View Full Version : Mi-go tried to bite me!

12-12-2009, 02:17 PM
Just as I wrote a whole happy blog about how Mi-go's food aggression has gotten so much better, my puppy tried to bite me today! We were watching TV and I went to hug him and pet him (he was just laying there, awake, watching the tv and our other dog) and while holding him, he let out this annoyed whine and then it turned into a growl and he snapped at my face. I told him NO and moved away and he growled again at me.

This is a huge, huuuuuuuuuuuge problem. This is the first showing of aggression other then food he's had but this is a problem. I have kids in this house, and had he have done that to my daughter, she might not have moved away fast enough and ended up bit. What the heck is going on?! There was no food near him (which was his other aggression issue that had gotten better) and he wasn't disturbed from sleep or anything. One of the reasons we picked this breed is because how everyone bragged about how gentle they are with kids and things - so what is the matter with my pup?! Please tell me this is just the obnoxious puppy phase because otherwise we have a serious problem. Oh, and Mi-go's been attending puppy class and doing just fine in the class.

I don't know what to do, but I hope that was a one-time thing. Second snap and if it's anywhere near my daughter and Mi-go will need a new home. I had half my upper lip bit off by a Rottie when I worked at animal hospital years ago, my tolerance for dog biting is slim-to-none.

nick's spirit
12-12-2009, 05:10 PM
You are right that this is something that cannot be tolerated. I would say that it is very possible that Mi-go was testing you, only you know that for sure. I would be very serious with him, grab him by the scruff of his neck & "growl" at him..NO. then send him out of the room or ignore him, anything that he would not like. Make sure he knows that what he did is nothing that should be tried again. I had my male once get growly at me, he never did it again after I turned on him so fast he didn't know where that behavior came from out of me. I think I scared him, which was good. And if I ever saw or felt he was getting "testing" again, I "growled at him before it could turn into anything but a test.
Most Pyr's are tolerant it's true, but some are very headstrong, they are used to thinking for themselves. Show Mi-go who the leader is, and where he stands in your "pack". Kind of like "tough love". The puppy classes should help, ask the trainer what they think. Keep us informed, keep calm and assertive.

pyr haven
12-12-2009, 06:13 PM
agree wit nick spirit. btw do u allow ur dog on the sofa while watching tv? U just have to uprank him. Just like u i encountered food agression wit my pair of siblings when they 1st arrived. I was so scared and cried cos i didnt know wat to do. Until i tot like a big bear (and behaved like one). It worked like magic. He has never growled at us but displays dominance/agression wit my other animals and outside people and even children but never my own (cos they think like littler big bears). I am still taming him. The sister has no such problem and is completely a social butterfly (even then she has her limits, I never forget pyr are not goldens or labs) So i keep watch and esp wit kids, never unsupervised . I really hope it works out for you and keep us posted.

12-12-2009, 07:20 PM
i read your post and was bothered by it, have had to deal with dominance/agression with my joy, 18 month-old pyr. the folks that responded to you are absolutely correct, you have to adress it NOW and think like a pyr-
if you make them be submissive the first couple of times they test you, they will generally respond. even the great pyrenees' history is of a solitary guardian of flocks of animals, they are still dogs and are 'pack'- oriented--they look to see who will be the calm leader and integrate themselves appropriately. i was really surprised the way joy tested me between about 7 and 15 months, had to have a dog expert come and evaluate us, but the bottom line was that this breed needs a firm, confident hand to lead them.
but it is so worth the extra time and effort; i have a smart, sensitive, strong dog as my companion. can it be any better than that? also, if she doesn't get enough exercise and interaction with people and other critters, she is a pain in the neck. p.s. pyrs respond so much better to positive reinforcement than scolding; i try to 'catch her being good', makes all the difference. good luck, peace.

12-12-2009, 08:41 PM
A lot of people shy away from it, but when it comes to people aggression, nothing works better or faster than the Pyr flip. I had a very dog aggressive female and when she was a pup, she growled at me once and I did the flip and that's all it took, she was never again aggressive towards people.

The only time that this technique is not a good idea is with "soft" pups, that being ones that are shy and timid.

The technique is simple, at the first sign of people aggression, firmly but gently grab the dog, flip him over on his or her back and pin it to the ground, being careful to use just enough strength to prevent the dog from moving or getting up. It will squirm, try to get up, make noise for a few minutes but eventually it will give in and will relax and submit to you absolutely. Once this happens, you have successfully asserted your dominance over the dog and your people aggression problem is usually cured. Occasionally, this requires a second time, but most times, its successful on the first try.

The next step is to test the dog with ALL members of the family, including removing the dogs food while its eating as well as removal of toys etc, while its playing with them. If aggression is shown with one of the family, have them repeat the procedure personally to take care of it.

pyr haven
12-13-2009, 02:40 AM
risestar why not do the flip for a timid pup?

