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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18958
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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OKAY, I HAVE A VERY SWEET DOG. RECENTLY MY SON AND S

Customer Question

OKAY, I HAVE A VERY SWEET DOG. RECENTLY MY SON AND HIS GIRLFRIEND WERE OVER. USUALLY WHEN PEOPLE COME OVER AND MY DOG MAY BARK AT THEM, THEY PET HER AND SHE STOPS BARKING AND CUDDLES IN FOR A HUG OR PET. MY SON AND HIS GIRLFRIEND DO NOT SEE IT THAT WAY, AND SO THEY DO NOT PET HER, AND IN MY OPINION, SHE JUST GETS WORSE BECAUSE SHE IS BEING IGNORED. SHE HAS ACTUALLY HAD A PAST OF BEING REALLY NEGLECTED BY PREVIOUS OWNER. - NEXT THING WAS SOMETIMES WHEN THE GIRLFRIEND PETS MY DOG ON HER BACK MY DOG WILL TURN QUICK AND JUMP AWAY OR SORT OF SNAP HER JAW IN THE AIR, BUT IMMEDIATELY HE COMES BACK IN FOR CUDDLES, AND DOES THAT BUTTING THING TO BE PETTED AND PUT HER HEAD ON YOUR KNEE. ALSO MY SON TRIES TO PET HER TOO AND SHE DOES THE SAME THING JUST SOMETIMES. BUT HE IS A LITTLE ROUGHER AND NOISIER TOO. HE KIND OF MAKES FUN OF HER BARKING AND MAKES THE NOISES BACK AT HER. ANYWAY, THEY WILL NOT LISTEN TO ANYTHING I HAVE TO SAY, I WAS JUST WONDERING YOUR OPINION ON THIS. THANK YOU
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

What kind of obedience training has your dog had?

What breed is your dog?

Do you allow her on the furniture?

Does the girlfriend also bark back at her?

It doesn't sound like they are open to helping stop the situation. Is that right?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The girlfriend does not bark back, but my son does sometimes. My dog is an ex show dog. she is a Belgian tervuren, and when I got her she was way too skinny, emaciated, and full of worms. That was too years ago, and she is doing great now. (she was 10 when I adopted her) She is a very good dog. Her obedience in recall and following instructions is really good. I always say she is the most co-operative dog. Sometimes she tries to talk back like when I am brushing her teeth, but I just tell her not to be like that. Maybe cup my hand around her mussel. She always listens. I do not think that the breeder I got her from was very kind to her. Oh and she eas shoc collar trained. he has relaxed some for sure with me. I think when he would artificially inseminated her, he hurt her. She also acted like she was kicked or something, as she was scared and would sort of scream at a lot of things, and cower even when I put up my hand just to motion "stay". She is not like that anymore though and is a very happy girl. I get those comments all the time. That she is happy, I mean. Oh and she is still intact, as I was not about to get a 10 year old dog spayed, which in some ways I can
see it is much better for her anyway. I am very careful with her though when she is in heat. I never would want Bailee to have pups again, and she is too old to have pups plus so man other ethical reasons The breeder bred her when she was 9 years old and I think it almost killed the poor thing. Anyway, I hope that is enough info. This dog is very important to me; as I had another tervuren just before Bailee (current dog) came to be with me.I heard that Bailee needed my help; and I was in pretty bad shape after my dog died. Bailee helped me more, most likely then I helped her.
Even though she was weak when i got her, Bailee comforted me in my grieving. She never tried to take over for my other dog, she just knew what to do it seemed. This is why it bothers me a lot about the times when my son is here with his girlfriend. I guess as all children he thinks he knows it all and will not listen to me about anything to do with my dog. I just try to keep peace the best I can. Anyway, I am really looking forward to your input. Thank you.see is better for her anway
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
oh, I meant Shock Collar trained ( a terrible thing in my opinion, especially if used wrong. I never would use it at all)
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. However, your dog should not be snapping at people without provocation. Your son should also not be barking at your dog either. That will make a dog more aggressive.

