Please help! 3 month pup showing signs of aggression, seriously!
This is my husband's and my first dog. Our puppy is 3 months old, and we love him very much. However, I am concerned about his behavior and how we have been handling it. It started with the mouthing, we didn't know the best way to handle it (because what we were doing wasn't working) so we called a trainer who came and gave us a consultation. I think this consultation confused us more than ever.
We had been doing a lot of research and tried training him with the 'off' command, and if he didn't stop getting up and moving away until he was calm. This didn't work. He learned 'off' but only with treats. And he cried and cried when we left him alone, so we though it was effective. It didn't stop the nipping completely, but it was aversive, he hated us leaving. But the trainer told us not to isolate ourselves from the puppy because the puppy needs to be constantly supervised in case he decided to start chewing on other things. Instead the trainer told us to hold his muzzle down into his chest until he submits and calms, then release, repeat if necessary. She also told us to keep him on a leash constantly, and have the puppy with us everywhere in the house we are, and if he's not with us, then put him in the crate. He hates the crate, during the day he objects a lot. But, he has a couple designated crate times throughout the day in hopes he gets used to it.
But the main problem is that he chews on his leash, and many other things, which we have heard is normal for mouthing pups. Her advise was to get a chain leash, but he still chews on it. We taught him 'leave it' but he leaves it for a second, then goes back to it, and he won't leave it unless he knows we have a treat.
He has plenty of chew things, I mean the people at Petsmart think I have more than one dog. I have tried to re-direct, I have tried to block, but this all leads to nipping and biting. Then once he bites, we do the whole muzzle thing. Now, at 3 months, he is snarling and really biting. It gets bad, he really throws a temper tantrum. I have to do the muzzle thing over and over and over. I think it's causing more aggression, and he's going through way more than he should at this age. But I don't know what else to do, if I get up and yelp, 'ouch!' while he's biting his leash, he gets away with chewing on his leash, it's like he doesn't even care that I just yelped, he just keeps chewing. If I re-direct to a new toy, he'll fight to get to his leash, and nip at my hand.
I take him for a 1-2 hr hike/walk in the morning, and a 30 min walk at night, before his 'rowdy' time, and throughout the day we are training and playing, but still we go through these episodes. Then after one of these episodes, he becomes exhausted and relaxes which I wait for 5-10 mins and then pet him and tell him he's a good boy.
I do obedience training with him every day, he knows sit, down, stay, come, role-over, and up. He does not eat or drink until I say 'eat'. He does not come inside or outside until I'm out or through the door and I say, 'outside' or 'inside'. He is not allowed on the furniture unless we invite him, which is becoming less and less. I give him lots of praise when he's good. I pet him with calm hands and a soft voice, he has not shown signs that he's scared of my hands. When I say come, he bounds up to me with his tongue hanging out and runs into my arms. We play games like, where's your toy?? and some tug-of-war. Fetch is a little difficult. The trainer said the tugging game could be what's the problem.
His pedigree isn't smashing, but I have heard time and time again, it's not all nature, nurture plays a huge part. I really need help with the nurture side. I feel like I'm making my puppy more aggressive. Tell me what you think. Is this normal? Am I messing my dog up terribly? Is what the trainer said the right thing to do? I'm a fan of Cesar Milan (lol) and I agree with discipline, but what is necessary for a 3 month pup?