Aggressive Dog Behavior Stopped Overnight With Correct Prong Collar Fitting

Cousin Mike called for some help because– despite already using the prong collar– his new Labrador-mix “Abby” was still ignoring him and showing aggressive dog behavior. After talking with Cousin Mike for 20 minutes or so, he sent me this email the next morning. It’s a good example of how the right knowledge combined with the right tools can produce fantastic results:

“Hi, Adam: I just wanted to let you know that taking a link out of her prong collar seems to be doing the trick. While she still wants to go after dogs or squirrels, after a firm tug-and-release on her leash she is submitting and not continuing to fight to get to the dog or squirrel. So, that tells me she is thinking twice about it. Still have a ways to go with this, but I am seeing difference.”

“Also, I’ve been doing the crate training… and while she is not 100% comfortable going into the crate without a little tug on her tab, she does go in by herself if I can get her to within 10 ft or so. I’ve been leaving her in for incrementally longer periods when I train her and she has not been whining or crying. We’ve been putting her in when we leave the house and she is excited when we return– but nothing too bad.”

“Thanks for the pointers. My ultimate goal is to be able to take her outside the house off-leash. I’ll keep working on it. I’ll keep you posted. – Cousin Mike.”

You might also be interested in reading more advice on Aggressive Dog Training.

My Dog Bites Me

I went for a walk in downtown San Rafael a couple of weeks ago and saw a man walking a Siberian Husky. When his dog saw us, he started flailing around at the end of the leash and barking, hysterically.

I asked this man why he put up with such behavior from his dog? After all: He feeds the dog, he gives the dog free room and board. He even lets this dog defecate on his lawn. So, why put up with this behavior?

“My dog bites me,” was his reply.

To which I answered, “Well… what happens when he bites you?”

“It hurts.”

Yes, I’m sure.

I’m also sure that this behavior didn’t start from one day to the next. It gradually built up, over time. It was a behavior that– inadvertently– got reinforced.

I tried again: “How do you respond when he bites you?”

He again replied, “I respond in pain.”

He laughed, nervously… perhaps a bit embarrassed.

This man’s problem was that he was viewing the behavior from one side of the coin: His own. Instead, he should have been thinking to himself: If my dog bites me, I will correct him the way the mother dog would– and in such a manner that he won’t ever think of biting me, again.

Of course, we use a dog training collar to do that– instead of our mouth, like the mother-dog would.  And we recommend adopting a “Nothing In Life Is Free” approach to your relationship with your dog, around the house– because these types of behaviors seldom happen in a vacuum.

But at it’s core: We’re talking about looking at your dog’s aggression with a fundamentally different attitude.

How To Discipline An Aggressive Puppy

Jenna wrote to us about how to discipline her aggressive puppy:

From An Aggressive Puppy
To An Aggressive Dog?

“I’m very worried – my 9 1/2 week old shepherd/pitbull/lab mix puppy has been showing signs of aggression towards me, and I’m worried he’s going to turn from an aggressive puppy into an aggressive dog. He attacked my hand when I went to remove his leash after a walk around the park. I tried to grab him and say “no”. When he bites hard I grab his mouth and clamp down and say no until he yelps. Then he comes at me again with a growl soon as I release. Is this a bad tactic to discipline? Will this bring out his aggression more? I’m not sure how to discipline him when he acts out. Is this just puppy behavior or should I be worried? For the most part, he loves people and is very affectionate. However his aggressive behaviors come out periodically.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!”

Adam replied:

Hi, Jenna:

Would it be possible to video this and put it on Youtube, so that I can see it?

The problem is: When it comes to a puppy this age, different people’s idea of “aggression” can vary quite a bit, and that can change my suggestion on how to proceed.

Definitely start reading the sections on puppy aggression in my dog training book, so that you understand basic concepts, but if you have a way to video this behavior (maybe with a smart phone, like a droid or an iPhone?) … that would help, a lot.

