help for our dog

Posted by Dan
Sep 4, 2007
our dog jake is an 18 month chocolate lab, great dog, very loyal, was undersocialized when we adopted him at 10 months old, as he stayed in a kennel with his parents, and his sib mate (female) almost all of the time.
he was very dirty, but was able to come to our house.
He immediately was agrressive with men, never me, nor my wife, no other overt domninat behaviors (food/play aggression) was jumping on furniture a little bit.
he went into daycare and and did well, and got along with the other dogs, after several months bit another dog and was kicked out.
over the last 2 months, we have trained him 90 mins per day, sit, stay, down, come...we go through the doors first, he waits to eat...and has had no more agression with other humans, in fact we have a male teenager come and take him out of his crate mid day, and Jake has been doing very well.

Here is the problem: now he wants to attack everydog around. he know hasn't been around a lot of dogs, so if we go somewhere, if a dog comes up to him, he wants to tear it apart. male, female, even if they are showing non-dominant behavior.

Posted by eyeluvdogs
Sep 14, 2007
This is an unpleasant, but common problem. And unfortunately bad behavior while out walking can mean that some owners stop enjoying these walks, and therefore take them out less often. In doing this, the situation usually worsens because the dog has excess energy which, if not used up, can lead to even more bad behavior. Fortunately for your dog, he is getting an excellent amount of exercise, which is great to hear!

While you may not be able to get your dog to be friendly to every dog you see, your goal should at least be to get your dog to ignore all other dogs.

I recommend that you click on the following link to be taken to an earlier post regarding a similar situation. There you will see a training method that can hopefully be used to train your dog into ignoring all other dogs.


You might want to consider getting your dog a muzzle if you think there is any chance that he will attack another dog. Have him get used to wearing the muzzle at home first before taking him out walking. He will probably hate the feel of it initially, but encourage him and he should get used to it.

Good luck with your dog!
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Sep 20, 2007
Hi, I feel sympathetic with you and your wife since we had a similar problem with Noah, our 1.5 yrs old Border Collie Mix until a month ago.

Noah always has been very nice to people, including kids. He is only scared of some dogs. He showed aggression at the off-leash park when we played fetch. He was very focused and was a great fetcher. However, when another dog gets to him while he has a ball in his mouth, he gets so aggressive and he even bit some dogs. He got a bad reputation at the park. I tried all kinds of things to correct his problem, including taking him to dog day care, timeouts when he bites dogs, etc. but it didn't get better, until finally I stopped throwing balls for him completely.

When a timid dog meets a stranger (a dog) he has only 2 choices, fight or flight. Noah used to chose fight but now he can do flight with my recalls.

I don't believe all dogs that show aggression are dominant dogs. Some are timid dogs and "alfa training" is not a suitable solution for those dogs.

Please observe your dog well and find some kinds of patterns when he gets aggressive. I was suggested to put a muzzle on Noah at the park but I didn't try myself. It might be a good idea if your dog bites every single dog. However, I still believe that your dog is trying to communicate with other dogs, such as rolling his lip or standing his neck hair, or even growling saying "don't get close to me" or something. Some dogs are poor communicator, especially your dog spent his puppyhood only with his sibling and parents. By the way, I adopted Noah as an adult dog so I don't know his socialization history.

It took me several months to find out what was wrong with Noah so please be patient. Good luck!
Posted by eyeluvdogs
Sep 21, 2007
I just wanted to say that I actually believe that the Alpha Rules should be used on all dog's, timid or dominant. Obviously they are great for dominant dog's, but I also think that they are just as important for dogs with less confidence. However if the dog is timid perhaps the use of the techniques can be a little more subtle. I believe that with a timid dog you only need to use the less obvious Alpha Rules to get the message across e.g feeding the dog last, asking the dog to wait for you to go through doors first, not allowing the dog onto beds and sofas etc. The reason I believe this is because if you are NOT using the techniques, you may be inadvertently teaching your dog that he or she is the Alpha. As you can imagine this huge responsibility of caring for the pack can be too much for a dog who is already lacking in confidence, and that in turn can cause more unwanted behavior. I think that it is important to show a timid dog that it has a strong and capable leader, without being forceful about it
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Sep 22, 2007
Dear eyeluvdogs,

I appreciate you brought an attention to me and to the other readers that the Alfa techniques are effective for timid dogs as well, so that the timid dog doesn't need to feel that he is responsible of the pack.

I understand what you are saying and I don't mean to argue with you but I would like to tell you what I think since this is something I have been wondering myself for quite a while. I am not a native English speaker so please forgive my poor English.

My point is that we don't need to use the pack theory or Alfa techniques to correct some of the unfavorable behaviors of dogs. In fact, I doubt that Noah's case was a result of him thinking he had to be the pack leader. We have another dog, female 5 yrs old and she is much more matured and confident. We believe that she is the leader if there needs to be one between Noah and herself. Furthermore, I don't see our dogs deem us human family members as a part of the pack. Dogs know that humans are not the same as them. I understand there is a pack hierarchy AMONG dogs but I don't think it is extended to humans.

I have had more than 10 dogs in my life, only 4 out of them lived inside the house with us. We always fed our dogs before human meals, we didn't mind them go out the door before us, we let them get on the bed and sofa, but none of them showed any aggression to humans including babies and kids. They know who are humans, different specie from them. Humans can get respects from dogs not because we eat before they do, not because we go out the door first, but because we love them and take care of them.

Therefore, I could get my message across to Noah that he didn't need to be protective, without using the Alpha techniques.

I have another question about the Alpha techniques. Suppose you could correct your dog's behavior using Alpha techniques. What if the dog goes out with someone else, say a young dog sitter. without YOU. Does the dog still act same as when you are around? That is another reason why I don't believe in the pack theory.

I will appreciate if someone answer my question.

Again, I don't mean to deny the techniques and I am very interested in them. Just think it is not an almighty method to correct all dog aggression problems.
Posted by eyeluvdogs
Sep 24, 2007
Hi again

Thank you for your reply. Of course, not everyone is going to agree with the importance of the Alpha techniuqes, but I personally find that they are an essential element in dog training. I know lots of people like yourself who feel that they have never had to use these techniques to raise and train very well behaved dogs, however when I think about it, all of these people are naturally confident with animals, and therefore, in my opinion, exude leadership which the dogs respond to.
Others that I have known, with less well behaved dogs, are not as confident and therefore the implementation of the Alpha techniques have been important for asserting their dominance and therefore getting better control over their dogs.

You are absolutely correct though....if a dog has a behavior problem, the Alpha techniques alone will not change that behavior. However, in my opinion they are an important part of the solution. Exercise, obedience training and behavior modification training (such as the exercise explained in the reply to "Sasha's" post) are also very important components.