Please help

Posted by Carmar75
Sep 6, 2007
I have a 3-yr. old Great Dane, since he was 8 weeks old. He is exceptional in every way, gentle, smart, well-trained, never had one accident in the house and is more civilized than a lot of people I know. And yes, he has been neutered. He is beautiful, weighs 192#, and is confident and very affectionate. About 1 yr. ago, the neighbors behind us added a small female rat terrier to their other two dogs (had one male and one female mixed breed dogs that were never a problem) - and my perfectly comfortable
life with my dog became ridiculous. The terrier is a female, I don't know if she is spayed. I have a great yard for my dog, grass, trees, running room, and even other dogs for him to play with almost daily.
BUT, all he has to do is hear that one dog bark, and he charges the fence at
the spot where the dog is (it's a 6 ft. redwood fence, with a sharp drop on
the neighbors' side, which the terrier scales to come bark at my yard). His hackles are up, the growling is loud, and he paws at the fence so hard that
he has broken a toe (to the tune of $910.00), cut his foot twice, and scraped
the fence. I have since put up a separation in the yard and only let him out
there when I can watch. If the terrier isn't out there, he is perfectly content and enjoys playing and rolling around in the grass; but all it takes is one yip from it, and it's all over. I call him away from the fence, and close the area
off. He stands in the other part of the yard, and talks to me (like he's trying
to tell me he had to do it or something). You've probably heard Danes talk, they really are almost human in that way. I've tried repellents, natural and other, on both sides of the fence - nothing. The neighbors apparently are
not interested in keeping their dog off the hillside (can't blame them, not
their problem) - so what am I missing? help... Thank you
Posted by Todd
Sep 12, 2007
Hi Carmar75

Thank you for your email regarding your Great Dane.
This sounds like a serious problem but it does sound like you are committed to fixing the problem which is a great first step.
The first advice i usually give in these situations is alpha dog info.

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 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.

The next piece of advice i will give you is obedience. Obedience is another major part of fixing behavioural problems. Regular training sessions are key to improving your dog's obedience responses and keeping it used to answering your commands. Concentrate on the sit and stay, down and stay, heel and wait commands. The more obedient they are the more likely you are to have success and get him to respond to you when they have misbehaved. This training will take a lot of time and patience.

Now the alpha and obedience training will help to some degree but here is some more specific advice that may help you.
The first thing you could try is getting the dogs to interact. Barking etc through the fence although it may sound ferocious is often just dogs unsure of who the other dog is. I would encourage you to first muzzle your dog (as a precaution) and then to take him next door. A lead is a must and he must always be under close control to avoid any problems.
Don'tintroduce the dogs straight away but make them sit around 5 metres apart. Once he is sitting and relaxed take a step forward and get him to sit. If he sits praise him. After a minute take another step forward and repeat.
On the first day stay a metre away from the other dog and end the session without the dogs interacting. The next day repeat this process.
On the third day you can let the dogs interact but they should always be under control and things can't get out of hand.

At any stage in the above process if your dog growls or acts unacceptably you must reprimand him. I encourage people to use a low growl instead of a no. Immediately follow this with a command like sit. The second he sits reward him with praise and attention.
Reprimanding and reinforcing is the most effective method of behavioural modification.

Keeping him away from the fence is a good idea until they get along better. You may want to try feeding your dog near the fence when the other dog is there.
Until they get along better i would encourage you to continue not letting him out until you are there.
Hopefully this will help, if worst comes to worse he mayhave to be restricted to the front yard while you aren't there. Be patient and good luck.

Kind Regards

SitStayFetch Team
Posted by Carmar75
Sep 12, 2007
Thank you for your reply. The only thing I haven't tried, of what you suggested, is feeding him at the fence. I'll give it a shot.
When I tried getting the neighbors to work with me on introducing them, in stages, at a distance then closer, they started then panicked. My dog is huge in comparison to their dog AND THEM, so...
Guess, I'll have to restrict his access to that part of the yard indefinitely.
Thanks again.