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So, we adopted a new dog...

TwilightStar

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She is 2 months old and all we know is she is mixed with a chow chow. Though we think she has some akita in her due to her appearance.
The whole family adores her and she's been a sweetheart, but, recently she's started biting and growling at us. For example, she'll pull my pants and I'll tell her no firmly, then she'll bark/growl at me. She also bit my toe very hard.
I'm not sure why she's doing this, and I was wondering what a effective way is to teach her not to bite. (I don't think the old way of tapping them on the nose is effective, but it might be, I don't know.)
We love her very much and we think we might have take her to behavioral classes.
I'm really confused as to why she just started this.
 

MyZoo2

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First off, she's 2 months old so everything she knows basically went out the window when you brought her home. She needs time to adjust to the new people and enviroment. With most of our dogs a stern finger point and a no works well, however, you have to be a bit more stern with our GSD mix. Chow chows & akitas are very strong willed breeds, so you should take her to classes regardless. Also, when she is chewing/biting something she is not supposed to reprimand her (as above) and then give her an appropriate toy such as a kong. In our house we only use kong toys and huge rope tug toys. If we give a rawhide it's a compressed rawhide, but typically we use bullysticks, deer antlers or large femur bones from the butcher. Some people may have an ethical problem with deer antlers, but we get our deer antlers from a local butcher who finds them near his property (they are shed once per year) or removes them animals that he is paid to butcher.
 

TwilightStar

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Yeah, we know it's still very early, but she recently started doing this.
Though, I will tell my parents this.
The shelter we adopted her from offers free training classes, but the shelter said that we need to wait to take her there until she's old enough for the rest of her shots.
 

Sugar&Ellie

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Sounds like she thinks she rules the roost. Since you adore her..this gives me the impression that she's being held alot and is on laps, couches and beds. If so, this is a BIG no no. When dogs sit on your lap this gives them the impression that THEY are the pack leader. When dogs feel they own something they will sit/stand on it or put their paws on it.
If she has never been taught that she is no allowed to bite humans she is treating you like she would her pack members if she were the alpha female. She is 'putting you in check' like she would other dogs in a pack. What you need to do for a couple months is stop letting her sit on your lap and stop carrying her around, as by now her mother would no longer be doing this and no other pack member would carry her around or let her lay upon them, it is a sign of dominance.

Start by yelping 'OUCH!' everytime she does it, in a very high pitch tone. If you've ever seen/heard two dogs playing or fighting you may have heard a dog yelp in that high tone when they've been hurt. This sound lets the other dog know that they're hurting you. She should get the message that biting is inapproriate. When she growls, it is because you're not doing what she wants you to do and she's trying to intimidate you.
This calls for pinning. Be calm and assertive and pin her onto her side by her scuff (If necessary). Pinning should be easy if the dogs knows that you are the leader. If she fights it or does not take to it well it's because she feels she's alpha and does not want to submit to you.
If she acts like this you need to change your approach with her as far as training goes because she already feels as though she's the pack leader and this is a huge red flag.

so yelp, pin and start becoming a better pack leader by not letting her jump onto your lap with her will and not carrying her around.
Dogs understand body language. Hitting their noses, rubbing noses in pee/feces and putting them in 'time outs' does nothing. No dogs would act like this in a pack, this is how to decipline humans and not dogs. Dogs will learn through body language and not words. Words should be attached to commands after the command has been learnt through body language.

I hope you and your family can become better pack leaders and she can have a healthy happy upbringing because of this. Good luck!

Also, try to give her toys and treats when she isn't biting and growling. This gives her the impression that maybe when she's being a good girl she'll get good things. No toys or words should be exchanged when she's being bad. Harsh body language like yelping and pinning should be enforced. This tells her that when she's doing these things that they're inappropriate and negative things will happen while she's doing them.

If all else fails, a spray bottle set on the shoot mode will work wonders. Squirt her with water everytime she's doing something bad. Soon enough just showing her the bottle will make her stop whatever she's doing and interupt her behavior.
 

