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Is my puppy hyper or aggressive?
  • HarveyHarvey
    Posts: 30
    Before I get anyone telling me to do an "advanced search" on this topic, I DID and came up with nothing that solves my problem. So PLEASE listen and read this so that I can get the correct advice for the benefit of my Harvey Inu.

    So! The issue is, he shows a lot of aggression toward toys. He bites them and shakes them around with his mouth while growling... I don't know how to stop this "aggressive behavior" because a) I don't know if it's him being hyper and a puppy or 2) how to stop it if I need to.

    Now, with me he will jump up and down and try to lick me and be kind of mouthy but he responds well to "ah-ah" and stops immediately only to bite on something that doesn't hurt like my clothes. Then proceeds to run around the room like he's on SPEED. The other thing that bothers me a lot is that he will jump up and bark at me when I don't feel like getting my legs scratched by his nails and put my whole body on the couch where he can't get to. Anyway, my question is... is my puppy too aggressive? He never likes to be held and is always squirming unless he's VERY tired. I put him in a ex-pen while I'm at work for about 4 hours then I come home for lunch and play with him for about an hour and then back in the pen. I know he screams but that's the arrangement and I can't do anything about it... how else am I going to provide food for us? Anyway, he will start puppy training as soon as he gets his second round of shots which won't be for a month or so...

    Things to keep in mind:

    -he has PLENTY of toys, bones safe for puppies to chew, etc
    -he loves his crate and will even go in there to rest so I know it's not too much time in the crate
    -he's 7 weeks old

    Anyway! Please help. Thank you so much!!!!

    Post edited by notoriousscrat at 2012-12-12 17:02:00
  • He's a puppy. A very, very young puppy. This is typical Shiba puppy behavior.
  • acmccart8acmccart8
    Posts: 109
    Onyx does the biting and shaking and growling too, and he is in no way aggressive at all. He is a 12 week old puppy, that is how ALL puppies play. With shibas you do need to correct the biting thing, something that works great with onyx is removing him from the situation and immediately holding his mouth shout with my hands over his eyes and ears. Shibas hate confinement, and this is the worst feeling to them. I started about a week ago doing it to him, and now he still accidently bites me out of excitement, but after only a week he stops almost immidiately, and if he doesnt i cover him.

    On another note, play with him tons to help your bonding, which will help a ton with him not trying to be dominant, but be wary of playing with your hands with them, they will see hands as play things. Also probably best not to play aggression games like tug of war, which shows them it is ok to show dominance. Games like chase and fetch are perfect for smart and agile dogs like shibas. All this being said, my roommate and i throw onyx around, and play tug of war like no other. Its just a decision for you to make, but if he starts getting aggressive, assert your dominance and stop the play immediately.

    Good luck, but don't worry TOO much, its just a puppy thing.
  • Look up the thread linked in my sig on dominance. The whole dominance thing has bee soundly disproved.

    And "asserting your dominance" is just a bad idea, and not necessary.
  • HarveyHarvey
    Posts: 30
    Thanks guys! I do feel much better...
  • EthosEthos
    Posts: 372
    He is still too young to judge his temperament. My dog Akuma was the same when I 1st got him, he is a sweet heart now.
    regarding shaking the toys that comes from their prey drive. thats how they kill the prey by shaking it between their jaws he will keep doing that I think.
    regarding the mouthing issue it will be inhibited with time and good training. they usually learn from interacting with their siblings that biting is painful.

    good luck.
    Post edited by Ethos at 2012-10-22 23:38:52
  • jelliesjellies
    Posts: 142
    he sounds totally 100% normal. My pup who has been with us from 8 weeks to now (almost 4 months old) is by almost every measure I can think of almost too well behaved. No toilet training needed, he was at puppy class and fought gently with pups but plays rough with larger dogs that let him (see my topic with the video of him play fighting a retriever). He learns really quickly, and has not drawn blood on my two kids. Yet he does exactly what you describe: "kills" toys, can get hyper with my ankles, is mouthy when excited. The whole nine yards.
    Post edited by jellies at 2012-10-22 23:50:19
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    Don't worry he's just pretending those little toys are small animals and he's REALLY SHAKING THEM HARD to snap their little necks. What he really might be telling you is to take him on a long ass walk so that all he'll want to do after is sleep.

