I have a 6yo doxie who is fear-agressive towards other dogs. I got him at 5 weeks, which I know is too early, but I didn't have much of a choice. The breeder started separating the pups from their mother and giving them away at 4 weeks!!! I wanted him to be socialized, but seeing that he was going to end up all by himself anyway, I went ahead and took him home. While he was a puppy, I let him meet other dogs on walks but we didn't have a dog park around where we lived, so he really didn't get the socialization he needed growing up. He's great with people, but is petrified of other dogs (he'll bark, growl, snap, etc. if one even tries to come up to him and sniff him).
Well, my husband has wanted a pit bull all his life and we finally got one last year. We have trained her and she's well behaved, but over the past year she has asserted herself as the alpha. We've read that we shouldn't force the pack order among the dogs, so over time we have treated her as the dominant one of the two, but we still make sure she doesn't cross the line with him and we give him the same amount of attention. We initially thought that it would just take time and consistency for the doxie to fall in line, but it hasn't worked. He has learned he can't "win" with her, but now he has become extremely anxious and fearful. He'll whine and jump to come out of his crate to go outside, and I'll open the door and say very calmly "come on," but then he'll cower in the corner of his crate (even if she's not there) and he'll pee all over himself. I try to get on his level, and not make eye contact, but that doesn't work. It has probably been 18 months since we got our pit bull, and the doxie is still so timid and aggressive towards her. We try walking them together and we keep them both behind us, and they'll be fine on the walk but as soon as we get home it's right back to where they left off.
It's not just the PB; he acts the same around other dogs, too. I have tried taking him to the dog park where we live now, but he walks off on his own and wants nothing to do with the other dogs.
Can someone PLEASE help us? We love both of our dogs, and want to keep them so we will do whatever it takes. We don't have the money for classes right now, so at-home methods would be preferable. I just hate to see him like this, and I don't know how to help him. :(
Hi. I have worked with dogs for eight years now. And I will tell you honestly that YOU are supposed to be the 'pack leader', not the pit or the doxy. As it stands right now, you have allowed the pit to be leader, and there is one important thing this leader does not and cannot do for your doxy: form trust/offer protection. Only you can do that. You are the only one capable of being a trusted leader here. Start with assertive and positive training of both dogs. Get a clicker and a large bag of small treats that they will only get from your hand, and only when they do a good thing. First, you want both dogs to LOOK AT YOU when you click, and when they do this, treat them immediately. When you are in any situation that is upsetting for your doxy, click, treat and draw his attention to you. Encourage him to look to you for his every need, be it comfort, excersize, play. Encourage him to trust YOU to be his safety, his alpha. Have the clicker and treats ready when its time to come out of his kennel. Click, then treat when he comes out to greet you. Use the click-treat with your pit in the same manner, keep it up, keeping their attention on you in every situation. Dogs crave attention, so if they 'misbehave', no click-treat, no petting, no talking to them until they do right. YOU become alpha. :)
Ok, I'll give the clicker training a shot. It sounds like it could work if there's food involved. ;) It's just confusing because we do consider ourselves the alphas of the whole "pack." The pit obeys us about 90% of the time. We're still struggling with her greeting visitors, as she gets SO excited to the point where she doesn't care about anything (treats, bones, etc.) except jumping and licking the visitor. The doxie barks but he just wants to sit with people and be petted -- he doesn't misbehave other then the barking. The doxie is less obedient to us on simple things, though. I use the reward system when I feed them by making them sit and stay before they are allowed to chow down. Same with the treats. The pit will do exactly as we say to get the reward (except in the aforementioned situation), but the doxie will obey briefly before trying to advance to the reward without command. Now, I can see where the confusion lies with them. I suppose she only sees us as "mostly alpha," until someone else tries to enter the pack, and he sees us as "sometimes alpha," when she's clearly not in charge. LOL
I guess I'M confused because I've read from multiple sources you shouldn't treat your dogs as if they are at the same rank. While the owner is the alpha of all, the dogs also have their own pack order that you're supposed to respect. Is that wrong?
Well, you might call it more of a 'pecking order' that multiple dogs will assume on their own. But that should NEVER override your alpha position! All behaviors your dogs exhibit should rightly be approved by YOU, not the dogs. As far as your pit getting so excited about visitors: you can use the command-click-treat with a leash when visitors arrive. Use the leash short so that he must stay at your side, back from the door. Use 'sit' click & treat when he complies. Do this every time there is a visitor. Have your visitors ignore the pit completely until he learns to greet them calmly. He must learn to sit and remain seated until you release him to greet visitors. If he becomes too excited, remove him immediately to another room, and use the command, click, treat. Wait until he is calm and focused on you. Bring him out again. Repeat as necessary.
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