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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19676
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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We have a labradoodle 3 years old who relentlessly goes after

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We have a labradoodle 3 years old who relentlessly goes after our 7 year old Labradors neck. Now we have a new lab puppy and she is going after him too so that the pup is afraid of her. Otherwise she is gentle as can be. Good with our grand kids and us. Help?
Hi JaCustomer,.My name is Jane. I 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. .So chica is a labradoodle and the others are labs. Are the females spayed?How old is pup?How long have you had the pup?How long have you had the older female and when did you get Chica?What obedience training have they had?Does the older dog have any health issues?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Females are spayed
Pup is 9 wks
Had pup almost 3 weeks
Had older female since 8 wks
Got Chica at 7 wks
Obedience from us
Older dog is very healthy
We also had an older blind female lab who we had put down a little over a year ago. She was almost 15. Chica left her alone
thanks for the additional information. As I'm sure you know, dogs have an alpha male and an alpha female. Usually the oldest, most dominant dog is the alpha of the whole pack. You can also have an alpha male and an alpha female.
In my opinion, females are much worse than males when it comes to aggression toward each other but I'm sure other people have had a different experience. Usually it is females that I get calls about. In your "pack", It is likely that the older dog that is no longer with you was an alpha dog at one point, but I can see the 7 year old taking over the alpha position at one point or another just because the older dog was blind.
Labs are pretty easy going dogs for the most part, so any switch of leadership may have been an easy transfer of alpha position and done without much aggression. However, your young girl is part poodle which are very strong willed dogs. I can see her wanting to be the top dog.
Now I don't know exactly who is the current alpha dog, but Chica is definitley trying to prove to them that she is the boss. If it has been going on for some time, it may be that she feels that the 7 year old dog does not respect her or accept her as the boss. Thus she feels the need to continually reprimand her and make her submit. They accomplish this by putting their head over another dog's neck and even grabbing the other dog by the neck to force them to the ground into a submissive position. Generally speaking, if there is no bloodshed, we will frequently allow this behavior.
With the pup, older adult females do tend to teach puppies how to get along with other dogs by teaching them puppy manners. This does involve reprimanding them if they disrespect the alpha too much. However, sometimes a female will get too rough which again you can not allow. If she is worried about him becoming more dominant when he becomes a mature male, she may be more dominant now to hopefully keep him submissive to her when he matures. It is not that unusual to have an older female be the alpha over the male.
If injuries are occuring or it looks like things are getting totally out of hand, then you will need to step in and stop the behavior. If this has been going on for months, then it also needs to be stopped. The good news is that in most cases, you can stop it. Let me give you some specific training techniques after I discuss obedience training. You need to start them all back on obedience training. Chica needs to see you as the ultimate boss. So obedience work with her is something that has to be done. I'd start with the pup as well.
Before you can get them 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.
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.
If all of them are trained, you can help eliminate some fighting by having them separated in the room using commands. However, you can also keep leashes on the aggressor and use it to try training her out of the behavior. Both dogs should be leashed and if one dog even looks at the other dog, a correction should be done. Any sign of aggression including a prolonged look, hair raised on the shoulders, a growl or even a stiff legged walk, should be corrected. A correction is a quick tug of the leash and a firm low toned "NO". Once you have done this couple of times, you should notice the dogs ignoring each other. When that happens, you will want to reward them for the desired behavior. Again, use tasty treats like the hot dog slices. This teaches the dogs that you WILL not tolerate fighting in YOUR pack.
This usually works well to help stop aggressive behavior that goes beyond establishing dominance and into full blown aggression. You do need to consistent with them. Additionally, you need to get her checked over to be sure she doesn't have a medical reason for the sudden aggressive behavior such as a thyroid problem or even pain. You can read about these here:



I would also get your older girl a senior checkup. Frequently a younger dog will take the top position over when an older dog becomes ill. Dogs know if another dog is ill long before humans do and smart owners will recognize that and have their dogs seen when another dog starts acting more aggressive toward the older dog. So I would have that done as well.


I did want to address the shock collar as well. Using the tone is ok, but I would avoid using the shock. When a dog is displaying any type of aggression toward a person or a dog and a shock is given, the dog tends to feel that the dog or person was the source of the shock and it actually makes it worse. The instruction book that came with the shock collar should have mentioned not using it for aggressive situation.


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 .

Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Millie,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Chica. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler

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