unwanted behavior around others

Posted by khayes
Apr 13, 2011
I have 2 dogs, a 1.5 year old boxer, and a 9 month old english bulldog. I have had behaviour problems with both of them but have been using the techniques I have learned from your website about being the alpha dog. Both dogs are responding great, They listen to commands, Accepted the gesture feeding, accepted that they get ignored untill they are calm and are asked to come for attention and are great on the lead while we are walking, will sit beside me when I stop, sit before i go through a door and wait for me to through first, they seem to understand that I am boss. However, the boxer has had a past of biting strangers.. once while walking, and once when a guest was in our home. He hasnt had any encounters with strangers since his new training but I see him get worked up when he sees a person walking down the street or in the distance. I just avoid everyone while I have him with me. The bulldog is also very good while walking, but if he sees any distraction especially another dog he is uncontrollable he starts barking non stop and pulling towards the other dog. He is not aggressive with other dogs he just wants to play but he looks very intimidating while he is acting this way and other dog owners get nervous and dont want him around their dogs. If anyone has suggestions I would really appreciate it.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Apr 16, 2011
Hi khayes,

Sounds like your pair have a bit of a socialization problem, both with other people and with other dogs. I wonder, have you thought about enrolling in a social dog class, or obedience training class? This way, they work with you and a surrounding group, and will earn to listen to you despite the distractions around them.

To help at home, have your friends come over and interact with your boxer especially. Make sure guests dont seek him out, but let him come to them for a hello and attention. Ask them not to move fast with him, just starting with simple "hello boy"s and a quick pat on the head. Praise him when he's calm with guests, and if he starts to get worked up, put him in a room by himself to calm down.

Dont let him "patrol" your yard by himself, try to keep him away from the fenceline where he can become agitated by approaching people. When you're out with him and you see him working up over an approaching person (in the yard, on walks, wherever), tell him to sit, and keep his attention on you (good boy, stay, etc). Only let him get up once the person is gone.

As for your bulldog and other dogs, it sounds like you're keeping him on lead all the time around other dogs, which is good, its a great place to start. My own dog had trouble with getting to excited about other dogs, and this was how I dealt with him (and still deal with him! haha): On lead, when he gets going over another dog, give it a tug, say "enough" (or something similar), and then have him sit and pay attention to you until the other dog goes by. If you dont want to pause the walk, just give a heel command and a little tug on the lead everytime your dog perks up at the other dog. Lots of praise for successes, and if he still tugs and tries to go crazy, resort to a sharp tug, pull off the walkway a bit, and sit, telling him "no". He must be sure he's done something inappropriate, so be stern with him! This seemed to work for my dog

I hope you see progress soon, keep us updated please!!