7 month old agression half rottie/ half mix

by Steve

I just adopted a pup. He is 7 months old. The mother was a full blood and the father was a mutt with lab and who knows what else. The dog was abandoned 2 days after birth.

The woman i got him from bottle fed him and brought him back to life. The woman had to move and wasn't allowed dogs in her new apartment. When i met this dog he was very friendly but after i got him home he started being very protective of his food bowl. He wouldn't even take a treat that he loves. Then he bit me hard and drew blood. I smacked his nose and put him in his cage but after a few hours i let him out and the aggression got worse.

I know that the home transfer is going to take a while for him to get used to but what can i do to help???


Hi Steve
This poor pup is probably very anxious and scared and quite unsettled by his rather difficult start in life. He won't understand why he is no longer in the only home he knows and needs time to learn to trust his new family and feel at home in this unfamiliar environment.

Food guarding is very common in dogs who haven't been handled or disciplined properly (having too many other dogs to share with, being corrected too harshly or not getting fed properly, or enough, can all be factors). There's a page on my website that deals with this problem specifically and will teach you exactly how to overcome it, you can find it here.... Dog Food Aggression

The problem is compounded by the fact that he is not used to you or your home, and by smacking him you have probably scared him more and set that back even further. I do understand that you were probably shocked and in pain, and there's no way he should have done that, but physical punishment like that will only ever make the situation worse.

Unfortunately you don't really know too much about this puppy or his normal behavior, so it's difficult to tell if this was a one-off incident caused by intense fear and unfamiliar surroundings or if his temperament is unsound. Only time will tell and you need to be careful as you evaluate him and interact with him. Hopefully as he is able to feel less anxious this behavior will not resurface.

You are going to need to take it very slowly with this pup and give him time to adjust to all the changes. Be calm, firm and loving and always use a low voice and slow, steady movements. Don't shout, smack, scold or get over-emotional in any way, that will make him anxious and he may well react defensively. If he doesn't want to take a treat don't make him, and I'd advise giving him a week or so to settle in a bit before starting any major training. For now just set some basic house rules.

I also think that you need to get him enrolled in a local dog obedience class where you can have a professional dog trainer help you to understand and interact with your pup. He/she will also be able to evaluate your puppys behavior and determine whether or not he's temperamentally sound. It's much easier when you have hands-on help and this will benefit both of you. Do also make sure that he's completely healthy by having your vet give him a full check up and ensuring he's up to date on vaccinations and parasite control.

As you rightly assume, this situation needs time and patience so don't rush it and get any help you need from a trainer and your vet.

Hope it helps, I wish you the very best of luck with your new pup.

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