Leash agression Problem/Kennel Boarding questions

Posted by Arlene
Mar 11, 2008
I've had Ember for 4 months (got her when she was 9 weeks old). Her mother is a purebred beagle (the type that is longish and long ears) and her father is a shepherd-huskey. . The first month I had her was a breeze. She seemed to know the words come,-sit,-no almost the first time I said them and she was very responsive. When I took her outside she walked so close to me I wondered where she was. When I stopped she'd sit on her own (at which time I would say the word sit - I hadn't done anything to teach her. When I had had her a couple weeks she had learned to fetch and I took her on a long leash to teach her to come when I called (using a small piece of dog biscuit as a reward) and keep her from the road. Even before that I had got her acquainted with the word 'come' and after I had used the dog biscuit treat she would sit on her own a ways from me when I had her loose, waiting for me to call her, anticipating a treat!

However, when I started using the long leash more (which she was really too small for because it got under he legs easy) and she realized it was restraining her, she began to get angry with it and I first saw an uncontrolled anger - she was about 13 weeks old, which I read is when a dominant spirit shows up. She would grab the leash and hang on. I put cayenne pepper on the first couple feet from the snap and covered with duct tape; and that discouraged her from grabbing the leash, although she would put her foot over that part and grab beyond the duct tape. She’s 6 months old now. I let her loose outdoors (we have a field). But I do work with her with a short leash hoping she’ll get a better attitude towards it. There are times she does act better. I don’t have her on the leash much - just when doing a few minutes obedience training and a couple times when a child was at our place to help in her getting used to children, which has worked all right. She even layed nicely while talking with the child’s mother.

Yesterday (after doing some sit, stay, lay, come with her loose inside, I put the short leash on her and did a few steps of heal and sit. Then I tried doing a ‘long’ down ( about 15 to 20 minutes) having a short leash on her (I sat beside her on the floor). She was quite aggressive - showing her teeth - and determined to get up. But I kept having her lay (she would eventually lay quiet for a short time, get aggressive, got her to lay and kept this up for the 15 to 20 minutes and I ended it when she was laying quiet - at which time I had her do a few steps of heal and sit - then took the leash off and had her do sit, stay, lay, come.) I did it again today for about 10 minutes, with the same performance. She is good at commands to sit, lay, come. But she doesn’t like the leash (probably because I didn’t know how to properly introduce her to the leash when she was younger).

What is the solution to her attitude toward the leash?

One other question - I'm a little apprehensive about how staying in a kennel will affect Ember. In May we expect to be gone a week or so and I plan to put her in a kennel that has a fenced run for each dog (where I used to board a dog I had previously). I'm thinking of leaving her there one night before then to get her used to it. But she's such an active dog, I don't know what affect a week-stay in a kennel would have on her. She likes to chew on cardboard, so I thought I'd leave some cardboard with her along with a toy. She's in the house a lot, but I do let her out loose and we have enough land so she gets exercise.

Thank you for your help.
Posted by Todd
Mar 17, 2008
HI there and thanks for the question.

Sorry for the delay often the consults can slip by and end up at the bottom of the list before we realise it.
It sounds like you are working well with Ember, she seems very obedient and obedient.

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 dogs while they are 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 alphadog is to walk your dog around the house on the leash, making your dog 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 your dogs tidbits or let it pester you at the table. Save the morsels and tidbits for training sessions instead.

5) Do not greet your dogs straightaway when you arrive home. Make it wait until you are ready and then call it 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.

You should reprimand your dog for unacceptable behavior, no matter what that behavior is. If you do not reprimand your dogs poor behavior then it will feel that it has the right to behave that way and it will take much longer to correct the behavior.

What I recommend you do, is the next time your dog acts poorly and exhibits dominant tendencies (growling), saturate your dog with the garden hose or a bucket of water, or if it is inside, throw a heavy blanket over your dog and be sure to reprimand it. DO NOT yell, as this has no effect on the dominant dog. Growl instead, use a guttural growl like " AAHHH!" instead of "No!", as this makes a sharper sound then "No" (If done correctly it may hurt your throat a little).

The second after you have reprimanded one of the dogs and they show the correct behaviour you must immediately reinforce this with praise, petting and attention.

Now to more specifically the issue with the leash.

I would begin by exposing Ember to the leash in a non-threatening (for it) situation. Leave the leash out in her play area so that it gets used to the sight and smell of the leash, only do this when you are present. Depending on how badly she is reacting you may have to leave the leash on the outskirts of its area for a start and build up over a couple of weeks to the point that you can approach her with the leash in your hand. Be very gradual in how you do this, try not to get her to gander up at any stage. Do not attempt to put the leash on your pup unless it is 100% relaxed about the deal.

This works on making the leash seem less of a item to be fearful of.

Once she has got used to it try lying it over her body when she is resting.
Now try to put her on her. When she gets aggressive you have to reprimand her as i mentioned above, when she behaves you must praise her.

She needs to learn what is okay and what isn't. Give this a go and if it doens't work i can help some more.

As for the kennel question i would try and do the same sort of thing. Put the kennel in the yard and leave it open. When she gets into it praise her and give her attention. Try feeding her in there and put her toys in it. The more good feelings you can get her to associate with the kennel the better.
Never tell her off near the kennel as one bad experience can ruin things,

Hopefully your kennel owners will let you do this. If not try and leave her there for a night to get her used to it. Most dogs will be hyperactive for the first few hours then settle down and relax.
I would leave her lots of toys to keep her occupied but most kennels are good at making sure they keep active and aren't bored. Remember they won't let her bark for a week they will exercise her to help her calm down.

Good luck and please let me know how things go.

Posted by taniajennifer
Mar 18, 2008
arlene: i am no expert by any means but i did finally get my dog to get really good at long lays. i stumbled upon it when i was walking her and bumped into a old friend. i put libby in a lay with the intent of chatting only for a few minutes but before i knew it 20 minutes has passed. libby did stir and complain a few times the first time but i only needed to give her a few gentle reminders and she settled right in and waited patiently and quietly. this happened a few times and she just go t the hang of it. i think it was because i was relaxed and distracted and not so anxiously focussed on her performance. basically i think maybe libby didnt bother misbehaving because she could sense i wasnt emotionally engaged with her (i was having good old gab with my friend!) and she wasnt going to be able to manipulate the situation. maybe if you tried a long lay in a different environment to shake things up and got a friend to help you out or talked on the phone or something it might work for your pup ...? i dont know, i almost hate to post advice since i am a noobie here but it did work for me.
Posted by Todd
Mar 19, 2008
Hi Tania

That is great advice and is always good to get opinions from people in the same sort of circumstances. Don't be afraid to post things because each problem is new to us so other advice is never bad.

Cheers, Todd