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dominant behavior

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Memphis

1147755
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 26, '11 3:02pm PST 
Hi! I've posted several concerns about Memphis' dominant behavior in the past, and everyone has been very helpful- so here we go!

Overall, Memphis has not been very agressive to date. There have been small incidents of her growling when I take something from her, or move her out of an area I don't want her in. But I've followed advice, stuck with it, and these behaviors have gone away. Recently however, she has begun showing dominance in two areas: 1- with objects, and the cat- although spayed she has begun humping the cat, and her bed, as if to show dominance. Although she does not do this with us, I dont' want her to continue to think that she's the pack leader in any way, so I realize I need to nip this in the bud- any solutions besides continuing regular training?
2- she has recently become "vocally protective" of our property, and at times, us. She barks and growls and howls at people that walk by. This doesn't bother me, but I dont' want her to continue if it's a sign of domincance that could turn to agression, or disobedience. Don't know how to stop it though. I took her for a walk today, and we ran in to some small children that I know, but that Memphis had never met. She was very shy, and stayed away from them, which was fine. However when they walked up to her (not flailing arms, but calmly with arm oustreched to pet her), she growled and tried to nip them. I immediately pulled her back and had her sit by me, but it concerns me that she even did this. My husband and I do not have children, but plan to in the future. Of course I want to know that she'll be appropriate with our children, but in the meantime I also need to trust that she won't bite someone else's kids. Any ideas of what to do?
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Bella and- Daisy CGC

I'm a Meanie
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 26, '11 4:02pm PST 
You dog is not dominant. I'm not sure why you keep trying to put that label on your dog.

You dog is acting 100% normal-it just needs some work on problem behaviors.

1. Your dog is not trying to dominate the cat or its bed. It is either trying to play, or bored more likely. For the cat, as soon as you see the humping you can try the "leave it" cue if you have taught it. If not, just simply walk over and take Memphis off the cat and put her in her crate for a couple minutes. She will learn humping the cat=no fun to be had. Humping the bed isn't going to means she will hump you.

2. It sounds as if Memphis was scared of the children. Just because you think she should be ok with a calm child without any training on your part does not make it so. So, when she was trapped with the children coming at her (she was on a leash) the only thing she could do was try and scare them away before they got her. Do you know anyone with kids? Without kids it is hard to train a dog to like or tolerate them.

You start away from the kids-the kids can be playing or whatever in the distance but shouldn't be trying to interact with Memphis. As she watches the kids, feed her very yummy treats. You want seeing kids to equal yummy food. Over time, you can get closer to the kids playing. You have to be good about reading her. if she is fearful, or won't take the treats you are going to fast and need to move back.

Later, once she can be near the kids without fear, you can have the kids walk by and toss treats to her. This helps transition her form kids near=yummy treats to kids give yummy treats.

I know you reacted quickly because of the nipping. For now, she should not be close enough to reach a child. You do not want her to learn that being near kids means she gets collar yanks for showing her fear.

Not all dog will like strange children coming up to them for pets. This does NOT mean she can't be good with children that grow up around her. It is ok if she gets to the point where she can be near kids, but still doesn't want to be petted.

You also need to work on resource guarding. You say the behaviors have gone away-100%? If you are planning on having a child I would recommend continuing this work. Teaching trade, give, and place and using them regularly. Of course, when a kid comes Memphis might not like the kid all over her and taking her things. Training will help but you might have a dog that has to be watched more with a kid than others.
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Cain

Q.E.D., baby,- Q.E.D.!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 26, '11 4:45pm PST 
I agree w/B&D, who lives with hounds - laugh out loud This is not dominance - it doesn't even RESEMBLE anything "dominant" as far as personality goes. In addition to what B & D have said, I would work obedience, obedience, obedience - in ALL different areas - the park, the neighborhood - what you're trying for here is exposure to a variety of situations. Then, remember your dog is a blue tick - beautiful HUNTING dogs - so invest in a 50 ft. tracking line & take this dog out to the woods, if you're not able to hunt them on a semi-regular basis. With this type of long line, your pup will get the freedom to roam a bit & use it's nose, while you don't have to worry about your dog running off. Start there - laugh out loud Remember, a huge number of "problems" that dogs have can be "cured" with exercise, obedience work, and socialization. laugh out loud
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Sarah,- CW-SR,- CW-G1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 26, '11 6:32pm PST 
Cain & B/D have good advice. Sarah humps my cat. She does it to try and get him to play. It's not safe for the cat because Sarah is 2x his weight. Sarah knows leave it. When she starts humping, I tell her to leave it. Works like magic!
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Torie

If you can roll- in the dirt, do- it!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 26, '11 10:24pm PST 
This is not dominant behavior. Your dog is just exhibiting normal (perhaps untrained) behavior.

Though to be honest I am not big on all this dominance stuff-- the dog goes out the door first, he's being dominant, the dog humps or chases the cat, he's being dominant, he barks at strangers-, he's being dominant.

