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Q. We never noticed our 10-yr-old dog was aggressive until our son was born 6 years ago. She's been barking and growling whenever someone knocks. Is she too old to train?
I'm hoping you can give me some advice on our dog. We own a 10 year old Chow/German Shepherd mix dog. She went through puppy training at Petsmart and we had a personal trainer come to our home for basic commands. We are having problems with aggression. We never noticed any aggression until our son was born 6 years ago. She is very protective of our children and house. If a person rings our doorbell or knocks on the door she goes crazy. She literally lunges at the door trying to get to the person on the other side. We have NEVER had a problem with her biting someone but I'm afraid it's only a matter of time. We recently moved, so we now have a lot of children coming to our house. If a child comes into our house she may bark/growl at them and then go lay down. Other times she'll bark, lay down and then later she will start barking and growling at the child even though he's been in the house for an hour or the fact that she's seem him 50 times in our house. I've recently caught her chasing and growling at a kid in our yard when they were playing. She is very tempermental and unpredictable. She seems to be this way with adults and children. Basically anyone that comes to our home other than immediate family. I have started putting her in her cage when kids come over. My concern is if a child/adult comes into my yard if I'm not outside or one of my children opens the door so she can get at that person. We do have an electric fence but we've never had a problem with either dog getting out of the yard. It has been a very stressful summer. What would be your suggestion? Is she too old to train? Would it be best to get a muzzle for the times she is out in the yard? Thank you for any advice you can give me.


A. My suggestion would be to stop letting this dog have freedom in the yard and in the house. She should be under your control at all times. This means she should be in a crate, in a real fence (not an electric fence) or on a leash with you 100% of the time. If you can’t control her movements in and around the home, then you can’t correct the aggression.

Start with our groundwork program and Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

I’d also recommend Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

You’ve been letting this behavior go on for years, so don’t expect a quick fix. This will be a process that may take a while and she will likely always need to be managed. Dealing with problems like this is not something you do for a few weeks or a month and then it’s done. It’s changing the way you live with the dog permanently, for the life of the dog.

I’d also recommend a dominant dog collar and a muzzle. The muzzle isn’t for use when she’s loose, because she SHOULD NOT be loose at all, ever. The muzzle is for use during the training process so no one gets hurt.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes
Recommended Products
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.

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:
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.


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