I just found out about this website yesterday. I’ve been under the influence of positive reinforcement training since I’ve had my puppy and have decided to go back to this methodology of raising a dog. My pup is a 4 month old rottie/labrador mix.
She knows the basics, like sit and stay. I’ve recently started working on her recall. I’m struggling with 2 things with her at the moment that I need guidance with. First, she barks at everyone. Whenever we go on walks or to the park. She has absolutely no problem with a person that we walk toward (we haven’t started approaching people yet, we just walk close to them) it’s the people that walk toward her that she barks at. And she won’t calm down. Sometimes her hair raises up, sometimes not. But she always barks at them.
Second, she is far too aggressive toward my older husky/labrador mix who is 11 years old. The puppy wants to play with the older dog, but the puppy will grab her neck and barks right in her face. My husky will let it go most of the time but sometimes she snaps and rolls her (which is understandable). Whenever she does this behavior, her hand always stands up and her tail is pointed up.
I definitely got in way over my head by getting this second puppy and I need some serious help to make sure she becomes a good dog. Should I enroll her in puppy training? If so, what kind of puppy training? Everywhere around here uses strictly positive reinforcement to train. I feel lost.
- Welcome Michael. Your puppy would definitely benefit from attending puppy classes. I had this problem myself with a pup I was training where she was also showing aggression towards strangers/other dogs and found by attending a leash manner/greeting classes it did help towards solving her issue. This class was done in a control environment where all handlers and their dogs on leash were taught how to approach each others by keeping your attention on the dog owner and not staring or forcing yourself upon their dog. Often staring and walking straight towards a dog is a behavior that can be taken as a threat to them. Rotti being a guarding breed are also known to be assertive… your pup being half Rotti may explain her pushy aggressive behavior with your older dog. It seem your older dog is trying to teach your pup when enough is enough. It would be best if you take charge and seperate them. Your pup is being pushy/dominant and this may end up in a hierarchy disputes the older and stronger your pup becomes. It is up to the pack leader to keep the peace. My suggestion is go to the self help section on this site and read through it. Also you could go to the knowledge base to the leadership chart and read the section on leadership there. Most all canine behavior can be prevented and solved through leadership. I hope this is of some help to you – if there is any other members or trainers with other comments I love to hear them too.
I will definitely go back over the recommended reading material. Is there a certain suggested way of seperating them? Say if they’re playing and she becomes to aggressive/dominant, pull them away om each other physically?and then after I seperate them, what would I do after that? When we’re inside and she starts acting this way, I put her un her 2nd kennel that is used as a timeout place. I put her in timeout for around 20-30 seconds just long enough for her to calm down. She gets the message around the 2nd, 3rd time. And I never make it a negative experience. I’m always completely neutral and indifferent to her as I’m putting her in there and as she calms down insode her timeout kennel. Am I doing that part right? Lol I’m just trying to learn as best as I can so she can be the best dog she can be
That is great you have read through the self help section and about leadership… I find leadership and obedience training is the key to having a well behaved dog. You are on the right track of seperating your pup from the older dog when she not responding appropriately to the old dog social cues. Its good to hear you are supporting the older dog efforts and are disencouraging the pup pushy behaviour by intervening and giving her time outs. Stepping in sooner may be better if you see the older dog giving signs when she doesn’t want to play. You could try replacing the pup behavior with another activity to do. Example by<span style=”line-height: 1.5;”> getting her attention and guiding the pup to play with a toy instead or maybe guide her to her resting spot and give her food kong to chew on. Teaching her a “leave it” command can be very useful when it comes to thing’s you want a dog to leave alone or disengage from. In phrase 1 instruction videos you can learn how to teach your Dog this command… work your way through all the phrases to proof the command though. There a chart in the knowledge base that helps to explain the steps that you can follow when training your pup commands. You are doing great at learning and being member here you will learn heaps. We are all here to help and support each other when we can.</span>
Thank you so much for your reply. I needed reassurance on how to handle the situation as I’ve never had to correct this type of behavior before.
I do have another issue that is currently her second biggest problem and I would like to ask for suggestions on how to handle it and solve it for her. She barks at people and bigger dogs. I will enroll her in puppy classes when I can afford it but right now it’s not an option financially. I was thinking about training her to use a muzzle for when we go outside to the park or wherever else there will be strange people and or dogs. I know a muzzle is only a temporary fix, but I believe it will benefit her until I can desensitize her to strange things and people. She doesn’t lunge or bite but I want to tackle this issue before it turns into something like that. Would muzzle training work for something like this while I work on desensitizing her to strangers?
