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Old 10-13-2008, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Spring, TX
142 posts, read 568,757 times
Reputation: 70
Default Shih Tzu puppy agression problems

I have had a shih tzu male puppy for over 2 months now. The problem is, he has bitten my children (ages 3 and 4) many times. I know sometimes it has been when they will not leave him alone, like when he is eating or resting. Other times he will be on my lap and one of my kids will come up just to pet him and he will snap at them. The other day he apparently got a paper towel with bacon grease out of the trash can and was chewing it when my daughter walked by him, he bit her in the leg. When I say bite, I don't mean puppy nipping, he has drawn blood and left marks on their legs and faces. I talked to my vet assistant and she just gave me some printouts on training, but nothing very helpful. She also said that Shih Tzu are usually good with small children. I have since researched online and found that they are not. I bought him from a breeder and had my children with and she too said they are great for little ones. Anyway, can his behavior be corrected, and how? I would hate to have to get rid of him, even the kids don't want to even though they have gotten bitten. He is pretty good with my 9 yr. old. But if I can't get him to stop, I will have to make a choice and obviously my kids come first. Any suggestions?
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Texas
692 posts, read 2,786,694 times
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How old is the puppy?

All dogs go through the nipping phase and like with any dog, no matter the breed, it has to be corrected. Or you end up with a snippy dog.

Have you looked into taking him to training classes? For a basic start and some one to better explain how to go about everything.

This is a great short guide that explains why puppies bite and what you can do to start fixing it. To be completely honest; the growling and squealing does work.
Dog Owner's Guide: "No bite!"

On the other hand even though he's a Shih Tzu you really need to work on basic training with him. Let the kids join in because he needs to listen to them too. If I let Teddie (my Shih Tzu) do what ever he wants he would be a monster. When I brought him home he started training like all of my other dogs. Size has nothing to do with training. Ted knows sit, down, wait, stay, leave it, come, roll over, and we're working on new stuff all the time.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
1,315 posts, read 4,501,906 times
Reputation: 1502
Your dog is acting normally for an untrained and unsocialized dog. Left to their own devices, dogs defend their territory (your lap) and their food (bacon grease on a towel). Your dog sees you as his property and your children as competitors. You need to set boundaries. Dogs like boundaries because they need to know where they stand in the family hierarchy. Dogs that are confused about their place are unhappy dogs and they act out as yours is doing.

This is NOT a hard problem to fix. Your dog is not vicious and is not a danger-yet. You do need to take control, though, and right now.

Start with NILF. Nothing in life is free. Here's are two of many tutorials you will find on the web: NILF Training
Nothing in life is free - NILF - dog training - Article on Pets.ca.

You need to be consistent, and your children do too. No lap time for now, until you are sure the dog can be removed, patted and relocated at your whim without incident. The dog should have a bed on the floor or a crate he can go to where he will not be disturbed. Dogs need a safe place. Teach the children to leave the dog alone when the dog is in his safe place.

And Teddie's idea of enrolling your dog in a training class is excellent. Dogs need to have a job, and training is a job. It cements your role as leader and your kids' roles as adjunct leaders.

Please enroll your dog in training and try NILF, then let us know how he's doing.

Best wishes!
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:37 PM
 
3,272 posts, read 6,126,731 times
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Great advice from the above posters. Shih-Tzus ARE usually good with children. I have a female 16 months old and she is the sweetest most docile pup we've ever had. She LOVES kids and is so gentle with my grandchildren. When she was younger (3-7 months old), she developed a bad habit of biting feet! Ouch! We enrolled in her in basic puppy obedience classes when she was 6 months old. They included children in their group training - it was great. Don't give up on your little boy - he is defintely trainable and may turn out to be the best dog you could ever imagine!
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Spring, TX
142 posts, read 568,757 times
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Thanks for all the great advice. He is 5 months old today. He does have a doggie bed (that he never uses) and a crate. He sleeps in his crate at night and goes in there when we are not home. I am getting him neutered shortly, will that have any positive impact on his behavior?
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:17 PM
 
3,713 posts, read 7,890,563 times
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Neutering should help but it's not the sole answer, it will make him less distractable and a better pet IMO. Would also make sure your children give your puppy his space, esp. when he eats or sleeps, he's a living being w/ feelings, not a plaything (not saying they're treating him wrong but overexcitement can lead to problems and you dont want your children or the puppy to get hurt). Little kids and puppies can be on the wild side and unpredictable - for ex., a loud scream or laugh etc from a young child can scare the puppy and he can bite out of fear etc - would really supervise them when they're together and no child s/b left alone w/ a puppy (or dog), too much can happen in an instant.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:26 PM
 
7,081 posts, read 24,174,349 times
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I agree with Honeycrisp, but I'll go a step further.

Your children are too young to be with the dog by themselves. Small children don't realize they're hurting the dog when they play roughly and the dog, since he's been hurt by the children, is snapping at them out of fear that they'll do it again. You don't know unless you're watching the children CONSTANTLY (i.e., while you're working in the kitchen and they're playing in the next room, which is impossible) that they haven't hurt the puppy and, from the behavior you describe, that's what has happened.

You also have to realize that your puppy is JUST approaching teething age, which starts at around six months, when everything and anything is fair game, in his eyes, for chomping on.

I work in Pug rescue and, frankly, we don't adopt to families with children younger than 10 because too often children don't realize that they are hurting the dog, the dog bites in defense of itself, and you can only imagine what happens next.

You need to be consistent with your dog and your children might need to realize that the dog is a feeling, conscious being who is sensitive to pain and doesn't enjoy having ears pulled, being teased, etc.
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:55 AM
 
1 posts, read 20,942 times
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Default "The Biting"

I have 3 month old girl and she was biting my kids also...to the point it just was not cute little nips anymore. My vet showed me how to flip her over so that she is belly up close her mouth and say "no bite" Hold her mouth shut until...she stops, she may cry but just do it.I started yesterday and it's gotton a little better...she knows now to stop or at leaset hesitate before she bites..Hope this helps
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Old 11-15-2008, 07:12 AM
 
7,081 posts, read 24,174,349 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoosyGirl View Post
I have 3 month old girl and she was biting my kids also...to the point it just was not cute little nips anymore. My vet showed me how to flip her over so that she is belly up close her mouth and say "no bite" Hold her mouth shut until...she stops, she may cry but just do it.I started yesterday and it's gotton a little better...she knows now to stop or at leaset hesitate before she bites..Hope this helps
That is called an 'alpha roll' and it's very dangerous to do, because it encourages aggression in dogs. Vets don't learn dog training or behavior, just medicine.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:36 AM
 
3,353 posts, read 1,531,836 times
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Ugh, alpha roll...I agree, don't do it. She may not bite you but she could bite others. there's no reason to use that for training.
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