jumping and biting - scary - please help!

Posted by trace06
Mar 19, 2008
We adopted a one yr old pit/staffie mix about 3 1/2 wks ago. He was abandoned and rescued by an organization. he seems to have very little training. My husband and I have been training him ourselves using SitStayFetch. We have also employed the ALpha Dog Tips. Everything seemed to be going well - slow but steady - until 2 days ago. The first 2 wks he was w/ us my husband was able to stay home with him. Last week we have been away from home for extened periods due to work. Both our dogs are put in the spacious backyard until we get home. Recently we have been getting ready to move and have had very little time for play or walks. 2 days ago I came home and let them in. They were naturally very excited and both dashed in the house. To avoid the ruckus I stepped into the backyard. jackson cam bounding out and jumped at me. I turned my back and said "OFF" - this usually works. He wouldn't stop and started to bite me. He would get off then start again - I couldn't get a chance to get him to sit. The skin wasn't broken but some bruising occurred. The same behavior happened yesterday too. He did it a couple times in the house last night as well. Then a couple times this morning. It was rather scary. We have a 9 yr old daughter and I can't have him doing this to her. We really enjoy him and he is sweet and we don't want to have to send him away. Can you help. Sorry for the length of this!
Posted by Todd
Mar 20, 2008
HI there and thank you for your question.

Sounds like Jackson can be quite a handful which is understandable in dogs that have been rescued. They are very grateful and loyal animals and can get over excited.

The first advice i would give you is to 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 she is sleeping or lying on the floor then you can reinforce your position as alpha dog by making her 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.

Jackson needs to know that the rest of the family are dominant animals and what they say goes. The more he understands this the easier it is later when you try and correct problem behaviours.

The next advice i would give you is to work very hard on Jackson's obedience. The more obedient a dog is the easier it is to control them in any situation.
Start with 15 min training sessions twice a day. Work on commands like sit, stay, and come as mentioned in SitStayFetch. BE patient and consistent.
Don't take him out for walks anymore until you have an obedient dog that listens.

Whatever the circumstance your dogs should be reprimanded for unacceptable behaviour.

What I recommend you do, is the next time your dog acts poorly and exhibits dominant tendencies (growling, jumping or biting), 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 aim is to give him a shock and let him know what he is doing is unacceptable.

Jumping - [/B]

I have a number of methods to control jumping, not all will work on certain dogs but some will.

The most successful is the method of teaching the dog that it will only get attention when he has all four feet on the ground. The next time he jumps growl and reprimand him as above, and push him off you. When he is off you give him the Sit command. The second he sits you must praise him to reinforce him good behaviour. Petting, playing and talking to him are great ways to do this. You have to be very consistent with this method and it will take time before you see results so don't give up if he doesn't respond straight away.

Another method is when they jump to firmly step on the dogs toes (not hard as you may cause damage). Combine this with the reprimand as above and if you like you should also use this with the sit and calm method.

The problems your dog has are correctable and it is your commitment, patience and consistency that will rule things. You sound very dedicated to this so keep up all the good work and i am sure you will have some results soon. Good luck.