"whiskey" the Lab 11 Months wants to kill all strange dogs

Posted by Shyrel
May 13, 2008
My Lab puppy, 11 Months suddenly shows crazy aggression towards other dogs while on a leash.

I take him hiking regularly and have 3 other dogs who he loves and plays well with.

He has had some training, can heal, sit, lay-down, high-five, stay (for short amount of time) has great recall on a hike unless chasing deer or rabbits.

Please give me advice on what to do. I'm worried that if he ever left my yard he would kill someones dog.

Posted by Todd
May 17, 2008
Hi there and thanks for the question

I think this may be partly an overexcited labrador puppy thing but may have some aggression underlying it.

AS with most aggression issues i always start with alpha training as this will help resolve a lot of the issues.

The first advice i would give you is to ensure you and your family members have read and understand the techniques in the bonus book "Secrets to becoming the Alpha Dog". These are great techniques for maintaining or establishing your position at the head of the household. No matter what the problem is all dogs need to know where the stand in the house for both yours and their peace and comfort.

Here are some ways to reinforce your position-

1) If you come across your dog while he is sleeping or lying on the floor then you can reinforce your position as alpha dog by making him move so that you can pass by.

2) Make sure that you always go through doorways first. A good method to reinforce your position as alpha dog is to walk him around the house on the leash, making him wait while you walk through doorways first.

3) At mealtimes make sure that your dogs eat after all of the humans have.

4) Do not feed him tidbits or let him pester you at the table. Save the morsels and tidbits for training sessions instead.

5) Do not greet him straightaway when you arrive home. Make him wait until you are ready and then call him to you.

6) Whenever your dogs want attention or anything wait till they are sitting and being well behaved.

7) When you give a command make sure that you are in a position to enforce the action that you require from your dog, especially in the initial stages of Alpha Dog training. Also, use the Alarm-No-Command technique as described in the Alpha Dog bonus book to reprimand your dog if it does not obey your command.

Now the next step is usually obedience training but you are in control of this so well done. It helps a lot to know that you can nearly always control your dog in different situations so keep up the good work.

There are 2 ways to stop aggression to strange dogs.

1) On leash training
This involves you taking your boy out on a walk somewhere. When you see a strange dog approaching make him sit. If he responds praise him with plenty of attention and petting, this will help reinforce good manners.

Now the aim is to let the strange dog approach you. Keep your boy in the sitting position as the dog approaches. If he is well behaved, sitting and calm continue to praise him.

If though he stands up, lunges, barks or growls he needs to be told off. Give him a loud GRRRRR or AHHHHH the second he misbehaves so he knows exactly what he is doing. it may also help to give him a little yank on the lead to reinforce the reprimand.

After you have told him off ask him to sit again. If he follows the command praise him if not reprimand him again.

Keep on doing this as the dog approaches. if he gets too much to handle you may have to take him away and try again on the next passer by. You have to be very patient. Start with quiet areas where you will meet one dog at a time and slowly move to more dense areas like dog parks

2) Home introduction

This is similar to the above method but is in a much more controlled situation. It requires that you get hold of a dog that he has not met before ie a "strange" dog.

Get him to sit while on the lead 5 metres from the other dog. If he behaves he can advance one step forward and then is asked to sit again. Good manners means he gets to go forward, but bad behaviour needs to be reprimanded just like above and wait until he is well behaved.

On the first few sessions get the dogs within half a metre of each other but don't let them meet. After a few sessions they can meet but must both be on a leash and only gentle play is allowed. After a few times doing this let the strange dog off the lead but keep your boy on it.
Keep up with the praise and reprimanding. Eventually you will be able to let them off together but keep an eye on them.

You will have to do this with a number of dogs and then probably follow on to the first method.

Which one you choose to do is up to you, i prefer the second method followed by the first but it is up to what is practical for you

Good luck and please let me know how things go.