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Training FAQ

6. Dog & Puppy Aggression

My dog bit my wife

My wife & I have a 1 1/2 year old, 80 lbs., Pitbull/Boxer/Rott/Timber Wolf (Although we are not sure if all of this is true, but he is a good looking dog and a little aggresive towards others). We have not washed him since the winter (when he fit in a tub). We tried to wash him outside, with the hose, and he would not co-operate, had to eventually chain him and pull him to get washed. Well, during the struggle to move him, he would roll on his back and during that time, he bite my wife. On top of that, I was afraid to get the choker collar off him because he showed a "pissed off" attitude towards me. Now, my wife is afraid and I am looking at shock collars or letting him go. Any help is appreciated.

That is what happend on Sunday. We have taken the dog to puppy school at six weeks and he can sit, lay down, and shake. I have NEVER seen him get so mean ... except when people walk by the house, the hair on his neck goes up and he barks and jumps like crazy. Not sure what to do? Do the shock collars work?

Thanks in advance. Tim

    Tim, Let's look at what you write;

    "Pitbull/Boxer/Rott/Timber Wolf"

    Every breed listed here is bred with dominant tendencies other than the boxer.

    "he would roll on his back"

    When a dog rolls over on it's back under stress it is giving you the submissive side of it's temperment. It is natures way of communicating the message in body language. " I am not a threat, I submit to your aggression". You are in charge".

    In this case I suspect that once your dog submitted, he was expecting you to retreat and settle for the submission. Since you continued to try to bath the dog it realized it wasn't going to win through submission and immediately decided to fight back in biting your wife. In this case the dog had no intention of offering real submission. He still intended to get his way. Some breeds (especially the northern breeds) will use the roll over on your back attitude for just about any command or learning session and will attempt to bit or nip if you try to physically put them back in an upright position. With that being said you have to think about the evolution of the dog's mind. Nature gave it body language to send out a message. Then nature also evolved this message to a cunning double message that is not necessarily as it was intended to be. There are not to many double messages that nature sends with dog's body language but this is one of them.

    There is a lot more I could say especially looking at the breed mix but I am not at your home to evaluate the dog personally and it has been my experience that you can not judge a dog by it's owner's description by phone or from email on the internet. 90% of the time, it is different than whan I actually see the dog. video tape your and your family with the dog and send it to me and that would help considerably.

    Not sure what your life style is...where you live or whatever but sounds like it's the dog or your wife. Personally, I love my wife and no dog is going to dominate her to the point of fear. ( Although I would like to see a dog try it and win with Darr)

    Blunt but apparent. Get rid of the dog. I don't mean put the dog down. Find a more appropriate home. Perhaps as a guard dog at a auto salvage lot or something similar. I never recommend someone keep as a family pet a dog that actually put's fear in the household. Unfortuately I hear about these kind of situations way to often. cheers;


    Arthritis causing aggression?

    MS LINDA ...... wrote:

    Dear Jim and Darr,

    I need you to answer a question for me, My dog who is 13, will be 14 in August this year,has cataract in both eyes but still sees ok, has arthritis in his legs, but would still set chase after a cat in the park, his behavior is changing very often, he gets angry and aggressive towards me for no reason, he has nipped at me, bit my finger, even when trying to pet him. He is on aspirin, and a drug uraban a hormone to help with his behavior, do you think new training would help? Is he too old? Is it too much for his arthritis. Could he be in more pain than what I am seeing?. I love him so much. What's your opinion. I was told he was establishing dominance over me. Is this true, He was given to me when he was 2weeks old, he is now 13 yrs.

    Thank you Linda.

      Hi Linda....remember everthing I will say is based purely on your email and it will never be as good as actually seeing your dog and you together ok!

      No, I would find it hard at this later stage in life to believe that your dog suddenly decided to establish a dominance over you. These things are more if not always the common thing in the first 2 years of their life. I would 90+% point to his arthritis as well as any other potential medical problems. It is to bad but you should try to establish if he is in any sort of constant pain. You did not mention what breed or breed mixture your dog is. Is it possible that there is another problem like dysplasia? Dysplasia is where the joints don't meet properly especially in the rear hips. This causes pain and problems in walking. Each dog is different in it's percentage of pain relative to walking properly. This is common with the larger breeds or even some smaller breeds like shelties which are not so large. Is your dog over weight? If so could a change of diet to loose that extra weight help? You really should consult your vet or maybe two vets for two opinions. Whatever...think about bringing a new puppy into your life NOW...while your other guy is still around....now because as hard as it is you will have to let go eventually, ansd a puppy is without question the answer to your future love of dogs. I know...you may have said this is my last dog..no one will ever replace him. Don't wait. But be careful. No dog will ever replace this one. Every dog just like every person is different. Even within the same breed. Although you can expect some common traits familiar to a particular breed. The best way to explain this is if you went to China...or if a chinese person came to North America, We like they would have some familiarities that are familiar and in some way type casted to that air of familiar things about a nation that we or the chinese have come to expect from another nation. As it is with breeds of dogs. Within the umbrella of each breed is a common ground for temperment as well as physical appearance. But within each breed each dog is an individual with it's own unique personality...although not necessarily apparent from the outside world. So study very carefully...what your puppy should be and remember...great dogs are not necessarily purebreds ok!

      Lynda..I wish you the best in this sensitive time and feel free to reply to this email with more information about your situation.

Email James Houssen: james@houssen.com

Email James Houssen: james@houssen.com