Lynn Stockwell added:

I too am curious. Sometimes puppies do a lot of play-biting, and there is a big difference between true aggression and play in their body language. I don’t doubt that he’s giving you trouble, and now really is the time to teach him that teeth-on-skin is Unthinkable. As Adam mentioned, a video would be helpful to really pinpoint the problem and tailor a response as to how to correct it–that’s the one drawback on the internet, is that we are not there to witness the issue!

Holding The Puppy’s Mouth Does Not
Stop Aggressive Puppy Behavior

While holding a puppy around the mouth can be done as a correction, there are also other factors that make it effective. You’ve already noticed that simply holding the mouth by itself isn’t really useful, since he just bounces back. I’ll try to get a video together showing a good way to correct a puppy for play-biting that utilizes a few other concepts too. It may look weird, but when used properly and consistently, it does teach the puppy that certain actions get it NOWHERE.

The caveat comes when the puppy decides to really push its boundaries and the play-biting “correction” is ineffective. If this is the case, it’s possible that you might have to use a properly-sized pinch collar, to correct for ONLY the biting, just to communicate clearly to the dog that it is unacceptable. We usually do NOT recommend pinch collars for young puppies, but as Adam mentioned above, knowing a few more details of the situation (plus video, if possible) might help us determine whether that’s the right course of action to take.

Jenna continued:

“Great – all that information is very helpful. I will try and get a video to post tonight of his aggression, or attitude. I’ve never had a puppy before so maybe it is just puppy play. However, when I say no loudly and hold his mouth, he comes right back at me with growling and nipping. He never nips so hard, but he is definitely defying my orders and I don’t like the growling. I’ll post a video as soon as possible.

Today, he also growled when I tried to take his kong away. I was going to put another treat in it but he didn’t like that. How do I correct that behavior? Should I be worried about the growling or is that normal? Thanks so much for your help!!”

Adam responded:

Hi, Jenna:

It’s not typical.

Give it to him, then take it away again. Show him that any aggressive behavior will not get him what he wants. Reward him when he is calm. Do not reach for it quickly or act fearful. Pretend like it doesn’t bother you at all and that it’s not threatening. Pin him on his side and hold him there firmly, until he stops growling. When you let him up, move your hand away slowly. If he tries to nip you when you start to release him, then immediately pin him down and keep him there until he submits.

A video would be helpful, because then we can advise (like Lynn mentioned) if a small pinch collar would be appropriate for this type of aggressive puppy behavior.


Stop Dog Aggression When People Pass By

Corie writes to me about territorial dog aggression:

Our rescue husky/heeler cross dog is 1.5 years old. I’ve made a lot of progress with him with your suggestion of the pinch collar and leash and boundary training. He is a nervous dog that is really afraid of everything and when people come up to him his fur goes us and he is on edge. He will not bite, he just backs away. I give people treats to give him and that helps. But when people walk by our yard and I don’t have him in a stay position he will charge after them and show dog aggression (or territorial aggression). I know I have to work more on the boundary issue, little harder right now in Canada with 2 feet of snow on our grass. What should I be doing please? Thanks.

Adam replies:

Hi, Corie:

Specifically for the fence charging?

Don’t leave him out there, unsupervised… until you’ve got this problem fixed.

Here’s what you do: When he charges the fence, yell out, “No!”… then calmly walk to him and administer a firm correction with the tab. Rinse and repeat.

This issue really just comes down to getting the right motivation level, for your corrections. If, after several repetitions, he’s still doing it… then your correction simply isn’t meaningful enough.

If you can’t get a good correction with the pinch collar, I’d recommend upgrading to the e-collar. There is something about the texture of the e-stim that gets through to the dog (without having to even be set high, sometimes) that works, when the pinch collar corrections do not.

– Adam.

DPTrainer4 adds:

To echo what Adam posted, it’s basically a problem that the dog is outside and devising his own ways to keep occupied.