12-13-2009, 03:19 AM
Learning all kinds of new things didnt know there where Pyr's that bite people or eat Chickens lol man. Lot problems i never heard of with the breed. I don't know if ill get a puppy after hearing all these stories.

I got a little Nephue that plays with George and george looks after him like a pup never any agression at all loves kids. I know ive filled his dish more while he was eating never gave me a mean look.

Hope that you get it worked out with your pup sorry to hear that.

12-13-2009, 04:57 AM
Lot problems i never heard of with the breed. I don't know if ill get a puppy after hearing all these stories.

Don't let that discourage you from getting a pup! I bet George would be a great role model.

12-13-2009, 08:04 AM
Wow, sorry to hear of Mi-go's outburst. I can understand how upsetting it must be. Mi-go is still pretty young, isn't he? About 4 months or 5 months?

If Mi-go is still a young pup, it seems to me his problem is he needs to learn self-control. I would say this is an extension of the food aggression issue. You said in your other post that the older dogs have put Mi-go in his place, and so the dogs now get along okay at feeding time. Mi-go now needs to learn to hold his frustration and deal with different situations with more self-control.

I agree with everyone else that Mi-go has to recognize that humans are in charge and he cannot challenge that authority. But I think that a word of caution is needed regarding using the flip, or alpha roll, on a dog. If it is done correctly with a human who is in a calm state it can work fine. But with a dog that's not only just growled but actually attempted to bite, the method can backfire if the human shows the slightest hesitation, frustration or uncertainty.

You can achieve the "dominant" role by continuing obedience training and practicing at home EVERYDAY his obedience commands. If you are not already, you might want to research and implement the "nothing in life is free" approach with Mi-go. He should learn that everything in the house belongs to the humans, not Mi-go. So he needs to be taught to give up any toy, get off a piece of furniture, or move to another spot, when asked. Your trainer will be able to help you on how to do that.

Also, from what you described, I think that Mi-go likely did give you a signal before he let out the frustrated whine and then snap. It is very important to learn his body language, watch when he tenses up, looks at you sideways, holds his neck stiffly, etc. Those are all signs of the dog being uncomfortable. What you want is to be able to redirect, or diffuse, his tension before it escalates into a growl or snap.

Unfortunately, all of this requires a lot of work and vigilence on your part. It may be difficult to do with a child and several other pets in the house. Mi-go is probably still young enough that his issues can all be addressed and corrected. But utlimately it is up to you to decide whether it is worth the effort/risk. I think I can safely say that all of us on the forum are sending good karma over to you and family and Mi-go and hope things will work out!!

12-13-2009, 08:33 AM
In response to the furniture question, no, Mi-go's never allowed on any of our furniture. He also eats last out of our pack, has to wait to go down the stairs before anyone and outside doors last. I strive everyday to make sure that as far as pack behaviors are concerned, Mi-go knows that he's not first. He has to sit and wait before eating and toys are given and taken away according to when I or the other human say play starts/stops. He also does listen pretty well when at the puppy class with his stop, down, heel and generally looks pretty intently at me for directions.

We've actually back-rolled him before when he first had the food aggression issues that he was starting to transfer to toys. When placed on his back, his first reaction was to growl and flail around but then he gave up and went relaxed and I let him up.

I'm hoping that the trainer will have some good suggestions on Monday's class. I'm trying to do the put him out and ignore him when he acts like a jerk but it doesn't seem to bother him at all. In fact, I think Mi-go would much rather be let off on his own since he's constantly on the leash while inside the house since he is still not potty-trained and will chew anything in sight and get in the garbage. He also tends to have less interest in people and more in the other dogs, which can make things more difficult. Gah. I just hope that this gets better and isn't a constantly occuring thing.

12-13-2009, 11:54 AM
risestar why not do the flip for a timid pup?

Doing that for a timid pup can cause more issues than it solves

12-13-2009, 03:18 PM

Your dog was eyeballing something, guarding it from you and the other dog. The subtle body language that you did not see. Stillness, calmness that looks ok but is only the first warning. Dogs give you a physical warning that us people are usually too dumb to see, then comes the growl and the ignorance that 'he won't bite' then comes the snap, that is the finally warning before a mauling.

Dominance is the following : stillness, tail up, stiffness, rolling over on the back staring at you "come, rub my belly" this is a dogs way to do what they want you to do. Do not get this mixed up with submission which is a very relaxed roll over. Ears up, staring at you, standing on your feet, leaning on you (no, this is by no means love!!) it means, I OWN YOU!. They do not do this by accident. Standing infront of you not allowing you to move.

