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Re: aggression

Posted by:  Marie Evans
Posted on:  November 02, 2002 at 22:41:37

In Reply to: aggression
Category:   Aggression
Posted by:  kelly
Posted on:  October 31, 2002 at 18:27:00


: I have posted before and find your forum very helpful and informative.Thanks to your previous advice Simon is doing great.He still needs a potty buddy but now only in the early morning the rest of the time he's content to go outside alone and hasn't had an accident in the house for over a month.I now have another concern.Simon has always been a little pirate we affectionatly call him Simon five fingers as he steals anything not nailed down.Our family is now trained not to leave anything within 5 feet of the ground that we want to keep intact:)however there is the occasional time he is able to get a hold of something and he runs right under our bed where it is impossible to get at him.When we reach under to remove him he becomes very aggressive he growls and has bit our son recently.This is the only time he is ever like this but I think he realizes we can't get to him .we normally wait until he gets bored and then take away the object.My question is -do you have any suggestions how to teach him to give up the stolen goods short of bribing him with a better treat?I am completley guilty of giving him a bribe so he doesnt choke on sock bits.I know this is doing nothing but re-enforcing this behaviour.Second question how do we discipline him for nipping in this instance when we can't get a hold of him right away?Is it to late when he finally gives up and it usually takes at least 20 min before he'll show on his own.
: Sorry for the long post.I hope you can give me some clue on how to deal with this.
: thanks bunches


Hi Kelly,

So glad to hear that Simon is doing so well with his housebreaking. Kudos to you!

Now for your problem:

1) I would certainly block off bedroom access to Simon. He apparently doesn't know it's a privelege and not his right to have access to that room. His boorish behavior there is enough for him to be banned from that room until he can learn better manners.

2) Simon is in dire need of learning the "LEAVE IT" command. Here's how to teach this command:

First of all please leash Simon for this exercise and put him in a sit command (hopefully he knows this, if not it's off to obedience school for both of you).

Drop a treat in front of Simon (but still close enough for you to be able to cover the treat with your foot when he goes for it) and tell Simon "LEAVE IT." Cover the treat and correct the sit if Simon tries to go get the treat. Don't let him eat the treat off the floor. You can expect Simon to try to get the treat at first, but his response will improve with practice.

You will need to practice this command 3-5 times per day. Each week, increase the value of the "LEAVE IT" treat (start with kibble and gradually as he masters leaving that particular treat up the ante by introducing something even yummier). Also during the day use the command whenever you drop things on the floor, when you first put down Simon's food dish down, etc.

Here's what you need to expect: That in the beginning, Simon is going to try to get the treat, as stated earlier this will improve with practice.

It's also reasonable for you to expect Simon to NOT eat things just because they have fallen on the floor.

When the command "LEAVE IT" is used consistantly, it will transfer to non-food things (i.e. the neighbor's toddler, socks on the floor (okay maybe used underwear might be a stretch lol (sooo very tempting to doggies haha), etc.

I can tell you this, I have worked hard with my Brody on this command and it has really paid off. He is a toy maniac, every toy that was ever made was made expressly for him (in his mind). Brody is a world-class toy killer, when he gets something and trashes it within 3 minutes and it's time to take it away, this dog will now back off the beloved toy as soon as I give the command "LEAVE IT." And he learned that command the same way I have told you how to do it.

That being said, there will be times when Simon will get something he shouldn't have (afterall you can't follow him around 24/7). This is when Simon will need to understand that he has to let you take things from him and that by giving the said object to you, he will be rewarded.

Don't expect Simon to know what is okay to have and what is not. To him they are all the same ... something he can either play with or eat!

Remember when he gets ahold of something to remain calm and in a happy voice ask him what he has. Encourage him to bring it to you. Don't get agitated or yell and above all else DON't chase your dog.

If he comes up to you with the object take it away and say "thank you" and praise him. Go ahead and offer him something he can have or reward him with a treat or some play time. If you took a chewie away from him, offer it to him again.

Make sure to use a verbal correction "NO" if he won't let go, or he gets verbal with you.

DON'T EVER reach into a crate or under a bed to take away whatever he stole if he's guarding the object.

DON'T EVER try to take away stolen objects if you think you will be bitten (trying to trade up like you have been doing is okay if you don't think you will be bit in the process). If he is always in a very aggressive guarding manner it's time to talk with a professional.

So it's expectable that at some point in time your dog is going to take something he shouldn't have because remember they are just dogs and don't think like we do.

Don't ever chase your dog in order to get the object, that will just make him think it's some kind of fun game and he will start to run every time.

And it is very reasonable to expect your dog to "give back" whatever he stole. You have the right to do anything, give anything and take anything away, your dog doesn't.

Good Luck!