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"We have two dogs a Rough Collie named Ben (5 years) and a Boarder Collie cross Lakeland Terrier named Mindy (8 months). Ben was a rescue dog and was so grateful to be re-homed that he was a breeze to train, Then came along the puppy from Hell Mindy and we really needed help with her from the start, so we decided to buy sit stay fetch. After reading through Sit stay Fetch we got some very good ideas on how to handle her. I am not saying that it is a magic cure and that it happens over night because it doesn't , and it is hard work. But if the people stick to the explanations given it is very worth it in the end.
Mindy was so much of a handful with my three children that we had thought of actually getting rid of her, but with Sit stay Fetch being on hand to read and refer back to when needed, we have no thought of that anymore. The book has every problem -/ Solution that we have come across with Mindy, and even though there is still along way for us to go with her, we are happy in our-self's because when she throws a problem at us the answer is just a few pages away."
-- Victoria Duggan (England)
We have two Australian cattle dogs, a male and female. Originally we selected two litter mates, but the female had to be put down due to a birth defect. Later we selected a new female. Since our male would be several months older we selected a female that exhibited aggressive behavior at the breeder's. Initially she continued aggressive behavior such as not letting our male, Warren, eat. But as Wilma (the female) began to mature she began exhibiting overly submissive behaviors. Now it's terrible. Typical behaviors are, rolling over on back, ears down, cowering, and so on. It's very difficult to get her to do anything, like teaching commands, and correcting bad behavior seems impossible. My husband thinks the problem has been worsened over the past year since our circumstances pushed us into an apartment and we boarded the dogs with some people who had a small ranch outside of town. He thinks they were not monitored during feedings and Warren would steal her food. We'd only get to see them once a week and when we fed them we had to keep Warren from stealing her food. Now that we've bought a house and brought them home Warren's learned not to steal her food. But her attention starved, overly submissive behavior is very frustrating and concerning. When we walk the dogs she does very well on a leash, but playing in the back yard one on one or with Warren is a different matter. She has no interest in playing fetch or pull. She just wants to be petted. We've never been aggressive with her and are certain the people we boarded her with weren't either. We just want her to be a confident happy dog.
Hi there Nadine,
Thank you for your email regarding your 2 year old Aussie Cattle dog, Wilma, and her current overly submissive behavior. These problems can be rather difficult to tackle and they could have started for a number of different reasons. Above all however, you need to be sure that you do not pander to her submissive behavior, or reprimand her too strongly as you will only make the problem worse! Has any one in your family ever been overly growly at Wilma when she became aggressive, or ever smacked her or been generally angry at her? If this is the case this may be why. This is most likely not the case however, and the puppy possibly had a bad experience with your other dog, or it is an inherited behavior.
In order to try and rectify this problem, you are all going to have to think on Wilma's level for a while. In other words, what do you think you need to do to make Wilma think that you and your family are safe and non-threatening? Usually this means doing such things as getting down to her level when greeting her and tickling her tummy. Allow Wilma to walk over you and other family members when you are lying on the floor and give her plenty of rewards for showing Nadinel non submissive behaviors. Whenever she does become submissive in front of any family members, it is very important that this person just walks away and ignores the behavior rather than making a fuss her. Making a fuss can make the dog think that she is being rewarded for acting submissive, which is definitely not what you want in this situation. By encouraging good and appropriate behaviors, as well as ignoring Wilma whenever she cowers and becomes submissive, you should notice a distinct difference in the way she acts towards you. If Wilma ever does anything untoward, be very careful in the way you scold her and definitely do not yell or growl at her in any situation. It is also very important that everyone in your family feeds Wilma her food from their hand for a while if she gets fed biscuits. All these things together should help change the family dynamic and Wilma’s attitude towards your family. Also ensure you keep a close eye on Warren to ensure he doesn't ever bully her or steal her food.
Best of luck and please let us know how you get on with Wilma's submission.
Daniel Stevens and the Secrets to Dog Training Team
I've been a professional dog trainer for well over 20 years, and in that time I've helped thousands of dog owners just like you to get the friendly, well behaved, slipper fetching, best pal they always wanted.
But it didn't start out that way. I've always loved dogs, some things never change. But when I first started my professional dog training career I relied on the so-called 'best practices' when it came to dog behavior training. It was only when I heard people tell me over and over again that they just weren't seeing results that I started to question the old accepted wisdom. So I started a journey, a quest to search out the best, most effective, techniques, tips, and tricks that really work.
And that's how I came up with Secrets to Dog Training. Year after year I found new techniques that achieved the results I wanted. Eventually I had a whole book worth of great resources: Secrets to Dog training...
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