That doesn’t mean that you need to keep him busy 100% of the time when you’re out with him, but it’s a good policy to not turn him out by himself often. Because we have an unfenced yard, I feel (and this is my opinion, and it’s NOT MEANT TO RAG ON ANYONE WITH A FENCE) that because we must be outside with our dog, she is more focused on us than just doing her own thing around the yard. We play with her, do obedience, work on boundary training, just sit and chill…but we’re out with her. My personal opinion is that it helps a lot with potential problems that she would otherwise have if she were allowed to go out by herself and fence-fight with the two poodles that live behind us (and yes, she has the capability to do that if we allowed her to do so).

If possible, keep the dog outside on a long line too so that you are not stuck playing “catch-me-if-you-can” when you need to correct.

Cory responds:

Thanks for the tips – figured the e-collar might be the next step.

I have another question. I have been doing all you suggested to become the alpha dog – having him wait til I go thru the door first, down stay for longer periods, not being allowed on bed, etc. but when I walk him he always wants to be 1/2 a body (dog) length ahead of me. I use the pinch collar and correct him and say hey and he steps back but then he’s ahead again. I also have a 13 year old lab who comes with us for a short part of the walk but he’s always 10 paces behind because he has a hard time walking and chooses to stay behind. Daos (husky) is pretty much the same way whether my lab is there or not. Although he is getting pretty good at walking with the leash (well it is dragging so I can step on it if he decides he wants to get away). Training my lab was a breeze – this rescue dog has certainly been a challenge. What should I do about the husky trying to lead? E- collar again?

Adam replies:

Hi, Corie:

Yes, the e-collar will definitely help with that, but what you’ll want to start doing is more of the Left-about turns. (Make sure they’re tight turns, as if you’re balancing on a tight rope, and make the dog step back and around you, if possible.)

The idea is to bump the dog in the side of the head with your knee, in a surprise left-about turn. The dog will start to hang back, because he’s watching and waiting for (and wants to avoid) getting bumped by your knee.

You can synchronize the knee with the e-stim, for even greater results.


Rescued Miniature Poodle with Dog Aggressive Behavior

Martiwise writes to me about her dog’s aggressive behavior:


We “adopted” an 8 year old minature poodle at Thanksgiving….. from a home in which he was neglected (therefore abused to me). The house contained 30 dogs and 1,000 rats when it was highlighted on TV new program. He was the oldest dog and the stud dog, father to a lot of the other dogs in the house. He wsas never outside…. never groomed…. food was “dropped off” at the house…

He was the last to be removed from the house…. had to be shaved, he was so matted (couldn’t even lie down) He was neutered and our hearts go out to him for the life he had to endure. We’d like to give him a good home for his remaining years.

We feel he has a lot of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in that he had to fend for himself with 20+ other dogs… fight off rats for food….heard noises (rats) all night long. We’ve house broken him, he comes and sits, waits calmly to be fed…

We have 2 standard poodles, both males, and he has “tussled” with the Alpha on several occasions, and the Beta nips at his neck. My concern is for the dog aggression  he displays when we settle down to watch TV in the evening.

He growls very little during the day… it’s night when the ugly disposition manifests itself. He can be sitting with us, as calm as can be….and if either/both of the other 2 dogs comes into the room…or is in the room and just moves….he begins to growl…ferociously….at both the dog(s) and can include either me or my husband….moreso my husband than me….and has tried to bite him on several occasions when in this state….

I’ve been pushing him off the couch and saying “NO!” sharply….and it helps, but it has not stopped the reaction… there anything else someone can suggest?

Adam replies:

Hi, Marti:

What a horrible life! You’re an angel for rescuing him.

Now– onwards:

The dog should not be on the couch. He needs to get a correction for the aggression, and that correction needs to come from somebody he sees as above him in the “pack”.

I recommend you start him on a “Nothing In Life Is Free” program. The structure and predictability will work wonders for providing stability and structure in his life.

Second, you need to start giving him leash corrections in the manner I describe in my dog training book. Please read it, from cover-to-cover, and if you still have questions, we’re here to help.

– Adam.

Martiwise responds:

Hi Adam,

Well, all I can say is…..the book works!

First, I established myself as the “pack leader”…and my male (standard poodle) Alpha “set the rules” for Baby (that’s the name he cam with and we’ve kept it).

