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How do I stop my dog from nipping? I have an 11 month old Weimaraner...Rudiger.  Most of the time he can be a great dog... He is definitely a hyper dog though...especially when people arrive to our home (including my husband from work/kids coming home from school etc...).  He trys to jump up on them initially, but will generally listen to our commands to not jump. Allbeit tough.  Our main problem is that he likes to nibble/nip/bite all the time.  When we ask for a kiss/ snuggle or hug from him his initial response is to nip at us (kinda like he is "biting his fleas") or wraps his whole mouth around our hand or arm or even jump at our face-- even when he is calm.  We try the holding of the snout and say "NO Bite", but it doesn't seem to faze him.  We tell him give "kisses"  and he eventually does... but we really want him to stop this behavior...it hurts.

  • How to stop my dog from nipping?

    My guess is that your behavior is very puzzling to your dog. Try and think like a dog for a moment. Dogs don't kiss, snuggle or hug. Dogs do show affection by playing with each other and nipping. So in your dog's mind, you ask for affection and then you punish when he gives it.

    I would therefore suggest that you quit confusing your puppy. Bring the kiss, snuggle and hugs to a screeching halt. Try to ignore how much like a little human that Rudiger may seem. He is a dog.

    Make a clear rule that no biting/nipping of humans is allowed. Then consistently enforce it. You can pop him on the nose, confine him to his crate, squirt him with a water bottle, put your fingers down his throat or any one of numerous unpleasant things (I think you get the idea). But the operative principle must be that each and every single time that he nips it is met with an unpleasant outcome. If you are patient and consistently form the association in your dog's mind that nipping equals unpleasant outcomes, then I guarantee you he will stop nipping.

    Finally, stop confusing him with the snuggles. You can teach him at a latter date to give kisses. But until the nipping stops, you want to make it crystal clear that he doesn't put his mouth on humans.

How do I stop my dog from eating poop?

  • This is a condition called coprophagia. It is quite common. Unfortunately, no one knows precisely how to cure it. Also, your vet is probably correct in that diet and health are rarely a cause.

    I have had success in about half the cases I've treated by advising clients to not allow the dog around it's feces. In your case, I would suggest that you abandon the training pads and only allow outside use of the potty where you can immediately dispose of her droppings. This is a problem where pro-active prevention can be a solution. It has also been my experience that if you break the cycle of coprophagia that the dog can eventually be rehabilitated from this behavior.

    I would advise against the use of a remote collar. Timing of the shock and other factors are extremely important. If used incorrectly, unexpected outcomes can be dire. I have treated cases where dogs had developed severe psychosis from improper use of remote collars. These unexpected outcomes can range from severe phobias to unmanageable aggression. I personally don't approve of there use by non professionals.

How do I stop my dog from growling at kids?

  • How do I stop my dog from growling at kids?

    Sometimes I growl at kids too. They're noisy and make those little herky-jerky motions that make me edgy. So I understand how your pup feels.

    But I guess you can't have your pup growling at your kids...so let's end that behavior.

    First put your dog on a long leash and a collar (preferably a prong collar). Have your kid pet the dog. If the dog growls or shows any aggressive display, give him a very firm correction while barking in a firm voice "NO". Take a 1 minute break and repeat again. Keep repeating until the dog no longer shows aggression when the kids pet him. When he allows their petting and shows no aggression, give him a treat.

    Do this every day for about a week or until there is no further growling or unpleasantness. That should do it.

I began potty training my puggle indoors during the winter. Now she is trained to go outside, however she still goes inside without letting me know. What can I do?

  • So, you're trying to perfect your puggle's potty? (Try saying that 10 times real fast -:).

    Ah, seriously don't despair. My first suggestion would be to not only train your puggle but to train her bladder. By this I mean to take your puggle to the potty at regular, dependable times. Also feed her at regular, dependable times. This will get her used to going on schedule.

    Secondly, watch her like a hawk until her potty habits are corrected. If you are watching her and she attempts to potty in the house, scream "NO" like you've been stabbed in the heart and rush your dog outside to her spot. In other words, let your dog clearly know that potty in the house is BAD and potty outside is EXCELLENT. She will make the choice that she prefers excellent to bad.

    Finally, be patient. All training is a series of peaks and valleys.