Submission signs: Ears back, relaxed body language-loose, head turning away, lip licking (do not get this mixed up with the nervous lick), tail relaxed but never between the legs, getting out of your way, and responding to your first command.

There is more depending on the individual dog. Seeing as your boy will be big you know how critical it is to understand your dog. Getting tips from people around is not much helpful in this case. go to www.barkbusters.com and get a trainer, it's worth the money, but only do it if you are serious, it requires work on your part and if you are not ready to follow through, don't bother.

Ignore your dog to start, stop patting it every time it comes to you. Ignoring a dog simply for two weeks creates a transformation that is too good to be true. I've been around the block, you name it I've done it, or had it done. I have two intact pyrs that have no problems with food or any form of aggression, and have rehabed dogs that dumb vets said kill.

For the time being, ignore him (this is the only way to gain his respect, seriously) do not give him toys unless in his crate and feed him in the crate. If you do not know how to handle his aggression, do not try any methods here as you will make it worse. In the crate, and that's it. Make sure he moves for you, walk directly through him, if he respects you, he''ll leap out of the way, yes, even if he's in a dead sleep. Barkbusters has a good book online, you can get it and it's awesome. I taught my pyr offleash and was heeling at three months!

pyr haven
12-14-2009, 05:28 PM
Doing that for a timid pup can cause more issues than it solves

Somehow i sensed to slowly build confidence wit my timid and nervous male pup. he's improved so much and now I have "teen" issue which I am working on.

12-14-2009, 08:57 PM
oh, my gosh, haven't been on the forum for a few days. i will tell you this--the advice you have gotten from these folks is EXACTLY RIGHT. joy is my first dog, and i've gotten several comments from folks about a pyr being my first dog, and despite the homework i did, i've had to learn some things the hard way. great pyrenees' are a fascinating combination of sensitivity, watchfulness, aloofness and guarding. this not a casual dog to have, but so worth the effort and heart. please have a professional come and help you, one who knows something about this breed, even if it costs a few extra dollars. and remember--exercise,discipline,affection, in that order, just like
cesar milan the 'dog whisperer' recommends. it seems that maybe our pets reflect the energy that is absorbed from the household, yes? peace....
and while i'm here..thanks again, jewel, for your time and good advice. :)

12-15-2009, 08:46 AM
Bugsy, in a multi-dog household, it can be tougher for the humans to bond with the new pup as the pup may be more interested in hanging out with the other dogs. We experiecned that with both puppies that we've raised in the last 5 years.

Based on what you've described, you've put in a LOT of work with Mi-go already. I am going to go out on a limb here, it may sound crazy, so feel free to totally ignore me. :) The pyrs are very independent dogs, and by having to constantly be restrained by a leash inside the house, or else getting in trouble because he's getting into something he's not supposed to, maybe Mi-go's just a teeny bit frustrated. He may actually had been just relaxing at the time and enjoying it when you went to hug him, and he might have thought, incorrectly, that you are going to restrain him or correct him again, and just couldn't control his frustration. Rather than be more "dominant" or strict with him, perhaps what he needs is to be able to build trust with you and you in him. The key is to understand your dog, like several of the others have already said. You as the owner knows your dog best, and by observing him and his reactions (is he relaxed, is he nervous, is he tense, etc), you will be able to adjust your training method, or relax a bit with him, as needed. I do think that the help of a professional would definitely be helpful as the professional would be able to give you a third party observation that sometimes you may not see yourself.

From my own experience, I have a nervous, soft male dog and a confident, mischievous female. They have to treated/handled differently because of their individual personality. So, take a deep breath, and let Mi-go know that that you know he is a good puppy and he's learned a lot already, and give him the chance to show you that he is a good puppy.

12-15-2009, 02:27 PM
I have found with my topper when he is growing his personality changes. But when he is done for that growing period he goes back to his sweet self. Me and topper have bonded very good to geather. He likes my husband but looks to me as the leader. When topper starts to have his aggression problem he look at me for help.
I feel what Jewel said is very true. Everything jewel has said was/is my topper.
Don't show Mi-go that you afraid, it make them aggression go even higher. With my topper is always spend at least a 1/2 hour a day just with him.
We had also got professional help for topper and us. Best thing we ever did.
It cost a road trip of 250 miles and $400.00 but it was worth it.
We got help at the age of 8months. To this day we still work with him on his aggression problem. I just hoping that when he stops growing we will not have this problem.
Just remember try not to show or feel fear. You will see changes.

12-15-2009, 11:07 PM
Mi-go's personality definately changes - daily! And I'm taking everything ya'll say into consideration, I appreciate all the different opinions and suggestions. I do notice Mi-go's different stances and how his posture is when he's paying attention and watching something versus just vegging out. His body language is pretty easy to read when he's being alert. Sometimes he's the most in-tune dog you'll meet and othertimes I don't think he's got more sense then a hamster. Which I guess is why it surprised me a little that he got so mouthy cause he really was just laying like a bum.

