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Dealing with Dominance Problems in Dog
Dealing with Dominance Problems in Dog
Read our Article on Electric Collars / Remote Collars & Dog Aggression
I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.
Below is a long list of Q&As on dominance. If you really want to solve your dominant dog problems, get the 3 1/2 hour DVD I produced titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS It's not a lot of money and is based on my 45 years of experience in training dogs.
ASK CINDY YOUR DOG TRAINING QUESTION
- I have written
articles on dominant dogs.
- I was severely attacked by my
2 year old dominate GSD. Can you tell where I made the mistake in
- One of the most common questions
I get is, Our puppy is very mouthy, is always chewing on us or
the kids. What should I do? For this reason I have answered this
question in several places on my website.
- I have a neutered 4 year old Miniature
American Eskimo that is aggressive to visitors. She bites at their pant
legs, what should I do?
- I have a Giant Schnauzer who
I basically rescued at 2 years of age. He is overly aggressive and dominant.
What should I do?
- My dog has recently taken a disliking
to my husband. What should I do?
- I have a 10 month old Rot that always
grabs the leash and acts threatening when I try to stop it. What should
- My dog, (who used to be friendly
to everyone), has been teased by a co-worker. Now he is very protective.
What can I do to make him friendly again?
- Should I Alpha Roll my 20 month
old Rot who is snapping at me when I correct him?
- My friend has a new baby and a
9 month old dog. The dog is getting nippy, what should she do?
- I have created a monster. Is it
too late to change him?
- We have a dominant bitch who has
recently started attacking other dogs while on our daily walks. Can
this be corrected?
- Our Scottish Terrier pees on my husbands
leg. What should I do?
- Why are you against allowing dogs
to live together in a pack situation?
- My 6 year old lab/chow mix attacked
my son today when I tried to put him in the crate. What can I do?
- We have 2 Jack Russell Terriers
who almost killed each other. What can I do?
- Our 7 year old female attacked
our new GS puppy and broke its jaw. What should we do?
- Our 7 year old Rot wont
mind me and growled at my 2 year old. What should I do?
- My girlfriend has a rescue dog
that has bit her twice. Her trainer advised her to Alpha Roll the dog
to correct its aggressive tendencies. What do you recommend?
- My male Jack Russell Terrier almost
killed our new female puppy. What should we do?
- My 2-year old chow challenged
me last night. We are considering starting a family and I am concerned
about this dog. What can we do?
- My Beagle growls at me when he
gets up on the SETTEE. What can I do?
- My rescue Greyhound snaps at me.
What can I do?
- I own a dominant Rot. He responds
well to me because I ENFORCE my commands and he knows it. My girlfriend
does not believe in strict obedience and lets him get by with what he
wants. What can I do to get through her thick head? This dog has serious
- I adopted a 5 year old poodle who
was allowed to sleep in bed with the previous owner. We want to stop
this. When we put her in a crate she howls all night. What can we do?
- My new golden retriever is aggressive
toward children, runs away when it gets outside and lunges at anyone
who tries to take her from my bed. What should I do?
- I have a rescue male Rott. It attacked me yesterday
when I was peeling scabs off his muzzle. I was bit in the arm and chest.
Can I train this out of him?
- My chow-mix would not let me out of the back door
of my home yesterday. What should I do to fix this?
- I have a 5 month
old dominant Malamute that I have been training with a prong collar.
The local trainers want me to Alpha Roll
the pup to establish my Alpha Position. I am not sure I should do this.
Can you give me your opinion?
- Our 11 year old Laso bites everyone. The groomer will
not groom him, the Vet insists that he be knocked out when he comes
in, he has bitten my husband 2 times in the last 2 weeks (once causing
punctures). Should I kill this dog?
- We hired an expert behaviorist on aggressive dogs who
could not deal with
our adopted dog, George. The behaviorist and our Vet recommended putting
dog to sleep. We are not sure this is the right decision. What do you
- My dog has bit me 2 times in 2 days. I think the lord
has sent me a message. What can I do?
- My 4 year old GSD bit me when I tried to take garbage
away from him. I ran away. What should I do now?
- Here is a person who is doing almost everything wrong
and is going to get bit.
- My 9 month old GSD is starting to nip at us when she
comes and pushes our
hand to get pet. She is also starting to bark when she is in the
can we do?
- My dog attacks me, my family, and anyone else it sees.
What can I do?
- Our 17 month old GSD is in quarantine for biting our
son. My husband is going to kill this dog when the 10 day quarantine
is up. Is there something we can do to save this dog?
- I have acquired a 1 year old female that is very dominant.
Can you tell me what I need to control her?
have a half long haired Chihuahua, half Poodle that has bitten everyone
in our home. Can you tell me how much shaving the
dog's teeth off would cost? We really want to stop this dog from hurting
people when it bites.
- I am 13 and my 6 year old GSD has recently started growling
at me. What should I do?
- My trainer thinks that we should put our 2 1/2 year
old GSD to sleep because he has bitten me. What do you think?
- My 5 month old American Bulldog is constantly challenging
the 3 year old Bulldog. How do I stop this?
- My wife and I have created a dominant dog by how we
raised him. We are now afraid that he might hurt our 1 year old daughter.
Can he be saved if my wife and I are willing to change? Will he be
safe with our daughter?
- My cousin's Westy jumped on my pillow and bit my face
the other night. Do you have any advice?
- My Rhodesian Ridge Back pup picks fights with my 9 year
old Lab. I am afraid that the baby that I care for will get hurt. What
can I do?
- My 18 month old GSD has started to growl at my husband
and I. Is it too late to obedience train him? Will it even help?
- My 4 year old dog bit me this morning. Would training
classes or getting him fixed help? I don't want to put him to sleep.
- My dog growls at my sons and sometimes other people when they pet him. I don't want this behavior to continue but don't want to be too aggressive in correction and break our bond. Any suggestion?
- I'm having problems with my dog and using the electric collar to help control and he has even bit me. What am I doing wrong and what DVD's do you suggest to help with this?
- Is it common for a daughter of 18 months want to take over her dam's alpha position who is 4 yrs old?
- I have an 8 month old Boxer who has a very dominant personality. How do I teach my dog that my son and boyfriend are higher up in the pack? Is it possible for an 8 month old Boxer to be aggressive?
PRONG COLLAR WARNING:
When you use your Prong Collar, we strongly
suggest you use a Leerburg
Dominant Dog Collar as a safety backup.
Prong Collars can come apart when not not put on properly. If a leash is clipped
to a Leerburg Dominant Dog Collar along with the Prong Collar, you will have
control of the dogs in the rare occurrence that the Prong Collar fails.
To learn how to correctly fit a Prong Collar, go to http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm or
purchase our Basic Dog Obedience DVD.
Dog Training is NEVER without risk of injury. Do NOT attempt these training
techniques yourself without consulting a professional. Leerburg Enterprises,
Inc. can not be responsible for accidents or injuries to humans and/or animals.
Have you written articles on dominance and aggression?
Here is an article I just wrote that will help a lot
of dog owners understand their dogs and training. The
Theory Of Corrections in Dog Trainin.
This subject is a very complicated issue. It's not that
easy to understand because there are so many things that come into play.
Dogs will become dominant because of genetic and or environmental conditions.
- If several dogs are allowed to live together in your
back yard and not kenneled separately, they will "pack up."
When this happens the dogs develop a pecking order and dominance becomes
a major part of their life. This can have tragic results as in the Sabina
Davidson Rot Murder Case.
- Many dogs can live a normal life and never become
dominant no matter what living condition they are put in. On the other
hand a family dog that is genetically disposed can live in a one-dog
family and become dominant if it is allowed to sleep in the same bed
with the owner and is fed from the table.
To understand dominance, one needs to study pack behavior.
To anticipate dominance one needs to recognize pack behavior. No matter
what, when it all boils down to the bottom of the pot our 4 legged friends
are pack animals. They inherited pack instincts and live by pack rules.
