For 40+ years we've helped over 300,000 dog trainers just like you!

Learn more about Leerburg

$6.99 Flat Rate Shipping

Learn more
Ask Cindy Our Newsletter Free Catalog
Leerburg » Leerburg Q&A » Answered

Do you have a dog training or equipment question?
Leerburg's Q&A database has 3345 entries from multiple categories.


Categories: Dog Aggression , Dog Bites

Q. I have a 15 month old Malinois that nips on occassion when excited. Today he attacked my son when he tried to take something away. What should we do?
I have a 15 month old Mal. I am very impressed with his abilities and he seems to love people. He does nip on occasion when excited. This appears to be a friendly nip as he does it to me. I do correct him and the behavior is under control. He is excelling in obedience, does well in public, does not show aggression with other animals and until today, no food aggression. I say no food aggression until today, because my older son texted me at work and said Chase just attacked him. He texted me pictures and bite marks on both arms and hands. This morning I had a leaky milk jug and set it on step before I left for work. I forgot about it and when my son took Chase out, he found it and started to lick it. My son walked towards him to investigate and apparently Chase showed his teeth. My son instructed him to "no touch" and normally you can take whatever he has. When my son tried to retrieve the milk, Chase attacked him. Non of the bites caused blood, but teeth marks evident. Son is very upset.

A. Back in the 1990’s I had a German Shepherd that did the exact same thing to my son, only the bites to my son were more serious.

Your dog is entering maturity and obviously considers himself a high rank than your son. Without knowing your sons age my guess is that you need to change the way you live with your dog.

You made some comments in the email that cause some concern:

1-There is no friendly NIP. All you have done in allowing this is to "let the dog practice bad behavior."

2-You say he shows no aggression to other animals. This dog should not have any contact with strange dogs. I wrote an article on Dog Parks. I recommend you read it (even though you may not be taking him to a dog park, the concept of meeting strange dogs applies).

3-There had to have been other signals which you have missed (but I guarantee 100% that they were there) on issues your dog had with your son. At this point your son should obviously not be expected to handle the dog at all.

4-If we had the dog we would not allow the dog to even approach the boy. We would teach him that one of our rules is that he 100% stays away from the boy and have absolutely nothing to do with him. This is accomplished by keeping the dog on a leash in the house and using a dominant dog collar. I did a DVD that you may want to consider called Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs.

5-We would start feeding the dog in his dog crate. We would not reach in and take the food bowl away when he was done. The bowl would come out after the dog was out of the crate.

Fixing a good deal of your issues comes down to proper management. I recently produced a short video on Management for one of our recent newsletters. It’s free to watch if you can watch streaming video on your computer. I suggest you watch it. Good management is just as important as good obedience training when it comes to living with a dog.

I suggest that you run this dog through our pack structure program - Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog.

Obviously the dog should not have contact with your son. So this means a dog crate or dog kennel when you are not around. It would be a mistake to think that you are going to teach your son to handle this dog. That is unrealistic (after this incident) to think your son can be taught to manage this dog – no matter what age he is.

Ed Frawley
Recommended Products
Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs
Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs
3 Hours, 30 Minutes
In my DVD, I provide 3 1/2 hours of information to help people solve their problems with dominant dogs and aggressive dogs. This information is based on 45 years of experience training dogs. For the last 30 years I have studied the art of protection training dogs. I was a police K9 handler for 10 years, and was chairman of the training committee for the WI police dog association for a number of those years. I have bred German Shepherds for police service work for 28 years. During this time I have bred over 350 litters of working dogs. I have dogs from my kennel working in law enforcement, Search and Rescue and competing in Schutzhund all over this country. No one I know in the United States can make these claims.

Dominant Dog Collar
Dominant Dog Collar
This collar is not intended to give a painful correction. It is intended to take the air away from a dominant aggressive dog. More dogs are put to sleep everyday for aggression problems than they are properly trained. Killing a dog must ALWAYS be the last resort. Learning how to use a dominant dog collar can and will often make the difference between having a dog put down or ending up as a pack leader and a dog the you can live with. Some dogs will often get over-stimulated by a prong collar resulting in a more hectic and aggressive dog. The Dominant Dog Collar is designed to be used on handler aggressive or dog aggressive dogs. Using a Dominant Dog collar correctly on the takes the drive and fight out of the dog. Leerburg's Dominant Dog Collars If you have a problem with dog aggression or a dominant dogs, we recommend that you get the Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs DVD. We also have an extensive collection of articles pertaining to dominant and aggressive dogs We recommend you read the article on Dealing with the Dominant Dog written by Ed Frawley. Individuals who use this collar for handler aggression should have their dog undergo through a solid pack structure program. For adult dogs, we recommend the Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet DVD. For puppies, we recommend the Living with Your Puppy - Establishing Pack Structure DVD. Due to government restrictions, countries such as Australia and a few in Europe do not allow the use of remote or electric collars. These dominant dog collars are a viable alternative.

Option 1:
Option 2:
Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet
Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet
4 Hours
The goal of our pack structure training program is to produce a dog that is calm and submissive and a dog that follows the rules of the pack leader. This DVD teaches people how to become a pack leader that their dog respects and loves. Most people are not born pack leaders. In fact, far from it. The majority of dog owners (many who have owned dogs their entire life) simply do not know anything about the instincts that control our dogs or how strong these instincts are in the domestic dog. Oh people may have heard that they need to be a pack leader or they may have heard they need to be an ALPHA with their dog but they do not understand what this really means or how to accomplish it.


35% off Select Ed Frawley Obedience DVDs, streams, and courses good through Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 11:59 PM CT