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Thread: Puppy challenging pack leader position

  1. #1
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    Default Puppy challenging pack leader position

    I have a 6 month old pup who is starting to challenge me for her position in the household. She has gotten to the point of defying me all the time. For example runnining out of yard to neighbors. ( becoming a safety concern). She is also digging and carrying around stuff in yard that she shouldnt. What can i do?

  2. #2
    Senior Member krazybronco2's Avatar
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    if she is running away i would put her on a check cord everytime you go outside. then she cant get away. and after awhile she will get the idea.

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    Senior Member Rainmaker's Avatar
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    Train your dog. She's a puppy hitting the teens, now is when you need to be firm, consistent and fair. Don't worry about the psychobabble of position stuff, just train your dog, teach her what is expected behavior and what is not. You're the thinking, reasoning human, she is a dog and a puppy at that, teach and train, there is no magic answer, it's work.
    Kim Pfister, Rainmaker Labs

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    She is at that age where they test the limits. No loose outside like previous poster stated--on lead or long line every time. No going in or out the door before you. She must sit and wait until released. You need to give her the structure and control that she is lacking so she doesn't feel the need to test you.

    Meredith

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    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Strongly suggest you change your interpretation of her behavior. Please don't take normal puppy behavior as an indication of disrespect for you, or worse, a threat to your "alpha" status. This tends to make people distrust their dogs and punish them far too much, in ways that are not productive as behavior modification.

    If you interpret her running to the neighbors as an indication that she anticipates that something good might happen there (attention, food, ?) and that you have never *meaningfully* taught her not to, the solution will be to teach her not to. A good way to do this is to have the means of prevention at hand any time she might try it. You could have her dragging a cord that you can catch before she gets out of the yard, or use an ecollar if she's been collar conditioned to come when called. What's important is to cut off success and reward for running to the neighbor's, and let her know that you are in charge of the situation, in that every time you call, she ends up back with you. If she occasionally gets over to the neighbor's and has a good time, she will keep trying--that's NORMAL behavior and has nothing to do with challenging you.

    If you interpret digging as an inherently fun behavior that a dog will get to love more the more she gets to engage in it, you will realize that prevention is the key. Do not leave your puppy unattended anywhere that she can dig. When you are with her, distract her any time she starts scratching at the ground. Do not allow her to get started actually digging. Punishment is probably not merited.

    Labs, especially field Labs, are driven to find fun, interesting, entertaining things to do. Puppies by nature explore and try new things, and while they learn very fast when we train them, self-discipline and self-control are still developing. In fact many mature dogs never learn to refrain from chewing/digging/exploring when we are not there to supervise.

    Your puppy will learn the boundaries of what you will allow her to "get away with." She will not try to take over your place in the household. You will achieve greater control of her if you treat her behavior as behavior, than if you manufacture notions of conflict and endlessly try to "make a point" over something she doesn't understand. You might look into the NILIF training concept, which can do a lot to build responsiveness.

    Sorry if this is strongly worded. In my opinion the "dominance" concept as popularly understood is a load of crap and leads to a lot of conflict, bad training, and unhappy owners.

    Amy Dahl

  6. #6
    Senior Member txrancher's Avatar
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    some behaviors have to be trained others have to be prevented, sometimes it becomes an endless road to determine which applies!
    I ignore stupidity unless you bring it to my attention!
    Crystal Coast Labradors

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    N Sana Te

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    Senior Member Rainmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by afdahl View Post
    . . . .
    Sorry if this is strongly worded. In my opinion the "dominance" concept as popularly understood is a load of crap and leads to a lot of conflict, bad training, and unhappy owners.

    Amy Dahl
    This ^^^^^^^^^^!!!!!
    Kim Pfister, Rainmaker Labs

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    Member jim_de_hunter's Avatar
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    Your dog defies you because she has figured out that she can.

    Our 14 week old flat-coat has decided that he needs to see what's on the counter when we're in the kitchen by standing with his hind paws on the floor and his front paws on the counter. My daughter yells and screams at him and pushes him down and yet he still keeps trying to counter surf when she's in the kitchen. When I'm in the kitchen, I simply sweep his hind legs with my foot when he gets on the counter. I never say a word. This morning, he sat at the counter with his front paw on my foot. He and I both solved a problem.

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    What you are describing is not dominance. It's avoidance. With the little information at hand and without trying to be judgmental, I would say that you are giving your dog far too much freedom. I say that based on what you wrote in your post about digging. If your dog has an opportunity to dig, it's because she is not being watched. At this stage you should be beginning formal obedience if you haven't already. The dog should be aired and everything on lead until the commands are very well conditioned at which point you can collar condition and transition off lead. This and this alone will solve your problem. I will say all that with a caviat. When all that is done, if you fail to watch your dog and correct when necessary the problem will continue for as long as you let it. In other words, left to her own devices she will fall right back into her behavior. Good luck. And remember, she's a puppy and training a dog is supposed to be fun.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Erin Lynes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by afdahl View Post
    Strongly suggest you change your interpretation of her behavior. Please don't take normal puppy behavior as an indication of disrespect for you, or worse, a threat to your "alpha" status. This tends to make people distrust their dogs and punish them far too much, in ways that are not productive as behavior modification.

    If you interpret her running to the neighbors as an indication that she anticipates that something good might happen there (attention, food, ?) and that you have never *meaningfully* taught her not to, the solution will be to teach her not to. A good way to do this is to have the means of prevention at hand any time she might try it. You could have her dragging a cord that you can catch before she gets out of the yard, or use an ecollar if she's been collar conditioned to come when called. What's important is to cut off success and reward for running to the neighbor's, and let her know that you are in charge of the situation, in that every time you call, she ends up back with you. If she occasionally gets over to the neighbor's and has a good time, she will keep trying--that's NORMAL behavior and has nothing to do with challenging you.

    If you interpret digging as an inherently fun behavior that a dog will get to love more the more she gets to engage in it, you will realize that prevention is the key. Do not leave your puppy unattended anywhere that she can dig. When you are with her, distract her any time she starts scratching at the ground. Do not allow her to get started actually digging. Punishment is probably not merited.

    Labs, especially field Labs, are driven to find fun, interesting, entertaining things to do. Puppies by nature explore and try new things, and while they learn very fast when we train them, self-discipline and self-control are still developing. In fact many mature dogs never learn to refrain from chewing/digging/exploring when we are not there to supervise.

    Your puppy will learn the boundaries of what you will allow her to "get away with." She will not try to take over your place in the household. You will achieve greater control of her if you treat her behavior as behavior, than if you manufacture notions of conflict and endlessly try to "make a point" over something she doesn't understand. You might look into the NILIF training concept, which can do a lot to build responsiveness.

    Sorry if this is strongly worded. In my opinion the "dominance" concept as popularly understood is a load of crap and leads to a lot of conflict, bad training, and unhappy owners.

    Amy Dahl
    What she said! x3
    Erin Lynes
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