I have a 12 week old Pomeranian female that is a Cujo. I got her at 7 weeks old and after one week with us and the other 3 dogs I have the devils child. She started out growling and tugging at our pants legs and biting our feet. Now she growls and bites when we pick her up, when she's in your arms, anytime. The only time she is nice is in the morning when we let her out of her crate or when we come home. I have tried positive training, trying to distract her when she is growling with toys, with giving kisses instead, and it doesn't stop. I have tried ignoring her and she doesn't care she just goes and bullies one of the other dogs. I have tried non positive training and it has made it worse. I put her on her back and held her til she calmed down, I tap her in the mouth and tell her no. All these methods have done is made her meaner. In the summer I will have kids in and out of my house and the last thing I need is a vicious dog. My 12 year old had a sleep over and the kids couldn't even play with her, she is only 12 weeks old and kids can't touch her. I'm afraid if I don't get this to stop I'll have to get rid of her and I really hate the thought of that.

  • The Pomeranian Cujo? The devil's child? Come, come, Lisa....get a grip. I'm sure that the whole problem is simply a breakdown in communication.

    The reason I only offer individual in-home training is because each dog has a different temperament. It appears that your little angel isn't really a candidate for "positive training". The treats and kisses work with many dogs. However, it sounds like all that sissy stuff is just pissing your little girl off.

    A big mistake people make is thinking that little dogs can't be stubborn, dominant and just plain "mean". It sounds like your Pom would make most Rottweilers seem like shrinking violets. So forget about all the "new age" dog training that pollutes the internet and prepare to break the little beast of her bad disposition.

    First, stop trying to pick her up, cuddle and make nice. Your dog probably views you as a silly puppy that needs to be put in your place with a good nip. Ignore her except for feeding and exercise. Get yourself a prong collar and a leash. Unless your dog is in her crate, have her wear it. If she shows any aggression toward humans or other dogs, pick up the leash and give her a good yank She will think you bit her. This is what her mother did when she was a little puppy. Your dog will finally understand what you mean.

    Repeat as necessary and you will rapidly see a miraculous improvement in her disposition.

    As she starts to show improvement, you should follow up with obedience training. Teach her to walk on a leash at a heel and the down command. These will be the most helpful commands to let her know her place in your home. Over time and very gradually you can start to show her more affection. For now however, you must show her that she has a strong leader that demands she obey your rules and guidelines. Both you and little "Cujo" will be much happier.

I have a 3 year old Shih Tzu/Yorkey who was on the verge of being trained, though now I realize she is getting worse. Do we need to go back to crate training?

  • You are correct in that most suggestions on housebreaking deal with young dogs. The reason is that a three year old dog that is not housebroken is not suffering from a housebreaking problem. Laney is displaying unnatural, possibly neurotic behavior. Dogs have existed in harmony with humans for centuries in large part because it is unnatural for them to soil where they live.

    Small dogs are often treated like little humans. I would suspect that this is the problem with your relationship with your dog and why it is exhibiting this unnatural behavior.

    Read my article entitled "Training Tips" found on this site to establish yourself as your dog's leader. You are currently attempting to cure the symptom rather than the cause of the problem.

I have a female, 8 month old yellow lab.  She is still jumping on people.  A squirt bottle, knee and snapping on the leash will not work.  Any ideas?

  • All the things you've mentioned will work. My favorite is to first teach the dog the universal command for undesirable behavior, which is simply "NO". Once she understands the command, I would accompany the command with a firm touch to her neck (firm enough to stop her in mid-jump).

    The big picture and the real source of your frustration is that you are essentially dealing with a puppy at 8 months old. Your puppy is excitable and showing a common puppy behavior. The "secret" to professional dog training is infinite patience. Whether you use a squirt bottle, knee, touch to the neck, or any of the various ways to show your displeasure with her jumping, it will stop in time.

    In addition to patience, you must also show consistency in that her jumping must always be met with the same reprimand each and every time. Dogs will not engage in unrewarding behavior. If her every jump becomes associated with you making it unpleasant, then she will associate jumping with unpleasantness and stop.

    In some dogs this will take a day. In other dogs it will take months. But it will work if you are patient and consistent.

I have a wonderful one year old English Mastiff who is afraid of walking on floors that are not carpeted.  He becomes very, very hesitant when he has to walk on a wood floor, tile floor etc.  With lots of coaxing, he will finally come to me, however, I can tell he is very stressed about this.  What can I do to help him overcome this fear?

