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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16707
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
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We have a Lab/chow mix, approximately 9 months old. We got

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We have a Lab/chow mix, approximately 9 months old. We got her when is was 3 months old from a NO KILL shelter, which got her from a KILL Shelter. She has bonded to me fast and can be the most loving, sweet dog....follows me from room to room, always needs to be with me. When she is scared, she run behind me as if I am her protector. We have 2 grandkids that she loves, and 2 other animals that she plays with daily. The PROBLEM: She has a problem with other animals and people including my husband. When he is walking around the house or we are outside she is fine with him, but....when he first come downstairs or enters a room, she acts like she's never seen him before.....if he reaches over to pet her when she's resting, she will jump up and start growling and barking like she is going to attack him!! When he' bending down on the floor fixing something, she does the same thing.....He was hammering nails into a board yesterday and she went crazy and actually snapped at him on his chin, which drew blood. This is the 2nd time she has done that to him...the first time he had a water hose, and she did the same thing. He's ready to send her back and I can't blame him.....this part of her scares me to death! Any suggestions?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

.

My name isXXXXX have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

.

Is she spayed?

It sounds like she is the top dog?

How long has this been going on?

When she is displaying these behavior, is her tail up high or low?

Do you know her ear posture during these issues?

Who feeds her and walks her?

What obedience training has she had and who handled her for these classes?

How long ago was she in class?

If she isn't spayed, when was her last heat cycle and could she be pregnant?

 

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.

Gayle,

.

I just found out that I need to leave for a couple of hours and didn't want you to have to wait that long for an answer. So I want to give you some generalized information and hope you will answer my questions if you feel my answer doesn't cover the situation well enough. I will then come back and discuss the situation more and as it pertains to your specific case. I hope this is ok. I hope you will not rate until we have had a chance to read your responses.

.

It sounds like she has bonded with you and is comfortable around you. Being female though, she should see your husband as the boss. However, if he didn't spend a lot of time with her when she was younger, she may feel a little threatened by him. Chows are rather strong willed, dominant dogs as a breed, so dominance might also be playing a role.

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When your husband leans over her, that would definitely be seen as a dominant gesture. If she is dominant or fearful, that would tregger her to warn him off with a growl and if the reprimand was ignored, a nip or even bite.

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So lets get your girl to see your husband as the boss but also see him as a fair leader. The best way to accomplish this is to have him take her to obedience class. He should also be the one to feed and walk her daily. She needs to see him as the one who controls her life and is her boss. Once she sees him as the boss, she won't be nipping or growling at him since he has the ability to take her resources away from her (food, exercise, etc).

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Before he can get her into classes, the following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

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Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below. This program also helps establish the trainer as the boss even with strong willed breeds.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

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Each time a dog obeys a command even if for a treat, it makes them a little more submissive to the one giving the commands. It also helps give a dog self confidence and reduces fear aggression since it teaches them what to expect from the human. So it is a win win situation since the dog also learns commands and is better controlled.

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The class atmosphere helps her socialize with other dogs in a controlled environment and serves to help her learn to not be aggressive toward them. I'd start obedience at home first and then graduate to the class for the socialization skills that she needs.

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Now there are other things you can do to help with aggression outside the home toward other dogs and humans. It will be helpful if you can find someone with a dog to help you once you have your dog listening to commands consistently. What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance. Your helper will gradually move their dog a bit closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. The second you see her fixate on the other dog or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if she ignores the other dog, she gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the other dog closer until he is no longer trying to lunge at other dogs. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well. If she is always reacting, then move the dog further away until she is able to succeed and you can reward her. You want to try and have her end on a good note.

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Repeat using just people to reduce the people aggression as well. Perhaps a neighbor with a child will help you. Unfortunately, at this point, I would seriously consider having a behaviorist anyway available to evaluate the dog and determine the aggression level. In the meantime, institute the techniques I have recommended.

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There is a new method of training that you might want to check out as well called bat training. You can read about it below.

http://functionalrewards.com/BAT-basics.pdf

http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/bat/

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If the situation is not improving using the techniques I've suggested, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.

http://www.apdt.com

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I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have as I mentioned at the start of this response. .

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Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16707
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

you gave me generalized answers....can you be more specific to my situation please.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.
Gayle,
.
I can give you a more specific answer once you respond to my initial request for more information. Here are the questions I asked before I sent the generalized answer. If you can respond to those, I can be more specific.

Is she spayed?

It sounds like she is the top dog?

How long has this been going on?

When she is displaying these behavior, is her tail up high or low?

Do you know her ear posture during these issues?

Who feeds her and walks her?

What obedience training has she had and who handled her for these classes?

How long ago was she in class?

If she isn't spayed, when was her last heat cycle and could she be pregnant?

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