    Substitute "long ass walk" with tug of war, training session, wrestling, whatever's appropriate.
  • HarveyHarvey
    Posts: 30
    I wanna take him on walks but he hasn't gotten all of his shots yet so it can be risky...
  • InuzooInuzoo
    Posts: 215
    I've had a miniature collie, husky and a lab in my dog history over a lifetime and each of them started early play the same, attacking toys and shaking the heck out of them. The collie and husky were less mouthy, but the lab chewed the back of a chair and any table or chair leg he could reach when he was young. I don't recall either of them as mouthy as the shiba. Zooey is getting better with the back of the leg scratching and bites as well as trying to make me her chew toy. She still has moments though like last night while I was cleaning the kitchen and then again when my husband was prepping today's dinner. She seems to have an issue when your back is turned to her. It seems to excite her? She'd been walked the neighborhood, ran the yard, played fetch and fed so it was just her being her. When she starts using us as chew toys we say "nice" and put her off the furniture if she up and if we are floor level play stops and we get up. Our trainer said for jumping fold your arms across your chest, make no eye contact and turn around and around till she stops. It seems to help. Others here have told me for the leg jumping to remove myself, the object of her attention, from the room (trainer agreeded if she won't stop). Again that seems to work also. When she just wont stop or is over excited she gets a little time out in the crate. It sounds to me like Harvey is just being a puppy. He needs you to let him know what is acceptable and what not in a positive manner. Your doing great, you and Harvey will settle into a system as long as you stay consistent. That's one thing I've noticed is all of us in the house have to practice the same standard. Funny thing she never attacks my sons (20 yr old) legs but then again, he doesn't do dishes. :). I will say neither hubby or son have any headphones left, hehe, but finally my end tables are much cleaner (humans are trainable also).
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8526
    @acmccart8 - I have to address this, because your puppy is still young and VERY impressionable. PLEASE stop holding your dog's mouth shut and covering his eyes and ears. This is very scary for a puppy (or even an adult dog) and is harming your relationship with the dog. You are going to create a very fearful dog by doing this, which will cause massive problems in the long run. Feel free to do an advanced search on the forum for mouthiness or biting. There are tons of threads about this and about positive ways to teach puppies how to be less mouthy.

    @Harvey - Like everyone else has said, this is 100% normal puppy behaviour. :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
    Post edited by sunyata at 2012-10-23 08:55:40
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    "probably best not to play aggression games like tug of war, which shows them it is ok to show dominance."

    How is tug of war an aggressive game?

    I played it and Saya is such a sweetheart. She loves kids of all ages and shows great inhibition when they act bit rude because they don't know better I coarse correct them right away and show them how to pet her and not poke her. lol

    I think tug o war is a fun game wears out the energy and if puppy is getting to excited just put up the tug and ignore the pup or if he/she is being too much of a butthead put in time out for few sec do it calmly though..

    I've taught Saya drop it with tug of war and it's great recall reinforcer..

    I use a squirrel pelt which Saya loves a lot it's one only toy she will tug with besides her old favorite towel.

    I do let her win sometimes as if I always win it gets boring for her and she stops tugging which is no fun..

    The shaking of the toy is predator type thing shiba and most all dogs do it really. Bella my mom's boxer does it all the time if the toy is long enough she hits herself with the plush toy when she shakes it which is funny.

    Some shiba are growly and vocal during play Saya will growl when she greeting people and she will growl with toys in her mouth too, but it's different from her I'm scared please back off growl it's more playful while her warning growl is more deeper and I can tell it's due to her being nervous of a rude dog or rude person.

    When the puppy growls is it during when he has the toy in his mouth? or when you reach to take toy? what is he doing when growling?

    If you suspect resource guarding the book Mine! is good to check most dog owners should read up on how to prevent or deal with resource guarding..

    7 weeks is pretty young most breeders allow the owners to pick up at 8weeks while I dunno how much one week would make a difference.. Some will even hold pups till 12 weeks old..

    It's good for a dog to know to not bite hard so if the dog does bite out of fear then maybe it will choose good and only mouth softly to let person know he/she is in pain to stop this..

    Saya would bite pants and sometimes get legs and hands so on mostly she did it to my mom, dad and brother both didn't really put work into her to let her know biting hurts.

    She never did it to me because when ever she did I gave her an appropriate toy and then if she continued I left the room.

    Shiba do better with positive reinforcement training I see owning a shiba more like a partnership and I try to not set my dog up for failure.

    Just try be consistent try redirecting his biting to a toy he likes chew item or if that doesn't work remove yourself for few seconds then return.

    Maybe for meal times use half of the kibble for training exercise short multiple sessions is good. too long and puppy would get bored.

    Mental exercises is important as physical. :)

    I use flirt pole for Saya she loves it works her prey drive to chase a little item and wears her out helps when it's storming bad and I can't go walking.

    Hand feeding some of kibble helps with bonding and shows your here to give food not steal it.

    Training the dog to trade for items is good too.

    I don't like using terms like dominance as dogs know we are not dogs and we can't communicate in same manner.

    I think wolf pack operates bit more different then what people think and dogs are not wolves they're closely related, but not exactly same in every way.

    If leader is such thing the one who controls the resources is the leader and humans are able to control everything food, when the dog can walk so on.

    NILF is a good method to work on it's doesn't rely on rolling the dog over, flooding the dog on things it fears or poking it..

    I like work Saya before feeding her yummy meal of lamb rib or mackerel, liver etc..

    We do fun game of fetch or sits, down, spin, roll over, bang and so on and I work on her tricks at a distance too.

    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • britkotsubritkotsu
    Posts: 210
    Sounds like a normal shiba puppy to me. You just need to be patient and consistent with your training. He is really young so don't expect anything overnight. In my experience you have a long way to go with the mouthiness and some shiba's never grow out of that completely, especially when super excited.
  • Agility people teach the tug game to puppies quite young as a reward. It does not cause "dominance" nor aggression.