  • This is not an unusual fear in large dogs. They like firm footing rather than the slippery sensation of wood or linoleum. With patience most dogs can be taught to overcome this.

    First you should determine what is the major motivator for your dog. Is he food oriented? Or, perhaps ball oriented? After determining this, you should use this knowledge to help him conquer his phobia.

    Using food as an example, you would sit with him at the edge of your carpet. Hold the treat over the wood floor and have him reach to get it. Then start placing treats further and further on the wood surface until he eventually has to step on the floor to get the treat. You should go very slowly with this desensitizing process and expect to spend days gradually moving him closer and onto the wood floor. Correct him if he shows fear with a stern voice. Under no circumstance should you try and comfort him if he is acting fearful.

    After he has reached the point that he will voluntarily place two paws on the wood surface, you would finally take him on the leash and while remaining calm you would run him across the wood floor at your side. If he hesitates, correct him.

    Finally, start walking him across the wood floors and have him sit on the floor. At this point his fear should be conquered.

I have M.S. and am a pretty unstable walker. I feel that my high energy 1 yr. old terrier mix dog needs more than just a short walk. I own an electric mobility scooter which I use for longer trips around the neighborhood. If I train my dog to heel, will it work while I'm "walking" him while I'm seated on the scooter? I'm a little nervous about attempting this. Any ideas?

  • Being good companions to people with disabilities is something that dogs do well. Certainly your dog can be taught to heel next to your scooter.

    First, you must not be nervous (training the humans is always the hardest part). If you are nervous your dog will become nervous. Be positive and think of all the fun you two will have.

    Second, gradually acclimate your dog to your scooter. Have him sit on your lap in the scooter and scoot about merrily. Do not coddle him but speak in fun, confident tones as he learns the smells and sounds of your scooter. Go forward, backward, over bumps and expose him to as many conceivable situations as possible with your scooter.

    Finally, teach your dog the heel command. You may need an assistant to properly do this. Train him on the heel until he associates the heel command with being at your side. Once he has learned the command well and is comfortable with the sounds and smell of your scooter, you should be able to walk your dog on a loose lead until he's tired or your batteries run out.

My 3 year old Pomeranian is overprotective of me. When anyone comes around he'll growl and even try to bite them. Can we train him or will we have to get rid of him?

  • Your problem is a common one that I often encounter in dog training. Your relationship with your dog is unbalanced. I'm afraid that your Pomeranian views you as its puppy rather then as its leader. This is why it is displaying aggression toward anyone that it perceives as a potential threat. This is unhealthy for your dog and of course those that encounter your dog's aggression.

    I would guess that you "baby" your dog. It is probably a very cute Pomeranian and you probably treat it like a little human. Unfortunately, there is a very apt saying among professional dog trainers that would apply to your situation. "If you treat your dog like a human, it will treat you like a dog." Your dog wants leadership, rules and boundaries. Your dog is not genetically prepared to act like a little human, so when in doubt, it bites.

    I would make the following suggestions to remedy your problem and perhaps even save your dog's life. Train your dog to walk on a heel and walk him daily. This will communicate in dog language that he is to follow, not lead you. Teach him core commands, such as sit, down and stay. Have him stay in a down position several times a day, every day. Always reward him for calm behavior and correct him for any signs of aggression toward humans. Initially, you should completely ignore him except for training for the first three days. I have written a long article on asserting leadership over an aggressive dog. You can find it on my website and it is titled "Training Tips". I suggest you read it carefully.

    If you follow these suggestions then you will find that your dog changes dramatically for the better in a short time. It will be much more difficult for you to change then for you dog. However, aggression is a very serious issue and unless you implement steps to allow your dog to be a dog, then you could very well end up killing your pet with kindness.

My 9 month old lab is very obedient in the house, but when playing with other dogs he refuses to come. Today he jumped over a fence and crossed traffic to see another dog. How can I stop this?

  • You have a bad situation. Unfortunately, you have trained your dog that he doesn't have to come when called outside. It will take considerable effort to retrain him.

    Obviously, the situation is bad because of the danger of the busy road.

    Professional trainers have no magic "fix" for teaching a dog to come when called. It is a slow process where the dog is trained on a long leash so that the command can be enforced from a distance. Faster results can be obtained with a remote collar but I don't recommend that for the non professional. You can cause bizarre and damaging side effects if you're not extremely careful with a remote collar.