Ilovemypiggies1

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Congrats on adopting a new puppy! This may just be puppy behavior and she may grow out of it as she gets older since she is 2 months. I would suggest though taking her for puppy training classes to make sure that this does not continue into adulthood but it could lead to aggression.
 

ferndalezoo

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This calls for pinning. Be calm and assertive and pin her onto her side by her scuff (If necessary). Pinning should be easy if the dogs knows that you are the leader. If she fights it or does not take to it well it's because she feels she's alpha and does not want to submit to you.
If she acts like this you need to change your approach with her as far as training goes because she already feels as though she's the pack leader and this is a huge red flag.

DO NOT EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER (did I say EVER?) Do this! Not with an adult dog, and DEFINITELY not with a TWO MONTH OLD PUPPY!!! This is terrible, out-dated, and DANGEROUS advice. The "alpha roll" was based on a complete misinterpretation of wolf-pack behaviour, and has LONG been proven to be ineffective, and potentially dangerous. The only time an alpha wold will forcibly roll another over is to KILL it. The "roll" is OFFERED by the submissive wolf, not forced by the dominant one. And while domestic dogs and wild wolves do have a lot in common, there is a lot they don't share, and that needs to be considered as well. DO NOT DO THIS. It's a good way to get seriously bitten, and a terrible way to teach a dog anything at all. This is a BABY, not a teenager with an attitude problem (it doesn't work with them, either, though).

Puppies chew, bite, growl, etc. Some of it is normal puppy behaviour, but if it's not corrected now, it can become problem adult-dog-behaviour, so you are right to be concerned.



For any teeth-on-human-skin contact, the most effective trick is to yell, loudly, like she just took your arm off. Not an "angry" yell-- just a loud OUCH. Then turn your back to her and stop all contact until she calms down. Be consistent. It does work.

You don't have to take her to classes (your shelter is right-- get ALL her shots before you start taking her out with other dogs!) to start teaching her some obedience. At this age, she can start learning "sit" and even "down" using a food-reward and luring technique. Once she knows a command or two, you can start using a modified "NILIF" program with her (google it), where she "works" for food, attention, etc. Letting her sit on your lap is FINE, if you invite her up. Just don't let her climb up on you of her own volition.
 
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Alusdra

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I agree with Ferndalezoo. Never pin your dog! It will not help and is punishment-based training.

There is debate right now if puppies should be in classes before their last shots or not. On the one hand, shots are important to protect you pup. On the other hand, the critical period for learning ends before all shots are given. Some veterinary offices have special puppy classes that are given in a place that is easily cleaned and is thoroughly sanitized before the puppy class. All people are made to take precautions not to bring in disease. See if there is such a class at your vet's office or at another office in the area.

Also the NILIF program is a great idea! It is absolutely imperative to start this ASAP. Teach her commands and make her do them before she gets anything that she wants. Your pup is showing worrying signs. With proper training she can turn around, but you are right that something needs to be done. You may want to try to find a behaviorist (preferably a board certified veterinary one, but they are sort of hard to find and expensive).

Also good things to do is rule out medical problems (unlikely in a 2 month old, but who knows?), try to avoid situations that induce the aggression- that can teach her to escalate, and lots of exercise.

NO PINNING!
 

Lizbeth

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I actually agree with the idea that you need to make sure that YOU are the alpha dog. Our dogs learned just fine though with a sharp sound (we used a very harsh sounding "uh uh" or "eh eh") whenever they were doing something they weren't supposed to. I don't think we ever had to use physical force, the sound and a stern look and posture were enough.

I'd also recommend crate training if you haven't done it already. This shouldn't be taken as "leave your dog in a cage all day" but they need to understand that they have "their" place and that the whole entire house is not "their" territory, it is yours. There are plenty of sites that will tell you how to crate train a dog the right way, if you want I can find some links. Not only does it help with potty-training, but your dog won't be confused about where it's supposed to sleep. The bedroom is not a good idea, I'd recommend a common room like a living or family room.

Try to avoid babytalk. I know it's hard, but the noises people make when they babytalk are generally accompanied by much more relaxed body language, and if your doggy is confused about who's boss then it isn't going to help.