I could try using less in-home leash time and see if maybe he's less frusterated. He does get awfully frusterated when the other two dogs are walking around and he's on the leash. Of course, off the leash he'll get into anything and eat everything. He's a giant walking garbage can. I remember when my dogs were puppies but holy crap! And it's totally true that in a multi-dog home, the new pup is more interested then the other dogs then me. They, however, are more people-dogs.

I'm going to try to be more concious about the 'nothing in life is free' route. I try to do it but then I can think of things, little things, like times where he wouldn't move so I'd walk around him. I also started ignoring him and his behavior seems better when I do. He's quicker to sit and stay for meals, he'll focus more on trying to get my attention then the other dogs, and generally appears to be more willing to try to get positive approval.

He had his obediance class last night and I talked with his trainers about my concerns and what happened. The place he goes to is really awesome and the owner of it rehabilitates pitbulls that were used for fighting so she knows all sorts of things about dominance. She told me that a lot of it sounds like him being a pushy teenager trying to test his limits and that I just have to keep a firm ground. He's excelling in his class, though. We work on his sit, stay, down, and come. And he can hold his down and sit for 45 seconds so far. We've also started doing agility stuff. I just hope the more we do things, the quicker his tude will go away and we'll see more of the nice guy he can be.

Because he can be a very sweet dog. When he's relaxed and not alll over the place or trying to eat my other dogs or the woodwork, he acts just like adult pair and will hangout and be affectionate and pleasant. Hopefully that's a good sign of what he'll be like as an adult!

As far as what sort of dog he is, Mi-go's definately not the shy type. He's a pushy puppy. But I'm not really sure if he's a confident boy, rather then so pushy that he's trying to fake confidence. If that makes any sense.

Also, and I'm not sure how this effects Mi-go or if it does at all, but we had to put our beloved Pekingese down last week. She had a stroke (turns out she had a brain tumor that we didn't know about) that left her paralyzed and we put her to sleep. It was awful for us, I'm still a wreck about it. But I mention it because Gremlin, our Peke, was the alpha dog in the dog pack. She was the tiniest but she put everyone in their places and said when was when. I don't know how her death has effected the pack and if there being no alpha now would make Mi-go think he had a shot. Not that he'd succeed, our Chow-mix is definately already picking up that role. She's never been submissive to another dog in her life besides Gremlin. But I wonder if Gremlin's loss had anything to do with Mi-go's little setback this week.

Anywho, we're keeping on his training and I'm going to try my best to stay calm about stuff and not get worked up and scared if he does get a little tude. Let's hope for a better week!

12-16-2009, 01:09 AM
I'm awfully sorry for your loss, and I think that you were right in thinking that the death of your Gremlin had something to do with Mi-go's behavior. The void of the alpha is devastating to a pack, and the transition can be really difficult for the remaining followers especially if they don't know that she died. If you had her put to sleep away from home, it might have left quite a bit of confusion. It's possible that without structure in his life, Mi-go might have snapped. I hear about situations with discord like this happening a lot in multi dog families where all the dogs are not of the 'alpha' type personality and boundaries are pushed as they test out one another.
I also ignore my pup regularly and find that it helps humble him, so to speak. The tacit approval they seek from our body language is so important when it comes to animals as social as dogs. It is my belief that you are not doing him any favors by having on a leash all the time. Leashes become a tool for translating that language barrier between our two species but when used constantly like that becomes detrimental to our fluffy canine friends. In fact, there's even such a thing as on leash aggression. A leash greatly alters the way a dog communicates and behaves by restricting natural movements- like if I were to try to talk and write without using the letter 'e' in my speach or writing. Is there an alternative to this, such as enclosures or a system of multiple pet gates securing a puppy proofed area? I use a baby gate to seal off the kitchen and friends of ours have had a lot of success using two Bindaboo extra tall gates to confine their dogs to the living room.
I hope that with consistency, you'll be able to show him that you (not the chow or the peke before her) are the leader of the entire family not just the dog pack.

12-17-2009, 03:55 AM
maybe this will help you, as well with your pup--my joy has a food agression issue, even with the trashcan and the cat food. so both are in the laundry room, and she can't get to them cause i put ababy gate up. also i don't leave stuff on the counters. that hassle is solved. and you can find information on-line about n.i.l.i.f.--nothing in life is free. it's the concept of your dog seeing you as the leader because everything in his life comes from you; food, water, affection,everything. joy has been in 'alpha boot camp' several times where she was ignored and didn't have access to even one toy. it was kind of hard for me but it worked. i had to do it, kind of tough love with our kids. good luck--peace.