    Considering that your dog could be killed or injured if he runs onto the road, I would suggest that you must keep him tied up while in your yard or somehow create a barrier that your dog can't jump. Limit his yard time and plan on walking him more to give him his exercise. Purchase a long leash and begin training him to come from a distance and with distractions. Eventually with many, many practice sessions and with your dog growing older and becoming more mature, he should do a dependable recall.

My dog Chloe is a bit of a special case. I bought her at a pet store where she was in a glass walled cage that couldn't have been more than 2 ft by 2 ft. When I asked about her they told me that she was 1 yr old and had been in the store since she was 8 weeks.

I knew Chloe was going to have some potty issues being as she was being made to eat, sleep, and potty all in the same spot for her whole life. She wasn't going to be like a normal dog who won't poop where she eats because that little cage was all she knew. I thought with some patience and training, that she would get it eventually. Boy was I wrong!

First off, I am home all day, so the dogs are being taken out minimum of every hour on the hour or more. I watch Chloe like a hawk to make sure she isn't circling or sniffing like she's about to "go" inside. She has been caught NUMEROUS times in the act of "going" in the house at which point I clap my hands loudly, say a firm "NO" and immediately direct her outside. She still just doesn't get it! She will squat or poop right in front of our face! What can I do?

  • I can certainly appreciate your frustration.

    First, you didn't mention how long you've had Chloe. If you've had her for less than two months, then my suggestion would be to have more patience. As you realize, Chloe has had a rough life.

    If you've had her two months or more and she still isn't getting it, then you need to increase the intensity of your corrections. Instead of clapping your hands and saying "NO", you should keep her leashed with a prong collar and correct her firmly with a snap of the collar to her neck while saying "NO". Be sure that you only correct when you actually catch her in the act. It is important that she make the association of a bite on the neck with her soiling inside.Also teach her a command like "get busy!" for going outside. When she does go outside, praise her lavishly. You must make it abundantly clear that going outside is associated with praise and going inside is associated with unpleasantness. Eventually she will choose the rewarding behavior and Chloe will be potty trained.

    Finally, you should look for venues where you can submit customer reviews of the pet shop where you purchased Chloe. Perhaps with enough complaints being made public about their treatment of puppies, you can help cause the owner to stop torturing animals.

    For further information on potty training your dog read this article.

My dog eats to fast? Is this bad and can I change it?

  • How can I stop my dog from eating to fast?

    You shouldn't attempt to slow your dog down when he eats.

    Your use of the phrase "wolfs it down" is ironic. As you probably know, the dog is descended from the wolf. The normal behavior of wolves and dogs is to gulp down their food since other larger predators might take it if they linger. So your dog is exhibiting perfectly normal behavior for a dog. This does not adversely effect his health.

    As a part of our caring for our dogs, I am of the opinion that we must have respect for their differences.

My dog growls when I go near his food. What can I do?

  • How do I stop my dog from growling when I go near his food?

    Leadership in the dog world is determined by (1) Who controls the resources and (2) Who controls the behavior of others. Your dog is communicating that, in her opinion, you control neither. This is a recipe for disaster. You are on a slippery slope leading to increased aggression and a host of behavioral problems unless you assert control.

    I would suggest you first begin obedience training your dog. Work on a daily basis teaching her the core commands (sit, heel, down, stay, come). In this way you will control her behavior.

    Second, you should address the issue of who controls the resources (food). Never, leave food in her bowl for her to eat at her choosing. Mealtime must be a structured event where your dog is in a down/stay position (or cage) and watches you eat your breakfast or dinner. After you have eaten, your dog must perform a task, such as sit or down. After she has completed her task, then give her food. She should be allowed ten minutes to eat and then remove the bowl. Also, take her toys away from her randomly and make clear that all resources are yours.

    Since you are dealing with an issue of aggression, I would finally recommend that you proceed slowly. Also read my article on regaining leadership from your dog. Always err on the side of caution and closely supervise any interaction between your grand child and your dog. Should the situation not resolve itself quickly, then do seek out local professional help.

My four year old lab just bit my 2 1/2 year old daughter after she provoked him. How can I prevent this in the future?

