Do you think your dog is trying to be the boss of you? I doubt he is. Dominance theory and indeed pack theory for domestic dogs has been disproven. Even dominance behaviour in wild wolves does not happen as previously thought.
Dogs do what works for them. If your dog has been allowed to jump all over you to get attention, he will keep doing this. If he has been fed from the table in the past, he will continue to beg at the table until YOU teach him what you want him to do, and make it work for him.
Barking Up the Right Tree can help you train your dog to sit nicely and wait for you to give him attention when you get home, or go to his bed while you are eating a meal. Make an appointment for a consultation and we can go through everything your dog is doing that you don’t find acceptable, and find something else for him to do.
Remember, if you don’t give your dog a job, he will give himself one!
AGGRESSION AND FEAR:
Is your dog aggressive towards other dogs or certain people? Does he cower away, or lunge and growl at the end of the lead? Most people don’t realize that aggression and fear are the flip sides of the same coin. Most dog aggression stems from the dog being extremely uncomfortable. You have heard of ‘fight or flight’ syndrome, where in a frightening situation, people choose to either run away or engage in a fight. This is the same for dogs. Some dogs simply try to move away from whatever scares them, but some dogs chose to stand their ground with an aggressive display that can lead to real aggression. We don’t know why some dogs choose one over the other, but we do know that a dog who is likely to run away or cower will, if pushed, turn aggressive.
Here is a great video showing earlier signs of discomfort you should keep an eye out for. “Displacement activities” and “calming signals”
How can you avoid this with your dog? First of all, socialize your dog well as a puppy. Get him into as many situations as possible with people, dogs and other animals in different locations. Take treats! Every time your pup encounters a new dog, do not force a meeting. If he seems shy, let him take his own time, but encourage exploration and ensure that he realizes (a) nothing bad will happen and (b) treats rain from the sky when he is in a new situation. This applies to new places as well, the vet’s office, the groomers, your mother’s house. It is important that your dog meets all kinds of people – children, men with beards, ladies with glasses and that all these meetings are pleasant too.
What if you’ve missed the puppy window to socialize your dog, and now he is fearful and/or aggressive? Barking Up the Right Tree can help you with this. By re-conditioning each situation, and slowly introducing your dogs to the things he is unsure of using proven positive reinforcement methods, your dog can learn to enjoy the company of others, and make better choices.
- Dominance Theory
- Dog aggression may be caused by owners, new study finds. (canidsciencelibrary.com)