Snapping Dog

by A. Burns
(Lenoir City, TN, USA)

2nd Owner of untrained young adult dog who has a problem with snapping at new owner

18 month old Miniature Schnauzer, male, neutered; previous owner did not abuse but also did not train even basics like house training - the young dog was totally Alpha in the home but some of his needs, like stability, order, training, he was totally without due to his previous owner.

Now, after a month with me, he is doing much better even his barking is under control as well as aggressiveness to other dogs and progress on all of the basic commands. I have no formal dog training but have always trained my dogs to be well behaved and follow commands (I also had the advantage of choosing the breeder and the one in the litter which appeared to match the qualities I look for in a puppy happy but not overly boisterous, alert but not frantic, "reserved" that is for a puppy, but not sheepish, etc.successfully with breeds from Irish Setters to Great Pyrenees This is my first Schnauzer).

With this dog, everything is making progress except for one area (which also happens to be an area I will not personally tolerate) - he continues to snap at me in an aggressive fashion when he has to move from his "favorite" place at bedtime when his favorite person is near him (he is being kennel trained now and is doing well at it except for these inappropriate shows of aggression).

In the past, part of his play was showing his teeth, "playfully" snapping, etc - this is not the way I have ever played with my pups or dogs and wonder if there is a connection between it being "OK" for him to show his teeth at play and the fine line to showing them aggressively when he is upset - basically upset for not getting to do what he wants to do (his first owner never corrected him for any offense).

I welcome any feedback - he is making such good progress in all other areas of training (all of which are new to him) but this one problem keeps popping up regularly.

When he snaps at me with an aggressive not playful growl, I pull him down by his collar and hold him until he stops and calms down along with an assertive "No". BTW, this only has happened when the one person who did give him "fun" attention before I got him is nearby. I think he is continuing to see this person as "his" person and that the transition of "ownership" will not be complete until he is no longer around anyone from his "former life" - this person also does not correct him and has not in the past but did walk him (on a zip leash, no commands, etc) so there appears to still be a bond between them.

I thought the aggressive snapping was over but happened again just yesterday - am I correcting him the right way when it happens? I read they are "one person dogs" and he has known this person longer than me; how long will it take for the transfer to happen? We work on obedience and play - sometimes combining both - everyday but the "bedtime aggressive snapping" when he wants to stay with this other needs to stop.
I just have never had this problem, even when training dogs for others, so just call me "frustrated".

Comments for Snapping Dog

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Thank You Tony
by: Anonymous

After more time alone together, it appears that"favorite spot" had more to do with the negative snapping behavior than the person.
But the dog continues to want to use his mouth in play which I want to discourage - still think the previous games of "tug" had some influence; the "tug" game has been replaced with fetch. To get him to "give" the ball when he is not cooperating I just ignore him until he complies. I mention this success with ignoring or not engaging with the dog when he is doing undesired behavior at fetch, as you mentioned ignoring him when he snaps at me or others, Note, the snapping I was referring to in the original post was openly aggressive. The frequent showing of teeth is more playful but I feel there is a fine line with what is acceptable and would prefer he stops showing his teeth.
Showing his teeth, w/o growling, he continues to "playfully" do much of the time even petting him. I will try to just ignore him when he has his teeth out but wonder if that will be enough to change the behavior. Softly closing my hand over his mouth until he relaxes and the teeth display gives way to gentle and submissive licking seems to help limit this behavior.
Some have told me showing his teeth is "just part of his personality" but it is not a behavior (showing teeth and "mock" aggression) that I am comfortable esp with what it may lead to; I have never had a dog who did this (he is a rescue and had no training including house training but is coming a long nicely except for this area..
Thank you again for your input - any advice is very much appreciated.

agressive dog
by: tony

the minute your dog growls or shows his teeth even during play, stop and ignore him. i would not use any harsh forms of discipline as it could make matters worse. as far as the bedtime aggression. i didn't quite understand if your dog snaps because the previous owner is there and you try to move the dog away from the person or if its the special spot where your dog wants to sleep? if more than one person is training the dog everyone should be doing the same corrections in order for the training to be successful.

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