Suggestions please

Posted by clipperglover
Jul 9, 2008

I have a question that is just about to drive me crazy.

Clipper is a Jack Russell about to turn 1 year old, ever since he was tiny he
walks around the house with a toy, treat, sock, his mouth. Usually it is a toy and alot bigger than his mouth. He usually will go up to a door or something stationary or my legs and take one paw and lightly scratch at it, usually just one or two times almost like he is trying to get my attention. He always does this first thing in the morning when we get up or if he wants me to get up. There are other times he does this throughout the day. At first I thought he just wanted me to play with him but he will get it close to my hand sometimes just will touch my hand and calmly walks away a short distance come back and do this several times, usually I will get up or he will repeat this until I ignore him. He looks so cute when he does this, especially if I'm walking behind him he will walk up a little way, turn around and look back at me almost to see if I'm still coming behind him. He will walk all through the house several times and eventually put whatever is in his mouth down. It's just hard to believe its for attention...shoot it's just me and him and he already has my attention. Don't think it's because he wants to play.
Does anyone have any suggestions to what it could be??
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Jan 23, 2010
Hi there

It does sound like Clipper is trying to get your attention when he wants it. Unfortunately this isn't a good thing as it means that he has decided that he is alpha dog in the house and therefore you should do what he wants. In order for him to stop this, you will have to re-establish yourself as leader of the pack. There are a few things that you can incorporate into your daily routine to re-establish yourself as the alpha dog. These include insisting that you walk ahead of him through doorways and when walking on the leash, and feeding him after you have finished your own meal. You must ignore him if he comes up to you for attention, as he has to learn that attention from you is earned and not just given out whenever he wants it. This is a vital thing to get across, because although it will be hard not to pat or talk to him when he comes up to you uninvited, you must not even look at him so that he realizes that attention from you isn’t something to be taken for granted. Before you pat him or play with him, give him a command, such as 'sit-stay' so that he will see that your attention is a reward for good behavior. This will act as an incentive for the future. If you are playing a game with him, make sure it is you that chooses the toy and when you decide that you have had enough, take the toy away with you so that he realizes that it is you that controls playtime. When you first come home, you should greet the rest of the household first before saying hello to him, which will help him realize his place in the hierarchy. All these things can be incorporated relatively easily into your normal daily routine, although it will require some patience and perseverance from you. He may struggle initially as he sees himself as the alpha dog and therefore being in the submissive position to you, who he sees as a subordinate, is distressing. He may not appreciate you taking away his toys after a game, but you need to persist to show him that as the alpha dog, you are entitled to all his toys whenever you want. Soon, though, he will settle into his new place in the hierarchy and should become a more relaxed dog, as he has been relieved of the stressful role of protector. Once Clipper realizes that you are the alpha dog, he will start following you instead of the other way round, because it is the leader that always decides where the rest of the pack are going.

It is also a good idea to set aside some time each day for a bit of obedience training, which will not only improve his obedience levels but also the relationship between you.

I hope this helps in some way!
Posted by kjd
Jan 23, 2010
Hey, clipperglover!

I think Clipper has you just where he wants you -- he is leading you around the house, not by your nose, but by a toy!

Follow Robyn's suggestions lest he start demanding more of you than "follow the leader."

Good luck,