If you go to the article section of my web site you will find over 200 training articles. There
is an article titled Dealing With the Dominant
Dog and Dealing With the Overly Aggressive
Dog. You will also find articles on The Drives
of Protection Training.
To fully understand what is going on with a dominant
dog, there are a lot of things you need to know. Reading these articles
is a good start.
I have some questions, which have been nagging me for
some time, concerning an incident that I had with a GSD a couple of years
ago. A local GSD breeder who asked me if I was interested in adopting
a 3-year-old GSD male, who had been returned to them by the owner because
of aggression, contacted me. The male had a very strong working dog pedigree
(Bitch was German Sch. I/Sire was current police patrol/narcotic dog with
an excellent reputation). The breeder said that the dog was territorial,
possessive over the ball and had bitten a person whom had entered its
fenced yard. The GSD had prior obedience training, no prior bite or protection
training and was very intelligent. I had, and still have, an adult female
Rott that I raised from a pup and felt confident that I could handle this
dog and possibly use him in obedience trials. I had the dog for about
five months, worked in obedience with it daily, groomed it regularly,
could crate the dog, eventually was able to retrieve the ball from him
without incident and believed that I had bonded with the dog. I believed
that he was a dominate male but not overly sharp (carried a high tail,
would lean against me when on lead, initiated previous fights with litter
mates, was not fearful of gun fire or easily threatened). I treated him
as a dominate male by only petting as a reward and on my terms, kenneled
outside, never permitted in the house, continued obedience training, used
the "down" frequently, utilized a prong collar and corrected
the dog when necessary.
At no time did the dog ever display any type aggression
toward me. Occasionally, the dog would hesitate to go to the down position,
but once corrected he would stay there until released. On the last training
day I had with the dog, I had got him out of his kennel and began doing
our normal obedience training and using the ball as a reward. As usual,
I would throw the ball, the dog would retrieve, circle around me, lie
down on my left side and drop the ball in which I would pick it up and
move onto the next training task. On the third retrieve, I bent over as
usual to pick up the ball and the dog went into a full attack on me. During
the attack, the dog bit me on the right hand, which I was using to pick
up the ball. I had a prong collar on the dog and immediately attempted
to deliver a level 10 correction with my left had. As I was delivering
the correction, the dog spun around on me, bit and held me by the left
hand. Out of instinct, I struck the dog in the face with my right hand
in which he let go of my hand and immediately attacked again by taking
a full bite and hold on my left forearm and began thrashing. I then kicked
the dog, in which he released my arm and transferred his bite to my right
leg and held. In an attempt to "de-escalate" the situation,
I stopped fighting the dog and stopped looking directly at him. After
a few seconds, this appeared to have no effect on his attack, so I dragged
him to the gate (a heavy wooden gate made from 4x4 timbers) of the yard
and proceeded to close the gate on the dog's muzzle with great force.
The dog immediately released his bite and yelped as if the experience
with the gate had hurt. I left the training area and inspected my injuries,
which resulted in about 20 stitches to my hands and arm. Before leaving
to the hospital, I retrieved a firearm and proceeded back to the yard
to kennel the dog. When I went back into the yard, the dog's attitude
completely threw me for a loop. Foolishly and mostly out of anger, I walked
up to the dog, gripped the lead firmly, delivered a level 10 correction
and intentionally stared into the dog's eyes. The dog basically cowered,
went into the kennel without incident and even whined when as I was leaving
the area. Not knowing why the attack occurred, I consulted an experienced
Police K-9 Handler and a Police K-9 Trainer. I later found out from the
trainer that the breeder from whom I had received the dog from had attempted
to give it to him, which he refused. He said he was familiar with this
dog and attributed the attack to the dog being poorly socialized, dominate,
being teased by one of the owner's children as a pup and to a possible
hormonal imbalance. His explanation of the hormonal imbalance was that
the dog was approaching full maturity, that male GSDs receive one final
"burst" of testosterone and that unstable male may experience
temperament problems from this. Needless to say, both the trainer and
the handler both said that the dog was unpredictable and recommended that
I have the dog put down, which I did. I have had several working dogs
in the past (Dobermans, Rottweilers and Boxers) and have never experienced
this problem or even heard of it before.
The questions that I have are: Is there such a thing
as a hormonal imbalance? What is your "diagnosis" of this dog?
Did I do anything wrong with this dog? If so, what did I do and what should
have I done?
I chose to answer this email in detail because you
sound like you know what you are doing and you did almost everything
but you were still badly attacked because of your own mistakes. I will
put this answer on my web site.
This dog was beyond your skill level as a trainer and
you obviously found this out. Dogs like this require a very experienced
professional handler who understands drives and pack behavior to a T.
These kinds of dogs have a zero tolerance for handler errors.
The description you were given by the police trainers
is 100% accurate. Not many police K9 trainers are qualified to make this
kind of evaluation. K9 officer are almost always better handlers than
trainers and very few are instructors. But these people that you talked
to hit it right on the head. This was a dominant dog and you screwed up,
not a lot just a little but with dogs like this there is very little room
This dog was a real rank dog, he saw himself as the
pack leader. You knew that and did almost everything right, except in
how you handle the toys. This dog had intense prey drive along with dominance
mixed in which made it a very dangerous dog around his toy. You made
the mistake of using the toy in obedience as a reward and added force
the toy away. Your small mistake resulted in you being attacked.
When using toys with dogs like this you must use more
motivation to get the dog to release the toy, rather than force. When
I say force I mean either as a voice command or with a prong collar.
When working a dog like this with toys it is always
better to use the two-toy method to the get the dog to drop the first
toy and then throw the second toy. By throwing a second toy for him to
chase (after he drops the first toy) the dog is never near you when you
pick up the toy he dropped, so there is no danger. Also using an electric
collar (at a mid level stimulation) to reinforce the OUT is the proper
way to get the dog to drop the toy preferable not when he is standing
next to you but rather when he is about 10 feet from you on the way back
The real mistake was using toys at all in training
these types of dogs. Their prey drive and dominance are so high that
it is better
to use food or praise as a reward in training and not toys. Toys become
a distraction because they want them so bad they become more concerned
about losing them than they are about going out to get them. Then their
fight drive kicks in and they attack.
My gut feeling is that the police made a mistake in
not taking the dog, but there may have been other issues in his temperament
that caused them to say no. Usually dogs like this can do respectable
police service work, but again require an experienced handler. They do
not make good obedience dogs because their dominance is too strong. The
most someone can hope to accomplish with them is to make them obedient.
Once you were attacked you also made a mistake (which
you found out). You should have froze and used your voice and screamed
as loud as you could in a strong firm voice to OUT or NO or LEAVE
IT whatever words that you use. If this did not work you need
to be very careful in how you escalate the fight. These dogs have fight
(as you found out). The more you fight the harder they fight. So at this
point you need to disable the dog, this means he has to be rendered unconscious.
This is either done by choking him off you or killing the dog with a
weapon. If you choke the dog it needs to be done until he is OUT COLD
that I really mean OUT COLD. If you release his throat to soon he will
right back up and attack you again. During the process of attack-choking
process there is a fine line between saving yourself and hoping to settle
this problem once and for all. If you can remain calm and still choke
the dog you will give off the air of superiority. This will often (not
always) re-establish your pack leader position. The idea is that this
dog (if he is to live after this encounter) must understand that biting
you is not an option; he must understand that you have the power to kill
him at any time. Once a dog understands this, then they submit.
OK now that I have half the dog world (mostly
clicker people and Brits they dont even allow prong collars
in their country) pissing and moaning about what a brute I am and
how disgusted they are that I could treat animals like this, I would
ask them to walk in your shoes and then see if they paid attention to
every single word I said.
The general public has never seen a dog like this and
never will. This is not your normal little phoo phoo who growls over
a toy, they are not the 12 month old puppies that are chewy with their
(because thats what puppies do use their mouth to play),
they are not the dominant dog who has been allowed to sleep in someones
bed and now growls over getting his butt kicked out of bed. These are
true rank dogs with good nerves and intense drives.