  • To prevent this happening again, you must closely supervise your daughter when she's around the pup. If you are too busy, then crate your dog. Your puppy does not have the self-control yet to control it's biting when provoked.

    You also need to obedience train your pup. Give him daily lessons in the basic, core commands. Your dog must learn to focus on your commands and obey consistently. This will be vital to your dog co-existing with a toddler.

    It is not realistic to expect your dog to ignore provocation while only a puppy. The best short-term solution is to not let them interact except under your watchful eye.

My three month old Beagle landed up underneath my car 4 days ago.  Fortunately she was not seriously injured just bruised and shocked. I find that her perky personality has dissapeared and she whimpers quite a lot.

  • I'm happy to read your dog was not seriously injured! Dogs live in the moment. Your beagle has no recollection of the accident. Since it occurred only 4 days ago, your dog may still feel a little sore. Otherwise, your beagle is fine.

    I suspect her personality change is simply reflecting your concern. Probably at the time of the accident you expressed great anguish and worry. This would be the the natural behavior of any loving dog owner. However, a dog would interpret your concern as some ominous change that would warrant worry. You are also probably compensating for any guilt you may feel because perhaps you feel slightly negligent in not avoiding this mishap. Your dog would also pick up on your strange new feelings. These new feelings that you are giving off would explain your dogs new behavior.

    My advice would be to "get over it". Your beagle has gotten over it and is ready to move on and go back to its normal perky behavior. The only thing troubling him are the confusing signals you are conveying about something your dog doesn't even remember.

My two year old lab has been having a lot of attachment issues. Whenever we leave the house she will scratch away at our wood floor and even try to follow us in our boat when we are on the lake. This has only recently happened. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Your dog is officially exhibiting separation anxiety. It is a domination issue.

    To better explain what's going on, let's look at the normal behavior of canines. A pack leader can come and go as they please without any fuss. This goes with leadership. However, a dog's puppies cannot leave their mother without causing great distress and anxious behavior. It would appear that your female lab views you as it's puppy rather then it's leader. The behavior has only recently started because your lab has now reached adulthood and is displaying normal maternal behavior toward it's puppy (you).

    The cure is obviously to restore the proper relationship between you and your dog. I suggest you go to my section on this site called Training Tips to learn how to be a leader to your dog.

    Short term solution would be to cage her, so that she does not destroy your property and also read the article found on my site in the articles section, entitled "Separation Anxiety" which will explain how to desensitize your dog to your leaving.

Our "puppy" in training is in her second heat - she will be used as a breeder for the program. The problem is - our altered 13 year old male (golden mix) is obsessed with mounting the female (a full golden). He can barely move to get on top of her to but he wants to do nothing else and crys and barks when we separate them. How can we stop this?

  • I make the assumption, based upon your experience doing volunteer training, that you are fairly comfortable with basic dog training. I would also assume that you've tried the standard things like isolating or in other ways correcting your male's behavior.

    Based on those assumptions my advice would be something that it took me many years to learn. Namely that a 13 year old dog like many human senior citizens can exhibit very inappropriate behavior. And just like we would try to turn a blind eye to Grand-dad behaving badly, I think it best to try to tolerate your altered male's temporary obsession. It will pass in a week.

We have 6 month old female lab we obtained from a breeder at 6 weeks of age. We have a very nice fenced in yard, however she won't stop barking when left alone. What can we do?

  • Your question is quite common and I can appreciate your puzzlement at your Labs behavior.

    Obviously, being human, you tend to think like a human rather than a dog. But to understand your labs behavior, we need to think like a dog.

    Your dog was breed to work in the fields with his master and cover miles of land while running and retrieving. Now he is in a fenced in yard and I assure you he has sniffed and explored every inch of that beautiful yard numerous times by now. Your dog is now bored. In fact, he is so bored that he's exhibiting neurosis. If you've ever seen an old movie about convicts in a prison banging their cups against the bars, this is analogous to your dog barking to have SOMETHING to do. The yard looks like a roomy paradise to your human eyes. To your dog it represents a prison that's literally driving him stir crazy.

    The good news is that the cure is rather simple. You or other members of your family (his pack) must spend quality time with your lab. He needs to be walked daily at least 30 to 45 minutes and allowed to explore new settings and have a meaningful existence interacting with you. He is a social animal that cannot be expected to entertain himself in the same yard for long periods of time.

