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Hi everyone!

This is my first post, but I’ve been reading around and finding out a lot of interesting and helpful things here so far.

I had a couple of questions that I couldn’t find specific answers to and was hoping that maybe someone has some ideas about our situation.

We’ve had dogs in our family before, but never a Beagle. Our Beagle’s name is Benson (and my name is Nicole), and he is 1 ½ years old. He has lots of energy (of course) and seems to be quite happy.

The problem is that he can get very aggressive. For example, everything will be fine, and I might accidentally drop a piece of paper (or anything, really) and he’ll run to steal it. If it’s nothing important, then we’ll usually let him have it in order to save ourselves the struggle of trying to get it back. If I move my hand towards him, he’ll start to growl because he knows I want to take whatever he has. Sometimes a situation will arise where we absolutely need whatever he has taken, or we want to take it away for his safety. At times I won’t realize that he is being extremely protective of something and I’ll go to play with him, and he growls and bites. When he does this, it is not a small nibble sort of bite; he seems to almost be attacking and lunging forward to make the most damage possible, and I think that he only really lets go because he loses grip in the whole mess. With my father, he tends to be less aggressive, although he has also bitten him.

I’m not sure what I should try in order to make him understand that being vicious is not okay. So far, he hasn’t behaved this way with any strangers or with the vet. He likes to play rough with me, and I let him because he’s not hurting me and generally knows when to stop (is this part of the problem?). The only way that we can take something back is if he becomes distracted enough with something else, and we can quickly hide whatever it is he’s taken, but often times the damage has already been done.

Is there anything that I can do about this?
 

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You're letting him win. For the time being, start backtracking with training. You should be able to peacefully remove ANYTHING from your dog. Food, toy, personal property.

Start with a firm "leave it". MAKE him drop or leave the item. When he does, give verbal and physical praise like crazy (treats may not be at hand, so I always go with verbal/physical praise).

When he grabs something he is not to have, give that sharp "ACH! Leave it!" command. Take the item away. Be the boss and MEAN IT!

He'll test you on this at first but you must be firm and consistent. He'll get there.
 

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First, welcome to the board!

Benson is already 1 1/2 year old, so it will require a little work.
BeagsMom is right, training is the key. The how is the issue.

1- Refusing to give.
The first thing you have to remember in this and everything else is CONSISTENCY. This means that you cannot once let him have it and the next time insist that he gives the article to you. It has to be "Give it" every single time.
At this point, because of his age, avoidance is the best way to deal with the problem.
Keep small dog treats (and I do mean small), in your pocket at all time. Drop something on purpu]ose and let him go for it. Them calmely, take a treat out of your pocket, advance your hand saying gently "Give it". Do not put your hand right under his nose or you could be bit. His nose must scent the treat before he realises that you are approaching. about 2 feet away should be find. When he drops the article to grab the treat, tell hime again "give it, good boy", and while letting him take the treat, grab the article naturally with your other hand. Then, holding the article, repeat "you give it, you're a good boy, you want another treat?" and give him another treat. Then, without anymore notice, walk calmely away as if nothing happened. You may want to repeat this exercise a couple of time per day but only once at a time. If you do happen to drop something accidently or if he were to take something, you will react exactly in the same way.
Consistency also means that either all of the members of the family acts the same way each time Benson takes something, or that you will be called to proceed. If you chose to be the only one to act, make sure that people are not going to scream from one room to the next for you to come and deal with the issue. Being calm is a very important factor if you are to succeed.

2- Growling and biting as you approach.
Your dog is not being protective, he is being a bully. Don't let it happen.
You should first make sure that he does not suffer from any pain and aches. Dogs who are in pain often growl and bite when people approach because they are afraid to be hurt. I would also check that he can see and hear properly so that it is not a matter of him being surprised.
To check his eyes, it is easy, hold a toy you know he likes and move it right to left a couple of time. If he can follow the toy with his head, then you know he can see. However, if there is a delay in his turning his head, then have him check.
To check his hearing, have someone hold him on the leash, go right in front of him, give him a treat a couple of time saying "treat". go behing him, slightly to his right, turn your back to him and have whoever holds the leash dictract him. Then, calmly without moving, call him softly using his name and the word "Treat". If he turns his head, you know he can hear. Repeat bu positioning yourself behing him towards the left.
I would guess that because of his resistance to submit when he takes something and because he growls and bite then, you are probably not dealing with a health problem. However, it is always good to double check.
Assuming he is healthy, again, avoidance his best. do not put yourself in the situation where he could bite. Remember to always talk softly to him when you approach him, so that he does not view this as a threat. If he growls, just laugh and show him that you do not take him seriously. throw him a toy while telling him he is being silly. Do not touch him until he is relaxed. If you call his bluff, he will stop. However, remember that because he is playing tough with you, getting angry can only make the matter worse. laugh, play, tell him he is a goof, and you will defeat him.
If he does grab, then, you have to isolate him immediately. Without saying a word, become very cold, turn around and leave him alone in the room/yard, where he was. If you can close a door it is even better. Do not give him any attention for about 10 minutes.