Watch over her when she eats. Don't just plunk her food on the floor while she's spazzing out waiting for it. Make her sit, and then make her stay, even after you've put the bowl on the floor.

Some of this may sound harsh, but once you establish your rank as the leader you'll have plenty of cuddle time, most likely without the biting and nipping.

It honestly does sound like your doggy thinks she's the boss. 2 months is still very young, and you have plenty of time to teach her. We have three dogs (2 mastiffs and a boston terrier) and with my fiance all of a sudden on the road for months at a time I get to be the one that takes care of them. Thankfully we both had a hand in training them, and I am the "pack leader" while he is away. There isn't any question, ever, as to who is in charge. And since they aren't worrying about their "Rank in the pack" they are more relaxed, they are more affectionate, and (possibly not as important but definitely worth mentioning) MUCH easier for me to deal with.
 

Jennicat

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Please disregard all the posts about dominance and pack theory. Dominance and pack theory are not just outdated, they're just plain wrong. That coming from the man who invented the term "alpha".

Pack Theory: Fact or Fiction? | Taryn Blyth

More recently, a 13 year study of wild wolves at Ellesmere Island (Mech, 1999) revealed that wolves actually live in family groups consisting of parents and offspring. Once pups reach 1 to 2 years of age they leave their parents, find their own mates and start their own families. Thus all wolves eventually become “alpha”! Furthermore, onflict within family groups is rare, with parents naturally caring and providing for their offspring and pups naturally relying and depending on their parents.

There have also been studies on feral dogs. Such studies revealed that feral dogs do not form tight, highly structured packs, but rather loose associations which change as new stray dogs enter the picture.

(broken link removed)


All of this evidence strongly discredits the romantic notion that dogs are watered-down versions of the wolf. At best, dogs are watered down versions of wolf puppies, which are reliant on adult pack members to feed and protect them. In both dogs and wolves, puppies do not battle adults for rank or resources, nor do adults use physical punishment to keep puppies under submission.
As stated by Myrna Milani, DVM, author and veterinary ethologist:
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"...the mark of a true leader is the ability to control without force. And, in fact, wild animals who rely on brute force to maintain their status typically get eliminated from the gene pool because this approach requires so much energy." [/FONT]

(broken link removed)

This one is great and goes over several training scenarios in videos, as well as discussing pack theory in other animals as compared to dogs and wolves.


In fact, recent studies point to the fact that aggressiveness and "dominance" towards your dog actually causes them to be aggressive and "dominant" towards you!

(broken link removed)

According to a new veterinary study published in The Journal of Applied Animal Behavior (2009), if you’re aggressive to your dog, your dog will be aggressive, too.

Says Meghan Herron, DVM, lead author of the study, “Nationwide, the number-one reason why dog owners take their dog to a veterinary behaviorist is to manage aggressive behavior. Our study demonstrated that many confrontational training methods, whether staring down dogs, striking them, or intimidating them with physical manipulation, do little to correct improper behavior and can elicit aggressive responses.”

Indeed, the use of such confrontational training techniques can provoke fear in the dog and lead to defensively aggressive behavior toward the person administering the aversive action.
 

ferndalezoo

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It's really not that likely that a 2 month old puppy "thinks they're the boss". It seems FAR more likely to me that this puppy was seperated from mom and littermates too early (which should only just be happening at 8 weeks), and simply lacks the critical social skills she would have learned in that period between 6 and 8 weeks. Expecting an 8 week old puppy to "sit and wait for their food" isn't realistic. You can start teaching "stay" etc, but right now that's going to be a second or two, tops. The "puppy" version of NILIF that I use in my work in rescue is this: Put the food bowl away for now. Measure out what you'd feed her in a day, and at meal times, use her own food as training treats. Make the training time fun (it shouldn't be puppy bootcamp), but she doesn't get food if she doesn't work for it. Remember that she is a BABY right now, and don't set your expectations too high. Lure her into a sit. Give her a few kibbles. Lure her into a down. Give her a few more. Etc. Again, she can be on the furniture (if you want her to learn that) or in your lap, but YOU invite her. She doesn't invite herself. And when you want her down, you put her down (or make her get down). Love on her all you want, but do it on YOUR terms, not hers. Crate training will help with housebreaking, and prevent her chewing inappropriately, so I do recommend it.
 

