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Yard with NO fence. HELP!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:51 pm
by GunnerStryker
My Gunner is 11 weeks old, we've had him for 3 weeks.

I have a list of problems I'm having with him, but my main concern right now is that we have a big yard, but no fence! We live in a development, so we can't just let him run free. He is terrible on a leash, and when he's on it, he turns, growls at me, and bites me hard enough to draw blood. Every. Single. Time. To the point where I dread taking him out even for potty breaks. Standing still is not an option, he doesn't give up even after a few minutes. Walking away is not an option, he bites and growls even worse. I've picked him up, and he's bitten my face. (Can Brittany pups become aggressive??)

Is an invisible fence a good option with Brittany's this young? I feel part of my problem might be solved by allowing him to run freely, and no longer having him jerk on his neck every time he decides to run full speed in the opposite direction. Or does anyone have any other option? I am trying my best to love him, but my patience is wearing thin with him. We also have 2 children, and they can't even come near him unless he is sleeping, for fear he will also turn and bite them. (I'm not taking playful Brittany puppy nipping wanting them to come play. I'm talking they walk into a room and he growls and bites them immediately) My kids insist they love him, but they are also becoming fearful of him. We've been around other puppies, and never experienced this type of puppy biting.

(Side note - We have him in Puppy Classes. We are doing basic positive obedience training, he listens when he wants. He pees in his crate. He pees in his Ex Pen. He pees when I have him tethered to me in the house. I am home with him 90% of the day and take him outside to play 3x along with regular potty breaks)

Please help me :cry: :oops:

Re: Yard with NO fence. HELP!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:46 pm
by Barb Wright
Whew...Does sound a bit over the top !! I think what disturbs me the most is the growling.....and then the biting "to draw blood" also shows that nowhere along the way in his 11 weeks has he had the chance to learn bite inhibition. Unfortunately, if he was taken away from litter mates too soon, he has had no chance to learn bite inhibition...and that is a tough one for humans to convey to a pup. Takes a long time for humans to get that one across, very trying on the patience, no question. You sound like you have already boned up on that issue and tried the usual methods without much luck.....though, keep in mind, you have only been working with this pup for 3 weeks, you have months to go to really get these biting issues solved totally.

But, back to the growling.....especially at the children (though, you did not say what their ages are) this does display a serious warning, and does not usually fall into "puppy play biting" category. Granted, pups can and do growl but not usually in the way that you are describing. I'm wondering if he has not had some painful experience somewhere along the way that has prompted this instant defensiveness. Which also leads me to wonder if he has a health problem or a body function issue that is causing him pain, and what we would call normal handling is for him a painful experience ?? So, it might be a good idea for a really thorough physical check-up so you can rule that out. At the same time, get him checked for urinary tract infection which could be one of the causes for failure to learn house manners. And along that line, the peeing could be submissive urination, very common in both male and female puppies, although he doesn't sound like he lacks confidence....dunno, tough one !! SA can go on until they are a year or so old, I know, ugh !!!

He is far too young for an invisible fence....using pain as a training method is never a good idea especially with a dog this young MPO. I suggest you switch to a harness and a long line to give him a bit more space for his zooming around. Make sure the harness fits snugly as a loose harness can actually cause injury. If he keeps hitting his collar at full speed he is definitely going to damage his neck/throat area. When you want to do training such as at puppy class, use the collar. This way he learns when he is "training" it's the collar, when he is allowed some freedom it's the harness. Always leave the collar on so that even during his freedom time if you need to get him under control you can switch your clip to the collar. He will soon learn which device requires which action from him. If you decide on this tactic be sure to give him enough time (weeks) so that he gets the connection between the two controls.

From what you have described this is just a few thoughts for you. Hopefully there will be some suggestion from others.

I do have a question....did you get this pup from a reliable and recommended breeder??

Re: Yard with NO fence. HELP!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:34 am
by Cindy
Barb has made some excellent points and suggestions which I totally agree with so not much else to add along those lines. As far as getting your pup more exercise, do you have a fenced in dog park in your area? If no park, what about some kind of large building like an indoor horse arena or some kind of sports arena. We have doggie day care facilities with large fenced areas. Sometimes (and you'd definitely want to ask first) city/county parks will let you use hard top tennis courts which are fenced in provided you pick up after your dog. You'd want to check to make sure there was no possible escape route though. I would definitely check with people in your puppy class to see if they know of any safe places to exercise your dog. As everyone on this discussion board can attest to ... a tired Brittany is a happy owner!!

Re: Yard with NO fence. HELP!

PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:38 pm
by GunnerStryker
I think something must have been going on with him last week. In the last few days, he has calmed down and hasn't growled at my kids (5 and 7). I've been using the crate a lot more, and trying to recognize when he is overly tired. Putting him in there even if he fights at first often times calms him down and he will take a rest.
He still growls at me and bites my leg almost every time I put the leash on him. I think that may go with the fact that he wants to run free and he already learned the leash doesn't allow him to do that. To counter that, I've been putting a long lead on him and allowing him to run around the yard with it hooked on. So it's there and he feels it, but he is able to run. Hopefully in the future I can teach him some leash manners.
Our puppy parks don't allow dogs until they are 4 months old and have their rabies vaccines. So, I have a bit of a wait yet.
The breeder we used talked a big game and seemed like he really knew what he was doing, had a few positive recommendations, but after picking the dog up I got the feeling he was mostly all talk and probably just breeding to try and make a quick buck :cry: But I am glad I'm able to provide a good home for my Brit! I think he will come around as I've seen some an improvement already! I'll keep trying!

Re: Yard with NO fence. HELP!

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:04 am
by gagesbarb
Glad you are finding some things that help! I agree with all that Cindy and Barb said. I help teach puppy classes and one of the things we find that is hard to remember is how much sleep puppies need- 16-18-20 hours a day...and when they are tired, just like kids, they fall apart...and just like kids, they often fight taking naps...sounds like you've recognized that and are responding...I like the idea of a long line...and just like taking a nap, your puppy may have to have a little tantrum while he's getting used to the leash. I'd put the leash on, step on it, wear long pants you don't care a lot about (or boots) and wait...when he settles, give him a treat (we use a clicker to "mark" appropriate is useful because you can mark the good behavior very quickly and that helps the puppy learn what you want). I also agree with Barb that if he continues to pee in his crate, etc. make sure there is no may be that when you took him out and he spent time fighting the leash, he got distracted and didn't go potty...don't know how often you are taking him out, but I'd take him out when he wakes up, after he eats, after he plays, as well as every couple hours...hopefully, the long line will allow him to be less distracted...I'd also encourage you to talk with the trainers at your puppy class...they have the advantage of seeing the puppy...I'm glad they are exclusively positive...As Barb said, the last thing you need with an excitable puppy is pain/punishment...also as Barb said, the puppy play time in puppy class is the way to teach your puppy bite inhibition...
One more thing--be very careful about dog parks...not only might there be health issues, but we find that young dogs can learn negative behaviors at dog parks...everyone doesn't "read" dogs very well and there might be dogs there who don't really have good play behaviors...we usually suggest that you find someone in your neighborhood (I've met lots of people as I walk around our neighborhood), a friend, or even someone from puppy class, get together with that person in their fenced yard...better safe than sorry

Let us know how things go...and I'm so glad you are being able to see the good things in your puppy!!