Dog on the Couch

2015-07-02 06:00

Hello Susan.

My dog was trying to dominate me with mouthing. In an attempt to assert my authority over her, I held her down on the ground, but now she is behaving aggressively towards me.



Dogs’ mouths are part of their sensory equipment. Dogs use their mouths to investigate, to touch, to test, and also for affection. Testing usually consists of mouthing around the neck. During play, puppies learn that if they don’t control their bite, their play-mate will get hurt and ignore further attempts to play. If the puppy mouths you, let out a “yelp” and ignore her for a couple of minutes. She will then quickly learn that rough playing ends the game. Never give any type of attention for mouthing. If you push the puppy away she will think that this is part of a game and that you are joining in. Harsh treatment will confuse the dog and encourage aggressive behaviour. The alpha roll is an outdated training method which was wrongly thought to mimic wolf behaviour. In this method the dog is held down on its back until it submits, whereas a subservient wolf would voluntarily adopt this submissive position on its back in response to investigation or to signals displayed by a higher ranking wolf. Well-mannered dogs do not pin other dogs to the ground. Forcing dogs onto their backs and shouting will elicit defensive aggression from the dog. It is well documented that this type of training method has produced aggressive dogs which, sadly, often ended up being euthanased. - Susan Henderson

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