Need help with puppy!

bluefishy18September 9, 2011

Me and my husband recently got a puppy. When we went to look at it, we knew the previous owner was horrible. The Jack Russell puppy was stained yellow with urine, its white skin was black (100% covered in fleas) and its tail was broken. When we asked about the fleas, she stated that she had tried to get rid of them once, but did not have any luck so she did not try again. She also has no idea on how the puppies tail was broken.We took the puppy home, because we could not leave it there in those conditions.

Once at home we realized the 16 week old puppy, was actually 13 weeks and the first owner sold it when it was 4 weeks old. The puppy also has a habit of fear biting/nipping. I know nipping is normal puppy behavior, but fear biting is not. My 11 month old son can crawl next to the puppy, and he'll growl and then bite him. I took him outside, and he started to growl at another dog. When I tried to bring him back in, he started to growl at me and then bit me in the ankle.

Everything I have tried is seeming to not work. We tried the spray bottle, the yelping and saying NO BITE, putting him in his kennel, ignoring him, giving him something else to chew on, and nothing seems to work. We don't want to have to send him to another home, but he's getting way to much for us to handle and my sons terrified of him!

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly helpful!

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Please get an animal behaviorist or really really good trainer to deal with this now, as opposed to letting the behavior and situation continue. This is not something that a non-skilled person should deal with, because if you do it wrong, you can make it worse.

I know some dog behaviorists in NJ. If you tell me where you live, I can get recommendations.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 7:08AM
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you have a long road ahead of you. if this puppy was truly taken from it's mother at 4 weeks of age, some the problems you describe are very typical. puppies that are taken from their mother/litter mates too soon do not learn the ins and outs of being social, they don't learn bite inhibition and they don't learn that playing too rough is not allowed. these are all things that the mother teaches her puppies.

unless you have some serious dog training under your belt, it would be money well spent to consult a good trainer and/or behaviorist who can teach you how to work through these problems. if these growls are truly growls (as opposed to puppy "talking") and if he is, in fact, a fear biter, i would guess that prior to coming to live with you he was probably abused at some point. i mean, c'mon! who lets fleas overtake a young puppy without even really TRYING to fix the problem?? sheesh!

if you cannot or do not want to hire a trainer, please don't just "send him to another home". this puppy is very unstable and that would only make matters worse for him. there are breed-specific rescues out there that, if you are lucky and they aren't overflowing with dogs, might be able to take him in and try to fix the problems.

i'm sorry for you and for this puppy. i hope you can work things out but obviously, you have to think of your baby first. puppies and babies together are exhausting but a puppy with aggression problems and a baby together is a train wreck!

hopefully, some of the others with more training experience will see this and chime in. i wish you luck!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 7:19AM
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Start calling Jack Russel Rescues right now. He's young enough that those experienced with the breed might be able to help. Even a well adjusted JR can be a handful but what you're dealing with is much more than just a disgruntled puppy.

IMO, he needs to spend time with a trainer and be exposed to other dogs that can help him learn social skills. The JR breed needs LOTS of exercise and are even more happy when they have a job to perform or a game to play.....all day long!

I would not trust him around your 11 month old and your child is too young to know how to behave around a small dog so keep them apart. Aggressive correction at this point could make him worse. IMO, I think he was abused (broken tail just one sign) at a very young age and had to learn to protect himself by biting. His biting is why the first owner was ready to get rid of him.
Personally, I would take him to a vet and have him checked for other broken bones. He may have injuries that are causing him pain.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 11:52AM
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As much as I hate to see dogs lose their homes, I think you'd be better off taking him to a JR rescue and letting them work with him and find a more suitable home. You will NEVER be able to trust him with your child and you can't afford to risk injury to your baby.

Overcoming the dog's problems will be very time consuming and I can't imagine that with such a young child you would be able to devote the necessary time to the dog. If you can't, his problems will only escalate. You said you got him recently, so now is a better time to rehome him than after you've had him for a long time.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 8:51AM
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A child that young doesn't need to have an ordinary small breed hyper puppy around them, much less one with issues. You need a calm large breed that is patient with how terrible kids can unwittingly behave. Something like a lab or golden mix. JRTs are challenging for even adult owners with no kids around.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 12:16AM
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