> cat- although spayed she has begun humping the cat, and her bed, as if to show dominance. Although she does not do this with us, I dont' want her to continue to think that she's the pack leader in any way, so I realize I need to nip this in the bud- any solutions besides continuing regular training?


Well this is pretty normal. I would teach leave it and so forth as suggested. It could be dangerous to the cat if your dog is big. (Or dangerous to the dog as the case may be.) You can also teach a behavior that will not go along with humping the cat, for instance teach the dog to bring you a toy.


>- she has recently become "vocally protective" of our property, and at times, us. She barks and growls and howls at people that walk by. This

Well its territorial not really dominance or aggression. You can work on something like a single bark. It's doable if you are around to teach it. (there are ways to teach it.) Torie barks. To be honest, I just let her bark. She isn't outside all night or anything.

>doesn't bother me, but I dont' want her to continue if it's a sign of domincance that could turn to agression, or disobedience.

You have to figure out whether or not this REALLY bothers you enough to correct it as it would take some amount of time and energy. But not if its just to worry about whether it is some amount of dominance or something.


>Don't know how to stop it though. I took her for a walk today, and we ran in to some small children that I know, but that Memphis had never met. She was very shy, and stayed away from them, which was fine. However when they walked up to her (not flailing arms, but calmly with arm oustreched to pet her), she growled and tried to nip them. I immediately pulled her back and had her sit by me, but it concerns me that she even did this.

Your dog is not socialized to children. There is no reason that she would naturally like them. I would not invite children to come up
to her right now, but when kids come by you can treat her and tell her what a great job she is doing. Make sure seeing kids is associated with great things. Find out what distance your dog is comfortable around htem, then get that distance away and treat the dog for calm behavior. If she begins to handle this, you might be able to find a
parent and kid that you could trust and work with treating
her when the kid is present.


I agree re: working on resource guarding. Young dogs need LOTS of socializating to get used to many situations. If your dog never has experiences, there is no reason that your dog will like or tolerate them. I still do this with Torie. Is there a skateboard? I'll ask the kids to use it near Torie and treat her it is going by. Find a kite, let's see this and make it a positive experience. How about walkers and wheelchairs, same thing. Barking and so forth are often a response dogs have to stress.

BTW, do NOT get the idea that growling is a bad response. Don't ever punish for growling or you could get a dog that bites first and asks questions later. You want the dog comfortable around kids by gradually getting the dog used to them.


I am not sure if a book on scared dogs like "Scaredy Dog" might help. But it can't hurt. It might help you to not overinterpret your dog's behavior.




--des
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Memphis

1147755
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 27, '11 5:49am PST 
Thanks everyone, your responses were ALL very helpful. I don't like calling her behaviors "Dominant" either, and I guess I should have made that more clear- I am calling them that because of info I have read, but when you see the whole picture, she does not appear to be a dominant dog, I just have "untrained" behaviors that I am having difficulty correcting. So, thanks for all the ideas, I will begin trying them immediately! For starters, I am going to work on introducing her to new objects and people more often. Does anyone have any great ideas for when people come over to the house? (She does not jump on my husband or I, but on new people that she is overly excited to meet. We tell them to tell her "off" and ignore her until she does it, but this is still VERY difficult for her. We were going to try knocking at the door ourselves, and teaching her to sit and stay before opening it...?

Memphis currently has a inground fence that works very well for her, but we are planning to extend it this spring into the woods so that she has even more area to sniff, run, and exercise.
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Ava

Super Friendly- Aviator
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 27, '11 7:40am PST 
Just wanted to pop in and say... if there's any way you could swap the in-ground fence for a real one I think that would help immensely. Not trying to change the subject, but every dog I've known who stands behind an in-ground fence is extremely reactive to people or other dogs coming near or simply walking by. This is because when they come, and the dog goes up to greet or sniff them, it gets a shock from the fence. The dog then associates people=pain. In my opinion and from what I've witnessed, those kinds of things can really put a damper on the socializing process.
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Torie

If you can roll- in the dirt, do- it!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 27, '11 9:08am PST 
Maybe you need to increase your reading list then? I like "Reaching the Animal Mind" by Karen Pryor (this is better, imo, then the older "Don't Shoot the Dog"). Neither book is really dog training. "The Power of Positive Training" by Miller.(This is a how to guide). "The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson. "The other End of the Leash (or anything else by)Patricia McConnell.

If I could only read one it would be "The Other End of the Leash".


--des
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Shayne CGC,- RL2

Shayne- Disc Doggin in- the 'Burgh!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 27, '11 10:48am PST 
Excellent post Torie. Nothing dominant about anything you describe... do some reading of different folks--the other end of the leash or Culture Clash would be my suggestions for if you "could only read one"...
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Sarah,- CW-SR,- CW-G1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 27, '11 5:21pm PST 
I am reading Culture Clash right now and enjoying it. I am waiting to get The Other End of the Leash from the library!
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