Dog training and frustrations

Posted by Debbie-Swanson
Nov 9, 2007
I have alot of concerns. We recently have adopted a 1 1/2 year old female golden retriever, Sammie, 2 weeks ago. We already have a 6 yr old shi tzu, gizmo. With getting the dog, the biggest problem we knew we were going to have is that she is territorial of her food and to feed the dogs separately. The funny thing is, this isnt any of the problems. I feed both dogs together, periodically taking the food away from each of them at differ times, which I stay right there during the whole feeding, and have no problems.

Problem one. Bones and toys. She bit my husband when he was petting her telling her she was a good girl for not growling or going after gizmo. Shortly after that sammie bit him. He was shocked and didnt know what to do. I quickly went into the living room, looked her in the eye and said no. She then began cowarding down to me to the floor and not really listening to my husband. I did some reading in your book to reintroduce toys and bones to the dogs but she still fights over everything. If gizmo is near a toy she growl and attacks or takes it from him, even if he is just near the toy she doesnt want him to have it. Even if she really doesnt want it she still takes it and growls. She does drop the toy and stop when we tell her no but will not stop the behavoir. We now give her the toys or bone in thier kennels when we are gone but I am still trying to leave toys out for them to play with until she begins acting aggressive and then I put them away until the next day. Is this correct to keep doing this?
Problem two. Sammie acts like she doesnt know any commands. We were coming in with the understanding that she was a fully trained dog. She is house broke but she acts like she doesnt know what sit means. In the home is better than outside. she sits when she wants, come when she wants, never followed down command. I started the commands in 203 section, which i think is getting better. But I think she is ignoring me because she does it at some times but not others. Any suggestions?
Outside is the worst. She never comes and runs off when we tell her to come and makes us catch her if not on a leash. When we first brought her home she didnt run off but now it is worse. We have a partially fenced in yard and she definately finds every hole or crack in the yard. We are thinking of getting an invisible fence, but reading about it online people like it but i dont think it is correcting the behavior. people say the dog hears the beeping and knows to not go any further. I want to fix the behavior and not have her wear the bulky collar to shock her. I have even thought about the shock collar as well. What would be your input on this?
There is one thing I havent mentioned yet. I think we may have started the heirachy problem. As I been reading I noticed you should not let your dog on the furnature. We did allow her on the furnature this whole time. Gizmo is allowed so we didnt think anything of it. But gizmo isnt a problem with aggression. Today, I started telling her off, she chooses when she wants to listen, but does get down immidiately when I get ready to stand up. I do praise her at this time and she seems to be doing better. I'm hoping with correcting this problem we may correct the rest. I also have a 13 year old daughter that is trying to gain her respect as well. Sammie listens better to me rather than her and my husband.
Gizmo is doing well with the adjustment. At times I dont think he really cares. When she does try to play with him he begins being the one to attack and growl. Sammie does back off at that time and there isnt a fight or anything. I do yell no at him and he does stop. I'm still not sure between the two of them is higher up in the chain between them too. I have been neglecting Gizmo to be training her. Sammie does very well with going for walks on a leash and going thru door ways.
I would like your input before we go spending alot of unecessary money.
Thank you!!
Posted by Debbie-Swanson
Nov 9, 2007
A quick reply is appreciated
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Nov 15, 2007
Hi Debbie,

I am sorry to hear that your new addition to the family is not acting quite as you expected. Sometimes the change of the environment affects dogs behaviors so you might not be able to just take what you were told for granted.

I think you need to retrain Sammie, from the basic obedience. It will be beneficial for all of you, Sammie and your human family members, to establish a bond.

As for the bone and toy protection, this is what I would do if I were you (assuming Sammie will let you take her bone without biting you).

Give Sammie a bone or a toy. Let her eat/play for a few seconds, then tell her to drop it and take it away. Give the same bone/toy to Gizmo in front of Sammie's very eyes. Let Gizmo have it for a few seconds, then take it away to give back to Sammie. Repeat this many times every day. By doing this you will teach Sammie to share bones/toys with Gizmo and there is no reason why she needs to protect them. In the mean time, you will let her know that it is YOU who decides who gets bones/toys, not HER.

If Sammie growls at you and intimidates you, the above training might be a bit dangerous and it might require advice from a professional, such as behavior consultant, etc.

I believe it is important that Sammie learns that she is a new addition to the family, by treating Gizmo first for everything, although he is much smaller than she is. I have added many new dogs in my life and every time this is what I make sure to convey the new comer from the day 1. I have not had any problem messing up their hierarchy so far.

Good luck!!
Posted by Annie
Nov 30, 2007
Hi there,
Just a question? you say that your husband and daughter play with your dog and she growls first or is rough? Did I understand this properly? It´s really important that dogs who are a bit aggressive do not play rough games with us. no wrestling, no pulling on ropes etc. It would be lovely if your husband and daughter could maybe take your dog out on a 'doggie picnick' sounds wierd, but spending quality solo time, and not bossing the dog around with training is often very beneficial. Just to sit together, sharing some nice treats, doing some relaxed cuddling.....If there is so much pressure on the family to train this dog....well...think of it from the dogs side. Everybody is calling out new commands...ALL THE TIME.....and expecting so many things all at once. If the dog respects you, maybe you could be the official trainer, and the rest of the family ( of course they must follow basic commands) are the 'good guys' Maybe the aggression is coming from confusion and a feeling of being lost in a big family...having no control. But don´t forget, a dog should respect every member of the family and be treated fairly by treats under the table
I´d get her off the furniture till she knows more respect, and until she can do commands 95% of the time in the house, don´t attempt them in the park. Sammy will just learning selective hearing. A long line or thin rope ( really long) is a good training tool to teach your dog to come when you call and that they must obey EVERY time
good luck
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Dec 30, 2007
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