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"Hello, I just want to say that in those books there is a lot of good advice. I am starting to re-trained Mufasa from the beginning. Some how he has become so dominant that he believes he rules the house. I am following the steps to the Alpha bonus along with read and doing some of the techniques in the Sitstayfetch book.
It is going to take awhile for him but I believe that with all your help I am going to break him from all these bad habits. We are starting with just the basics right now and then gradually moving on. I do see a change already in him in some aspects. He sits on the first command instead of having to say it several times.
I really believe I will be able to re-route him to the right direction with the help of your books. Thank you so much for the help and advice." -- Patricia S (USA)
I have a Yorkie named Debbie that is aggressive to my boyfriend, Robert. My boyfriend, Robert and I have been together for almost three years. The worst area of aggression is in the bedroom. Debbie has decided that Robert is some kind of threat if I am in the bedroom and he isn't. If I am in there watching TV, Debbie will sit in there with me. If Robert just moves around the house, (he smokes and goes outside to do so, so he is walking around a lot) Debbie will run to the doorway and look at him. If Robert comes towards the door of the bedroom Debbie will growl and run under the bed. If Robert comes in the bedroom, Debbie will growl louder and if he gets too close to the bed she will nip at him. This usually gets Robert mad and then he is trying to chase her out of the bedroom so I have to say it isn't a pleasant place to relax. If Robert goes to bed before me, Debbie will stay out with me, and when I go to bed she will follow me. But if Robert moves at anytime in the night, she will growl and dive under the bed. It has become a battle ground in my house with neither one of them wanting to back down!
Debbie gets a little aggressive to Robert when I am holding her and he wants to get too close to me. She will sit on the couch with Robert in the evenings if we all are together in the room, and she will give him a toy to play with her, so she doesn't completely hate him. Debbie will even go with him on car rides if he asks her to go. We do kennel the two dogs during the day. (We also have a rat terrier names Kathy, that we have no problems with.) If I come home first, the dogs are both excited to see me, crying and whining to be let out. When I let them out, they both run to the back door to be let out. (no problems!) If Robert comes home first, the dogs make no noise, and when he lets them out the rat terrier goes for the back door to go out, but Debbie will slink out of the kennel like she has just been beaten and try to go into the living room. Robert has to physically pick her up (growling) and set her outside.
I'm just at my wits end with the both of them some nights. Some nights Robert will chase Debbie out of the bedroom (which involves a lot of yelling and growling!) and then put a doggie door in front of it so she can't get in. Then I get upset because Kathy is allowed in the bedroom because we have no problems with her and Debbie is left outside the gate by herself. I just need some direction to send both Robert and Debbie before I loose my mind!
Please help me!
Thanks for your email regarding your Yorkie Debbie and her aggressive behavior towards your boyfriend. This must be very distressing for your, and frustrating for your boyfriend.
I think the first thing that needs to happen is for both you and your boyfriend to begin using the Alpha techniques to teach Debbie that she is not the Top Dog. At the moment, I would assume that she sees you as her possession, and is therefore protecting her possession from a threat – Robert! Debbie needs to realize that she is actually ranked below both you and your boyfriend in the pack, and that her behavior is not appropriate.
First of all, I would encourage you, and any other family members, to read the bonus book "Secrets to becoming the Alpha Dog". This book will give you a good understanding of the hierarchical nature and behavior of your dog.
Techniques to reinforce your status as alpha dog
If you come across your dog while she is sleeping or lying on the floor then you can reinforce your position as alpha dog by making her move so that you can pass by.
Generally I do not recommend people give their dogs bones as this encourages aggression, because in the wild the alpha dog would be the only one to have the privilege of chewing the bones.
Make sure that you always go through doorways first. A good method to reinforce your position as alpha dog is to walk your dog around the house on the leash, making your dog wait while you walk through doorways first.
At mealtimes make sure that your dog or dogs eat after all of the humans have.
Do not feed your dog tidbits or let it pester you at the table. Save the morsels and tidbits for training sessions instead.
Do not greet your dog straightaway when you arrive home. Make it wait until you are ready and then call it to you.
When your dog wants to go outside for a walk, make it sit and wait until you are ready to go. Note that this technique doesn't apply when house breaking.
When you give a command make sure that you are in a position to enforce the action that you require from your dog, especially in the initial stages of Alpha Dog training. Also, use the Alarm-No-Command technique as described in the Alpha Dog bonus book to reprimand your dog if it does not obey your command.
It is vitally important that your dog has good all-round obedience skills.
Regular training sessions are key to improving your dog's obedience responses and keeping it used to answering your commands. Concentrate on the sit and stay, down and stay, heel and wait commands.
Do not inadvertently reinforce poor behavior from your dog. You must be consistent in your attitude to your dog. For example, if your dog is allowed to jump on you when you are playing with it but is not allowed to jump up at any other time then how is it meant to know the difference?
It is really important that Robert uses these techniques also. It is time for Debbie to realize that Robert is her superior. She may not ever like him much, but she should at least learn to tolerate him without being aggressive.
It is absolutely vital that you consistently and firmly reprimand Debbie every time she is aggressive to Robert. If you are not firm with her then she will not learn that what she is doing is wrong. You should never try to comfort her when she is behaving badly. Instead, you should reprimand her using one of the following methods (whichever works best for you and your dog).
When you are trying to sleep and Debbie starts to growl, I don’t actually think that it’s a bad thing for her to be removed from the room. This is an appropriate form of punishment, and while you feel guilty because Kathy is still allowed in the bedroom, Debbie will quickly learn that growling throughout the night gets her kicked.
If possible, Robert and Debbie should spend some quality time together.
Ask Robert whether he would like to take Debbie for a nice walk. If so, he should carry with him a few tasty teats. If he does this say, once a week for the next month or two, you will hopefully find that they start to form a stronger bond.
On the occasions when Robert comes home first, he should make a fuss of them so that they are excited to see them. He could give each of them a treat and play with them for a bit.
I think that, largely, fixing this behavior will be up to you. You are the person that Debbie has formed the strongest bond with, and therefore it is mostly your responsibility to teach her what is appropriate and what is not. However, it will also be important for Robert to start using the Alpha techniques, and start spending some quality time with both dogs.
Good luck Therese and please let me know how you progress.
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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