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Categories: Dog Bites

Q. My typically non aggressive lab has bitten since we bred her and she had puppies. What advice can you give us?
I tried to find the answer to my question on your web site, but couldn't quite find the right fit from the previous questions. I'm really hoping you can help because I don't know what to do.

We have a lab that we've had since she was a puppy. She's always been an inside dog and has gotten along great with EVERYONE up until now. She's not been to formal obedience training, but we don't like unruly dogs, so we've got her pretty well trained. She's always had ear problems and, as a result, she's pretty much deaf, so we've got her trained to hand signals now. She hunts so it's important that she behaves, so she'll sit, stay, retrieve, lay down, etc. She doesn't have free reign of the house so we built her a kennel indoors for when we've got a lot of company or aren't home, etc.

Anyway, she's now almost 6 and we decided we'd breed her, since she's been so great and we wanted a puppy. Well, since probably her late pregnancy she's shown a few instances of aggressiveness, but nothing serious. She sort of showed her teeth and barked at a lady that was at the house for a party, but was in her kennel so there was no incident really and I didn't get alarmed. I was really surprised more than anything because that was a first for her.

When the puppies came she was a really terrible mother. (She had 9 puppies and only 4 survived her.) My son, who she just loves and slept with most nights for the past year or so, was trying to help her tend to them so she wouldn't kill any more and she sort of attacked him. I'd say she bit him, but she bit both of his hands so I know there were at least two bites. (I feel that's kind of like an attack, verses just a bite.) During this encounter she never barked or growled or anything. There was no warning that she would become aggressive. My son was in the birthing box/kennel with her when it happened and it was at night so we wrote it off to the new motherhood and the confined space/dark, etc... The next day she sort of snapped at me from inside the kennel, so we just kind of left her alone figuring it was a "mother dog" thing and that it would get better.

Well, the reason for my question is this; it's now 9 weeks after puppies and they've been separated from her for about 2 weeks. The puppies are outside and she's still inside. Last night she bit the neighbor boy when he put his hand in her kennel. Again, she never growled, barked, nothing. I can't say that this is just "mother dog" behavior any longer. I've never owned a dog that's ever bitten anyone and I don't really know what to do. We love her and don't want to put her down, but I cannot have a dog that I can't trust either.

Can you offer me any advice of a logical next step? The whole family is very upset because she's been such a great pet up until this point. I've even thought about extracting her canine teeth to at least make her less dangerous if she would ever bite again. I'm just so stunned that these events have even taken place that I don't know where to turn. We've always had her socialized to whoever comes to the house and have never had a problem. Now I'm concerned that she might hurt someone else.

Thank you in advance for your time.
Have a great day!
Aimee'

A. Even non aggressive dogs may bite when you put your hand inside their kennel or over a fence. I’m not making excuses for the dog but the first responsibility of ownership is making sure that your dog can’t be put in a situation where they feel like they need to bite. Dogs should not be kenneled where people (especially kids) have access to them.

Many pregnant dogs and dogs with puppies will show aggression, it’s what we refer to as maternal aggression. It usually fades with time as the puppies get older and leave to go to their new homes.

My advice would be to re-establish rules and pack structure with her and correct any aggression appropriately. Extracting the canine teeth is NOT the answer.

Start with our groundwork program and Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

I’d also recommend Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs. You will need a dominant dog collar and possibly a muzzle. We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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This collar is not intended to give a painful correction. It is intended to take the air away from a dominant aggressive dog. More dogs are put to sleep everyday for aggression problems than they are properly trained. Killing a dog must ALWAYS be the last resort. Learning how to use a dominant dog collar can and will often make the difference between having a dog put down or ending up as a pack leader and a dog the you can live with. Some dogs will often get over-stimulated by a prong collar resulting in a more hectic and aggressive dog. The Dominant Dog Collar is designed to be used on handler aggressive or dog aggressive dogs. Using a Dominant Dog collar correctly on the takes the drive and fight out of the dog. Leerburg's Dominant Dog Collars If you have a problem with dog aggression or a dominant dogs, we recommend that you get the Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs DVD. We also have an extensive collection of articles pertaining to dominant and aggressive dogs We recommend you read the article on Dealing with the Dominant Dog written by Ed Frawley. Individuals who use this collar for handler aggression should have their dog undergo through a solid pack structure program. For adult dogs, we recommend the Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet DVD. For puppies, we recommend the Living with Your Puppy - Establishing Pack Structure DVD. Due to government restrictions, countries such as Australia and a few in Europe do not allow the use of remote or electric collars. These dominant dog collars are a viable alternative.

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Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet
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Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs
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