Desperate for help with our Westie

Posted by westofcool
Jul 25, 2008
Hi guys,
I have a West Highland White Terrier (6 years old) that we adopted from a family 2 years ago. We all love him but he seriously lacks training and it has become a chronic issue- You see, besides the dog being generally agressive due to insecurity around bigger dogs, exhibiting food agression, begging, leash-pulling and ignoring a command unless he "feels like it", he is far worse with me, an 18 year old boy with [I][B]cerebral palsy[/B][/I]. He completely ignores me when no one else but I am home, and has snapped at me whenever I've tried petting him, even in situations where he'd let my brother or parents pet and play with him. He is never excited to see me and I have a strong hunch he doesn't see me as an alpha and thus doesnt care. I have limited mobility so I've never walked him and the ways in which I can play with him are limited ( when trying to play fetch, unless you chase him, he will get bored- he WILL NEVER return the ball to me so it is impossible for me to play). Even feeding him for me is difficult. All these issues combined with his insecurity ( his previous owners were keeping him alone a lot ) makes even petting him scary for me and I am sure my fear of him only adds to his agression.
Knowing my limitations, what can I do to show that I TOO am an alpha, even though I am less involved in his life than my other family members?
I have the book but I cannot do many of the things on my own.
Please get back to me with any suggestions you mayhave.
Posted by Maggiesmom1
Jul 31, 2008
My first thought for your situation is that you should "hand feed" him for a week. Do not let your other family members feed the dog. Let your mom or brother give you one piece at a time and if he's hungry, he'll take it from your hand. Get some tasty treats too to start. Dogs typically won't "bite the hand that feeds them". This will help establish you as a leader--the man with the food.

After that, find a really great treat that he just loves (liver, etc...) and if he lets you pet him, be sure he gets a treat. I bet he'll come looking for ya soon.

I think your family needs to back off a little and let you try to establish a relationship with the dog.

Good Luck.