jealous dogs

Posted by jasminasul
Jul 15, 2008
I have a dog that I rescued when she was 4 months old and she was very jealous from day one, even if I had six other dogs at home. A few months later I adopted her brother and although they have a great time playing together she gets very aggresive when I stroke him or the other dogs, especially if she is sleeping at my feet. She doesn`t fight for food or toys.I always have a water hose ready in case they get serious, as I`m still in pain for the loss of my dog who was killed by his own son. All the other dogs are also aggressive and they growl at meal time or just to protect their favourite corner. I have a shock collar that I only use when the puppies chase the neighbours`chickens, but I would like to know if it is wrong to pet aggressive or jealous dogs, and if it is my fault and I am doing the wrong thing by giving them so much attention.
P D : They are australian cattledog mix, by the way.
Posted by Todd
Aug 6, 2008
Hi there and thanks for the post

This is a really difficult issue as there are so many dogs in the house but i will do my best to help. You may for a while need to keep all the dogs separate if possible to avoid any issues.

Now you need to work on alpha issues as well as their obedience.

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 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.

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.

I also think it is very important that both dogs be banned from couches and beds as these are items that can be used to represent dominance.

You should reprimand your dog for unacceptable behavior, no matter what that behavior is. If you do not reprimand your dogs poor behavior then it will feel that it has the right to behave that way and it will take much longer to correct the behavior.

What I recommend you do, is the next time your dog acts poorly and exhibits dominant tendencies (growling), saturate your dog with the garden hose or a bucket of water, or if it is inside, throw a heavy blanket over your dog and be sure to reprimand it. DO NOT yell, as this has no effect on the dominant dog. Growl instead, use a guttural growl like " AAHHH!" instead of "No!", as this makes a sharper sound then "No" (If done correctly it may hurt your throat a little).

The second after you have reprimanded one of the dogs and they show the correct behaviour you must immediately reinforce this with praise, petting and attention.

The next step you will have to take is to work very hard on both dogs obedience. 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.

Once you have done basic alpha and obedience training the problem may have reduced in its severity but you need to reinforce the correct behaviours to fully stop the problem.

Now we need to get each dof to learn to get along with the others as well as share you. At no stage should the dogs be allowed to get away with any form of aggression at any stage.

All the dogs need to learn to get along. We will start with one on one and then we will move to little groups

After a month the following controlled exercises may help:

1. Firstly muzzle one of the dogs (if you feel that the muzzle is needed), then put both dogs in a sit near you. Pet one, and then feed that one. Then, feed the other one for tolerating your interactions with the first one. At first, this is best done with a second handler, but after the dogs become better at self-restraint, you can do this alone.

2. Sit on the sofa and call the dogs over. Ask one dog to sit or lie down. Make a fuss over Dog 2. Reward the sitting/downed Dog 1 for tolerance and remaining in place. Then reverse this: put Dog 2 in a sit or down position and make a big fuss over Dog 1. Reward Dog 2 for tolerance and staying. Again, you can do this by yourself if you have confidence that a brawl won't break out. Otherwise use a second handler to keep an eye on the sitting/downed dog. This exercise is best practiced on leash.

3. Remember that if you take one dog for a walk, leave the other one behind and kennel the walked dog on return. When things are calm for 5 – 15 minutes, get both dogs out and put them in sit and down together for a treat (never facing each other). Then allow them to interact, if you think that it is safe to do so at this point in training. Follow this advice when you work the dogs as well. Kennel one dog, and work the other dog. Then trade, kenneling one and getting the other out to work. After a 5 – 15 minute rest period, get the dogs out and carefully work them together. You may need two handlers for this also.

When it comes to meal time you should encourage the two dogs you are working with to eat at the same time near each other. Do not put their food bowls down until they are both sitting, listening and behaving. Be prepared for them to show some aggression, if one dog moves towards the others food or growls, reprimand them. The methods above are great for reprimanding the dogs. You really want to reinforce that food aggression is not acceptable. If at any stage one of the dogs misbehaves take its food away and put it into a quiet room. Wait ten minutes and then try again with that dog.

Over the next few weeks you can slowly move the dogs food bowls together. Do this slowly and always watch them. If they misbehave go back to the step where they tolerated each other. You should over time get them to the point where they can eat side by side.

Feeding the dogs side by side from your hand is a great way to reinforce their friendship but be very careful and only do this when you fully trust them. It will take you weeks to get to this stage.

Make sure both dogs get heaps of toys when they are learning to behave. Make sure you teach them to play together and again reinforce good behaviour. Once they will play together then you can try and leave them with the toys, but always keep an eye on them.

I also think it is a great time to start socialising the dogs a bit more. Take them for walks around your neighbourhood. When you see another dog approaching make your dog sit and relax. Let the other dog come to you. Your dog should be relaxed and sitting at all times. If at any stage they stands or growls reprimand them and make them sit. They must realise that you are the boss and what you say goes. Once they begin to behave again make them sit and give them plenty of praise. You must work on reinforcing they behaviours you want and reprimanding the inappropriate ones. Once they begin to behave in these situations you may want to try socialising them at other places like dog parks.

This is going to take a long time to solve and you may need a professional to make a house call and help out one on one to get things moving more quickly. Let us know how things are going and we will try to help

Good Luck