Posted by Dandy
Jan 28, 2008
I have a 10 month old rottweiler. She obey basic commands like Sit,Stay, lay down but not everytime. she will just follow my command if she sees a treat in my hand. Everytime i walk her out and fortunately in loose leash but a little in front of me and not by my left side. My problem is how can i train her to obey me even without a treat? not walking ahead of me but on my left side and my other problem is when she sees another dog inside the fence aggressively barking at her, she suddenly stops look at them and start barking back pulling her leash towards them as much as she can. thanks
Posted by Todd
Jan 29, 2008
Hi there and thank you for your question.

Firstly about training without treats. As you may have found out it can be had to train a puppy that has learned with treats if you take the treats away. Treats are a great way to start training but getting it to stick requires you to change how often she gets treats.

The idea is to change how often she gets the treat. Start by say every third time you give a command not giving her a treat. Still give her the praise, attention and petting if she follows your command. If not reprimand her with a AHHHHH or GRRRRR then re-give the command.

Once she gets used to this- interval try and make the times you don't give a treat more frequent. So after a few days of once every 3 commands try once every 2 commands. If she doesn't respond at once every 3 try once every 6 or so commands.

If you drop the interval and she doesn't respond then go back to the previous interval for a while then try again later.

Keep up with this until she responds better.

Now for the aggression problem.

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 dogs while they are sleeping or lying on the floor then you can reinforce your position as alpha dog by making them 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 dogs around the house on the leash, making your dogs wait while you walk through doorways first.

3) At mealtimes make sure that she eats 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 her straightaway when you arrive home. Make her wait until you are ready and then call her 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.

Generally I do not recommend people give their dogs bones as this encourages the aggression, because in the wild the alpha dog would be the only one to have the privilege of chewing the bones. The reason your dog growls at you when you approach it with a bone is because it believes that it has the right to the bone and is trying to discipline you for challenging your dog for its dominant role.

The next advice i would give you is to ensure that she is very obedient. Work with her twice a day for 10 minutes each time separately. Take them to a quiet area and work on the commands sit, stay and come as mentioned in SitStayFetch. The more obedient your dogs are the more they will listen to you and the more likely you are to have control in the problem situations you mentioned.

The alpha and obedience training will go along way to helping you control these situation. But here is some specific advice to help you.

What I recommend you do, is the next time your dog acts poorly saturate your dog with a water pistol or hose, 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 them a shock and let him know what he is doing is unacceptable.

Once she has been told off make her sit. If she behaves praise her with attention.
Reinforcing and reprimanding is the best way to help these problems. She needs to know what is both wrong and right.

You may want to try sitting her down further from the fence . Praise and reprimand as required. Slowly move towards the fence making sure to reinforce calm behaviour. Keep going until she is near the other dog. Don't let them meet on the first occasion only allow this after 3-4 days.

Good luck with her and please let me know how things go.

Kind regards

Todd Field
Posted by Annie
Jan 29, 2008
Hi there,
I understand that this breed gets a lot of bad press....but it is also that some breeds need extra control so as to be reliable in all situations. My cousin has 2 Rotties and she trains them twice weekly in a Dog school. Through this she is fairly secure that her dogs will behave. However, she never walks them off line where there are people or other dogs, and she will muzzle them whenever she feels that the situation could be a problem. By her behaving like this and constantly working her dogs she has a beautiful pair of well behaved dogs. What is tollerable in some dogs could be a nightmare in others. Could I suggest you follow the techniques that are recommended by SitStayFetch but also seek out a group or trainer that has experience with larger breeds?
I wish you the best with your lovely dog,