Apologies fo the long post...so thanks in advance for reading it!!
I haven't posted in a while...mainly thought things were going well with me and my pup however last night something happened which made me re-think the whole way I am approaching things.
Jax was licking one of his paws for a few minutes so I wanted to have a look just to make sure he wasn't injured. He growled at me a couple of times which i took to mean it must be sore so became more insistent that he show it to me. When I put my hand around it he actually snarled at me and possibly tried to bite. It happened so quickly...i obviously pulled my hand away out of sheer instinct so I'm not sure if he would have actually bit me or if it was just a warning. I have never heard him make such an aggressive noise before! My OH was sitting next to me and scruffed him straight away.
This got us thinking about a few things we have been letting slide and have been in a bit of denial about for the past few weeks.
My OH has been overseas for work recently for a month and while he was away i have been really very slack with training what i thought was just a gentle, sweet tempered little dog. eg. I have been letting him sleep on the bed with me instead of his usual laundry, I have given him treats when he went to his kibble box, i have let him have lots of toys strewn around the house, i haven't corrected him when he's pulled on the lead or rushed through doors before me, he's also been jumping up on me at meal times instead of just sleeping by my feet as he used to do.
OH got back 2 weeks ago and although he's much better than me he hasn't really corrected the behaviours that I let develop. ie. Jax was still on the bed with us, he goes to where his toys are kept and whines then one of us will give him a toy...you get the get the general idea. in the last week he has also started growling when we go to pick him up to move him on the couch...but stops once we told him 'no'
so as of last night we have had to face what we have done and decided to begin working to correct the bad behaviours that we encouraged. these are the steps we are taking:
- Jax is back to sleeping in the laundry - we are just letting him cry and ignoring him once we go to bed.
- all his toys have been packed up. he will only get one at a time when we say so and we will put it away once h e's done
- if he mouths at all when we play or pet him (does this more with me) i will clamp his mouth shut with my hand and say 'no bite' and only let go once he's calmer
- he will not be allowed in or out of the back door unless he sits and stays and waits for our 'ok'
- he's not allowed to have raw hides or biscuits lying around the house anymore. we will give and then put away what he doesn't finish
- we will not allow or respond to him jumping on us anymore
- any growling or other signs of aggression will continue to be corrected with a scruff and sharp 'no!'
If anyone has any constructive advice about what we are doing that would be much appreciated. It's really important for us to get him back to where he was as we often have young children around and they have always loved Jax as he's always been gentle and patient with them. at the moment i wouldn't let him play with anyone who didn't know how to handle dogs (despite the fact that he's just a small white fluffy!)
thanks in advance!