I also do not care to have people respond to this and
ask me what I think of their dogs temperament because it growled
at them or their neighbor or their brother who teases it. There is enough
information on my web site about overly aggressive dogs that they need
to go there and read the articles and Q&A sections. The solution to
most peoples problems is a sound obedience program. That was not
the solution to this dog. Most dogs temperaments allow handler errors;
this dogs temperament did not allow any.
My puppy is very mouthy. It grabs my kids, my arms,
my pants. What should I do to stop this?
Many puppies younger than 4 or 5 months (especially
in working breeds) are very mouthy. They bite pant legs, arms, rags, kids
etc. They are not doing this because they are mean. The fact is that 99.9%
of them probably have a pretty sound temperament. When a pup does this
it is displaying prey drive. If you would like to read more about prey
drive go to the articles I have written on my web site on the Drives
of Protection Training. Even if you have no interest in protection
training you will learn what prey drive is from this article.
This mouthyness goes away on its own when most dogs
are 4 to 5 months old. But if you have a little 10-week-old alligator
that can seem like an eternity. Puppies can be taught not to bite the
handler or family members by simply saying "NO or PHOE" and
then grabbing them by the scruff of the neck and shaking them. You usually
have to shake them until they scream. Often a light shake only makes
them think you are playing with them and they growl and try grabbing
if this happens you are not being forceful enough. It normally only takes
3 to 5 times of doing this properly to teach the pup that when you say
"NO or PHOE" it means stop biting. Doing this also helps establish
you as the pack leader. Dogs are instinctively pack animals. By using
your head and a very limited amount of force or pressure you become the
pack leader. This helps control any later dominance problems with the
People who plan on doing protection training with their
dogs are often concerned that shaking to stop ankle and hand biting will
diminish the dogs protection work. This does not happen. As long
as the handler is doing the things we show in our video Bite
Training Puppies, there will be no problem. Basically a puppy needs
to learn what is and what is not a "prey item." Even in the
wild a mother wolf will only put up with this rough play against her for
only so long. Then she stops it by shaking the pup by the neck. So what
I tell people is that after they have corrected the dog, give it a minute
and get the ball on a string out, (see my article
on why playing with a ball on a string is so important for a puppy),
or get the hand towel out and play tug. Let the pup win the tug and drag
it off. This teaches him what is prey and what is not prey.
I have a neutered female 4 yr-old Miniature American
Eskimo. My husband and I both work during the day, and she is alone all
day. A very small amount of obedience training has been done with her,
but she pretty much runs our house. The problem: She has become aggressive
with most people who approach our home or us. She seems mostly aggressive
with men, and has grabbed three or four by the pant leg. I need a video
to help train her with this problem. What video would you recommend? (I
took my two previous Eskimos to Dog Obedience classes and found them not
to be very successful with this problem.) HELP!
This can be stopped but it takes a commitment on your
part and your husbands part. 99.9% of the times that this problem
can not be stopped it's a handler problem and not a problem with the dog.
The solution begins with the correct obedience training.
Everything to do with problem solving begins with obedience training of
one sort or another. I strongly recommend you read what I have to say
in the description of my tape on Basic Dog Obedience.
You need to take your dog through this program. You
may need a prong training collar depending on the temperament of the dog.
Some people think little dogs do not need training collars, when in fact
I have seen a lot of very hard little dogs. If you do not understand what
I mean by a hard dog you can refer to my article on the subject - click
Your dog needs to go through the learning phase (explained
in detail in my tape) on the long down. The dog needs to understand that
you are prepared to follow through with corrections in the correction
phase. These corrections need to be firm or they mean nothing to a dog
like this. This is where a lot of novice dog trainers have problems. They
think little "pho pho" does not need to be treated like that.
Most of the time this is the root of the problem. Unless a pet owner is
prepared to establish himself (or herself) as the pack leader there will
never be a positive solution to any problem they face with the dog. There
are very few firm and constant rules in dog training but one is this,
"if a dog is at the correct stage of training to receive a correction,
one good correction is worth 50 nagging corrections." That philosophy
needs to be seated in the handler's mind.
I need to temper this by saying that this does not mean
you go out and beat up on your dog. What it means is that if the temperament
of your dog requires a level six correction (on a scale of one to ten)
to be effective, you do not try and get by with a level 2 correction.
Now you need to make some place in the house the dogs
spot. This can be his dog crate or a special throw rug or something like
this. The dog is taught to go to his spot. He is rewarded with food (or
a toy etc.) when he goes there. You need to be able to send him there
when you want from anywhere in the house. This starts from a very short
distance (severe feet) and ends up with you being able to send him there
from a back bedroom. Make a game of this. Always reward the dog with a
Once the dog knows the command, should it refuse to
comply it must be corrected and dragged to the spot with a lot of praise
when it gets there. Have the dog wear a 2-foot line in the house so you
can easily grab it.
Up to this point the dog has not been made to stay on
his spot very long. Now its time to teach him that he must stay there
until you release him. Start with a few seconds and build to 30 minutes.
When that's done its time to introduce distractions.
Your husband in the living room, or send him to his spot just after your
husband returns home from work. Let the dog greet him and then send him
to his spot after a quick pet. Again, firm corrections for non-compliance.
The ultimate distraction for this dog seems to be visitors.
The procedure for handling a dog when you have a guest is to allow the
person to come into the house. The dog can go up and smell the guest
if there is no aggression or growling. The guest should not try and pet
dog, nor should he move away from the dog. He (or she) just stands there
and talks to you ignoring the dog. Once the dog has smelled the guest
you command the dog to his spot and it must stay there the entire time
the visitor is in the house. You need to reinforce this with strong corrections,
which may be distracting for the guest.
The important thing is that the dog is not sent to the
spot without having a chance to greet the person who comes to the house.
If there is any growling or nipping at this point the dog is corrected
with a level 10 correction by the 2 foot drag line and taken to his spot.
You may find that after following this procedure 2 or
3 times the dog can be allowed to be around visitors. But always be prepared
to reinforce any signs of aggression with a correction and sending the
dog to the spot.
This entire procedure is re-establishing your position
as pack leader. No matter what we think our pets are pack animals. The
key to dog training is to realize this and then establish yourself as
the respected pack leader. Dogs become territorial because of pack behavior,
but the bottom line is that the pack leader is the one who determines
when to enforce territorial lines and the pack leader determines who
will fight first.
I hope that you are able to deal with the correction
phase. That's the part that most people seem to have trouble with. It
really all comes down to consistency, correction and praise.
I am a 40-year-old woman who has always had dogs - all
kinds of dog. I particularly like dominant dogs in that I want protection
(I live alone). My experience has been with Dobermans (females - love
that breed). Recently I rescued/adopted an almost 2 year old Giant Schnauzer
who was apparently left to his resources for 20 months. He did not have
proper human bonding, was belligerent and arrogant when first here but
has come around somewhat. I have worked him daily with obedience; I practice
"we live an obedient life."
He is a VERY dominant dog. I walk him every morning
for about 90 minutes, it is an excellent exercise period and we practice
obedience. This morning as we were coming off a steep mountainside we
hike up Aries (the dog) became very aggressive towards a hiker. I had
him on a very short lead, as I rein him in when I see someone (mostly
because I'm worried about dog aggression, which he has been regularly
demonstrating ... he was fine for his first month with me, friendly with
other dogs, then suddenly he turned to berserk boy). Anyway, he just lost
it with this man. I had him on a flat lead and choked all the way down
and told him no, no, no. The usual. What bothers me is that this dog will
display aggression out of the blue. He's fine for days or a week and then
BOOM he flips out. Before flipping out with the hiker, as we were coming
off the top of the mountain he grabbed his lead and tried to pull me down.
Now, I'm a pretty athletic woman but this dog is one strong SOB. I shortened
up the lead tried to get him under control and kept walking. This on again
off again behavior makes me leery. I had him on "choke"; no
lead available for the rest of our walk home (a good 30 minutes) and immediately
put him in his crate. I have realized in our short tenure that this is
not a dog to take on - he just gets more committed to his dominance. He'll
definitely take the challenge.