Lizbeth

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I didn't have much choice in the matter when our dogs were trained- they were more his than mine. I will fully admit there might be a better way, but through several obedience courses the "alpha dog" concept was explained to us. I don't know if it's "right" or "wrong," all I know is that it worked for our dogs, so amazingly in fact that I'm still in shock that they're so well-behaved.

I've never "pinned" my dog, or hit it on the nose, or any of that.

My understanding was that the concept was that YOU are in charge, and the dog is not. I use the same philosophy in my parenting. Mommy is in charge, the 8-year-old is not.

Behavior that is "unacceptable" (i.e. biting, mouthing, urinating on the floor, chewing on something they shouldn't) gets a particular noise, possibly a quick step towards the dog to show we're serious, and then the dog is ignored. When the behavior is corrected the dog gets lots of attention, lots of hugs, and everyone is happy. Gradually they stopped peeing on the floor, chewing on my earmuffs, and mouthing when they were playing. When they play too rough with each other all I have to do is make "our noise" and they settle down.

Like I said, I'm not saying that our training methods were the best ones out there, just that they worked.
 

Lizbeth

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Sorry for the double post, but I didn't feel like I was expressing my point correctly. Our dog obedience class trainer explained the concept of "the alpha dog" to us as meaning that you are the leader of your household and the dog is a member of your pack. After reviewing some of the material in the post above I don't think our training ever went to that extent. I've never thought of it as "aggressive" - just stern, similar to the way you treat a child who is having a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store.

It's not violent, it's not overly confrontational, it's just showing the dog that "hey, I'm in charge, and your nipping/biting/etc doesn't scare me, it will not be tolerated, it will not be rewarded with excessive attention, and it will not let you get your way."

I'd be quite worried right now if I wasn't able to feel in charge of these *horses* we have for dogs.
 

MyZoo2

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A lot of the information contained in this post is extremely outdated, and is false. Pinning & NILF training are discouraged by most professional dog behavorist. Both, can actually lead to far worse behavior. A 2 month old puppy showing mouthing is very normal, and the dog should not be subjected to either of the above techniques. Instead, a stern no or ouch will work just fine. Dogs learn very well through body language and stern language. Dogs can be let on furniture, allowed on your bed, to cuddle in your lap - taught bounderies and still know you are the "pack leader." My dogs know Mom - me - is the boss. I can tell them no, yucky, leave it, drop it. They know exactly what to do. I can even give them that disapproving mom look, and they will stop what they are doing and come sit by me. If a dog is chewing something bad, you are taught to verbally reprimand them and give them a more appropriate toy. If you just give a dog a toy for no good reason with no praise, they are going to think toys just fall out of the freaking sky.
 

SFailed186

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It seems FAR more likely to me that this puppy was seperated from mom and littermates too early (which should only just be happening at 8 weeks), and simply lacks the critical social skills she would have learned in that period between 6 and 8 weeks.

This is exactly the case. She is about 9 or 10 weeks old at the moment. When she was brought into the shelter, she came with a sister. They (originally named Clover and Patty) were picked up by our animal cop squad and there wasn't another dog around when they were found. The shelter assumes that either something happened to their mother, or someone separated the mother and pups and then dropped off the pups. Regardless, we are all well aware that our girl and her sister missed out on a lot of "lessons" from their mother.

After working with many dogs at our shelter, I can confidently say that Karma's current biting problem is not the run of the mill mouthing that puppies do. It definitely started that way, and I am sure that we did not handle it correctly. I believe my sister told you in her original post that we did the whole tap nose and verbal command of "no" thing, but it isn't working obviously. She seems to defy us. We will tell her no and she will stop for a moment, and then go right back to doing it again. On a couple occasions she snapped at me (picture an alligator snapping and that is what it looked like) and she growled also. We read something online where it said to gently, yet firmly close the muzzle and add in the "no" command. We have wearily done this and it definitely seems to be helping. We are also trying to use positive reinforcement. For example, when she is chewing her toys instead of something like the carpet, we praise her for it. That seems to help too.