    The good news is, that if you follow my advice, you'll have a happy dog and a healthier you. Also, you can be creative. Do you like to bike ride? Your dog would love to run along side your bike while you explore. Rollerblade? Jog? Use your imagination and have fun with your dog. I assure you, he'll love you for it.

We have a full breed Akita, little over a year and a half, and whenever she sees another dog she resists uncontrollably. What can I do?

  • Although I'm not totally clear from your email as to whether your dog is showing aggression or simply wanting to visit, the cure would be the same. First, you must keep your dog on a heel. If you haven't taught her to heel, go to the "Dog Training Articles" of this site and read the article on teaching the heel command.

    Second, you should teach your dog the "watch me" command where she is to focus her attention on you.

    Third, you must not anticipate her bad behavior when approaching another dog. Dogs are masters at reading body language and will pick up your nervousness. It is difficult, but you must remain calm, not tighten the leash and anticipate no problem when approaching another dog. Keep your dog in the heel position where she is FOLLOWING YOU not leading you. Use the "watch me" command and bump her with your leg if you see her attention starting to stray.

We recently got a 1 1/2 year old lab mix that is fairly housebroken. After a few weeks he has found his "spot" and consistently goes to the same spot every time. However, our property manager has not requested he not go in the grass since it has killed the grass. How can we change his habit so soon after he developed such a good one?

  • That's a shame about your property manager. Sounds like he has no appreciation of the effort it takes to potty train a dog.

    Hopefully you trained your dog to go on command. Do you use a "go potty" command for him to tinkle? If not you should use a consistent command so he associates you telling him to go with doing it. Physically place him on the desired spot and give him his potty command. When fate smiles upon you and he does it on the rocks to your command then praise him lavishly. Also use your knowledge of when he needs to go to coax him by keeping him on the rocks until he does his business. The operative principle is to coerce him into going on the rocks and then having him associate that spot with receiving your praise.

    Another possibility is to go to a good pet store which will have a daily(?) pill you can give him that will neutralize the grass killing acid in his urine. That may be a short term solution to keep the peace until you have him trained.


Hi Sandy 
We have a 13 week Springer Spaniel the puppy has been great however the last week or so after dinner the puppy turns into Cujo and attacks everyone in the house. Barking biting and she doesn't back down. This is new to us we have had playful dogs in the past but this is down right mean spirited. Any suggestion would be appreciated again for what ever reason it only happens in  the evening.


    Normally I don't address issues concerning aggression without personal observation of the dog. However, I strongly suspect that we are not dealing with true aggression in your fledgling "Cujo".
    Thirteen week old puppies often present a common malady that in my years of experience I have come to term The Sillies. It is most often seen prior to bedtime. It is analogous to behavior we see in young humans. After a full day of romping, exploring and other equally exhausting endeavors, the pup will fight restorative sleep by lapsing into a manic phase. I believe this is what you're experiencing. 
    My advice would be to put her in her crate and ignore her. She should gradually settle and sleep.
    Long term she should outgrow this and the problem will resolve itself.
    Good Luck!

Dear Trainer,

We have recently discovered out dog has an issue with our 4 year old nephew. Our Nephew has only been round our house twice due to his allergies.
The dog in question is an 8 year old castrated Dalmatian x lab.

He first growled at him several months ago. There is a tall stair gate between the Kitchen and Lounge, Our Nephew was in the lounge with his mum & grandmother and while my wife was in the kitchen she noticed the dog growl and it seemed to be directed at out nephew.

And today (again with a stair gate seperating the rooms) the dog was happy and didn\'t seem phased by our nephew until My wife and his mother were out of sight (but still in the room, so the dog thought they\'d left the room)
then he growled again.

So it appears he only growls when no adults are immediately present. He is a soft dog and although he sometime chooses to ignore commands knows his place in the house so am at a loss as to why he\'d growl at a 4 year old.

Any ideas or advice you can please give.




