any further advice/experience is of course welcome!
 

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It is hard to determine instability in a pup, just because they are a pup.
And then you have that time between 6 to 10 months when they have reached
the "teenager" stage and just want to be "plain independant" and push
to get it. A good dog will want to please you and when they do push the
envelope, they will feel guilty that they upset you. A good dog will back
down and listen to your authority - a stubborn, needs a little more training
dog, will still listen and learn, it just takes a little more handeling. You will
know if you have an uncontrollable dog because he just plain won't listen
to you and will get angered that you are trying to make him listen to you.
Anger is not good and this is what needs to be watched for, from a pet
person's point of view.
 
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