I think he's got a good temperament and he's very smart,
but he's definitely got aggression issues with dogs and now people - and
out of the blue (this is what bothers me the most the Schizo behavior).
The breeder is going to be prejudiced in this matter but I like my face
and want to keep it. Please write me or give me your phone number so I
can call and talk with you. I need expert advice early in the game, I've
only had him two months. We've been to one group obedience class and it
was good socialization but he needs a lot of private work and attention.
I think he can come around but I have moments where he worries me. He
flips out. He loses his focus. Because he had NO training from his previous
owners he gets lost in the moment and fails to respond properly to commands.
I want a dog I can enjoy not one that I'm worrying is going to attack
the dog, the person or God forbid me. Please give me some thoughts or
let me speak with you.
Best regards and thanks for your time,
I assume you have read my articles on Dealing
with the Dominant Dog and Dealing with the
Overly Aggressive Dog and that you are doing these things.
To begin with, this dog needs serious obedience training.
This must include prong collar work. I call a prong collar
"power steering for dogs." If you are concerned for your safety
then you must invest in a good muzzle and take the time to put it on him
and let him adjust to it before obedience training with it on. It must
become second nature for him to have it on or he will expect a fight every
time it goes on and we do not want that. This can take a couple of weeks
and means every walk is in a muzzle - there is nothing wrong with this
- its done all the time in Europe. I would recommend the Police
style muzzle we sell - not cheap but very secure and safe.
If it were my dog I would take him through my Basic
Dog Obedience video (and muzzle if necessary). I would not take him
to obedience classes until I was through with the training and then only
in muzzle. Why risk a dogfight before you have control - you are putting
the cart before the horse by introducing him to all of the distractions
of other dogs before he is trained to mind you.
You need to read the Q&A sections
on my web site.
I would then get one of the Tri
Tronics Electric collars and work "LOW LEVEL" stimulation
training on the dog. I use these methods on my police dogs - which are
about 100 times tougher than anything you have in a Schnauzer. Make sure
to get the right model - there are a lot of them but you need the ones
that offer multi-level stimulation from the transmitter. Do not do the
collar work before you do the normal obedience.
If you follow what I say you can probably work this
dog. It will take a lot of work and attention to detail.
My 6-month-old Australian Shepherd is an extremely smart,
responsive dog but has no use for my husband. I walk him everyday and
I used to feed him. Since we noticed this problem my husband has begun
to do all the feeding, and though the dog is nicer to him he won't leave
the house with him or play with him. Thanks for any help you can give
Maybe your dog is trying to tell you something about
your choice of partners. Just kidding.
Have your husband turn into a hot dog machine. Go out
and buy these cheap hot dogs and cut them into small pieces. Your husband
should give the dog treats every time he can think of it. When you go
for walks, let your husband call him and give him a piece of hot dog when
he comes. Have your husband brush and groom him. This also helps.
In addition, your dog should never sleep in your bedroom.
Sometimes a dog will get attached to the female in the family and be allowed
to sleep in the bedroom. When the husband sleeps with the wife, this triggers
a dominant response from the dog. Make the dog sleep in a dog crate or
If these things don't work - either get a new dog or
a new husband.
We have a male Rott that is ten months old, he has one
annoying habit. When on the leash he will periodically bite at the leash
and we have tried everything to try him to break this habit, he seems
to do it to get something going and then he gets feisty and argumentative.
If you try to use force, it gets worse. The Alpha roll does not seem to
get it. He is better with my wife, he really tries to get something going
with me. Looking for help, we would like to break him from this and we
do not want it to grow into something more serious. Do you send videos
Thanks ......concerned L.S.
There are a couple things to talk about here:
- Stop this Alpha Roll stuff right now
before you or your wife are seriously hurt. You SHOULD NEVER alpha
a dog without a muzzle on. More people are bitten on the face because
they jump on top of a dog because the dog slips the grip and bites
face. I shake my head at so-called knowledgeable trainers who tell
new people to alpha roll the dog to teach him who the boss is. Read
article on my web site called Dealing with the
- When a Rot is 10 months old its not a small
animal. It needs to know the meaning of the word no. This
should have been done at a young age. I also have a training article
on this. I would get an inexpensive muzzle, (like
the plastic ones I sell), and a prong collar.
The dog needs to learn that this is in appropriate behavior and these
2 items will allow you to correct the dog without being hurt. When you
correct him, do it with a level 10 correction. I always feel that in
cases like this, 1 good correction is better than 1,000 nagging ones,
(and you have been nagging him so far).
- Something like this also requires obedience training
that is balanced with proper praise. We cant just take our dogs
out and beat them up all the time. We need to use motivational training
that is balanced with praise, (and corrections). You can learn how to
do this with my video Basic Dog Obedience.
I have a two-year-old Australian cattle dog that was
given to me as an adult at one and a half years of age. He was such a
loving dog when I got him, he liked everyone. I am a construction worker
and took him to work with me to socialize him. He stayed in the back of
the truck all day long and never got out as long as he could see me. He
was a dog for everyone. Children use to play with him all day long.
This guy at work started teasing him because he said
he looks like he would bite. I didn't know he was teasing him, but guys
would tell me he was. I confronted him about it and he denied it. I brushed
it off, but I took the guys statements more seriously when I saw Zeke's
Now he no longer let's people come up to the truck.
I could not ride him and the fellows in the truck together anymore. He
will not even let them get in. He has turned into a biter, and I want
my original dog back. I think he is a very good dog, but I am no expert.
Zeke use to ride on the backhoe with me and would stay right beside me
lying down on the tractor floor while I would dig holes and ditches, and
he would never move unless someone came near the tractor. He will also
retrieve all that I throw for him. He does some agility work and a lot
of other things. Now he is so aggressive that I leave him at home or when
I take him out in public I have to put a muzzle on him, and he hates it
the whole time out he fights the muzzle trying to get it off. I want my
love all people dog back. Can you help me to get him back? Also he has
turned into a dog fighter and would like to know how to stop this behavior
Thank you so very much for any information that I can
use or try to solve my problem, Sal
I would get the dog neutered. This may work, it may
not - but it must be done to see if it helps mellow him out. Most of the
time on an adult dog it does not have a lot of effect.
Then you need to do a lot of obedience work with the
dog. Do what I show in my Basic Dog Obedience video.
The more obedience you have on a dog the safer it is, it also makes the
dog look at the handler as his pack leader - often this takes some of
the fight out of a dog. In a true pack, the pack leader is the one who
determines who fights and when.
Then I would go out and buy cheap hot dogs. I would
get friends to walk by the truck and toss the dog pieces of hot dogs.
Make people into hot dog machines. Over time see if the dog will allow
them to approach and pet for a hot dog. Do this every where.
I would also resist the urge to have the dog become
protective of your home by barking at the door etc etc. He sounds like
a dog that
will be there if needed without any training.
The bottom line is that all of these things may not
work. But they are your best hope.
Maybe you would also want your dog to meet this guy
that did the teasing after work some day before getting neutered and
the transformation begins. Sounds like he needs an attitude adjustment
right along with
I have a 20-month-old male Rott. Over the past few months
he has been displaying aggressive behavior when corrected. What I mean
by aggressive is growling, bearing of teeth, and just last night, he actually
snapped at my hand as a warning, in my opinion. He is getting to where
even a stern tone makes him pin his ears, and become defensive. Even growl.
He listens to commands when growling though. I can put him in a down position,
and he obeys. We have 2 children 3 and 8. Also when he is permitted to
lay on the bed, when he is prompted to move, he disobeys, and if I touch
him to move him off the bed, he growls and bears teeth. I have been considering
the Alpha roll, with the muzzle of course.
I get emails like this and shake my head and wonder
how lucky people have been and how foolish they have been. You need to
read the article on my website titled How to Deal
with the Dominant Dog.