Outside these specific instances, you must teach your dog that you are the Alpha. This is best achieved by speaking a lot to your dog, and by putting rules in his life. From now on, insist on him sitting for certain dayly routines. He wants in or out, he must sit before you open the door. he wants his food, he sits, water, he sits, his leash on or off, he sits. There is no need for him to stay necessarily but he must sit. The importance is that YOU set the rules and that HE submits to them. Make up as many rules as you wish but remember, be CONSISTENT. These rules must be followed by every member of the family or Benson will fast learn who the boss is and who he can bully. This may ask for a little effort on your part, but it is much easier than you think, and it will be so well worth it! If he has not been to obedience school, now would be a good time to start.

Have some quiet time with him. For exemple, when you watch TV. Allow him beside you. If you do not want him on the sofa, then sit on the floor beside him, and calmly massage him, slowly but deeply. Remember that you are the dominant one so your cuddle must be strong and secure. A slight pat can be interpreted by a dog as an hesitant movement. If he thinks you are hesitant, he will think that you are weak. You must appear sure of yourself at all time. First pet him nicely on his back, then on his chest, and then on the side of his head, including on his eyes. Dog like this as it is the way Mom rewards her pups, by licking them slowly on the eyes. This massage will have a very calming effect on your dog.

Finally, you may want to review his play times. For exemple, do not allow him any squeecky toys. They tend to increase the drive. he does not need it. You can, if you prefer, replace them by talking toys. Also, never allow him to get out of control or over excited when playing with him.

Good luck to you and please, do not discourage. With a little bit of work this is a behaviour which is correctable. Let us know how things are going.
 

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Thank you BeagsMom and cheerio.

I am definitely going to try these things. I'm always amused by how smart Benson is. It's as though he knows exactly what I'm up to. The one thing that hasn't seemed to have had much effect in the past is giving him treats to distract him from what he's taken. He'll stop chewing on what he has, and watch and wait to see what I'm going to do with the treat, and will only come towards the treat if I put it on the floor and walk a few steps back so that once he's taken the treat, he can rush back to chew on whatever he has.

I'm going to keep trying, though and hopefully he'll begin to settle down a little bit.

Thanks again /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
 

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Maggie went through a period of time where she would jump up and grab my daugher and I by the sleeve and growl. She also snapped at my daughter several times. I tried everything including walking away and isolating her for a few minutes. A friend suggested squirting her with a water bottle. I only had to use it once, and my daughter used it once. After that I picked the bottle up and she quit jumping and biting. The massage is a wonderful idea also. Maggie loves this and will come by and nudge me to get me to stop what I am doing and massage her. It has been a great technique for bonding.
 

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Welcome to Beagle World!

I agree that the massage is a great bonding experience for you and your dog. It's one of the first things we learned at puppy school.

Caesar also had aggression issues and it's because he thought he was the leader in our pack. So Benson probably thinks that he is the dominant one. The first thing we did was stop all "rough" play and tug-of-war games, even though we never let him win a tug-of-war. And just like people, dogs have two options if they are in a frightening situation (this could be a simple physical game that you play with Benson), fight or flight. If the dog feels cornered, they will try to escape (flight) but if they cannot escape then they will resort to aggression and growling (fight). After we stopped the rough play with Caesar he did get much better.
Another thing we did was ignore him for the first few minutes when we came home. By acknowledging him and praising him as soon as we walked through the door we were reasuring him that he was the dominant one. So instead I'll come home, check the phone for messages, put groceries away etc.... ignoring him. Once he walks away or stops paying attention to me, then I'll call him to me and give him pats and kisses. As long as he knows he isn't dominant, Caesar isn't aggressive. We used the water bottle too. It worked great until he worked up the courage to chew a hole in it. No water, no spray! Then we got another water bottle and he chewed the top off. I guess he figures that if he destroys the bottle, he won't get trouble.

Cheerio had a great idea about the treats to get back an item. Caesar still hasn't figured out "drop it" so we'll be working on that one too.

Good Luck!
 

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You can also try the 'better option plan' If your dog grabs something and won't give it back the try a tasty treat or favorite toy as a bribe. Give a 'leave it' of 'drop' command and show him the better option, Once he has dropped whatever it was then give him the better option and lots of praise. Soon he will start to give on command as he thinks a better option is coming his way.
 

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We have a beagle named Mason that we are trying to rescue and give a good home. He is very timid and usually gets along with our beagle/bassett named Buddy whom we have had since a puppy. Mason and Buddy usually get along but we have had three times where they have gotten into a fight. Is there something we can do to help them get along all the time? Mason gets very agressive after these instances and I don't want my grandchildren to get bit. I also don't want to give up on Mason. He needs a good home. We have only had Mason since January.
 

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Play biting..

My dog Diamond is soon to be six months old. She has started jumping up on the couch or the bed and jumping and biting me. I have tried giving her other dog appropriate toys, I have tried walking away and ignoring her, and put my hand over her muzzle but with all but walking away from her she just seems to get more aggressive. She is getting new teeth so I try giving her bones to chew but most of the time she gets bored with them after a few minutes and will hide them. (sometimes in my house plants) :( Anyway, any other suggestions? Also how do I post a new topic to the board. Sorry to have to piggy back on this thread. Also she is crate trained but if I give her a time out in her crate she will howl and bark like crazy.
 

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Hi Joy
To start a new thread go to "Forum" in the toolbar and then scroll down to Beagle Discussion where you can click on New Thread. I think it would be great to start a new thread as an introduction and one for your issue.

Welcome to BW
 
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