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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19596
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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I have a six month old lab boxer mix female. She came from

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I have a six month old lab boxer mix female. She came from a home with domestic violence. but went to a young lady at about 3 months old who did nothing to train her and let her pee everywhere in the house and she only kept her for three weeks. When we took her a little over two months ago we were told she was already 6 month. I was finally able to find out her correct age. She is timid one moment and aggressive the next. I take her out regularly for walks and do her business. She gets to run free as well. I have taken her to my office and worked on socializing her. She can be very sweet and is now about 50 lbs. one day she will be ok with a person and then next she is hiding under the desk. I have taken her out and made sure she gets her breaks. She is very aggressive with other dogs and we attempted to socialize her with a very dear 4 year old aussie shepperd border collie cross which ended abruptly when our dog attacking and forcing the older dog to submit. I could barely hold her back as she is so strong. So she can no longer come to the office with me. In the last couple of weeks with potty training going quite well she went and peed all over my bed. I have been kennel training her as well, now when I reach for her she snaps her head around aggressively before I even touch her. I will not back away and I also will not fight with her. I calmly insist that she goes in her kennel and eventually she relents but it is clear that she wants to be the boss. today she managed to get into my sons room and empty her bowels and peed everywhere she could think of. She nips and I do believe she could cause serious harm if provoked. If she is this way now what will happen when she is full grown. We want to put her in a rescue shelter but I am concerned for the other dogs. Also if my boys hug me she needs to try and get between us. Emma won't back down and I don't understand as we give her guidance and tons of attention. We live in a remote community and there is no vet or behaviorist. I already know she is stronger than me. It is almost like she doesn't hear us when we tell her to stand down and then flips out for what appears to be no reason. I am at a lose. She is extremely pushy and has already hurt each one of us.

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. .

She is still young so there is hope that she can be turned around.

Are you looking for techniques and tips to help stop the aggression?

Or is this question about finding another home for her? If so, can you tell me your zip code.

You say spanking is ineffective. Have you tried this already?

Are you male or female?

Is there another male in the household besides your son?

Is she spayed?

Is she allowed on the furniture?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jane, yes I did give her a swat and have told her many times to get down. I am female and I have two sons. She is not spayed yet. I need to fly her out of our small town the Vet In Yellowknife. She has not gone into heat yet. Emma has her own chair to sit in so yes she has been allowed on the furniture.

Emma knows when she is bad but acts offended or hurt when we get after her. I have been very firm with her but she still jumps on everyone.


I am torn as we do love her but I feel she needs a stronger leader than I am. Also I want her to have quality of life and now that I won't take her into work she will end up being alone so much. I had planned to have her be the office dog. I am going into my busy season now and I work many hours. I believe she would thrive with someone who understands her nature. Also I do not know what to do about her extreme aggression towards other dogs. She won't back down now at 6 months and what will happen when she is mature. The flip side is that some days she is so timid and almost afraid of her shadow.


Diana,.thanks for all the information. Becoming the dominant member of the family will help solve most of the problems. If you have two boys, I'm pretty sure you have it in you to be the boss. You have to be when you have boys. .She came from an abusive home and was likely abused at a young age. In turn, you also used physical punishment. This teaches a dog that physical reprimands are ok. A dog's only form of physical reprimand is to bite, so they think it is perfectly acceptable. So no physical punishment. No hitting or smacking. ONly a short tug on a leash and a firm low toned NO. We can scream at children but dogs here is as a high pitched noise and often don't realize we are reprimanding them. .

The first thing that should be done is to rule out a medical cause for the sudden aggression. So when you get her spayed, have them check for any thyroid condition or cause for pain. You can read about these here:



If there is no medical cause for the aggression, then it is strictly behavioral.Dogs are aggressive for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of other dogs and people and thus are aggressive before the other dog or person can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate and be the alpha member of the pack. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are the alpha member of the pack and as the alpha member they must protect the pack (you) from threats (other dogs). She would also need to keep you in line as well as the boys. She is young so being the boss would put a lot of stress on her and lead to the timid behavior as well.


In addition, owners sometimes make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that she is justified in her aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the dog or person. They don't know you are worried about them attacking, they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the other dog or person.


For a dog like this, total control is necessary. This means not only physical control but on a mental level, you must be the alpha. To accomplish this, you may want to have the dog wear a basket muzzle . This will not only prevent bites but also allow you to feel more at ease when walking her.


Many dominant dogs are described as well behaved until you try to get them to do something they do not want to do, and then they reprimand you either with a growl or bite if you don't heed the growl. Things like taking away something they want, making them move when they don't want to, waking them up, etc can cause them to reprimand (bite) you. If they think they are the boss, they feel they can urinate where they want, when they want since it is their house. They will definitely urinate on places that you consider yours alone in order to show that it is hers, not yours. That is how becoming the boss works to solve a lot of problems.


Dogs that are allowed on furniture tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level or higher if on your lap, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus are the boss. Keeping them on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow her even on her chair. It is the floor for her. Have the boys stay on the furniture and not lay or sit on the floor. She needs to be lower. Keep a leash on her and use it to remove her from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a quick tug and firm "NO" when she attempts to get on and a treat when she starts not trying to get on the furniture. Thus you are providing negative reinforcement for the getting on the furniture and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior (not attempting to get on the furniture).


You will need to have her obedience trained. If you can, I would do group classes (with the muzzle if necessary) and let the trainer know of the problem your dog has. It might take you a few months of basic training before she is ready for group class. . The following site is helpful. 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.


Obedience training serves various purposes. It helps a dog learn what humans expect of them when they state a command which leads to self confidence and less fear. Each time a dog obeys a command, even if it is for a treat, it makes them a little more submissive to that human in the future which helps with dominance aggression. And since it is the leader or boss who is responsible for protecting the pack, if the dog is made submissive with training, you are responsible for protecting her, so that can reduce aggression due to fear and dominance.


If your boys are old enough to say sit with conviction, let them help with training but have them toss the treat to the dog. YOu don't want the dog learning to take food from their hands. You will also want to keep a leash on her at all times initially to grab if she should disobey. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well your dog does with training. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you.


There are other methods as well such as the BAT method on the following site.


In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I provided, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation. I do understand that might be difficult if you have to fly in and out, but maybe there is one closer than the vet.


The methods I've described are proven to work, but with two children to raise, it may prove too much with work involved as well. I am including a rescue site for you that may be helpful.


She is still young and has a good chance of being controlled, so if you don't feel you can keep her, I would go ahead and get her in a rescue so she can be adopted out 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 .


If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

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