To begin with, your male is coming into maturity and
is becoming a dominant dog. Unless you get a grip on this right away both
you and your family are at risk. This dog should NEVER be allowed in the
bedroom. This is crazy!!! Much less on your bed. He should not be allowed
in the dining area during mealtime and he should never be fed before the
family is fed. I am not going to go into what I describe in detail in
You should get a Jafco muzzle
and a prong collar for this dog, and
our Basic Obedience tape. When you work the dog
at this point he needs the muzzle to make sure that he doesn't bite you.
If you value your face and neck - DO NOT DO AN ALPHA
ROLL. Trainers that tell people about this should be shot. More innocent,
un-educated people (like yourself) are badly bitten in the face when trying
to do alpha rolls on big dogs that I can count. You have no idea how powerful
a 20-month old Rott can be when he is really pissed off. If you try and
take him down on his back and hold him there when he is thinking that
he is the boss, you will find out.
I'm writing on behalf of my friend Candace. She has
a nine-month-old neutered male GSD named Canaan. Canaan comes from a line
of even-tempered shepherds and was raised with children. Candace did
some obedience work with him, though he tends to not always listen to
her as well as others. Candace had a baby five weeks ago. Although she
did all the appropriate things to prepare Canaan for the baby, he has
not adjust well. he is fine with the baby, but takes it out on Candace.
He has grabbed at her hands and nipped (not breaking skin) and when she
is nursing the baby he gets into things and is destructive. He is clearly
getting her negative attention, and she has been spending lots of time
with him. The situation is fairly stressful and she is concerned that
the adjustment might never work. Any tips?
Here are the options:
- Buy a dog crate and crate train this dog.
- Read my articles on my web site on Dealing
with the Dominant Dog, while this dog may not be dominant at this
time he is beginning to mature and these issues need to be addressed.
- Obedience train this dog - DVD 302 - Basic
- The dog should not be allowed near the baby. It
must never be allowed in the baby's bedroom. It must never be allowed
their bedroom - not for any reason. It eats after they eat, etc.
- Get rid of the dog, find a new home if they are not
prepared to do whats necessary for the baby and the dog.
I have recently acquired a Dachshund. He was one year
old when I got him, he is now 14 months. The people who had him before
me kept him alone in the back yard. They could no longer keep him because
of a barking problem. I felt that a barking problem would not be to hard
to break I was wrong. He still has that problem to a degree. The bigger
problem is he has become EXTREMELY aggressive the longer we have him the
worse it gets. He is fine with our family, but when other people come
over they are in danger of being bit. There have been a few people who
come over who Rufus seems to take an instant liking to. He is a very loving
dog with our family. After reading your articles I can see we have been
doing a lot of the wrong things. Like letting him sleeps in my bed, eats
at our table, and has a toy box of his own loaded with toys. My questions
is this now that I have created the Dachshund from hell in only 3 months
can I reverse the situation by dethroning him using the suggestion in
your articles, Dealing with the Overly Aggressive Dog. I just don't know
what to do.
Yes you can change this dog. It will take a little work,
but if he is to ever have a chance at being a normal dog you must make
the effort or put him to sleep. My advice would be to try helping him
You need to do everything in the articles on Dealing
with the Overly Aggressive Dog and Dealing
with the Dominant Dog. I would also recommend a Tri
Tronics No Bark Limiter.
Then start the dog on a serious obedience program. Read
what I have to say about Basic Dog Obedience. This
is a key issue. The dog needs to learn to mind, and this can only be accomplished
through a sound foundation of proper training.
During this training I would create a spot for him
in the house (on a specific rug for example.) He should learn to do a
down on this rug, with the long term goals to have him go to the rug
and stay there for 1/2 hour or more. Then when visitors come the dog
to greet them and is then sent to the rug. This eliminates the threat
of a bite (if he does not mind he is corrected, use a prong collar if
necessary). The key point here is the dog must have an opportunity to
see who comes and greets them BEFORE being sent to the rug. If you do
not do this you will only raise the frustration level and make things
worse rather than better.
My husband and I acquired a Gordon setter from a breeder
who told us that Indy was a dominant bitch and couldn't get along with
other bitches. We have another older dog, which is a big friendly kind
We had some problems with Indy immediately, but we did
get her to get along with our older dog. Four months ago, Indy began snapping
at other dogs while out on walks. In one instance, my husband was bitten
as he tried to pull her off another dog. These incidents are escalating
quickly. Indy recently grabbed the neighbor's dog, a small thing, and
tried to shake it to death. We literally had to pry her jaws off the other
dog. She also goes after big dogs.
After the most recent attack (while on leash in our
front yard and against a meek Dalmatian whom we know), Indy acted weird
for several days, sort of slinking around the house.
We have not yet contacted a behaviorist, but my husband
wants to consider putting her down. I'm heartbroken. She is very sweet
toward the two of us. Is this behavior correctable?
Dog aggression is a real pain. It can be difficult to
eliminate, but it can be controlled. I would begin by assuming that this
dog is 100% obedience trained. She obviously has
distraction problems with other dogs.
I would work her on a prong collar on all walks. If needed I would sharpen them. I call prong collars "power
steering on dogs."
Some people do not have the personality to properly
correct a dog when it needs a stiff hard correction. Only you can answer
I would also recommend getting one of the cheap Jafco
I would also have an electric collar on the dog on
walks. It needs to get a strong stimulation for even looking at another
dog. You can not shock a dog once the fight is on, it thinks the other
dog is causing the pain. The shock must come when you say "NO"
and turn to move away. If the dog does not immediately respond and go
with you it gets shocked.
This dog should not be walked where there are other
dogs without a muzzle on. It's not fair to the other dogs.
Unless you are prepared to make the changes to correct
this problem, you should follow your husband's advice and put the dog
I am wondering if you can help us or tell us where to
look for more information.
Our Scottish Terrier, Angus, is 11 months old. He is a
male and we also have two female Labrador Retrievers, one 6 years old
and one 12 years old.
Angus of late has urinated on his master twice now once
when he was in his rubber boots and once when he was in moccasins. Needless
to say my husband is not pleased. Is this a dominance issue or is he marking
my husband. My husband does most of the feeding and the dog has bonded
with him extremely well. We have not had a male dog before so this is
a unique experience for us. He is a Scottish Terrier and seems to be quite
We would appreciate any advice you could give us on
this as we do not want to see this action continue.
My gut feeling is that this is a dominance issue. I
would direct you to my article on Dealing with
the Dominant Dog.
The dog needs to go through a serious regimented obedience
program - Basic Dog Obedience. I would work the
dog with a prong collar (you can find them on my web site if you can
not get them locally).
When the dog does this he needs to be corrected - really
corrected. But that is not the end solution. The solution is in the article.
Follow every single step of that article it works. If I can get a grip
on experienced police dogs who have bitten the crap out of a lot of bad
guys by using these methods you can certainly control a small terrier
(who has the heart of a police dog).
I read a few of the pages on your sight about the case
of the Rottweilers who killed the boy waiting for his school bus. I find
it interesting that you are generally against a pack living situation
for dogs. I'd like to hear your reasoning on this.
The general public does not understand how much pack
drive their little Fido has in his genes. Increased pack drive means an
increase in dominance in some of the dogs in the pack, and it means the
dogs become more territorial than they already are.
When dogs are kept separated, the pack drive is still
there, but it's not on the surface of the dog's temperament. When people
allow dogs to live together (unsupervised) as a unit the pack instincts
Thats part of what happened with the Rotts in
Kansas (that plus the fact that this woman is one the most irresponsible
pet owners I have ever seen).
I have a 6-year-old lab/chow mix. He has always been
a good dog, but not very obedient. Because of his behavior lately (eating
food off counter, sleeping on couch) I locked him into my bedroom while
at work. He destroyed my carpet trying to get out.
