Dominant Dog Needs Attitude Adjustment

Help! My dog growls at me.

By | Posted: Sun Jan 2 00:00:00 PST 2000

Q. We recently bought an unneutered, 18-month-old Doberman. The original owners were moving and couldn't keep him. We have since found out that he has a bad attitude. For example, when I tried to put medication on his foot (a bite wound from the kennel), he growled at me. When I try to get him to roll over so I can brush him, he growls at me. When we give him a command, he growls. If we pull on his collar, he not only growls but jumps up and barks.

Today when I told the dog to get off my bed, he growled. I went to pull him off, and he jumped up barking. I waited until he calmed down and got him to follow me. When I take him to the park to run off lead, he doesn't come when called, and if I grab him he growls. The rest of the time he is sweet and I really want to keep him. Please help!

A. What you describe is the attitude of a dominant puppy. Growling is the dog's way of warning you to stop whatever you're doing so he can get his own way. When that doesn't work, he resorts to jumping up and barking. The fact that he doesn't attempt to bite indicates a dominant but not aggressive dog.

Have the dog neutered and work with a qualified trainer using positive reinforcement to teach it acceptable behavior. At the same time, you will be taught how to continue the training while avoiding harsh corrections. No running off lead until the "Come" command is mastered. By the way, people beds are out of bounds to dominant dogs. It elevates the dog to your alpha position in the pack. Until he's an adult, the dog's bed belongs in another room.


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janet   bethlehem, PA

2/16/2011 4:18:23 AM

interesting information, thank you very much

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janet   bethlehem, PA

3/24/2010 4:48:58 AM

good article thanks

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Tracy   Vancouver, WA

7/1/2009 7:38:22 PM

All it took for me to get my Stumpy tail cattle dog growling at me was letting him up on furniture with me. The top dog gets the best place to sleep and I confused him. I didn't stop letting him on the furniture but I modified how I did it. If he was on the couch and I chose to approach, for a good while I would make him get off the couch upon my arrival. If he wanted up after I was sitting comfortably he learned to look at me for permission, then he could jump up. I don't move over for him. We don't argue anymore. But if I was working with a dog as intense as the one in the letter, I would not let it on the furniture at all when I was on it. I would not let it initiate contact, as in, petting it or in the dogs mind, grooming it on demand. I ignore dogs that are aggressive and push contact. I wait till they walk away, then I call them back, so I am the one deciding what is to happen between us.

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sacdogtrainer   Sacramento, CA

10/24/2007 7:25:49 AM

This site has some of the worst information on dog behavior I have ever

Puppies are not "dominant". Dominance is a human concept that has been used to explain behaviors that humans don't understand.

This simply sounds like a case of a puppy who hasn't received any training and is acting like a dog. Dogs don't pull each other off the bed, they don't have a concept of coming when called. These all need to be taught. People beds have nothing to do with "dominance". This is a myth. Dogs can sleep in people beds so long as they respect the off command. Again, a dog that respects the off command is one that has been TRAINED the off

The one thing you got right is to use positive methods. Otherwise, pick up a book that is written by someone other than Cesar Millan and learn what dominance is...and isn't.

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