I started the “walk on a leash…and he managed it in 2 days of training. Mastered the SIT command….doesn’t “stay” well yet, but wil continue to work on it. Waits. Is housebroken. Was “disciplined” EVERY time he GROWLED at the other 2 dogs when on the couch…was put onto the floor IMMEDIATELY!…and had to deal with the other 2 dogs from that level. And now does not get agitated into the growl stage every time one of the other 2 comes into the area where he is.

I also did the “THINK what he’s thinking; be in his head” …I “listened” to his “communication” with me….body languange, bark, everything! and when I started to realize that I needed to treat him like a puppy instead of an 8 year old dog….it all came together!!! This dog NEVER stepped foot on cement, or grass, or had a toy….or was loved….not the way I “love” a dog! He was the eldest dog of 30, trapped in a “house” that was filthy and rat infested…and had to be destroyed after the 30 dog were removed….and he was the last to be taken out….he and his 8 week old pup/son….who were left in a cage for 2 weeks before their removal…night frightened him, because no one lived in the house….just the dogs and the rats… was put out….and the dogs had to fend for themselves…against the rats! put myself “in his place”….it was really easy to do what was needed….think like he did….discipline him….teach him….lead him….and love him!

He’s become my “buddy”….follows me everywhere…..listens to my voice/commands….responds to praises and discipline….and it’s all right there in your book! I didn’t have it with my other dogs, but raising them from puppies was a lot different than adopting an 8 year old!…and he’s finding his place in the pack in our house! Still has a way to go, but NOTHING like it was the week of Thanksgiving…all this progress in 3 months!!!

I’ve told others about you website and book…
don’t know if anyone will take my advice….but if they don’t, it’s their loss….
Thank you for sharing your knowledge! What a difference you made in helping me realize “I CAN DO THIS!”

Marti Wise

Dealing With Dog Biting and Aggression

Vellsworth writes to me about dog biting and aggression:

There is no consistent ‘mitigating pattern’ to his dog aggression – first time he jumped up and drew a drop of blood from a man’s inner thigh, a man with a leg prosthesis (other dogs also went for this ‘wounded animal’ – Skippy was immediately leashed and made to walk around the park with the man for about 20 minutes – never another problem). 2 other times, men were walking away from him (trying to get their attention seems a bit out of the question as Skippy was busy playing with dogs) he just jumped up and snapped – but he did bruise one man – the other, nothing. Again, I caught up to him – no – he came on command and I gave him a time out – once we left the park and another time I knew the guy and we stayed – I distracted Skippy with one of his playmates and kept close watch on him. Since he is extremely bonded with me, I’d like to say he is just being overly protective – HA! He is nowhere near me when this happens – which is why I have (finally) gotten my e-collar.I also bought a mesh muzzle today – which I promised in order to go back to the park.

re: e-collar. is he supposed to think that the shock is coming from me or the man? I assume I watch closely for him going Toward a man – command him ‘no!’ then shock if he doesn’t obey. Correct?

BTW – he used to nip at dogs’ heels and we thought he had some sheep herder in him – one day with the shock collar eliminated that. Hope the same with men.

Adam replies:

Hi, Virginia:

RE: The stim from the collar: He needs to know this is coming from you. You use it the same way you would use the leash and collar: By saying, “No!” and then giving the correction. The e-collar just allows you to more accurately match the motivation level of the correction with your dog’s temperament and the situation.

I think using the muzzle is smart. It sounds like you’re on the right track. Regardless of why he’s nipping (peg leg, a guy with a hat, herding instinct) you’ll correct it, just the same.

As a side note: At this stage in his rehabilitation (I hate that word!) … you shouldn’t let him get more than 10 feet away from you, because we want him to know 100% that the correction is coming from you.

I’m assuming you’ve read the book already and understand the “three keys”?