So I went to the garage to retrieve the crate we used
years ago for him. He refused to get into it, and when I tried to physically
put him into the crate. He attacked me! It was much more than a snap,
he grabbed hold of my arm, and started shaking when I finally got him
off, and pushed him, he came back at me. I stood up, and directed him
outside. After about 20 minutes I allowed him back in, but he wouldn't
let me near him. Out he went again. With the help of several other adults,
he did go into the crate.
I have a 10 year old son, and I probably don't need
to tell you that... they are best friends. I have noticed that he plays
rougher with him lately, but never has been "mean" to him. I
have recently read about the "alpaha" order, and realize I have
allowed my dog to become the head of this household. He has always shown
aggressive behavior, he has always growled or snapped when backed into
a corner... We are prepared to work to save this dog, but will he ever
be able to be trusted around the children?
This is 100% your fault. Problems like this are usually
the owners fault. You have not established yourself as the pack leader
and now that you need to be you have to fight him and this is not an easy
matter, as you already know.
If you want to salvage this, you have to get a muzzle
and get the dog used to wearing it. The plastic Jafco
muzzles that we sell are not a lot of money and work well. The muzzle
must become something he lives in for a long time. It comes off to eat
and drink and then goes back on.
You also need to get a prong collar and my Basic
Dog Obedience video. You need to take this dog through the obedience
programs in this video. This is the only way to start to regain your
authority. With a muzzle he cannot attack you.
Read the article I have written on Dealing
With the Dominant Dog - it's in my list of training
articles. Unless you do these things, you will be attacked again.
Your son is probably not in danger as long as he does not try and make
the dog do something he does not want to do. If he tries to force him
into the dog crate he will be attacked too. The bottom line is that you
need to become a responsible pet owner. A lot of people make mistakes
like you have made because they don't know any better. Now that you know
there are no more excuses.
I found the information on your website to be very helpful-particularly
about dog fights. I have two male (neutered) Jack Russell Terriers. They
have been together since one was 12 and the other was 8 weeks old. We
initially questioned having two males-we had always heard that JRT's of
the same sex would fight to the death if given the chance. But when we
introduced the younger dog to the older one they immediately took to one
another-the older one allowed the younger one to sleep in his bed, share
his food and toys, etc. We felt comfortable with the situation and our
vet said it should not present a problem.
We have had them about 1 year and a half and during
that time they have had their share of normal-what I would consider-sibling
skirmishes but on Friday it all changed. I should mentioned two things
before I tell you the situation-We have recently moved. I have also started
working from home. I am not sure how significant these changes are but
feel that they are worth mentioning.
On Friday morning I was in my office when they started
growling and "squaring off" at one another. I was on the phone
so I shoved them out the door-well I am not sure what happened but 10
minutes later they were still fighting and there was so much blood (floor
to ceiling) that my house looked like a murder scene. I know that if I
had not managed to break them up they would have killed one another. I
am not a big woman by any means but I managed to separate them-only after
I was bitten though. They each had to be rushed to the vet but the larger
and what I have considered to be the more dominant dog was the most severely
injured. He had 14 stitches and a broken foot.
We are devastated. I do not want to have to give one
of my dogs' away-I don't think I could. It would be like "Sophie's
Choice." They are like my children. I have also struggled because
I witnessed something that I never thought my "little angels"
could possibly be capable of. My husband and I are scared to leave them
alone unattended now. We are going to seek the advice of a professional
behavioral dog trainer but she is so busy that it may be months before
we can get started.
This was a wake up call. These dogs can NEVER be left
alone again. They will always fight and one will kill the other. It's
not a matter of "maybe," it's simply a given fact. You have
passed the point of no return when a fight like this occurs. Especially
with this breed.
You cannot expect 2 males like this to live together.
The only way this is going to happen is if they are kept separated. Use
a dog crate - one is in the crate and the other is out. That's the only
way. If someone tells you differently they are giving you bad advice.
The only way they could ever be out together is if they
are both muzzled and can not hurt each other - but even then they will
go at it until one is able to hurt the other.
I have a problem I hope you can help me with. I have
a 7-year old female GSD and a 14 week old male GSD. About 4 weeks ago
my 7-year old attacked the pup over a rawhide and broke his jaw. I normally
dont give my animals rawhide, but the pup has a biting/mouthing
problem and this helped. (He was taken away from the mother at 3 weeks
of age by the breeder with a bad injury and left at an emergency vet.
That is where I adopted him). My female showed no signs of bite inhibitors
during this incident. My husband had to pull her off him. Prior to this
the 7 year old would play with the pup and tolerated him. Since this
we have separated both dogs behind gates and by using crates. I read
your article on bringing home a new dog to a house that already has
a dog prior
to writing you. Do you believe we can get these 2 dogs to get along and
My 7-year old was raised with a male dog and they got
along well. She was the obvious alpha to the two. She does show aggression
towards other dogs, but not all dogs. Since I have separated them there
has been no signs of aggression from her, but the stress in this house
is beyond belief! Can you please help me? Thanks for listening!!!
The issue was over food. The dogs can never be fed together
or you will have a dog fight. This same thing could happen over a toy.
I would be very careful.
If the dogs must come into contact then get one of
Jafco Muzzles that we sell, they are very inexpensive.
Make the bitch wear it all the time they are together. If she shows aggression
then you need to do some serious training with both dogs.
I would recommend that you read what I have to say about Basic
Obedience. This work establishes the pack leader. You would need
to work the bitch in a prong collar and leave
it on when its around the pup. If it shows aggression (even in
a muzzle) then correct it so hard that it thinks it's going to die. It
that this behavior is unacceptable.
We have two dogs, a 7 1/2 year old female rottweiler
mix (neutered) and a 7 year old male rottweiler (not neutered). We have
had both since they were puppies and both were raised as outside dogs.
The male is very dominating toward the female and will push her out of
the way any time we try to pet her. He is also very aggressive towards
our neighbor's dog (a toy poodle) and rushes the fence when it barks at
him. He refuses to mind anyone but my husband and is therefore very difficult
for me to control.
The dogs live exclusively outside and are restricted
to half the yard by a three foot high fence. We spend quite a bit of time
outside, but since the birth of our son (who is now almost two) the dogs
spend more time on their side of the yard.
My son likes to look at the dogs, but recently the male
has lunged at him rom behind the fence. I am very concerned by this and
am now afraid to be in the back yard with my son with out being right
next to him since either of the dogs could easily jump the fence. Recently,
when the dogs were on our side of the yard, the male attacked and bit
our cat. He had never shown any aggression toward him before and we're
not sure what caused this attack. I suspect that the male is becoming
jealous of our child and that explains him jumping at the fence.
My question is, do you think we should keep the dogs
or give them away? Would it do any good to have the male neutered? I am
very concerned for our son but am not sure who would take our dogs since
they are middle aged and we would like them to stay together. Since they
are not extremely aggressive (especially the female who is very gentle)
we don't feel that they should be put down, but we feel they may not be
suited for a home with small children. Do you have any suggestions?
Find a new home for the male and keep the female.
- You cannot control the dog so how can you protect
your child if the dog does attack which it has already tried to do?
- This is not worth the risk to your child; neutering
at this age is not going to make one bit of a difference.
The female should be OK, but I would run her through
an obedience program like I explain on my website.
My girlfriend is sharing a house with 2 other girls.
One of the girls owns the house, and she also owns a Vizla (a 3-year-old
dog from a rescue). I understand the dog was abused by a prior owner.
The dog has bitten the owner twice, once in the hand (about two weeks
ago) and on both her cheeks (two days ago). After the first bite on the
hand, the owner sought advice from a dog trainer that advised her to assert
an alpha roll by ignoring the dog, not feeding it for a couple days, and
then having a physical confrontation with the dog. It seems that ever
since the trainer's advise, the dog has been very aggressive towards the
owner by growling at the owner, ignoring the owner, and acting quite depressed.
The dog owner also owns a cat, and the dog has had the cat in its mouth
and was seemingly attempting to toss the cat until my girlfriend directed
the dog to put the cat down. The dog hasn't acted hostile towards my girlfriend
or the other roommate, but that may change soon because the owner has
requested (under the trainer's advise) that my girlfriend and the other
girl ignore the dog as well. Is the dog trainer giving the dog owner good
advise? Is this a proper Alpha Roll? What should the owner be doing?
