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  October 3, 2013
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Emergency K-9 First Aid

Emergency K-9 First Aid

October 3, 2013   |   5 Minutes, 46 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question

Question: My 5 month old Dutch Shepherd becomes aggressive and bites me at times, I've tried alpha rolling but that makes him more aggressive. Do you have any suggestions?

I have a 5 month old dutch shepherd. He is the second ds I have owned. he sleeps in his crate and does not get fed from the table. he is wonderful on a leash when we go for walks. I am working with him to come when called and releasing toys with food reward. the only problem I have is there are times that he becomes aggressive and bites at me. an example is when I am watering plants and he grabs and attacks the water hose. if I take the hose from him he bites my hand. I was trying the alpha roll but learned quickly that made him more aggressive. I am now picking his feet off the ground and firmly telling him no. this seems to be working better. are there any suggestions you can give me? he is otherwise doing very well with training. there are many times that he shows submission such as lying on his back. he waits for me to go through the door first. he walks beside me on leash not in front. I will be getting him neutered when he is old enough.

Cindy's Response:

I don't put my puppies in situations where I know I'm not going to be in control  Chasing and biting the hose is prey drive, so since you know he's going to react this way you have a couple of choices.  1) don't use the hose when he's in the area right now, and work on training him better for the future or 2) have a leash on him so you can prevent the behaviors you don't want in a fair way.  Alpha rolling is a great way to destroy the relationship and picking him up off the ground isn't much better.  He's a puppy  and he needs to learn what you expect in a way he can understand.  Here is a video about why you should not alpha roll any dog

I'd highly suggest the video Living with Your Puppy - Establishing Pack Structure.

I don't allow my puppies to have the freedom to make these kinds of mistakes, they are either in a crate, ExPen or on a leash at all times, even in the house.  The behavior your dog is showing you has nothing to do with aggression but prey drive. 

We also have a number of ebooks that may be helpful.  
I hope this gives you a place to start. 

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Puppy Training.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Website

Discovered the leerburg site a couple weeks ago, and even just these reward based training methods that are new to me, as an old time dog person away from the dog world a few years, had hit a stuck spot in the process of rehabbing a young adult rescued ACD X Dutchy I've had a few months, and between informative materials on the on the website, articles and videos, and some interchanges with Cindy by email, have got a handle on the underlying problem and on my way to figuring out how to get through it. Received my DVDs on training with food and marker training this morning, since my internet is too slow to watch them online, and, well, I really had planned to get some of dog hair cleaned up off the floors today, but oh well, that can wait...I'm already getting into watching the first one! Great stuff!

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

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