Troubles with Tierce

Tierce bit my mother the other day. It’s a one-and-a-half inch long scratch that has a tiny bruise purpling in on one end. This is not good. Some people might think that he’s ‘only a puppy’, but this kind of behaviour has to be stopped RIGHT NOW.

Mischa and I had come back from SCA camping (we had figured that since he only had his second shot, he should wait until his third to come camping with us) to find a note to this effect in the kitchen. Upon reading this, I phoned her and she came over. She had had extreme difficulties from the start; Tierce did not like his harness, did not like his leash and was extremely aggressive. She said that he snarled and growled “like a big dog” and that he snapped at her when she had tried to put his harness on.

I got her to put the harness on him again and he was showing his teeth towards her. I took him and gave him a big shake. He yelped and after that, Mom didn’t have a problem putting anything on him.

The thing is, that while Tierce is mouthy and a brat, he has never exhibited these signs of aggression towards us. He doesn’t like his harness that much, or his lead, but has never snarled, growled or threatened in any way. We have been correcting him for his mouthiness and thought that we had that part covered. Apparently not. I am worried, because I want to socialize him and a biting puppy is not something that most people want to pet.

1. Mom is going to come over to see how I handle Tierce. We are going to involve her in his obedience training and practice putting the harness/lead on and off him.

2. This dog is going to get socialized. I’m going to start taking him downtown and wherever there is a lot of people and stuff going on. The vet says it’s okay if we stay away from heavily canine-trafficked areas.

3. I’m going to enrol him in obedience classes as soon as possible. Puppy classes have already been and gone at the kennel club, but if I can get some somewhere else, I’m there.

4. He is never going to get away with anything remotely resembling dominance aggression. I’m going to load a tiny spray bottle with Bitter Apple to spray in his mouth. It’s quicker than having everybody cover their arms and hands in the stuff.

5. While there is no excuse for this behaviour, I am probably going to get my Tierce-walker friend to take care of him on the weekends I’m away. He has had no problem with Tierce so far, so he’s a better choice. We’ll just have to work around his work schedule.

I am very upset with this. Tierce is a pushy, dominant puppy with the potential to go seriously wrong if he is not brought up short. Dominance in a young puppy is never to be ignored or laughed off. It’s a serious matter that needs immediate attention.

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