I plan on putting this email on my web site as an example
of idiots giving stupid advice. We have here a self proclaimed expert
not only giving bad advise but very, very dangerous advice. This is a
perfect example of people who own problem dogs not knowing who to listen
to and in the end, listening to the wrong person.
So here is what needs to happen:
- Give this lady a copy of this email. Tell her to
go to my web site and read what I have written. She needs to believe
that what I am telling her is correct. So she can read anything she
likes on my website.
- Do not do any "Alpha Rolls," this is the
best way in the world to get your face bit off. Any trainer who recommends
an Alpha Roll on any adult dog is a danger to society and should be
banned from all dog training. They take computers away from hackers,
they need to take dogs away from incompetent trainers like this.
- Tell your friend to read what I have written about
these kind of dominant dogs. I have a great deal of information on my
web site that deals with issues of dominance and overly aggressive dogs.
There are many reasons for both of these behaviors. I would suggest
that you spend some time reading the follow things on my website:
- My List of training articles
- Read my article titled Dealing with the
- Read the Questions & Answers
- Specifically spend time reading Q&A on sharp, dominant, and
- This dog either needs serious obedience training with a prong
collar or it needs to be put to sleep. If you would like to learn
something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read
the description for my Basic Dog Obedience
video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture
on the steps of dog training.
- This dog is more likely a product of poor breeding than being
beaten. The most common statement I hear from people is that they
"got a dog from a humane society and it has so many problems
because it was beaten by the previous owner." The fact is that
99% of these dogs have poor temperament because of their genes.
They were given up because their temperament was so bad the previous
owner could not stand them either.
- Last but not least, give a copy of this email to the idiot that
gave her this advise. With a little bit of luck this person will
have a brain in their head and realize they have been giving stupid,
dangerous advise and change their ways. Somehow I doubt this will
Dear Mr. Ed Frawley:
I found your website on the Internet, and I was hoping
you would be willing to help with some advice or maybe a referral to someone
who would be able to help us.
I am sorry to say that we are having a problem with
our Jack Russell Terriers. We have a 5-month-old male Jack Russell Terrier
who we bought from a friend who bought him from a pet store called "Just
We have had our male dog for about 1.5 months. My husband
bought me a 12-week-old female JRT for mother's day. He bought the female
from a JRTCA breeder who was home raised - she is the best, we have had
for a little over a week.
Our male "Rusty" is not a very happy dog,
he hardly ever wags his tail (he was 5 months old on May 14th - he is
13.5 inches at the withers and approximately 13 to maybe 14 lbs.) Our
female "Molly" is very happy - she wags her tail everywhere
she goes, great with our child, we already love her very much, (Molly
is now about 13 weeks and only 5 lbs.).
We have tried letting them duke it out and we have tried
keeping them apart for a few days, because Rusty bites her and pulls on
her ears. Rusty is always growling, baring his teeth, and biting (Molly
at first was taking the abuse, but now her fur stands up and she is growling
also). The first night they were home together he pinned her down by the
neck and she was gasping for air (she couldn't even yipe in pain). Molly
can be walking across the yard and Rusty will go over to her and bite
her legs, neck, or back - sometimes he will start dragging her. He is
not playing with her - she could be sleeping or using the bathroom and
he will do those things to her. She is not allowed to play with toys or
anything else without him lifting his lips and baring his teeth and starting
a fight over it. He doesn't allow her to eat or drink without pushing
her out of the way. She will wait for him to stop eating or drinking and
will take her turn, but Rusty just comes back over and pushes her out
and tries to eat all the food he can Molly's ribs are starting to show).
Molly on the other hand is playful - she has the best temperament, but
she is getting sick of Rusty - it is very apparent that she dislikes him
and does not want to play with him - and she is starting to act aggressive
What can we do? Will this problem change? Rusty will
kill Molly if left unattended there is no doubt in my mind about that.
We want to help the situation, but we are worried that nothing will ever
change. Please help me with some advice or a referral if possible.
P.S. We already spoke with the breeder of the female
and she referred us to a trainer. She said that we should not break up
the fights, but we tried doing that and Rusty got Molly by the throat
and once again she was gasping for air and he would not let go, when we
finally got him to let go - Molly sat up and puked. We have watched the
dogs and Molly has been very submissive with Rusty, but Rusty seems to
be looking for a lot more than alpha status. The trainer that we spoke
with seems to give dogs higher precedence over children, and we thought
since you have children you would have better advice. Rusty has snapped,
nipped, or bit (whichever word you would prefer to use) our child at least
twice and has tried several times, but luckily they are always supervised.
The trainer said that we should not allow our child to be around the dog
when he has a toy, food, or bone - but that seems virtually impossible
considering he always has one of those things. Our child is NEVER left
unsupervised with either dog, but when our child is just trying to be
nice (by petting or hand feeding - never hitting, teasing, or playing),
what can you do?
I left out one thing: Rusty is a coward is scared of
certain balls in our yard, loud noises, and you can not pick him up by
the scruff of his neck because he starts yelping so loudly that you would
think someone is killing him. No one has ever done anything to him at
our house, except for when he bit our child he was picked up by the scruff
of his neck and told "NO!" and put in his carrier. I don't know
what ever happened to him, but my guess is someone has mistreated him
to the point of nervousness. The first few days we had him he wouldn't
even come to us - he seemed scared of us, but yet curious about the things
we were doing. We are scared that our child is the one who will end up
hurt. Please help.
Let me begin by saying this breeder is wrong. I cannot
stand stupidity and this breeder exudes it.
Let me say that the puppy looks to the pack leader (YOU
AND YOUR HUSBAND) for protection. You are doing 100% the wrong thing in
not protecting this poor puppy. Put yourself in this pup's position. If
you come into a new home and someone comes around and try's to kill you,
what would you do? When you have a good answer for this you will begin
to understand the poor female puppy.
I am not sure why peoples common sense seems to go down
the toilet and out the door when it comes to dogs, but it often does.
This is a perfect example. Unfortunately people are given the tiles of
BREEDER and TRAINER and because of this they become experts. Too often
they are long on advice and short of common sense.
Your male needs his butt kicked. He needs to learn
some manners or suffer the consequences of not minding. He needs to learn
YOU and YOUR HUSBAND are the pack leaders and you will not tolerate this.
If you would like to learn something about the principles
of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic
Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had
the full picture on the steps of training a dog. You can also read why
I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.
You have to spend some time on my web site reading the
Dominant Dogs article and Q&A
I just finished reading some letters on your website
and liked your answers. I have two dogs...one a chow/lab mix and one full
blooded chow. The full blooded, Pride, lunged at me the other night and
darn near scared me to death. We got him when he was six months old. We've
had him for 1 1/2 years and he has never done this before. He growls a
lot, but my husband says that is his way of talking. Sometimes I agree,
sometimes I don't. Anyway, my other dog had jumped up and taken a bag
off of the kitchen table and they were both trying to get into it. Pride
did not like to be corrected I guess because that's when it happened.
Our other dog, the mix, can just get a look from me and the tail goes
down between her legs. She rarely has to be corrected and it takes little
for her to know she's done wrong. She's been that way since the day we
got her. My husband and I are planning to start a family next year and
I'm afraid this will happen again. After the incident, I put him outside
for a while and when I let him back in, all he wanted to do was give me
kisses. Do you think we should put him to sleep? I've heard chows are
one family or one person dogs and I know anyone who would be interested
in him would have to be told the reason for us giving him away and then
they probably wouldn't take him. As we were originally planning to breed
him he has not been fixed. Do you think this will mellow him out any or
is he exhibiting one of those aggression behaviors you were talking about?
This dog has a dominance problem. It will not go away
without you doing something about it. The dog is challenging your position
in the pack. That's what happened and you did not recognize it for what
it was - a challenge. Putting him outside did not really accomplish anything.
