Harley is well into his nipping phase now and he's starting to play a little rough with the twins. For my daughter, this isn't a serious problem, as she's as rough and tumble as it gets. She has wasted no time putting Harley in his place, Harley respects her, and if he still nips, he at least knows better than to carry it too far with her.
Her brother, on the other hand is having more trouble. He is shy, introverted, overly cautious, and Harley is not accepting Alexander as dominant. Mind you, Alexander tries, but he is only seven and his cautious nature is making it hard on him. I tried teaching him to be forceful, but not angry with Harley and to let him know who is boss, but progress is limited. Harley will growl at him and I can't tell if it's playful or serious, but he will also nip when Alexander tries to take a ball and if Harley is laying down resting and Alexander tries to pet wrong, he will let him know about it by snapping, growling/barking, and such.
This is not all the time. Alexander just came in now to pet him and Harley was ok with that. However, he knows his place with the rest of us and other than love nips, wouldn't dare do anything. He just doesn't see Alexander as boss...
Last edited by kdryan; 06-22-2009 at 07:24 PM.
This is something you will have to work on. First, stop any and all rough play period. You all have to teach Harley using the exact same commands and the same tone of voice. Teach Harley the things he needs to learn over and over. Make him work. When ever he tries to play rough, put him in a sit, praise, treat. Have the twins work as a team. If your daughter is giving the command and Harley turns to your son for some nips and roughness have your son turn his back on Harley then have your son turn back to face him and use words. If Harley is tired, sometimes they act out just like toddlers. Put him in his crate for a break. I'll almost bet that your daughters success with Harley is based on the fact that when Harley started nipping her, she most likely screeched or squeeled which startled him and he didn't like it. This inturn put her higher in the ranks. If your son is much quieter by nature, he will have to find his way to rank himself higher. He can do this by working with Harley and teaching him commands. Harley sees them as puppies. Good luck it does get alot better with alot of work.
I had a dog that did not respect my daughter--she was about 6 or 7 at the time. I enrolled the dog in an obedience class, and my daughter worked with the dog in class and at home. I also worked the dog using the same commands. It really helped both of them.
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We had this problem with Sam with Phoenix. Both Happy and Lucky respect and listen to Phoenix immediately, even with his limited speech he had when he was younger they instantly knew his command and listened. Sam on the other hand is very headstrong and willful.
Phoenix had to learn to use a much firmer voice with Sam. I would stop all rough play until Harley gets the message that he's at the bottom of the pecking order. Get Harley on his back and rub his tummy and such and have your son rub his tummy as well, making sure he's over Harley. Also when Harley is laying down don't walk around him, walk over him until this behavior stops. Phoenix was also in charge of treats for a while with Sam, so Sam HAD to listen to Phoenix or he got no treats. That was a HUGE motivator as this dog loves his treats! If Harley is more toy oriented (Like Lucky) he only gets to play fetch with your son until he starts learning.
Hope this helps!!
My son feeds Alfie he makes him sit, wait and then releases him..he listens to rian alot more than my younger son
I would be cautious about ascribing dominance to Harley's behavior. It could be that your son is using confusing body language. A child you describe as "shy, introverted, overly cautious" could easily confuse a young dog with their body language. Maybe you could research this aspect. This site is a good start:
I do not dominate my dogs, and they don't make any attempt to assume dominance. They are happy to know the rules here and understand the structure and what is expected of them.
Harley's owner - you might also consider reading "The Other End of The Leash". Extremely informative book which will help you understand canine behavior.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.