United Kingdom

  • Hello Andy,

    Unless your dog was exposed to children during puppyhood, he would view them as either a strange species or perhaps as prey. 
    Often, I too view children as a strange species. But more specifically, dogs have a understanding of humans that does not include the small
    stature, shrieking sounds and disjointed movements that are manifest in typical children.
    Understandably, your dog does not know whether to kill your nephew or to eat him; or possibly both. If you wish to develop a more lasting
    relationship then it becomes your task to introduce this alien creature (your nephew) to your dog in a way that would develop a better bond.
    Specifically, I would suggest that under your close and careful supervision that you allow your nephew to feed your dog especially enticing treats.
    Also have your nephew spit in your dog's dinner to transfer his scent to your dog's meals. If your dog enjoys games of fetch, have nephew sit beside you as you engage in favorite frolics with your dog. Finally take an item of your nephews clothing and place it in the bedding where your dog sleeps. All of these things should teach your dog that the cheeky lad he once growled menacingly at is actually a jolly, fine little fellow.
    Finally, I would advise that you proceed slowly and cautiously. Your dog is half-Dalmatian. He was breed to ruthlessly dispatch brigands and highwaymen. His breed characteristics tell him to attack first and question later. However, with patience and considering the knowledge that he is well trained, it is likely that familiarity will triumph over initial growls and snarls.

I have a Boxer mix he is now 9 months old, I got him from the Animal rescue league in November last year.  He is very Hyper-active but the most concerning thing is he is very protective of me.  I can\'t hug my husband or touch anyone around me without him getting really angry and literally biting.  The more I tell him off the worse he gets he is very aggressive and shows his teeth and snarles at me :( to the point i get frightened of him  Please help me I love him and want to solve this problem  Is there a solution?

From: Debra
City: Marshalltown
State: Iowa

  • Hello Debra,

    Unfortunately I encounter your issue all the time. People get rescues and feel guilty/sorry for the horrible circumstances that they had to endure.It follows that they then smoother them with affection and don't train or impose rules upon them. The dog is looking for a job in his new home and interprets your affectionate "love" as a puppy like plea for protection. To compound the issue, your Boxer was specifically bred to guard. Now you have an aggressive guard dog which is exactly what you unknowingly asked him to do.

    There is a solution. You and your dog need training. I would expect you need professional help since you are now dealing with a potentially dangerous situation. It is difficult for people to comprehend but your dog will always do what you tell them. The problem in cases like this is that we don't always realize the communication we are giving.

    Good Luck!

im having trouble choosing between a rottwieler and a bullmastiff and i want the opinion of a trainer as oppoased to what ive been hearing from breeders. i want a big mean looking beast whos really like a big teddy bear, Ive heard that mastiffs are more laid back but rotts are smater/easier to train. i already have a 110lb 8yr old male yellow lab and definatley want another male dog.  im not a very big girl and want a dog who will be obedient to me, and like my lab,i can feel confortable walking by myself despite his size.. even with all the training that was done with my lab as a puppy every now and then he can be stubborn and will only listen to my father. any suggestions on how to choose between the 2?


  • Hi Samantha,

    There is no way to predict which breed you will be happier with. I fear you have fallen victim to the myth that you can predict a dog's temperament by it's breed. You can't. In certain specialized areas such as retrieving or tracking, breed is an important characteristic. However, to try and base the temperament characteristics you seek on the dog's breed is folly.

    Pick the one you think is the cutest.

    Good Luck!


Dear Trainer,

We just adopted a boxer mix.  She is very sweet and intelligent.  The one problem we have had with her is whenever my wife and I show any affection, i.e. hugging, kissing, cuddling, even just sitting next to one another on the couch she goes crazy.  She jumps on us, tries to get between us, and nips if you try to push her off.  How do we stop this?  We want to be able to have her around other people, especially our families without this type of behaviour.  Can we fix this?

Buffalo, NY

  • Maybe you haven't had her for long but my guess is that she has a lot more problems then the one you mention. She is showing extremely dominant behavior. I would expect she pulls on the leash, doesn't do a "down" command and possibly marks.

    Your best bet would be to get professional help before her "nipping" escalates into aggression.
    Read my article Training Tips.

    This would be a good place to start in helping your new dog.

    Good Luck!


My gf dog gets really anxious when we are intamate and he usually ends up biting me. We have tried putting him out of the room but he howls and barks like crazy. Is there any thing I can do to break either of these. Please help.



  • intimate-dog


    There's nothing you can do other than go rent a room. The dog simply needs training. It's obvious he's running things and unless your girlfriend gets the dog trained and puts him in his place, the dog is not going to share the girl with you.

    Be careful. If he bites you in the wrong place you may never get intimate again.

    Good Luck!


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