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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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dominance advice?

Hello Forum: I would love your advice and tips. Cash is a very dominant pup. He is very loving and outgoing, But this morning he did two things that worry me and would like to nip in the bud. The first thing he did was when I was preparing his food. He sat there and barked at me-- a very demanding bark- I said No and he stopped but then started again---

The 2nd thing was-I was trying a very gentle brushing to get him used to it and he growled and snapped. I put him in a down position and said settle. but he didn't.

My third question is this- and I feel terrible even asking- please don't judge me--have any of you ever sent a dog back? I just have this nagging feeling that the dynamics are wrong for our little pack of 3 and now 4. Although my husband likes Cash's spunky-ness, and I do too, I just feel like there will always be a battle of Wills. We thought we were getting a calmer dog by her descriptions.

And although Jas has seemed to be OK with him- he still seems to me like a bit of a bully. Is this just puppydom or can I expect this when he is older.

Jasper was my first dog ever because of allergies all my life--And he is an unusual Hav in that he is very low energy was incredibably submissive--- and very independant and would go off by himself even if we are home, even as a puppy (he was a great first dog) Cash is the total opposite- hates to be alone, demands to be the center of attention and is a dominant little guy. SO although I've read and read and watched countless episodes of the Dog Whisperer- I do feel a little out of my element with these two

I would love for it to work out. Especially because I think this would be the last attempt for a 2nd dog (and I think Jas could use a buddy) But I would love your honest assesments if this is something that can be worked through or if a personality is a personality.

thanks all.


Missy, Jasper & Cash
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 09:30 AM
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Missy - I am sad to hear you are struggling with this decision. I can say that Logan has been trying to be a little more dominent lately too, but more with the other dogs, than with me. Before you make such a big decision you should check with the vet or a trainer to see if there are specific things you can do to teach him that doing those things are unacceptable. I can say that my girls growl & snap at the comb when I groom them too - never at me, but I dont groom real often. Their groomer tells me that they NEVER do that with her, so I assume it is only happening with me.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 09:58 AM
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When dealing with a dominate pup you have to win. If he tries to bite and a firm No doesn't work. Hold him by the scruf of the neck" like a Mom Dog would do" another firm "No" in a growlly voice. If he still doesn't submit. You need to add a little shake and another growlly "no". Do not let him get away with biting or growling at you.

Barking when you prepare his food - put him in his crate until you are ready to feed him. And feed Jasper first. In a pack the dominate dogs eat first. Feed yourselves, Jasper, then the pup. He has to learn where his spot is in the pack. Once he know how is boss, there will be peace most of the time.

You have to be Alpha dog. Not everybody can deal with strong willed dogs, that is why there are so many dogs in shelters etc. Try to find a good trainer in your area that can give you one on one help. Some times the spunkie ones make the best dogs after they know their place. I had to do these things with Sam and a few of my German Shepherds and it does work. But you have to win everytime.

Sam would try to bite the kids if they startled him. I had to be very careful and watch them like a hawk. It took a few times before it stopped. You have to be consistant, firm and fair. If you don't have the personallity to take charge. Don't feel like you are giving up. It would be better to give him back than to create a monster. Try to find a trainer before you give up. Good luck and I really hope it works out.

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Debbie & Sam & Delilah

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Suess.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 01:01 PM
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Dear Missy,
I would feel the same way as you- you need to do what is best for your family. I do not think you are being harsh - you need to use your instinct. Your instinct is your gift. Do not ignore it. If you feel you want to gice it more time, I would run not walk to a trainer who knows alpha training. We have done this not knowing about the position our puppy had within the pack before getting him, and it is truly anazing. You need to be educated about how to be the alpha in your pack and then how to communicate this to your pup. For instance, your pup never eats before you. And when you so feed your pup, youhold the dish and pretend to be eating from it before you give him his plate. Alphas always eat first. You never allow the pup to enter or exit a threshold first- You must always go in and out the door first. If your pup is in the middle of the floor, you need to walk into him (obviiously not to hurt him, but to move him). Alpha's never walk around the underlings in their pack. Sometimes you need to do this just to make him move. never allow him to sit higher then you - not on the couch or the bed. The alpha of the pack is always in a higher position as the look out for his pack. All these tings have you thinking like you are the alpha of the pack. And when you do these things and more, what you are doing is not only establishing yourself as the alpha (leader) of his pack, but you lower his anxiety because he no longer feels that he needs to do these things because you are protecting the pack. None of these things are hurtful to the dog, it gives them the comfort to be one of the underlings of the pack, protected and taken care of. Everyone in the household must adhere to the training.
There is more that you will learn- I have found this training enormously helpful.
And if this does not help, do not second guess your instincts.
Goog Luck!
Lynn U.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 02:04 PM
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First let me say that you have to do what you feel is best for your situation. If it means returning the puppy, then it has to be done. I know how you feel. Sometimes it just gets overwhelming. When my son (now 36) was 2-1/2, and I was 7mos pregnant, my husband brought home the most beautiful German Shep pup. After 2 weeks of craziness, the pup went back.