Thank you again for your help!
Sorry Michael, I should have given you better direction to finding the chart I’m referring too. Its the obedience chart under “quick charts” in the knowledge base.
When dealing with aggression issues muzzle are advisable for the safety of others. I just like to mention here in case you are not aware of it the first step to using a muzzle is conditioning a dog to wearing it. Mike use to have a vid on here how to do this but I couldn’t find it. In phrase 2 training with a halter is a similar vid where Teresa show you how to condition the pup to wearing the halter instead. I have in the past given it a try of desensitisation a reactive dog I use to owned but I found it very difficult at times to avoid unexpected situations that would trigger him off to react. For desensitisation and counter-conditioning to work your dog need many successful repetitions where it will only take one time for your dog to react that set your training back. Doing this in a “reactive dog class” does give you the control environment that would prevent this happening. Hopefully Mike will spot our conversation and can give us his input on how best for you to manage the situation if you are not in a position to be able to attend classes.
It is important to remember that you dont just have a lab. You have a rottie/lab. Rotties were meant to be guard dogs and therefore understanding the breed type is the first most important thing. You may not be getting those lab traits, but these Rottie traits. As long as you understand and respect what you have you shouldnt be discouraged. I would suggest reading about the two different breads you have combind into 1 just to get a better understanding of what you are dealing with. As long as you understand a Rottie is naturally going to want to guard you should expect some type of aggression. Especially on your own property. Understanding the breed you have is whats going to help you. If what you signed up for is a lab….that is not what you have. You have a rottie lab and she should be respected as such. Also she is 4 months old. She is going to start getting her adult teeth soon which will make puppy classes not much of a safe option. We phase dogs out if puppy classes by 6 months or by the time they get their adult teeth. Squabbles when they are young are one thing but once they get adult teeth we have all the dogs in class wear muzzles for safety. This is how we are able to hold such large group classes with mostly aggressive dogs safely. You also shouldn’t be discouraged if your dog never likes other people or dogs. Thats ok too. You dont need your dog to do well with strangers, you just need your dog to do well with you around strangers. Thats where obedience comes in around those situations. You teach obedience. We never correct a dog for aggression but we do teach them obedience and give them something else to do instead. Leadership within the home is going to be key for you. Read over the leasership excersice, I will paste the link below. The leadership roles are very important in helping to prevent problems instead of trying to fix potential problems later on. It will also set a better foundation that will make it easier and more natural for your dog to want to follow you thus making obedience a more natural thing. Understanding what is normal for your dog is the first step. Respecting her for who she is and thinking of her as a potential asset in certain situations will help you to not be discouraged. Work on your leasership, get a good fitting comfortable muzzle. One like a baskerville ultra is a good one to try. She can eat or drink or take treats from it. Make the muzzle a good thing. Just start by giving her treats through it. And build up to securing it on her. Start off with phase 1 obedience in a non distracting teaching environment. Then you work up to phase 2. You want to be her teacher. Just as you know she probably wont be the type of dog you can cut loose at a park with other dogs or strangers….thats totally ok. I cant do that with my dog either and he went to puppy classes and played great with the puppies there. Thats just who he is and i recpect him and live him for who he is. So moral of the story is, dobt be discouraged. Your jib first is to keep your dog safe and out of trouble. If you can do that…job well done! Start with leadership amd let is know if you have any other questions. You will do great.
Thank you so much for this. The paradigm shift you offered is exactly what I needed. I do realize that her rottie traits are more prevalent than her lab traits. The only lab traits I’ve seen so far is her love of playing fetch and agility training lol. I have watched the muzzle video once and that’s what got me interested in muzzle training. I just want her to be the best dog she can be and I want her to be comfortable and safe. When we go to the park or wherever, the first thought in my mind isn’t “Oh no I hope these strangers don’t think she’s an agressive dog or I hope they like her” my only thought is “I hope SHE does ok”. This dog is always my top priority. She is extremely smart and a very very quick learner.
I have uploaded pictures and info about my two dogs to my profile.
Thank you again for your help
Please go to your profile and add both of your dogs. Put as much info and detail as you can. This will help give us a better picture of your dogs and their personalities and will help to answer any further questions you may have. The more info the better.
This isn’t a baskerville ultra muzzle in the video but it gives you an idea how to Start introducing the muzzle. Hope this helps.
Hi Judy… Thanks for vid, I was wondering where it was… thanks also for the further advice and information too.
No problem 🙂
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