It will happen again.
This behavior can only be controlled by you establishing
your pack position. This is done through obedience training. If there
is any question about the dog challenging you in this work he should wear
a muzzle so you cannot be injured. So there are a number of things that
need to happen here:
- Get the dog neutered. You should not breed the dog.
Go to an outside stud dog to breed. People that think they want to breed
mistakenly think they should keep males for their breeding. That is
a big mistake. New breeders should keep females and pay stud fees to
a top stud dog. That's how the breed is improved - not by breeding the
family pet because they think it is cute.
- Get one of the wire muzzles
that I sell, or one of the Jafco muzzles and
make the dog wear it a lot. He has to wear it enough that he doesn't
even think about it when he has it on.
- Get a prong collar and learn
how to train this dog. Unless you can establish your pack position you
will never cure this problem. Some people simply do not have the temperament
and cannot or will not learn to give an effective correction. If you
are one of these people, put this dog to sleep.
- If you do not understand obedience training (and
I do not think you do) get my Basic Dog Obedience
training video. Read the description of this tape and you will see how
little you know.
- Get dog crates and use them in your home.
We have a lovely 7 month old Beagle who is a great
dog who loves other people and dogs and will willingly shares her toys
food. She is not allowed on the bed or settee but when she does get on
there and we go to lift her off she growls quite badly her tail is underneath
her and she has snapped. The only other time she does this is when she
has something she shouldn't have i.e. a sweet wrapper, lolly stick or
sock etc. We do have a young child and are not used to this sort of behavior
(our previous dog was very placid) we are very worried and concerned
need some expert advise as to handle this problem.
First I have to ask what a "SETTEE" is? Is
it one of those women things that rich people have in their bathrooms?
Well there are a couple of solutions to this problem.
You could hire a dog behaviorist and spend a few hundred dollars - or
you could pick the dog up and bounce it off the wall behind the SETTEE
when it growls at you. I will guarantee you that one trip off the wall
will cure the problem.
I have written an article on
Dealing with the Dominant Dog on my website.
Obviously you have not found it. Go there and read what else you have
I hope you don't mind questions. I have a dominant female
Greyhound X. She is very dog aggressive and will bark and nip friends
that visit on a hit and miss basis. We have done obedience classes and
she is about 70% on sits and downs. Her stays are 20% and only with treats.
I have no idea how to convince her. We got her from the pound a year ago
and she is 6 years old.
We let her sleep in the bed and she is less then 4 feet
away when we eat. I like her sleeping with us. What should we do? Can
we reduce her dominance and still let her sleep with us?
If I'm playing with her and I grab her in some way that
gives her mild discomfort she barks and snaps at me like I've ripped her
leg off. On the other hand I can play with her face or push her over and
even when I am really bugging her she wouldn't dream of snapping at me.
In short she shows all the signs of dominance but only
some of the time and even when she is aggressive with us she is self restrained.
It seems like we are members of her pack and she cares for us but does
not always accept that I'm in charge.
I have a great relationship with her and would have
a hard time going all draconian with her. Some friends have suggested
drugs. What should I do?
Read my article on Dealing with
the Dominant Dog. I stop reading every email I get like this - when
I get to the point where people tell me they let their dog sleep in their
bed. This is drop dead stupid. READ MY ARTICLE. I don't care what else
is going on or what you are doing - this is self induced.
Your dog is not trained and unless you make an effort
to train then you will continue to have problems. You need to make an
effort to understand pack behavior and obedience training. Maybe your
search of the Internet is an indication that you too have come to this
If you would like to learn something about the principles
of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic
Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had
the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before
it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan
of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.
The issue at hand is my roommate and I have 2 different
views of dog training. I see it like "the dog does what I say or
deal with the consequences" and I can be rough. I don't mean to
be rough but it has always produced good dogs in the past. His view
the dog do what it wants without consequences" when it involves
others. He views it as good socializing and the dog will get better
in time. We
don't listen to each other re:dog training because we differ at the very
basic philosophy of dog training. I emailed you so he could hear it
from the horses mouth. Any ideas how I might get through his thick
head that he could make a better dog than he has now? And that he has
a dog that has serious monster potential even though it doesn't show
any signs of it right now.....?
Thanks again, frustrated
Dog training is not rocket science it's common sense.
Let him read the section on Dominant Dogs on my web site. If he cannot
see the common sense in it then "get a new roommate." I don't
have patience with people who are stubborn and do not have common sense.
You certainly don't want
to live your whole life with someone like that. I am surprised anyone
would want to room with someone like that.
Dear Mr. Frawley,
I just adopted a 5 year old toy poodle. Her previous
owner was an elderly single woman who kept her on her lap and had her
sleep on her bed.
She's a good dog. She gets along well with my 1 1/2
year old miniature poodle.
My only problem is, how to get her to sleep in a crate
and out of my bedroom. She connected with my husband and would love nothing
more then to sleep in our bed. I managed to get her off my bed and onto
a day bed but I rather she spent the night with my other dog in the kitchen.
The first evening she arrived we placed her in the kitchen
she spent the entire night howling. My other dog began to whine too. The
following evening I put her in the kitchen alone, she howled.
Generally she's a quiet dog, she rarely barks (both
dogs aren't big barkers).
This is the question - can I get her to spend the night
with another dog or in another room away from the family with out the
This is an issue of nerves. Your nerves.
Crate train this dog. The more it howls the more time
it spends in the crate. It needs to be in the crate during the day and
at night until it accepts the crate. If you give in the dog wins. Put
the crate in the garage where you cannot hear it. This dog does not need
to be in the house if it acts like a dink.
Hi, I'm a "new dog owner"(My dad had a dog
while I was alive and she eventually became my dog, but she didn't need
any training.) We put her to sleep and I bought a Golden Retriever puppy.
She's approximatly 6 months old. She's pretty good most of the time. She
a beginners obedience class and is pretty well potty-trained. The
major problem is that she is aggressive. I was hoping I could tell you
about it and you could give me a suggestion. When I give her a pigs
ear, or some other special treat, I, or any other adult can take it
no problem. But when anyone younger than 14 tries to take it away, she
viciously lunges at them. My sister had to get stitches in her forehead.
The other problem is that she lunges and growls at anyone who tries to
remove her from my bed or punish her. (We normally grab her collar and
put her muzzle on.) The other problem is when she knows she is being
bad she bolts away when you even flinch in her direction. When she gets
by accident she doesn't come to you no matter what. She just runs away.
I tried treats, toys, soft voice, and many other things. The problem
in the children. They can't punish for biting because they're too scared
to even touch her. What are your suggestions? Thanks. Respond quickly
as you can.
Read the articles on website about Dealing
With a Dominant Dog. Your dog is not obedience trained. If you would
like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read
the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video.
You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps
of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained.
You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience
classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see
that my customers feel the same way.
Most of these problems are correctable - most of these
problems occur as a result of the mistakes made in raising this dog.
My five month old cane corso growled at me:
My five month old cane corso growled at me when he broke place
and I was correcting him. I was wondering if this would be considered
normal challenging or is this something I should be concerned about.
He does not challenge my husband and he doesn't challenge me when my
husband is home. He has done this three times. We are training him very
strictly with him being in the crate, elimination area, or place in the
house only unless we are working with him and he is always on the leash
if he is out of the crate. I don't know if this form of training is too
extreme. I have a two year temperament guarantee and don't know what
I should do. Thank you for your time in answering my questions.
Ed's Answer on Cane Corso growling at owner:
It needs to be a concern. This is the beginning of dominant behavior. With
these dogs it can be a bad thing unless you deal with it right now.
Its time for serious training here. I recommend the following DVDs
Basic Dog Obedience
Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs
If it were my dog I would be planning on using a remote collar on the
dog - after I did the foundation training. I did a DVD on this last year
- Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner. I personally use a Dogtra 1700 on my own dog.
Here is a directory of information on my web site for dominant and Aggressive
Good luck and don’t ignore this behavior.