Now, I'll tell you my experience with Kodi and Shelby.
KODI is a very sweet, calm boy, except for playtime. Then he plays just as hard as any dog. He will sit and let me brush him for hours. So when we got SHELBY we were surprised that she is so "feisty". I have not been able to brush her for more than 5 mins unless she has something to distract her. like another brush. Also, she is a biter. Part of the problem is teething, but she likes to bite. I just have to let her know that I am the boss. When they play together, she is much more aggressive and louder than Kodi, so I have to watch them. If I think it is getting out of hand, I give them both a nudge to stop them. Now that she is getting a little older (going on 5 mos), she seems to be calming down a little. Also, her personality is starting to emerge.

Maybe this helps, maybe not. But I know you will make the right decision for you and Cash.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 02:29 PM
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It isn't always easy, Missy. Great advice from everyone here. You might need to sit quietly with your thoughts and see what your gut tells you is best for you and your household.

Ricky is very confident and resembles your Cash quite a bit. We did not want a shy dog as we are very busy with the kids, with lots of family and friends that visit and with outings. I did not want a dog that feared loud noises and commotion and that's what we got. I had a chance to pick from the litter at the breeders' and the first one I held was very much an Alpha dog. We were told he needed a lot of firmness and would likely be a barker - we let him go and chose Ricky who was not shy, but quieter. Well...... that is until he was 3 mths old when he showed us just how much he loves to bark!! Sigh....... lol

A dog that is spunky, entertaining, wild and very social is a great addition to the family, IF that is what you want. He will be a bit "hard-headed" and might require more effort, but it can be done with consistency and learning how to train. Now, if we had TWO like Ricky, things might get 'interesting' around here! lol I wouldn't trade him for the world though.

Do what feels right and don't forget that any pup can be trained, esp. at this very young age.


Hello. My name is marj and I have MHS.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 06:53 PM
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Missy. I think everyone gave you some great advise already. Talk to your breeder. She may give you some insight. Maybe Cash wasn't acting like this in his other pack but is trying to take charge of your pack.

Alpha dogs are tough. We originally like the dog in the litter that was black and tan. The breeder came right out and said she was the alpha even growling at her Mom. She said she wouldn't place her in a home for a pet with novices.

Good luck. Things will work out.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 07:48 PM
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Cash's mom would grab him, pin him, show teeth, growl, and then let him up and walk off and forget about it. That's what I would do too. It's not mean being the pack leader. They all need it. Some more than others.

You've gotten some good advice here. I also agree with the making step aside part although that's harder with a little puppy. I even do that with the horses. When the herd is together sometimes I make it a point to walk through them and make sure that they all step aside. They don't like me any the less but respect me as the leader. Some dogs might not even naturally want to be the Alpha in a pack but feel like it's necessary to take the position if there is not a clear leader.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 07:53 PM
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Try this for the barking while preparing food.

You're at the counter preparing the food. The INSTANT he barks you completely stop working with the food and do nothing but stop and look at him-show no emotion. When he stops barking, you go back to what you were doing. Bark = food prep on all stop. Do this as many times as it takes. No words are necessary or even beneficial. If the barking doesn't stop the first session, put everything away and go do something else. In about 5 minutes go back and take the food stuff out again and do the same thing over and over until it works. Show no emotion. Say nothing. Barking equals his world stops turning.

I can tell you for a fact that this does work. You can not loose your patience or your temper. He won't starve.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 10:23 PM
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I think you can handle "Cash" sought advice when you needed it,and alot of people on this forum have alot of good advice.I would take it all.I can not really add anything different,but I wanted to post and encourage you.
I think you have to decide in your heart what is best for you and your family,and then just "go for it".If that means you keep him,GREAT,if that means you send him back,that's GREAT too.Do not beat yourself up over this.Perhaps the breeder has a different option for you(a more calm,submissive pup),but either way,no one should judge you at all,and you shouldn't feel that way.If you are still on the fence about it,I definitely would talk with the breeder and let them know your situation.

Vincent-Quincy's playmate

"Behind every unstable dog is a lesson for the owner"-Cesar Millan
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