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Puppy Dominance?

lindyx0x
February 25th, 2010, 08:51 PM
My young Golden Retriever is 10 months old now, he is not fixed for breeding purposes. Before he turned 10 months he was much smaller in size and very non-dominant, if any other dogs growled at him he would drop to his elbows and kind of turn to look up at them in a very friendly non-dominant way.

He was in puppy obedience since he was 2 months old and had all his shots etc. etc.. I had to stop obedience when he turned 8 months because it was after all repetition and he already knew and was very very well trained *and still is* <-- this was in the summer last year

He gets his daily walks, etc.. etc.. his in very good health, shots up to date etc.. etc.. but during the winter.. there aren't many dogs walking around *in the snow* to socialize him with in the winter. Except 1 dog, a fixed female that he grew up with since he was 4 weeks old.

So yada yada yada.. now it's spring and now his 10 months old and now for the past few days *since we started seeying other dogs* we find that he is begining to show very mild signs of dominance, i talked to my trainer and she recomended only socializing him with that 1 female he gets perfectly fine with.

What he does around other dogs *NOT ALL DOGS* is his still puppy behaviour were he wants to get up there and sniff everything and everyone and every dog he sees.. but on dogs that are older than him and are fixed or are not fixed, even females that try to show a little bit of dominance on him, like stiffening up their tails etc.. or giving him a small growl if he sniffs them what my puppy does is growl back and louder and kinna gets up close to their face and they both stiffen, his ears pulled forward and just... stiff posture and i pull him away for obious reasons *his never off leash cuz his not fixed* but i'm afraid that this will escalate.. he is a Golden Retriever puppy and i don't want him to be taking chuncks out of other dogs in the near future, what can i do to correct this behaviour? He is on a pinch collar and he gets corrected, my boyfriend can correct him more efficiently since his stronger than i am.. but when the puppy is with me i find it hard to handle him when his all stiff.. since he is like.. 60 or 70 pounds now

luckypenny
February 25th, 2010, 09:13 PM
You may be unintentionally creating his uneasiness around other dogs by using corrections. Think of this, he's not sure of another dog and shows it through his body language. You give him a correction using a prong collar. He feels pain. You're not teaching him to behave, you're teaching him that: strange dog=stress=pain. I can bet that his behavior will only worsen if he's learning to associate new dogs with punishment/pain.

Have you considered looking for a new trainer that doesn't use aversive methods?

we3beagles
February 25th, 2010, 09:17 PM
Pinch and prong collars can cause agression as luckypenny has stated. By using these methods you are causing him to associate pain with other dogs. Please find a positive reinforcement trainer and get a flat collar or if pulling is a problem a no pull harness or halti. Get the trainer to show you how to use them properly and to introduce the head lead of a halti.

Longblades
February 25th, 2010, 09:32 PM
Your breeder/mentor should be helping you with this. What does he/she say? What program are you following with your mentor?

I had to stop obedience when he turned 8 months because it was after all repetition and he already knew and was very very well trained *and still is* <-- this was in the summer last yearYour puppy is doing amazingly well to know it all, already, and only at 8 months old. What obedience titles did he earn?

At 10 months old now and being kept for breeding purposes you must surely have shown him in puppy conformation classes, how did he behave himself in them? I assume your breeder/mentor is working with you on all these things to be sure his/her lines are not sullied by breeding an unsuitable dog? Conformation or temperament wise? If not, then you are not getting the support you should be. Very disappointing for you if this so.

lindyx0x
February 25th, 2010, 09:44 PM
Sorry if I was unclear, the puppy gets corrected when he begins to show dominance, when he growls or stiffens we pinch him to get him away and correct that behaviour.

luckypenny
February 25th, 2010, 09:46 PM
Sorry if I was unclear, the puppy gets corrected when he begins to show dominance, when he growls or stiffens we pinch him to get him away and correct that behaviour.

And the corrections/pinching aren't working because he's not associating it with his behavior, he's associating it with the presence of another dog.

lindyx0x
February 25th, 2010, 09:47 PM
How can I associate it with the behaviour then? What can I do? :cry:

luckypenny
February 25th, 2010, 10:09 PM
You may not like my answers. Please don't be offended, our attempts here are to educate, ok?

