possible pack issues

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sindelina's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-03

Hi everyone.  I need some advise about what I think may be a "pack" issue.  Tauchey is doing really good in most things.  He's almost 7 months old now, and seems to be challenging us more.  I think, with his age, this is normal.  My BIG issue is with our 4 year old daughter.  Last night and today we had an incident happen, and I want your opinions and help. 

When he is resting on the sofa or lounge chair and my daughter comes near him he immediatley gives what I think is a correction!  It's almost like he's saying "get away".  It's a strange sounding bark/growl (hard to explain the sound really).  I told him NO right away.  Is this a pack order issue?  If it is what can I do to let him know that she is above him?  She will, sometimes, train him with treats, and he does listen (tho it takes him longer to do her commands then say if I were giving them).  I have tried to get my daughter to feed him, and for some reason, she doesn't want too.  Is there anything else I can be doing to enforce the pack order (if this is a pack order issue)?  Also, is she at risk for being bitten by him?  They spend most of the day playing with eachother, and he loves to give her kisses (tho she hates them!  lol) so it's hard for me to image him biting her. 

Please help!  I need to nip this one asap!! :) 

P.S.  He does not do this to me, my husband or son if we approach him while he is resting.  He has just started doing it with her.  Thanks! 

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-18

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This is likely a hierarchy thing. What you describe sounds like the normal "puppy correction". A low growl then a sharp bark with a little nudge with the muzzle.

If he's on a chair, sofa, or something high - this is a dominant position. The dominant dogs sleep in the high spots. So, when your daughter approaches him, his instincts tell him she is trying to take his spot.

Correcting him was good. He shouldn't do that. But I would stop allowing him the high ground in general at this age. He's going though all kinds of changes and will be a much happier dog if you can keep all the hints of dominance away from his mind.

There are a number of other things. Like resting in doorways or in peoples' paths. Don't step over him - make him move out of your way. When you feed him - make him wait to eat until you give a release command. Don't let him demand play, only the people (dominant dogs) initiate play. And walking in the heel position is great too.

All these things will enforce his proper role and keep the stress of feeling dominant off his little mind.

And I doubt an actual bite is a danger. Biting only happens in all-out fights with regard to dominance, or when the dog feels it needs to protect its self or family.