My dog has every problem in the book! Where do I begin training him?

Posted by dollyrink
Mar 13, 2008
I have two dogs: an aussie and a golden retriever. We've had them since they were about 7 weeks old, which is 5 years now. Our aussie is just great, but we've been having tons of trouble with our golden, Larry, ever since we moved from Iowa to Florida two years ago. Larry has come up with just about every bad habit in the book: barking at anything and anyone new that comes near him or the house/yard, BAD dog aggression (we've had two all-out attacks on two different neighborhood dogs, and several "attempts" at an attack. He's even lurched so hard for a dog that he's pulled me right off of my feet and dragged me several yards on pavement just to get at it!!), submissive peeing, endless licking (especially of the carpets and his front paws), jumping on people, nudging and annoying people for attention, leash pulling, and just acting like a psycho in general. I've had it!!!! Not only has it made me regret the move even more than I already do, but we've got two small kids (and one on the way), and even though he hasn't shown any family aggression, or even aggression to our other dog, I feel like it's only a matter of time. I don't know why he's turned into such a monster, but obviously the move was traumatic for him. We're at our wits endespecially me!!!after the last dog attack, I was ready to get rid of him, but my husband was sure they'd put him down. As much as I've grown to quite nearly hate that dog, I wanted to at least give him a chance to become the dog he used to be. SitStayFetch is our last hope, but unfortunately I don't know where to even BEGIN!!! HELP!!!
Posted by Blue
Mar 14, 2008
First of I'd like you 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. With your children, if they are old enough, try to explain to them the importance of these techniques - but they are not to force the dog to do them without adult supervision.

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. (for your children, start training the dogs to move on command - adults can apply physically taking the dog by the collar and moving it - children must use verbal commands reinforced by an adult if necessary. Food/treats can also be applied after the dog moves .

2) Make sure that you always go through doorways first. A good method to reinforce your position as alpha dog 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.

This is the first major step. It is very important that everyone at home is also the alpha over your dogs.

Now the second step is to make sure the dogs are very obedient. Work with them separately for 10 minutes twice a day in a quiet secluded area where you can have their full individual attention. Start with the basic commands of sit, stay and come.

Next is structuring reprimands and rewards. When these two components are strongly enforced in the household, they are a huge influence on how a dog behaves.

The next time time he growls, snarls or does anything aggressive he needs to be reprimanded loudly and firmly. Use a loud GRRRRRRRR or AHHHHHHHHH at him. This will give him a fright and let him know what he is doing is not okay. At the same time i would also give him a yank on the lead and/or a squirt with a water pistol, should he be on a lead at the time.

Praise any behaviour that is gentle and calm, even if he chooses of his own accord to lay down in a corner to nap!

You need to be really consistent with her no matter when or where he does it. Once he has been told off make him sit, if he responds then reward him with praise, attention and petting. This will help him get the idea that he is not the boss and you are.

This is a good starting point, I will try and post more answers to the rest of your issues later this week!

One thing I'd also like to point out, is dogs are very sensitive to moods/emotions of humans, and if you are hateful towards your dog (as frustrating as may be!) he will pick up on it and become worried/frustrated/scared also - making his behaviour much harder to change. You need to be super patient and calm with him. If you are getting frustrated with him during any obedience training, get him to do one trick he knows really well, and praise him profusely and then walk away from the session for a while. All training needs to end on a happy note- so he'll want to do training again!

Hope this was helpful, post any further questions you need answered!