Dog Growling While Being Fed

Nikki writes to me about her dog’s growling:

“Dear Trainer, I have a 4 mth. old Rott. and Lab mix male, more Rott. then Lab. I am the main care giver and trainer. I am a small women. We do very well together except in one very important aspect. When I feed him and pet him at the same time he growls at me. I have fed him entire meals out of my hand for a few feedings that went ok. But this dog aggression behavior continues with the bowl. I spit in is bowl as instructed I have his pinch collar on I will correct him he does not like this. He does not growl at my husband who does care for him but not as much as me. Help he is gaining 4 lbs a week. soon he will out weigh me. HE sits and stays on command. Thank you, Nikki ”

Adam replies:

Hi, Nikki.

This is very, very common for Rottweilers. Although usually it happens closer to 8 months of age.

What you can do is: Take a baseball bat or a golf club (or anything else that makes you feel more comfortable) and use it to nudge him out of the way, in one swift motion. The club becomes an extension of your arm. But you can’t do it timidly.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not suggesting you hit the dog with the club. Just shoo him away from the food. You’re using the club as a prop to give you more confidence.

It’s really just an attitude thing. Regardless of your size, you need to get your point across. You’ve got to remember: He’s still a puppy. So, he’s really just testing you to see what he can get away with. You’ve got to let him know that, regardless of YOUR size… you’re tougher and meaner than him. In other words: If he’s going to growl and threaten you, then you’re going to rock his world, and he’s never EVER going to think about doing that to you again.

This is really where consistency and self-confidence comes in. Because even if you’re correcting him, if he can sense you’re not really confident in telling him what to do… he’s just going to shake it off.

I’m not the biggest of men, myself. And when I work with big, aggressive, powerful dogs– I have to approach it with the attitude that I am the dominant animal. This is the same way our little Jack Russell can make our much bigger dogs get up and move away– when he walks by and wants the toy they’re playing with. Even though the bigger dogs could (physically) kill him– psychologically, they don’t know it. Because the little dog is tough, tough, tough. And he’ll go after the bigger dogs, if they test him– with no abandon.

Make sense?

Keep me posted.

In addition– I suggest you start implementing the “Nothing In Life Is Free” approach, as described in the book. This is something that will psychologically start making the dog view you as his pack leader.


2.5 Year-old Golden Retriever Poodle-mix Exhibiting Guarding, Dominance or Fear Behavior?

Leslie asks: I have a 2.5 yr old neutered male golden doodle that follows me like there is no tomorrow. He sleeps in my bedroom on the floor by my bed or in the bathroom. The dog will give a low throated steady growl if someone comes in through the closed bedroom door, and may get up to go towards the door.

This stops when the familiar faces of family enter. He also showed dog aggression toward the UPS man while the dog and I were in the garage and the man came in to deliver a package. The dog chased him, barking and growling. Unfortunately he was not wearing his e collar, and my commands were only verbal. He did stop chasing after yelling no 2 times. The last case for concern is when we are in my SUV. We stop almost daily at the same corner with a crossing guard.

The dog rides in passenger side with window down and the guard comes over and gives him a biscuit. ALL good. When I put up the window and start to drive away the dog jumps in the back and seriously snarls and growls. It is almost like he can’t tell that the guard is walking away and not approaching the car. this is most concerning as I take him in my truck everywhere that I can. I always take him to school to pick my kids up and he hangs his head out the window waiting. Kids come up or walk past constantly and I need to make sure they are safe.He will be wearing his e collar daily. Also, which e collar do you suggest. I have a Dogtra 280np or something like that and the transmitter seems to lose its charge in less than 10 hours. May just get a new one or start trouble shooting this one. Hate to throw good money after bad. Thanks again!
– Leslie

Adam replies: Hi, Leslie:

This should be pretty easy for you to fix, as it’s fairly predictable in regard to the type of situation the dog reacts in– and you can “set it up.”

Mostly, your problem is one of consistency. I want your dog to receive the correction immediately … every time he does the behavior. Every time, until he stops exhibiting the aggression.

So– make sure he’s wearing the e-collar when he’s not in the crate, and wear the e-collar transmitter around your neck (or clip it to your pocket, so that it’s handy).

