Aggressive dog

Posted by pat-judge
May 16, 2008
I have a problem with a dog that has suddenly turned aggressive towards
There is a new baby in the house but he is ok with him and the rest of
the family just srangers,so much so that the vet had to sedate him to
give him his jabs as she could not put a muzzle on him.
I was hoping if you could tell me why he has suddenly got agressive as
he had been alright before and what the best way to proceed with
him,does he just need for someone to take up the alpha role with him as
i dont think that has been done yet or are the other things to try
first. He is a 1 year old golden retriever.
Any ideas will be much appreiciated kind Regards
Posted by Tarnador
May 16, 2008
I think you pretty much answered your own problem. yes I think it is time to take up the alpha roll as soon as possible. Unless you do this problems will only get worse and he could end up hurting someone. He has to learn that all members of the family, including the baby, are above him - it will take some time at first but dogs most dogs take to it pretty quickly.

I find that most dogs don't like being alpha dog, it's a very stressful position and most dogs give it up quite easily, it's almost as if it's a relief not to be top dog. with the more powerful dominant breeds this is a little harder as you constantly have to be top dog 24/7 as may will challenge consistently.

When a dog enters a family, if there is no clear leader, the dog has no choice but to adopt the role of alpha dog, it's their instinct, not a choice.

Good luck
Posted by Kate
May 17, 2008
Hey there

To add to the previous answer yes i think the alpha training stuff is important no matter what the aggression issue. Your dog needs to know its place in the household for his and your benefit.

The alpha issues simulate what happens in the wild and i think is really important for everyone to cover.

I think part of the aggression issue may also be based around the change in the house with the new baby and possibly some protection issues around this. He may think it is important for him to protect the baby but you need to reinforce that that is your job.

The main thing is to tell him off when he is being aggressive no matter how minor or major it seems. From a simple growl or bark through to bearing the teeth and nipping you need to always tell him off.

Use a loud GRRRR or AHHHH and i always find the squirt with the water pistol idea is a great add on.

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.

After he has mastered this you can try the same sort of thing with dogs out on a walk. Get the dog to sit and wait as the strange dog approaches. Again praise good behaviour with petting and attention and reprimand bad behaviour as i mentioned.
If he gets to out of hand you can take him away and try again later.

Now be patient and the better he gets the more strange situations you can take him to eg dog parks.

Good luck and post if you need more help