Aggression towards mail, UPS, FedEX

Posted by ronardell
May 13, 2008
My 9 year old retriever mix is normally well behaved, but when delivery people drive up he goes nuts. hair up, growls, barks, etc. If I get to the door first I can usually calm him down, but if I open the door he loses it and rushes out of the door completely out of control (it's like he doesn't even know I am there) The other day I had to grab him before he got to the UPS driver. Open to any suggestions. Thanks in advance
Posted by Todd
May 18, 2008
HI there and thanks for the question.

I think the aggression may be based around strangers not just delivery people

The training method we are going to try needs some other people who your dog hasn't met to be your helpers.

But first lets go over some alpha training which is the basis to fix all aggression problems. Now you will find alpha training points all through this forum and trust me it works wonders

First things first i think we need to go over some alpha training issues. Dogs are pack animals in the wild...and should be in the home. Dogs are happy when they know there place, and don't challenge. So for both his and your sake i think it is important to get him knowing he is at the BOTTOM of the pack. This may seem mean but trust me he will thank you for it

1) When he is sleeping in a hallway or doorway make sure to move him out of the way. Stepping over or around him will only lead him to think he is higher in the pack.

2) You should always walk through doorways first. Make your dog sit and wait. You can even walk around the house with him on the lead to reinforce this.

3) He should always eat after everyone else in the household and never get food from the table.

4) When you get back from work or being out leave him alone for 15 minutes. Wait until he is calm and relaxed and then go see him.

The next major thing to go over is obedience. Your boy must be very well behaved so you can trust him whenever where ever. Work with him for 10 minutes a couple of times a day on the commands of sit, stay and come. Keep up the training and you will notice it does help.

Now he needs to be told off whenever he does something aggressive eg snarling,nipping, barking or jumping. If he gets away with it it will only lead to provoking him. The best way to tell him off is to use a loud GRRRRR or AHHHHH followed by a quick squirt with the water pistol. Then immediately make him sit. Once he is sitting and relaxed praise him and give him lots of attention

Now specifically to territorial/stranger aggression. He needs to be taught that aggression to strangers is not okay. This requires some controlled introduction s and training.

I still think the muzzle will be best in these circumstances.

First we will start with people and then later move to dogs if they are also a problem.

Now we need to introduce him to as many people as poss in your home. He needs to be on a lead and muzzled.

1) Have the person sitting on a couch

2) Have him sitting 5 metres back. When he behaves and sits he gets praise....when he is aggressive he gets told off just like before

3) He can advance a half metre at a time once he is sitting and relaxed. If he growls reprimand him and wait. Keep waiting and reprimanding until he is calm then proceed.

4) Make sure your friend has some treats in there hand that HE can take. Avoid sudden movements and loud voices.

YOu will need to repeat this over and over, with different people etc
Now you can do the same with dogs in the backyard. Don't let the dogs meet on the first occassion but they can later. Only allow gentle play and no rough housing.

If you can't even get the person in the door it is much like we have done before. Get your boy to sit on the lead before the person knocks on the door. If he goes ballistic give him a tug on the lead and a GRRRR. Then make him sit, as he behaves you can go towards and open the door. If he gets aggressive again, again reprimand him and make him sit.

It will be slow process but it needs to be to fix the problem. Good luck, if you need any help feel free to ask away...we don't bite

Posted by ronardell
May 19, 2008
Thanks, there is a lot of good info to absorb. Several things we can hopefully change. He just had major surgery for a large mass on his spleen and we want to make his last years pleasant for all of us. Thanks for your interest. Sounds like I need some training. Thanks