When he’s in the car with you, do not let him jump in the back of the SUV. Get one of those tie-down doggie seat belts. If you don’t want to do that (highly recommended, as it’s safest for your dog) … at least put the leash on a flat collar and attach the other end short, around the seat or the seat belt to keep him in the front with you. So, you’re teaching him to sit in his seat and act like a gentleman, not fly around the car like a wild animal.

The Dogtra collars are generally pretty good. Ten hours is about what you can expect from a charge. What I recommend is: Put the dog in the crate (or kennel run) for a few hours during the day. For example: While you’re taking a shower, or when you’re doing something without the dog. Take the e-collar off and plug it into the charger. Keep the charger near the crate, so that you remember to take it off and put it back on, every time the dog goes in and out of the crate.

When I let the dogs out in the yard in the morning to potty, I put the e-collars on and supervise as they run around the yard. Then, when they’re ready to come back in the house, their feet are wet so I make them sit and take the e-collars off and plug them into the chargers (which sit conveniently on top of the crate). Then I make the dogs get into the crates to give their paws a chance to dry off, while I have breakfast.

New Dog In The House Is Aggressive

Mr. Katz: I have a 8 month old Great Dane female, Dulcinea. I have used several of your techniques on training her and have been successful.

My husband and I work during the day and she is alone in the back yard. I do take her for a walk several times a week and we play ball. Occasionally we go to my in-laws to visit. They have two untrained dogs. A Toy Poodle male, 11 years old named Teddy. Also a Lab/Pit Bull mix female, 9 years old named Sammy.

Dulcinea is just thrilled to go there to see the other dogs. So we decided to look for a companion. We found a 9 month Great Dane/Lab mix male named Greedo. We got him Saturday and then stayed at my in-laws. Saturday went great, my dogs played all day and night. When I fed them Saturday, Greedo acted as if he hadn’t eaten. I also gave them all a snack and things went well. Sunday morning all four dogs were fed and Sammy went over by Greedo to wait for food to drop. Greedo is really messy. Greedo did attack Sammy and we had to separate them. Luckily Sammy only had one puncture. That was the first time he showed the dog aggression.

Later that day, I was in the kitchen and Greedo was at my feet. Then Sammy came in and Greedo attacked her again. We separated them again and Sammy didn’t get hurt except his feelings. My in-laws feed their dogs once a day and I feed mine twice a day since they are puppies and they are large breed. So when I was ready to feed them Sunday night, I put Greedo outside while I prepared the food. Greedo got his bowl outside and Dulcinea ate inside. After they were finished, I picked up the bowls and let Dulcinea go outside. Dulcinea and Greedo both ate the pieces that fell out of the bowl without problems. Now I’m at home with both of my dogs and I am extremely nervous.

I gave them both a bone when we got home Sunday night and Dulcinea went by Greedo and he growled. I took the bones because I didn’t want any problems. When I feed them I do spit in their food. My husband thinks it is sick but I think it makes sense. [ The Alpha dog always eats first, thus leaving his scent (saliva) on the food. Subordinate dogs only eat after the alpha dog has eaten. ] Monday morning, today, I fed them at the same time in two bowls. While I was at work I did leave them outside together. When I got home I didn’t open the garage so I could sneak in and check on them.

They were playing. I feed them when I got home and Greedo is chewing his food more. Dulcinea is spayed and Greedo is not neutered yet. I have an appointment on February 16th to get him neutered. That was the soonest that I could get him in. Do you think I’m going to have a problem with Dulcinea and Greedo?

I do use the pinch collar for Dulcinea and I got one for Greedo. Do you think that I should invest in the Electronic Dog Fight Stopper for when I go to the in-laws? Or would it be too much for Sammy? Sammy has been on Prozac and has thyroid problems. Would the pinch collar with a tab for Greedo be enough? Should I wait until Greedo is neutered and is older to introduce them again? I hope I haven’t confused you.

Everyday I do relax a little more. I’m just nervous and worried. Dulcinea is our first dog. The dogs are taking a nap right now. I will have to take them for a walk tonight. Part of me does think that this was a match made in heaven. She is so much more happier. Thanks, Christy.

Dear Christy:

Thanks for the question.

