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Canine Behavior/Mini schnauzer question on behaviors


I have 6 schnauzers, and the one I am the closest to is Dakota and she's 6mths, and she was the only puppy that lived out of a littler of six. She is very close to me. One of our other females just had a littler of 4. Since Dakota has seen them, she pushes them hard with her nose, I thought it was a bad thing, now it don't know cuz now that they are 6weeks they want to play so she obviously likes them, but she still growls and pushes the with her nose. She don't always growl, it's like she talking to them. But she really pushes them. She has always pushed stuff with her nose. She did it to me when she was a baby. It's very intentional, I just don't know what it means. Thank you for your help.

You have inadvertently "promoted" Dakota in social hierarchy among your dogs to a place she hasn't earned and doesn't deserve.  In a dog pack, a bitch who produces a litter should be high in social hierarchy.  Your dogs NEED TO BE NEUTERED (males) so your bitches will no longer become pregnant.  I think you need to question yourself here: "Why am I deliberately allowing my companion dogs to breed"?  Good question.  You obviously don't have the knowledge (this is not meant as a criticism, I don't have it either not being a professional dog breeder) to manage this situation.  Are you "showing" your dogs?  If not, why are you allowing this?

Dakota must be kept away from the neonates.  Her behavior is disturbing.  If these neonates are quite young, and if their dam (mother) is aware of Dakota's artificial status in social hierarchy (which she must be), the dam may not intervene to protect her puppies.  Dakota, although quite young (in adolescence) is behaving in a way that suggests serious aggression against these neonates.

I suggest that you need a consultation with a certified applied animal behaviorist who can observe all six of your Schnauzers, apart and together, and determine actual social hierarchy from this observation and then instruct you on how to properly "place" them "under" you.

I also suggest that these neonates MUST go to loving homes once they are properly weaned; this means you need to advertise and SCREEN potential homes for these puppies or, if you are unable, approach your local ASPCA (NOT the municipal kill shelter) to HELP you to place them responsibly.

Learn about how to manage neonate dogs:

A growl is NEVER a sign of acceptance and cognition, it is ALWAYS a sign of fear and, possibly, rank opportunism.  You do not want to wake up one day and find that your "favorite" dog has killed these puppies.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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