    And absolutely do not cover up dog's ears or hold the dog's mouth shut.
  • HarveyHarvey
    Posts: 30
    Thanks everybody for your useful and informative comments! I actually had stopped playing tug of war with Harvey because I was scared of it causing aggression... but I will start it up again because he really takes to it and likes the game.

    @Saya Harvey does not growl when you reach for the toy or try to take the toy at all. He only grows when he is shaking the toy. He is not dominant whatsoever. But he does like to act like he's on speed and gets crazy!
  • Harvey:

    Here is good link about tug so you are doing it correctly with your puppy. : )

    Be gentle about it and make sure to keep tugging level so the dogs back remains level with the ground. Far too many people apply too much force with tug which is hard on a puppy mouth.

  • HarveyHarvey
    Posts: 30
    Hello again,

    Just wondering because I didn't ask about this in my first post... is it OK for my Harvey to chase around my cat? Can that make him more aggressive? I try to not let it happen but I don't always catch it when it does..
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1165
    It's not OK if you think it's not okay and your cat is stressed by it. Teach Harvey to "leave it" or redirect him to something else if he tries to chase your cat. Sounds to me like you have a highly energetic dog with bounds of prey drive. Find a way to purge that energy by tug of war, brain games, obedience training, and puppy socialization.

  • HarveyHarvey
    Posts: 30
    @crimson02 well, I don't think it's ok but my cat really seems to like being chased around and she even will deliberately try to get his attention when he's just chilling on the ground by waving her arms around in his face while she's on the couch... so it seems like she is trying to play with him. Is this possible?
  • InuzooInuzoo
    Posts: 215
    I have a cat that doesn't want to play and one that does. The playful one does try to engage the pup in play. They run around, she slaps pup, and then when she's had enough she goes away. If pup gets to wound up trying to chase a cat that clearly is saying no, we would redirect. Pup has learned, it appears, which one wants her attention and which one doesn't. If it looked to aggressive we might have a problem but so far it seems all in fun. Sounds like your cat is trying to play.
  • My personal experience with our Shiba + a cat:
    We do not have a cat, but my parents still own the cat I grew up with, Tigger. Tigger is about 7 years old and not old by any means. (Our previous cat lived until he was 18.) However, he has had some health problems earlier this year and had to be hospitalized for bladder stones and an awful UTI. After that, he gained ALOT of weight, his diet was changed, and he had very little energy for a long time. Even after he was out of the vet hospital, we were still worried about his future. (This was probably in February. He is doing MUCH better now, for the record! Lost alot of the weight he had gained and is starting to get his old personality back!)

    And then came along Maggie. The first time we brought Maggie to my parents' house, she was still a scrawny little curious munchkin, and all she wanted to do was play with Tigger. But, he was bigger than her, so she kept her distance. Tigger ran and Maggie chased him a little bit, but Maggie didn't lay a paw on him. They both seemed to enjoy themselves. However, after that, Maggie has always been the bigger one. She wants to play with Tigger so badly, but she jumps on him and pushes him over. She doesn't understand that puppy playing is different that kitty play. Tigger started to get stressed out whenever Maggie came over and started throwing up whenever she was around (most likely because he felt he couldn't protect himself). We started bringing our baby gates over with us and that helped alot.

    They are usually fine both being out around us family if they are separated, but sometimes they even sit on either side of the babygate and just stare at each other from about a foot away. It's hilarious. I would love to have them be able to cooperate together someday, but probably not for awhile.

    But anyways. Long story short, Maggie only wanted to play with Tigger. She was not aggressive or dominant over him. He is a living, breathing, moving animal - and for that, in Maggie's mind, he is also supposed to be her play friend. However, we could tell it was stressing Tigger out for Maggie to be near him. Please keep in mind that if it moves, it will be hunted by your Shiba. I wouldn't at all consider this aggressive behavior. However, if you can see that your cat is in distress over this frequent game of "go get the cat," don't ignore the signs and start separating them.

    On the toy thing:
    Maggie is 8 months old now, and she still does that with her toys. They're her prey, and it's her god-given right to destroy the heck out of them. (Once again, in her mind. Lol.) As long as she does not start segwaying into resource guarding her toys from ME, I'm not worried in the slightest. :)

    Hope that helps a bit.
  • ZinjaZinja
    Posts: 200
    Shibas are just loud players. It seems just normal play. I have a puppy that my girlfriend thought was exhibiting aggressive behavior, but the overall consensus is he's just being a puppy :)
  • HarveyHarvey
    Posts: 30
    Thanks guys! Yes since I've posted this, Harvey has been great with Lucy... He still chases her around A LOT but I don't think she minds it... plus she has her places she can go to get away from him. She doesn't hide from him or anything and I actually see her a lot more now than I ever have before! I'm thinking that my cat loves Harvey but when it's too much she goes and can take a break. :)

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