Well… you’ve got a lot of ‘dog ownership’ issues we need to straighten out:

#1: When introducing a new dog into your family, never leave the dogs unsupervised for the first several weeks… at least until you know that they’re both comfortable with each other, and have worked out all dominance issues.

#2: Make sure that you have voice control over both dogs. Any aggression needs to be corrected. Now, when you’re not around, they’re going to eventually, “work it out.” But sometimes, with certain dogs, you can communicate that this is an undesirable behavior… AND IT WORKS!

#3: In the beginning, be prepared if they DON’T work it out. Older dogs with serious dog aggression problems can be trained to ignore other dogs, in the presence of their master. But bringing a new dog like this into a home that already has a dog can be a living nightmare. This doesn’t sound like what you’ve got. Your case sounds more like two dogs establishing WHO is the more dominant dog. However, you can never be too safe, and if you are still unsure, then I’d advise seeking the help of a professional who can come to your house and watch the dogs to let you know if it’s just a dominance scuffle or not.

#4: Always feed the dogs separately.

#5: Yes, I agree… owning the Electronic Dog Fight Stopper (a stun gun, not a tazer!)  certainly can’t hurt. While it doesn’t work on all dogs, I’ve personally seen some VERY SERIOUS dog fights end IMMEDIATELY with both dogs running in opposite directions.

#6: Neutering is a good idea, in general. Expect it to take two to three months before all of the testosterone is out of the dog’s system. This CAN affect the dog’s dominance level. But I wouldn’t look at it as a quick fix. It does have several other benefits, such as making the dog much less stressed, less frustrated, and less prone to certain types of cancer.

#7: I personally would not take a dog like this over to your parent’s house. With four or five dogs running loose, it will be impossible to break up a fight if something should get out of control. Once you’ve developed a proper relationship with the new dog and know that you can control him, then you may try gradually introducing the dogs again. But proceed with caution.


Her Dog Sleeps On Her Bed And Growls At Her: Is This A Problem

Hi Adam! I have a two-year old Siberian Husky. I have had him since he was a puppy, and will be the first to admit I have been a LAZY dog owner.

I would like to remedy that and was wondering if it will be too much of a problem if I start using a whistle with training him. I am an elephant keeper at the Kansas City Zoo and am getting more and more training experience and would like to start implementing that in my relationship with my dog.

He knows a few basic commands, like sit and shake. I think that’s about it. My big question is this: He sleeps on my bed with me. Whenever I move my legs around or roll over or anything, he growls at me. He has never made an actual attempt to bite or anything, and most of the time just jumps off the bed. When this happens, I try to sit up and back him down, and like I said, he usually just jumps off the bed. What I’m wondering is, is this actually dog aggression?

He doesn’t show any other dominance problems that I’m aware of. If you could give me a possible explanation for this behavior, I could hopefully remedy it with the advice in my “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!” I don’t know if this helps any, but this has been going on since we moved away from my mother’s house and to the Kansas City area (I’m originally from NY), and I thought maybe it had something to do with that, being in a different environment and everything. As I’m re-reading this, I have probably given you way too much info. Sorry about the rambling. Thanks for your time and help, Adam. I appreciate it. Regards, Becky.

Dear Becky: Thanks for the kind words. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but… you definitely have a problem waiting to happen. I would strongly recommend NOT letting your dog sleep on the bed. This is probably the #1 way to undermine your efforts to establish yourself as the pack leader. Why?

Because instinctively, the most dominant dog will always sleep in the best spot… which is also usually the highest spot. (Remember, being the dominant one is also being the one on top). So, when you’re sleeping, you’re spending 7 to 9 hours in a horizontal position at the same level as your dog… who, in most cases, is not sleeping beneath you, but rather on top of you.

Furthermore, in the natural social hierarchy of the pack, a subordinate dog will never challenge a more dominant dog. And if he does, then the more dominant dog will always correct him and put him in his place.

However, when you’re in bed, in the middle of the night… it’s impossible for you to safely correct the dog for this type of aggression. So from now on, let Bubba sleep on the floor. Best regards, Adam.