While you feel she is well behaved and she likely is, but she is attempting to reprimand them for touching her without her permission. If they are leaning over her to pet her, that would be seen as a dominant gesture as well. So the first thing is to not have them ever lean over her. They should sit down and let her come to them. They should not pet her unless she wants them to. I'd also tend to recommend not allowing her to even approach them since she has shown aggression toward them by snapping at them.

What you need to do is start daily obedience training with her. I know she knows the commands but she needs to see you as the boss and listen to you all the time, every time. Working with her daily for 2 15 minutes sessions will help you maintain control over her. In addition, you need to protect her completely. You can not let your son tease her or antagonize her by making noises at her. Tell him to stop or not come. He is your son and you are his mother and it is your house. I'm glad they both are not doing that.

Ask them to not lean over her or try and pet her. You might go ahead and put a basket style muzzle on her when you know they are coming to visit. This will help them be more comfortable and thus the dog won't pick up on their worry. You are likely worried as well when they come over and that can make a dog more protective as well, so the basket style muzzle can be a great tool to help with retraining her to not react to them in that manner.

When they come, have her sit ans stay. Let them be seated and then have her heal to the room you will be in and then direct her to sit and stay there. There is no NEED for them to interact with her at all. If they choose to participate in trying to resolve the issue, let them help with daily training. I recommend using hot dog slivers as the treat for obeying. Dogs love them. You can have them give commands that your dog knows and reward her for obeying. After working with her for awhile she will see them as her boss as well and won't reprimand them any more. Dogs don't reprimand the bosses. Her snapping is her way of reprimanding them.

So while your son is in the wrong, your dog is displaying aggressive behavior as well. So get the basket muzzle so you can be sure that the dog isn't picking up on any worry you might have or they might have. That will create a calm atmosphere in order to work on changing the interactions between them and your dog.

I hope this information is helpful to you. 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 . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No No No No, I miss communicated with you. I am sorry. I thought maybe I did. She is definitely not snapping at them. She use to scream when even I touched her, but I kept calm and she just did not ever back up or be scared like that again once she trusted. I guess this is hard to communicate properly for me this way. I m thinking that maybe she as hurt or kicked and has some past issues. I wanted to get your opinion on that. 'She Actually never acts like this with any other people that have come over. i mean lots of barking and the other things. As fare as the snapping. What she does, and she has done it with a bit is like click her jaw. She is so not agressive. She just had two dogs chase her, that was aggressive i mean with the other dog. They backed her into a ditch and she almost fell in. Then they really chased her. She is just scared of everything. She cries because she can get so scared. She just took off and was scared. Even they know it. Bailee just would not snap at anyone! I could never muzzle my dog. I was actually worried that my sone would change her. I have tried getting her to sit and stay. Oh, well, I will just have to work it out I guess, and I will take some of. Bailee has been obdedienced trained. She had to for being around all the people she has what with being a show dog and such. I am actually not going to let them interact-ate with Bailee, like you say though as I am worried about actually her changing and just regressing to being afraid of everything again. I am sorry. I think you mis understood a lot of what i was saying, because i am not great at expressing myself this way. I guess that is s problem with trying to do it this way. I just wish you could see the dog for yourself. I would bet though everything I own that she would not ever snap or bite anyone.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

I'm glad you came back. A dog that is reprimanding someone doesn't necessarily bite, they just kind of threaten to if you don't back off or in this case your son and girlfriend. If this is fear based, then them working with her on obedience will still work and help her learn to trust them and be less inclined to startle if that is what she is doing. She will learn to trust the like she does you. So have them work with her on obedience but not touch her at this point. That seems to be when she gets worried or reacts.

You might also have some imaging done to ensure there isn't a physical problem like a disc that they might have inadvertently pushed on that caused her pain and now she is worried they might touch that same spot again. It is worth checking. The breed is also prone to seizures, so keep that in mind as well. Sometimes a dog will have abnormal movements when seizing instead of collapsing and shaking. One such movement is what we refer to as fly snapping. So have a health check done on her. I doubt it is seizures if it has only happened when your son and his friend are there.

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