View Full Version : I have a Dominant Dog problem, any suggestions?
06-26-2004, 08:05 PM
I have four dogs, all beautiful, all rescues. We got a severly malnurished Mastiff mix about 8 months ago. From the get go he fell in love with my husband, and just kind of tolerates me. Now that he has put his weight back on (about 180lbs now!) He is really testing me about being number two in our household. I am about 5 ft 1 inches, and weigh much less. Also I have a soft voice, and worse, I already know he can "take me". My husband says that is going to get me hurt with this dog. I have consulted a couple of dog behaviorists, but didn't think either one was qualified. Can you give me some suggestions? Thank you!
06-27-2004, 01:44 AM
I would start using NILIF right away. This is a great way to establish leadership and show the dog that you are relevent.
Here is a link to learn more about it:
06-27-2004, 05:05 PM
What is a NILIF? I don't want to give up on this guy because he was found tied to a tree and beaten pretty badly. He hasn't had much socializing, and I just feel like once an animal comes to me he is my family. I have talked to the only two dog trainers in my area. One was too old, and hid behind a cage, and didn't give me any feedback. Another was way to agressive with him, bringing out his agressive tendencies. Eek. I just read the NILIF, and have tried incorporating it already aftering reading a book about dominance. He just pushes me, and makes me feel like I am going to be lunch if I don't do what he wants right now. My husband has a handle on him, so I try to limit my contact to when I can be around my husband in case he goes after me. But, truth be told, I AM SCARED!
06-27-2004, 05:20 PM
you shoouldn't have to be scared i would not keep him even though he has been abused. you cannot live like that. we had a springer spaniel that was like that. we were all scared of him. he attacked a few people, and terrorized us. after a couple years we got him put down. the vet said it was a chemical imbalance and nothing could be done. i know it is heartbreaking but it isn't fair to you or anyone else to go through it.
06-27-2004, 05:28 PM
I thought about that, but other than growling at me, and pushing me out of his way, he has never actually snapped at me. I have all rescues, and just don't want to give up that soon. My husband says he isn't afraid of him, and I shouldn't be either. But, sometimes when he stares at me, I just think he is plotting my doom. I have never felt that way about a dog I have had, so I am not ready to give up. It's wierd though, because he doesnt wag his tail, or act happy to see me, he just stares at me. But if my husband is around he is a big puppy, all wiggles and hoping around in happy dances. I am sorry to hear about your bad experience, I have heard some very scary stories about dogs that were too far gone to save. I hope that isn't true of this boy, he is four years old, and hasn't had much of a chance at the good life! I was just trying to look at your pic's on the other site, and couldn't find them... bummer, because your "babies" sound sweet!
06-27-2004, 05:54 PM
that is how bandit was. fine with my dad. it started with growling then nipping then biting. just be very careful
06-27-2004, 07:54 PM
I just talked to a friend who is a trainer for the military dogs. She has helped me out with my lab who had to be knocked down a few pegs. I also had a dominance issue with me and a horse, who now is my best friend.
one you have to basically get your hubby out of the picture. YOU need to be the caretaker (I know, scarey). Now I'm not saying your husband shouldn't be within earshot but he kinda needs to be hidden. YOU need to feed and water. One time do him first and then another time do another animal first etc. You never want to continually feed the same animal first. In the pecking order the top dog always eats first so you need to let him know in the pecking order he is not first..but you also don't want to make him last all the time. Do this with treats, brushing etc. Right now dont' let him see you get "friendly" with your hubby. Chances are a woman tied him to the tree and left him. He is challenging you for the dominant spot..never look directly in his eyes...that is considered a challange in the animal kingdom. Speak in firm ONE word commands..NO, come etc..always tell him he's a good boy when you feed him and DON"T let him have the food until he sits.....she says you need to keep this up maybe for a long time. One time giving in and he knows he's one upped you. I know your scared....my horse kicked me and believe it or not I stood my ground (until I was in the barn). If you go to do something for him dont' stop mid stream and hesitate. go directly to what your doing. and yes, always be on the look out and watch your face. You may not like this but do carry mace just in case. Lastly she suggests you check into your local Large humane society or ASPCA...they have ways to test if animals are 'reworkable'. It's a large trust issue that some animals have been through way too much and have no more to give. You may then have to decide if you need to put the big guy down. You aren't doing him or you good if it's a constant confrontation. He will just get angrier cause he thinks he can. That is why you have to establish yourself.
I reestablished order with my lab but I never totally trusted him. Once in a blue moon he tested me. Take care of yourself!! hugs,
06-27-2004, 09:11 PM
That sounds like a good idea. I think that I have to get past being nervous around him. I carry sour apple spray, but do have pepper spray on my key chain. I want to thank both of you for your suggestions, and your concern. (I will try to be brave, because I think that is the only way to get through this!) I can't take him anywhere to be looked at because he won't get in a vehicle, or at least I can't get him in. My last trainer for him said to send him back to the pound! I told her that wasn't an option. It stops here whatever IT will be. He's just so sweet with my husband, I maybe a little blind, but I hope he can learn to be that way with me. I wish you luck with your horse, and hugs too.
06-27-2004, 09:38 PM
hitchinlo gave wonderful advice, I would take it. Maybe also make sure your husband greets you first when he comes in and alternate with the other animals as far as attention goes, like you will do with the food. Best wishes, keep us updated on his progress.
08-04-2004, 05:09 PM
Sorry I didn't reply to your post earlier. You can help your "Little Horse" understand his place in the hierarchy by controlling the food he eats. In other words, without you he'll starve. But that might not work if your hubby continues to feed him, for he'll always feel as if he can go around you.
I had a roommate a thousand years ago who kept feeding my three pits all kinds of tasty treats behind my back. It got to the point the ingrates ignored me, bumped into me on purpose while walking in the opposite direction, and in general made me feel like a fifth wheel. I forbade my roommate to feed them anymore, and the moment he stopped their loyalty shifted back to me. Mercenary or what? And then some say that dogs are stupid.
Hope this helps!
08-05-2004, 01:39 AM
Thanks Edroxton, I have taken over the feeding now for over a month, WHAT A CHANGE! He has done almost a 180. I still can't take things away from him if he has them, but he really seems to be coming around. I am glad your room-mate finally got a clue, it's frustrating when your trying to change behaviors and there doesn't seem to be anyone helping:)