Older Dog needs new manners - Urgently

Posted by TxGrams
Aug 4, 2009
In 2006, I took in a 5-year-old mix breed dog when her owner became ill and then passed away. "Georgia" adopted me immediately, but has unleashed pure anger and fear in our house towards everyone who lives here or visits. This includes my family, grandkids, mother, neighbors, relatives, visiting pets, etc. I am at my wits end. No one seems to be able to help me. She growls and snarls even when my husband enters the room. She loves him and allows others to pet her when I am NOT home. However, when I am home, no one can get near me without Georgia growling and acting hateful. I just don't know what else to do. I am afraid one day she will bite someone. So far it is just growls, snarls, and bad language (she sounds like she is cussing!). She loves me and is so gentle, but only to me. She will go up to people in the house and growl, but she wants them to pet her! Please help me. I can't find anything to tell me what to do with Georiga. I love her, but she is 100 lbs of growling dog that scares everyone to death!
Posted by kjd
Aug 5, 2009
Have you tried ensuring you are Alpha with Georgia? It sounds as if she thinks she is in charge of you and is making sure nobody harms you. She has to learn you are taking care of her and you will handle any problems. Read the thread on Chasing Cars for a description of how to teach Georgia you are alpha.

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 6, 2009
Hi TxGrams,

I think kjd is correct. Your dog is either trying to protect you since she thinks she is in charge, or she sees you as her valuable resource that she thinks she needs to protect from other people and dogs.

It is like a chain reaction; you are afraid you dog will react to other people and that will give her stronger reason to protect you, thus her aggressive behavior, which causes you a bigger concern, etc. You will have to break this chain reaction somewhere and becoming a confident leader (I don't like the concept of "Alpha Dog" since I believe dogs know the difference between their own specie and humans so I am not using the term) is the best and only way to accomplish this.

There are all the tips on "How to become the Alpha Dog" on this site so you can start with those. I personally don't agree with some of the tips but give them a try!! Good luck
Posted by TxGrams
Aug 26, 2009
Georgia is doing better. I am trying to introduce her to more people and dogs outside of our home. Her behavior is better, but still needs improving. Being away from the house seems to help a lot, but she still feels the need to get between me and everyone else when at home. We try ignoring her growls and that helps sometimes when it is just family members. However, anyone that comes to the door and rings the bell is seen as a major threat to Georgia and she almost pushes be aside to get between the intruder and me. Nothing I say or command to her makes any difference. The intruder remains under her strict glare and growl until I either get Georgia back inside & close the door or the intruder leaves. Nothing I say or do seems to convey to her that the situation is ok and there is no threat to me. What else can I try? I like having a guard dog when strangers come to the door, but it would be nice to have her tone down her threat level once the visitor is identified.:confused:
Posted by KOPsarah
Aug 28, 2009
hi txgrams and thanks for your post,
Glad to hear you are already making some head way. I would highly recommend reading the reply I gave to dianeyp under the title unpredictable behavior as the situation she has with her dogs and visitors is very similar to yours. Once you've read it let me know if you have any further questions on how you can use this training with your dog.
All the best,