You're dog needs more socialization. Especially off-leash in controlled environments. Forcing dogs to meet on leash is not natural, especially when they meet head on or feel tension from their owner's through the leash.

You need to enroll in good training classes...not the type where all dogs have chokers/pinch collars slapped on. Look for schools that use positive reinforcement training...not punishment type training. You want to teach your guy what to do, not just what not to do.

We have a male who was neutered in adulthood. To this day, he's aggressive with both neutered and intact adult males. Neutering before your dog reaches maturity may decrease the likelihood of dominance type aggression with other males. You're going to have to ask yourself what's more important, using your dog as a stud, or having a well-trained, well-balanced, happy dog as a member of your family? Neutering also has other benefits such as diminishing chances of testicular cancer. And most important, choosing not to breed, especially inexperienced breeders, frees up homes available to those thousands upon thousands of dogs and puppies who are facing euthanasia in shelters and rescues everywhere around us.

I hope I've given you some worthwhile things to think about. Good luck with your decisions :fingerscr.

lindyx0x
February 25th, 2010, 10:21 PM
Thanks for that, I see, well actually what we had in mind was just breeding him one or twice and have a pick of the litter to give away to family members who greatly enjoy his presence.

The puppy is very socialized and knows how to play with other dogs, he does it all the time with his long known female friend, the problem only comes into play when he meets an unknown dog both leashed or unleashed and they make eye contact and sniff each other, he is as a puppy very hyper and has a lot of energy, when this upsests the other dogs and they growl at him or tense up to make him stop jumping around, thats when he growls back and we pull him away from that dog, the pinch collar is only used in his walks so he doesn't pull, originally he was always trained with positive reinforcements.. treats etc. but our trainer recomended that since he now knows his commands well, we have to pull him away from the treats and get him into just doing it and praise as a reward, but he only obeyed when we had food, thats why he got on the pinch.

lindyx0x
February 25th, 2010, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the advise luckypenny, you really put things into perspective, I guess it is far more worth it to have a loving family pet than struggling for breeding purposes, thanks for your time.

luckypenny
February 25th, 2010, 10:41 PM
Thanks for that, I see, well actually what we had in mind was just breeding him one or twice and have a pick of the litter to give away to family members who greatly enjoy his presence.

What will happen to the rest of the pups? If your friends and family enjoy your dog's presence, then maybe they should visit with him more often :shrug:. There's never a guarantee that all his offspring will be just like him. And what about possible genetic health issues? Will both parents be tested?

I ask that because I'm a foster home, one of many on this board, to unwanted litters of puppies. I just came from a pound tonight having to choose which puppies we can take and which will be left behind. I guess I just can't fathom why people want to breed when there are perfectly healthy puppies being euthanized every day. For each new pup being bred by a byb, there's one being killed for lack of a home :(.

... the pinch collar is only used in his walks so he doesn't pull, originally he was always trained with positive reinforcements.. treats etc. but our trainer recomended that since he now knows his commands well, we have to pull him away from the treats and get him into just doing it and praise as a reward, but he only obeyed when we had food, thats why he got on the pinch.

If he knew his commands well, he wouldn't be pulling during walks and you wouldn't have to be correcting him...he'd be listening and complying with what you are asking him. If he was only listening when you had a treat, then what you were taught by your trainer was not positive reinforcement, it was bribery. A treat shouldn't be used to lure a dog to do what you want of him all the time. It's a reward once the action has been completed. If used properly, you should have had no problems weaning him off the food rewards and replacing them with verbal praise.

If I may, I would suggest you pick up a copy of Pat Miller's book, Power Of Positive Dog Training, 2nd edition. You'll get a good grasp of how positive reinforcement training is supposed to work. And it does if used properly.

luckypenny
February 25th, 2010, 10:44 PM
Thanks for the advise luckypenny, you really put things into perspective, I guess it is far more worth it to have a loving family pet than struggling for breeding purposes, thanks for your time.

You're welcome :).

Please let us know how he's coming along. And pictures (and a name) would be great if you'd care to share with us.