Log in

Dominance Issue? - dog_behaviour [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
it's me or the dog

[ website | wintamagaik alaskan malamutes and border collies ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Dominance Issue? [Oct. 17th, 2006|09:55 am]
it's me or the dog


[mood |distresseddistressed]

My husband and I have a 4 1/2 month old yellow lab puppy named Foster. He's already potty trained, and generally is a very good dog.

My problem is that when my husband is out of town on business, Foster walks all over me. He's constantly trying to bite me and scratch me and is pretty aggressive - which he never does when my husband is around. Is it that he doesn't respect me, or see me as a leader of our pack?

I love him so much, but dread being on my own with him for a week.

Can anyone help me?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

[User Picture]From: jadecat
2006-10-17 02:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, could be that the boy sees your hubby as Alpha, aka Boss#1, and you're fellow pack member. So when the Alpha is gone there's a space that needs to be filled- so he fills it and expects that you'll respect that he's pack leader now.

You may want to take a more active hand- with or without your husband being present- in his raising and the establishing of rules/boundaries. To borrow Cesar Millan's starting point- how often do you take him for walks? Is that usually something your husband does- or it is 'we just let him out in the back yard' sort of a thing?

Also, if your husband tends to play with him more- he may just get bored when hubby's not there. My husband tends to play more physically with our dog (a 42lb mutt lab-border collie-who knows what mix) - like playing tugga and stuff. Me? I'm more of a cuddler and if hubby hasn't had time to play then Kyle gets bored and starts to act up. So I had to either- a - take him for longer walks to tire him out, or b- start playing tugga. Unfortunately I have no reason not to do A or B, and in fact they're both pretty good exercise- and I need it. ;)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: beautifulwolf
2006-10-17 02:23 pm (UTC)
I suggest you take him to training classes, that should really help. If you don't want to attend a formal class atleast look into good training books and work on those at home.

Sounds like as the above commenter said, your not "Dad", who is normally caretaker #1. Not only does puppy feel there is NEW boundaries, but he's testing all the old ones too it sounds like! Setting your rules, and making new ones will be a good way to not only teach you both how to work together, but also get a working relationship, and respect twards both of you for eachother.

Good luck!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: silverblaidd
2006-10-17 03:52 pm (UTC)
He's a puppy. He's being puppyish. At four and a half months, he doesn't know anything about alpha, leader, disrespect or anything of the sort. What he's doing is normal, natural dog behavior. He hasn't learned yet that it's not acceptable to you. You need basic training. You need bite inhibition training.

You should try NILIF and Puppy Bite Inhibition.

And try to get all that dominance, alpha, leader stuff out of the way for right now. Most of it's bunk anyway. It'll help you much better in the long run. :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: so_you_noticed
2006-10-17 05:22 pm (UTC)
I'd like to add my opinion too :)

Yes, I also think it is normal puppy behaviour. My dog (boxer) was really annoying as a puppy and would just bite and attack you whenever she could and I was going crazy with her, but she stopped doing it eventually, you just have to be much more stubborn than your puppy. Try and find a good way to correct him, as in try and find a way to tell him to stop that he listens and then stick with it. It doesn't necessarily help that you read every book there is and try every trick there is, you just have to be consistent. He will get it eventually. I used ignoring, every time my puppy would start biting and attacking I would just get up and ignore her for a while until she stopped jumping up against my legs etc and directed her attention elsewhere, then I would sit back down and if she started again, I repeated the ignoring. She actually got it pretty quick.

Yeah, and the dominance thing. I think it is good, just for practical reasons, to have certain manners like for example going out before your dog, sitting the dog down before you give them food, starting play and ending it, but at least for me, it's not something done to ensure your leadership, it's just manners. If it helps the dog to understand that you're the leader then okay, but as long as co-existance is problem-free I don't think you should worry so much about who's pack leader and who's a member :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hike_on
2006-10-18 08:13 pm (UTC)
hi there, thanks for posting this. I would like to ask you about your dog's feeding habits. Do you leave his food down constantly or do you feed him at certain times of the day?

It is in everyone's interests for the dog to be fed once/twice a day rather than leaving food down for him constantly. As he is testing you at the moment for supremacy may I suggest he knows the food is coming through you. Also, make him wait for the food too. Get him to sit down and only let him at it when you are ready. Using a command like "leave" works fine for me. Obviously they need to understand what you mean by this first of all. If he dives straight in for his food then gently restrain him by blocking his path with your arm. He will soon get the idea...On the other end of the scale, if he is really not interested in his food, leave it down for 15 minutes max and if he hasnt bothered with it, take it up and dont feed him until next time.

Re the biting, in addition to the comment made previously about ignoring, I find it helps to make a short sharp ow! noise that is really high pitched before you ignore him. If you think about their lives in the wild, when dogs play too rough with each other, one will yelp and then walk away. They instinctually know then that they have gone too hard.

Any more questions feel free to fire away...
(Reply) (Thread)