Aggressive Pup

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Health Questions' started by dbamoroso, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. dbamoroso

    dbamoroso New Member

    We have a beautiful almost 12-week old that is exhibiting VERY aggressive behavior, especially when he is told "no" or stopped from something he wants to do. He literally is showing attack behavior and it is scary. We are holding him down until he gives up and then leave the room for five minutes until he calms down. So, two questions: WHAT is happening -This is not normal behavior for a berner right? And, what recommendations do any of you have for behavior modification? Thanks!!
  2. 2berners

    2berners Guest

    This is normal behaviour for a 12 week old puppy who is learning his boundaries. What you are seeing is unlikely "aggressive behaviour" but rather frustration at not being able to do what he wants.
    Can you give a specific example of when this might happen?
    I am sure this behaviour can be altered with some simple self control training. If you can give a situation where this happens, perhaps I can give you some suggestions on how to deal with it that does not involve holding your puppy down but rather giving him an opportunity to learn the appropriate behavior that you would like to see instead.
  3. younakan

    younakan New Member

    This sounds very similar to what we were (and sometimes still are) experiencing with Heidi, now 8 months old. I also am not convinced that it is aggressiveness on the part of the puppy, but just testing limits.
    In the house, one of our tricks was to use a timeout like you seem to be doing, but we used a nearby powder room (no windows, so complete darkness) to contain her for a few minutes after an "attack". She would emerge calm and the behaviour eventually stopped. After a few times, she would stop her bad behaviour when we would just reach for the door. It's been a number of months now since we've had to resort to the timeout, so I would recommend trying it.
    It was also suggested to us that once the puppy has some simple commands mastered, that getting her to do something she knows (sit, paw) would snap her back to attention and stop the behaviour, especially if there was a treat to be had (Heidi is VERY food motivated). This seems to work for us.
    Good luck! It's a tough time, but I can tell you based on our experience that she has improved a ton since those crazy times.
  4. dbamoroso

    dbamoroso New Member

    Thank you to both of you! I feel so much better knowing that we don't have a problem pup, just one that is trying to test his limits.

    Over-excitement seems to set him off, and as I mentioned, being pulled from something he wants to do that is not safe (like eating mulch or pulling our cats tail). We are still a work in progress and will get all the kinks out soon enough.

    Much appreciation for your knowledge and advice which we will apply with our little guy.
  5. LeonilKyle

    LeonilKyle Member

    I started my Bernese to do formal obedience training. And 100% positive reinforcement training works for most dogs. It's a good form of training and typically yields the best results but some dogs require a tougher form of training, depending on the circumstances.

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