We will be taking her to the vet for her check-up in the next few days and see when we can get her next round of shots. Our shelter and their vet staff suggests that we get her Parvo vaccination before we take her out around other dogs, and that is what we are going to do. We will also be taking her to the behavioral classes at our shelter, which we planned on before we even adopted her.

I truly appreciate the previous posts, but they are a bit confusing. My sister and I would prefer not to use any "old-fashioned" training techniques because we don't necessarily agree with them (our parents do, though). Are there any less controversial techniques that I haven't mentioned that we could try?

I would also like to say that I haven't had time to read some parts of a few posts (including the links), so if I missed something, I am very sorry. If you'd like, you can PM me so we can discuss certain techniques and what-not. Thank you all!
 

mitzi

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Have you ever had a puppy before? A chow / akita cross is not a great first time owner dog. They will challange you all their lives and you HAVE to be on top of this ALL the time. Do NOt allow this puppy on you lap, make the rules VERY strict and go to puppy classes. They will teach you the proper tecniques to handling such a dominate dog.
 

Sugar&Ellie

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Just because it's 'outdated' doesnt mean it doesn't work. It is not cruel and it is not wrong. Fortunately I go to dog behavior seminars every Wednesday and DBT's (Dog behavioral technique seminars) every second Friday. These seminars are usually hosted by trainers from all over Canada and sometimes all over the world. I have never heard any of them say that pinning a dog is outdated or wrong or cruel. It is a way for a dog to calm down, to expell agression or wrong doings and to understand who the pack leader is.
The techniques I am learning and listening to are for a pack and not 2-3 dogs living in a house. It is a very different situation. It's almost like, when you tell someone their dog got into a fight and they say, 'Well he's fine at home'. This is ALOT different. He is not at home, he's in a pack and he feels he needs to prove himself and try to be the dominant dog.

I can tell you that while working with my dogs every day (50 pack dogs) they know I'm the alpha and without using these 'outdated' techniques they would be running wild. When dogs are biting, when they're tagging other dogs, when they're getting into fights because they think they're the alpha..ect ect ect they get body language from me (which is usually pushing them out of the situation by using my energy) and when they're really getting out of control they get pinned. Mostly its a natural pin which is when I put them into a sit and put pressure on their backs, this is when they lay on their sides naturally and submit completely without any force from me. I would never slam them onto the ground as this is cruelty and would do nothing to the dog. They need to naturally submit to me and if it takes me an hour to get them to do that then thats how long I'm going to wait.
Me saying 'no' with a finger in their face wouldnt do anything. They don't understand english, they have no idea what 'no' means. They can understand your tone of voice but it means nothing to them if they think they're leader of the pack and especially if there's alot of distractions in the area and they're energy level is through the roof. They will not gain respect from you if you're using words, especially if it's a puppy that does not understand where he/she is in the pecking order in her household. And yes, at 2 months old a dog will start to challenge you. At 6 months when the dogs has reached sexual maturity it will get worse. Most dogs are not like children and do not 'grow out of things'

Trainers and dog behavioralists all have different techniques that work for them. This does not mean that they other trainers' techniques are wrong. So by contradicting me and saying everything is wrong was really rude, as it is not just me that is using these techniques. Everyone has their own opinion as to what needs to happen to a dog that needs to be trained. Everyone has taken their dogs to trainers all over the world but some trainers havent dealt with certain dogs and have a perception of how it should be done without actually working with a dog like that. If you've ever ever seen a pack of dogs with an alpha you would see how that dog, yes, DOG, treats his/her pack members if they're energy level is way too high. It results in pinning. Pinning sounds horrible but its not if it's natural, it's just a way to get that dog to submit and calm down and for you to gain respect. I have alpha dogs with me in my pack that are sort of like 'Playground monitors' if dogs are getting out of hand by chasing, rough play or dominating, my alpha's (Missie, Milo and Loki) will stop the behavior by energy and yes Ive seen these dogs pin other dogs just by using their bodies. When dogs show their stomachs it is the highest level of submission. It usually results in respect and we never have to pin again.

