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.