puppy growling and lunging and biting all of a sudden


puppy growling and lunging and biting all of a sudden

Postby bp » Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:46 pm

Hi, we just got our puppy and we love her already and we would really appreciate some help with our almost 5 month old pit bull female puppy, Beauty.

We took her from a friend of friend who could not keep her because of her moving. We didn't get background info on her except that the lady's father had the litter of pups.

We've had her for 12 days and have taken her to one basic training class. We started using a prong collar on her for walks 4 day's ago at the training class (after a week of having her pull us all over with a flat collar). She caught on very quickly (same day) and will heel with very little correction.
Two days ago she started playbiting that turned into growling, lunging and jumping at us unprovoked. Today I stood in one room and she cornered me and would not stop jumping and trying to bite my hands, biting at my crotch and growling. Just a few minutes before in the kitchen she had started and i got her to sit and lay down. The only way I got her to stop was to grab her collar. We are trying to understand her. She has bitten my hand, but not bruised or torn the skin. We've tried to say "ow" when she plays too rough and leave the room, but she chases after us still jumping and repeats. Once when I looked at her and said "ow" she stopped for a moment and then growled and lunged again.
We want to find out what to do - one moment she's an eager to please pup sitting, laying, shaking paws with us for praise and treats and the next she's what we think is aggressive towards us but we want some help determining if this is serious or she needs training to teach her how to act around people. Her growling and lunging at us without stopping and advancing on us is frightening.

Does anyone have an idea what to do? We want to work with her and train her. We don't know how to judge her behavior or what to think.

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Postby satanscheerleader » Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:02 pm

Can you get in contact with the previous owner to find out if they play fought with her? That would be some good info to know... whether she was taught to play like that or if this is something she has come up with on her own... Alot of people will do that with a pup when it is young and think it is cute when it acts aggressive and when they start to grow up it becomes a problem especially if they haven't taught them any "rules" to the game like "enough" or what is too rough and unacceptable.


Postby bp » Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:21 pm

I will call her this week and ask about how she played with her. We know she had played tug of war with her and used a spray bottle when she was out of hand. We haven't done either.
It happened to my husband yesterday for the first time when he came home and after he took her outside to eliminate, then came inside and removed her leash, that she started growling, barking and biting in the calf. Now, she didn't rip his clothes or leave a bruise but she did it repeatedly all the while growling. He had read about playbiting and how important it is to teach her the limits, so he said "ouch" and left the room to separate himself from her. When he came out a few minutes later she started again. And then it happened again, and again.
Later in the evening she was fine.

We really want to understand her behavior.

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Postby Wednesday » Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:42 am

She sounds like she is just trying to play. I can't say for certain because I am not there, but pits can be very vocal when they are playing and often grunt or growl. When you say lunging, is she getting close to the ground with her butt in the air, or do you just mean jumping towards you?

Have you started her on the Nothing In Life is Free program? If you do a search on google for NILF you will find some good information.

Koya behaved that way when I first got her too (only she was a year and harder to handle) and it just took sometime to teach her that she couldn't behave this way around us. When she started jumping and nipping, I would cross my arms and turn my back to her. It would take a few seconds for her to clue in that I wasn't intrested, but it did work.

Remember that she is just a pup and doesn't know any manners yet. It is up to you to teach her them. It sounds like a puppy without manners to me, but I am also not an expert. It sounds like she just needs abit of guidance in how to behave.

I am sure that you will get a lot of great advice here :thumbsup:


Postby tjbsandy » Fri Apr 22, 2005 7:42 am


Sounds to me like she just wants to play too. Lilith still gets a bit mouthy when she gets really excited, so we still do the puppy yelp and go to another room and shut the door. Now she calms down pretty quickly. Hopefully your girl is just playing too. Good luck! Try doing a search on play biting and mouthing in the training section, you will find a lot more info there!

Welcome to the board! :thumbsup:


Postby bp » Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:03 pm

thank you for the warm welcome and good advice. my husband and I are so excited to teach and play with Beauty and have been on an emotional roller coaster when she started biting us and pulling on our hands and clothes, especially when we wanted to show her affection and play. We read about "nothing in life is free" and are trying to do it consistently. We have been doing the puppy yelp and go to another room quite a few times today and are trying to make sure we do it every time it occurs.

By the way, when she was lunging at us I meant she was growling with a pause and stare and jumping towards hands, arms to bite. No "play bow" but sometimes her tail was wagging (good?) Sure is disconcerting when she's doing that! We know she's young and teething like a baby but she sure is strong! After a few times going into another room she got calmer and settled down.

So much to learn! Thankyou - and we will sure check out the training forum.


Postby dami_sgirl@sbcglobal.net » Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:48 am

when my pits wrestle or are playing with other pits that belong to friends they allways growl. if there were a wooden fence between them and an observer/listener the initial opinion would probably be that we were fighting dogs. infact we just moved to a more expensive neighborhood and im sure it wont be long before some misinformed do-gooder sends the police knocking on our door. unfortunately for their quota, they'll find two dogs who are treated better than most people treat their children. And as far as biting, dogs dont have functional hands like us so all they really got to play with is their mouth, try telling her no next time but instead of leaving the room, give her a tug toy to wrestle with instead. if u only play w/ her w/ the toy she'll give up on the hands on wrestling :thumbsup:


Postby dami_sgirl@sbcglobal.net » Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:50 am

oh yeah, welcome! :welcome:


Postby bullymom » Sun Apr 24, 2005 1:59 pm

My new baby girl is doing the same thing, with us and with my 3 yr old male amstaff. We are just keeping a constant eye on her and discouraging too much "rough housing" and saying NO when she bites. When we adopted her, there were 12 puppies and they were all playing the same way so I'm sure she will grow out of it, and so will yours. Good Luck!


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Postby satanscheerleader » Sun Apr 24, 2005 3:15 pm

I agree with the redirection suggestion. Whenever I have had pups trying to bite at me I stick a toy in their mouth and get them to get that instead. If you are going with the NILIF concept you may want to walk away from the situation and later instigate the play yourself with the toy. I don't really have dominance issues with my dogs so for me just redirecting them to a toy has always worked well then as they get older I could just go "get the toy" and they would run off and find it and bring it back to play.

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