Now she can choose whichever technique she wants to use by all of the information she's read but by turning this thread into a huge debate will not help with the behavior of her dog. My techniques are what I use with my pack. Not all techniques work with all dogs but I use what works for me and no, it's not cruetly. There is alot of literature saying it does not need to be done and alot of literatue that says that it is necessary to gain respect. Although alot may disagree it is not worth the energy to debate and change people that are using techniques that work for them. I hope she can find a training technique that works for her dog. I'm not insisting that she uses mine and I'm not saying that everyone else in this thread is wrong. Good luck to you.
I hope everyone can now, let this go.
 

Jennicat

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You're welcome to use any techniques you want, but every major training organization has come out and said these methods are outdated and are based on studies which aren't correct. Stubbornly insisting that they work and you've done them forever is no different than the old timey guinea pig breeders who insist they always gave their guinea pigs Tang and they never got scurvy.

Many things work which aren't neccesarily a good idea. I'll bet you $100 if I beat a dog with a pipe every time it peed in my house that it would stop peeing in my house. "Working" doesn't mean that it's humane, safe, or even a good idea.

Here is an excellent article by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior about how many trainers are still adhering to the old, outdated methods.
 

Lizbeth

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SFailed and Twilight- please consider crate training. I know it doesn't sound like it has anything to do with your biting problem, but it ends up giving the dog a psychological boost that might mean a calmer attitude overall.

Here's an excerpt from the Iams website:
Crate Training
This is one of the best puppy house training tips we have to offer. Training a puppy to be comfortable in a crate is a good way to keep him safe and confined during housetraining. Most puppies will quickly accept crate confinement when you make the introduction fun. Since it�s important to associate favorable things with the area where your puppy is confined, it is a good idea to play with him there, or simply spend some time reading or watching television nearby as he relaxes with a favorite chew toy. If he is only in the area when you leave, it becomes a social isolation area that he eventually may resist entering.

A good time to start crate training is at dinnertime. Feed your puppy his dinner, one piece at a time, by tossing pieces of kibble into the crate for him to chase and eat. This way, you can make a game out of training.

When you pick up his toys, store them in the crate so he will enter on his own to play. You may even want to occasionally hide a biscuit in the crate as a nice surprise.

You should not use the crate for periods that exceed the length of time the pet can actually control the urge to urinate or defecate. If you are gone for long periods each day, you will need to provide a larger confinement area. You may want to consider using an exercise pen or small room.

Provide an area large enough so that if your puppy has to potty when you are gone, he can do it in a space that is separate from his sleeping area. A 15- to 30-square foot area is adequate for most puppies. If he chooses a specific place to eliminate, cover it with paper to make cleanup easier.

There's a much longer article here at the humane society website-
(broken link removed)

Hope this helps!
 

mitzi

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Crate training is EXCELLENT!! I have used it with all my dogs and ALL have been very stable and HAPPY dogs.
I completely agree with you sugar&ellie.
I believe the "problem" with most dogs is their owners. People tend to treat them like children and not give them the respect they deserve as canines. You have to know your dog and what type of discipline they do best with. Pinning is required for some dogs, where others never need to be pinned. This should never be done with anger but with calm discipline.
I find all of this anthropomorphism of our fellow creatures frankly degrating to the animal and shows very little respect for animals. This is what alot of the "new " methods of dog training do, rather than treating dogs like dogs , they are treated like humans. DOGS ARE DOGS!!! NOT HUMANS!!
 

TwilightStar

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Have you ever had a puppy before? A chow / akita cross is not a great first time owner dog. They will challange you all their lives and you HAVE to be on top of this ALL the time. Do NOt allow this puppy on you lap, make the rules VERY strict and go to puppy classes. They will teach you the proper tecniques to handling such a dominate dog.
We had a dog for about 12 years and he had to be put down about 2 months ago.
We know that this breed is hard to deal with, but, my parents really liked her so they wanted her and they were up for the challenge.
She will be going to classes when she's had all of her shots, but she is too young right now.
Thank you all very much for your replies and opinions, they are very helpful.
 
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