Dominance Issues?
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Thread: Dominance Issues?

  1. #1
    swanny is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultDominance Issues?

    I have an adorable 10 week old yellow named Murphy. He is a sweetheart but there are a few things that concern me. They really are not big problems right now but I fear that he is doing things in an effort to establish dominance over me and my boyfriend.

    The big thing right now is that he chews on his leash when he doesn't want to be outside anymore. No matter how many times we have forcefully said no, praised him when he stopped, offered treats etc, he continues to do it. I do not want him thinking he decides when the walks are over. When he is interested in the walk, he does not do it. How do I stop this?

    Also, he refuses to be put on his back. He kicks and goes nuts until he is free. I have tried a few times to hold him there but he is getting stronger than me now. I try to do this so he knows I am dominant and that he must tolerate me doing things to him; however, I do not want him to fear me or cause anxiety for him. I have read conflicting info on this. Some people say to do it, others say no. I know when I do it, it shakes him up quite a bit and I dont want him to not trust me. I dont want our relationship to be based on fear.

    Am I overanalyzing the situation?

    Overall he is a smart and sweet puppy but I do not want him growing into a large dog that questions his place in the pecking order. I had a yellow lab in the past who was docile and content to be the low man on the totem. Murphy seems to be quite different so I am not sure how to handle these types of things.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by swanny
    The big thing right now is that he chews on his leash when he doesn't want to be outside anymore. No matter how many times we have forcefully said no, praised him when he stopped, offered treats etc, he continues to do it. I do not want him thinking he decides when the walks are over. When he is interested in the walk, he does not do it. How do I stop this?
    What do you mean, "doesn't want to be outside anymore" - is he refusing to walk with you? Or is he tied outside? If the former, try soaking the leash in bitter apple spray.. don't just spray it on, but dump out a whole bottle of the spray into a bowl, and let the nylon leash soak in the liquid overnight. You could also use a metal chain leash for a short period, those often deter teething. Another option would be to give him something else to carry.. he's a retriever, they are bred to want to carry things.

    This isn't dominance.

    Also, he refuses to be put on his back. He kicks and goes nuts until he is free. I have tried a few times to hold him there but he is getting stronger than me now. I try to do this so he knows I am dominant and that he must tolerate me doing things to him; however, I do not want him to fear me or cause anxiety for him. I have read conflicting info on this. Some people say to do it, others say no. I know when I do it, it shakes him up quite a bit and I dont want him to not trust me. I dont want our relationship to be based on fear.
    You're setting yourself up for a confrontation that you're not going to win (he has teeth, you don't) if you keep insisting that "he must allow me to pin him down just because i feel like it". The so called alpha roll or dominance pin or whatever is based on faulty science and has been pretty much discredited by most trainers, behaviourists and ethologists.

    HOWEVER. That doesn't mean you shouldn't teach him that handling by people is good and fun and leads to all kinds of wonderful things. Start by handling/stroking him all over, as you quietly praise and occasionally reward him. Pick up his paws, look in his ears, his mouth, pretend to cut his nails, etc. Do this every day.

    Nathan/Theoconbrio has written an absolutely brilliant post about dominance myths and their fallout...

  4. #3
    swanny is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    Thanks for the info. Like I said, the pinning down thing made me feel strange. I never want my dog to fear me.
    As for outside, he is NEVER left outside by himself. He just refuses to walk sometimes and when he decides this, he chews his leash. Good tips though. I will definitely try it.

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  6. #4
    Dani's Avatar
    Dani is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    Well, he's a baby, a leash is fun to chew. He has the attention span of a flea, so when he gets bored, he's going to find something to pass the time...as for the alpha roll, stop it now. There is no need to do it on a dog of any age. Handle him a lot and you'll bond and he'll respect his place. Being firm and proper socialization is the proper way to establish house rules and pack order, not an archaic method of alpha rolling.
    Dani, Rider & Rookie
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  7. #5
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    brody is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    I think Kaytris and dani are right on

    he is a BABY - trying new things all the time - he is too little to be walking any real distance anyhow

    I have dogs who LOVE to lie on thier back in my arms and throw themselves into that position (including the 80 pound Hank) they find it a positive experience and offer it regularly - I also have a very very well socialized chihuahua who will lie on her back on the floor but would NEVER be rolled onto her back without a panic attack so we don't do - she is NOT a dominant dog by anybody's stretch of imagination !

    Have fun with him he sounds like a sweetie
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller

  8. #6
    henrysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    Agree with the others, also... obedience classes will help with the bonding, as well as establishing you as the leader.

    Remember that also at this age, pups explore the world with their mouth.

    Good luck with your pup!!

    Gorsebrook Jackson Triggs, CD, RN, WC, CGN<br />Kelrobin A Twist of Fate<br /><br />

  9. #7
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    sarah is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    I posted a few months ago about my 3 month old puppy who had to hold/chew her lead on her walks... I thought it was the start of a bad habit and didn't know how to break it. The rest of the crew who have replied are right, your puppy is just exploring this thing that is attached to them and it probably tastes good too.

    My dog stopped doing this one day on her own..... when she realised that sniffing the ground was a LOT more fun. I wouldn't worry about it. The bitter apple is a great idea if you are worried that it won't stop.

    A 10 week old puppy has no idea about dominance at ALL.... it's a baby who explores with it's mouth and probably feels insecure on it's back which is why it fights it.. not because it wants to be boss. Same goes if your puppy starts nipping you alot... it's ONLY exploring and playing it has NOTHING to do with your puppy wanting to be in control of you.
    Sarah & Milly - Sydney Australia






  10. #8
    Canyon Labradors's Avatar
    Canyon Labradors is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    Am I overanalyzing the situation?
    Yes, like others said, he's a baby.

  11. #9
    Meg
    Meg is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    The first day we got my little guy he was a leash chewer. His first leash is chewed almost in half in a couple places. He's 5 months old now and hasn't tried to chew on his new leash once. There's a good chance yours will grow out of it too.

    This picture was taken at 8 weeks, about 5 minutes after we left the breeder's.


  12. #10
    jcookie0723 is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dominance Issues?

    Spray bitter apple on the leash. Both my dogs absolute hate bitter apple, and after one bite, they do not try to chew on the object again.

    Also, what is the point of trying to put him on his back? There are a lot of other ways to show him you are the dominant one. Try implementing NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free- google it.)

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