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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19604
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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We have an adult husky and a small poodle. every time the

Customer Question

We have an adult husky and a small poodle. every time the poodle moves, especially running the husky bites on the poodle or grabs her leg and pulls her around. What is the best way to break her of this.
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.

How old is the poodle?

the poodle is also female?

How long have you owned each dog?

How long has Athena done this?

What obedience training has Athena had?

is she drawing blood on the poodle?

Do you walk Athena?

Does Athena have contact with other dogs?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The poodle is 7 yrs old, I have had her for 5 yrs, she was a rescue. She usually has been alone with me, yes she is a female also. My daughter and son-in-law moved in with me and then got the husky about five months ago. We have been fighting this for about 3 months now ever since we separated her and three puppy's she had on 9/11. No she does not draw blood just makes her soppy wet and the poodle does not even yelp or anything when it is done, sometimes I find her in a belly up submissive pose. Athena gets walked at least 2-3 times a week weather permitting, and most of time they are walked together. No other contact with other dogs at this point. as far as obedience training she has had only what we have given her and as you know a husky is the most stubborn dog on the planet.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful.

Basically your girl was the alpha in the house. When you brought in the husky, she became the most logcal choice for alpha dog since she was not only larger, stronger and most dominant but also breeding. It is a pretty good thing that Athena has not hurt the poodle even though she is clearly already the alpha since the poodle is rolling over in a submissive manner. Sometimes the former alpha dog will not submit to the new alpha dog and then you get really bad fights with serious injuries. So I am so glad they worked the issue out for the most part themselves.

Right now I think that Athena feels the need to remind your poodle that she is the boss by making her submit and the grabbing her leg and pulling her around. As the boss, Athena gets to do what she wants for the most part and the poodle has to accept Athena’s rules. However, the human are the ultimate boss and the dogs should defer to them.

It makes it easier if the humans acknowledge the change in alpha by feeding Athena first, giving her attention and even letting her out first. If you show the poodle attention before her, she will take that as the poodle allowing you to give her affection and end up reprimanding the poodle for it. So the best thing is to give the alpha everything first. It makes life easier in the long run.

Now you should also obedience train Athena. It should be formal daily training but doesn’t have to be a class. It does have to be done around the same time every day and you need to focus on one command until she obeys the first time every time. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their 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.

Since she really isn’t hurting the poodle I hate to not let them interact at all, so try and use the commands to stop the behavior. Perhaps teach Athena the leave it command and use that to stop the dominate behavior from going too far. Here is a site that helps teach the command. Once she knows it you can use it to get her to “leave” the poodle.

However, you can train them not to interact. 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. A basket style muzzle will also prevent bites but still allow interaction. Remember a large dog can still seriously hurt a small dog if they jump them in the wrong spot.

I also think that Athena needs two walks a day and they should be at least 30 minutes of fast paced exercise. This will help tire her out and she won’t be so focused on controlling the poodle. In addition, find a playmate for Athena. She needs a male dog of similar size and age to play with. This will give her an outlet for the energy she has and then she won’t need to be playing with the poodle since the dragging of her by the leg seems more like a play behavior than aggression. Finding playmates can often be accomplished at a training class, so that might be something you want to do just to find a good playmate for her.

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 so I am compensated for my time.

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.

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.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Athena. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler

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