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Is it possible to over dominate a dog?

(31 Posts)
Dexterrocks Thu 16-Dec-10 20:43:54

We have a 2 year old rescue dog who is extremely submissive. Should we be less dominant with him or do you think we should continue to be highly dominant?

midori1999 Thu 16-Dec-10 21:17:06

You shouldn't be dominant at all. Dogs need a leader of sorts, but that doesn't mean we should try to dominate them.

You need to be calm and consistent and use lots of reward based training to build confidence in the dog.

Vallhala Thu 16-Dec-10 21:35:51

Why on earth do you want to be dominant with a submissive dog?

Dexterrocks Thu 16-Dec-10 21:46:57

I don't want to dominate him at all. He is a lovely dog who has had a tough start in life. I was advised to make the hierarchy within the house clear when I first took him home so that he would know his place. We did this although it was clear from the start that it wasn't really necessary as he was terrified.

By dominate I mean:
Go through doors first
Feed last
Keep off furniture

He is a collie cross and has learned quickly, if not instantly.

For specific reasons (long story) he sleeps on the end of my sons bed.
Is it ok to let him up on the sofa for cuddles or will that confuse him?

flinginghasflung Thu 16-Dec-10 21:50:28

Try Jan Fennel "The Dog Listener", I'd try to contact her via website first, but her books are excellent. I kind of understand what you are explaining. She is very good. Perhaps another dog, not necessarily your own would be helpful just to show your dog how other dogs behave!

Hobnobfanatic Thu 16-Dec-10 21:52:08

Oh no!! Forget all the dominance stuff - it's crap! Very outdated and proven to be scientifically flawed. Cesar Millan is shunned by dog trainers in the UK and elsewhere - you should be using kind, reward-based training, which will improve your relationship together.

Totally agree with Midori...

flinginghasflung Thu 16-Dec-10 21:54:19

I personally would refrain from allowing him to sleep in your son's room or be allowed on furniture. He is probably anxious about his responsibility towards your son, and that should be nipped in the bud. And furniture is for humans not dogs. If you want him to join you sit on the floor occasionally or get him a bed for the lounge and a bed for the kitchen, where he should sleep. My boy is a German Shepherd. Very similar tendencies. A massive worrier. He will come and find me if he thinks the kids are playing too roughly. I just remind him by my behaviour that this is nit his responsibility.

stickersarecurrency Thu 16-Dec-10 21:56:11

Oh good lord don't touch Jan Fennel either, she's as bad as that Millan tosser and she'll have you pissing around with cream crackers and all sorts or crap. Seriously, get hold of Pamela Dennison's Idiots Guide to Positive Dog Training for some modern dog behaviour stuff.

stickersarecurrency Thu 16-Dec-10 21:58:08

Flinging, really, all that pack theory stuff's been discredited. Years ago. It's bullshit.

DooinMeCleanin Thu 16-Dec-10 22:01:58

My dog goes on the sofa on an evening, but not during the day because he gets arsey if the dc sit too close/disturb him.

He also sleeps on the end of dd2's bed, since he has eaten a hole in his crate and learnt to open doors, we cannot really stop that. He is not confused about his responsibility to her. Her bed is comfy and she is the only person in the house who doesn't tell him to bugger off. It's as simple as that.

flinginghasflung Thu 16-Dec-10 22:06:04

Worked for me. Not the amichien stuff so much, but the anecdotal information was good for us. You have to understand your dog, and I realise I've stumbled on an expert thread but shepherds, collies etc are not the same as other dogs sorry. They are bright, quick, intuitive and dominant. Need to understand their role and relax. I stand by my advice.

Dexterrocks Thu 16-Dec-10 22:10:11

We want him to sleep on ds bed - it is very important to ds and therefore to us. The dog reads the signs of ds getting ready for bed and is often up there waiting for him. He has his own fleece on the end of the bed so he is not directly on ds covers. Ds loves having him there too.
He has a dog mat in the hall under the stairs and one in the kitchen (where we spend most of our time) and he tends to sleep there during the day.
I suppose what I am concerned about is that my dd has been encouraging him up on the sofa and is snuggling up with him there. It looks lovely and they look totally delighted with each other. My concern is whether it is ok to let them do this and whether I could do it too without upsetting our relationship?

DooinMeCleanin Thu 16-Dec-10 22:13:57

Yes you can do it too. My dog is bugger and used to growl and snap. There were often very simple reasons and gentle training with treats and house lead showed him what was okay and what wasn't.

He was also a rescue dog and was found stray, so probably didn't have the best start in life, but I ahve to say I cannot remember the last time he growled at me and we have always cuddled on the sofa. He certainly is 'dominating' me.

DooinMeCleanin Thu 16-Dec-10 22:14:39

He certainly is not 'dominating' me.

Dexterrocks Thu 16-Dec-10 22:16:18

Thanks DooinMeCleanin - I adore this dog and so desperately want life to be happy for him from now on.

Vallhala Thu 16-Dec-10 22:18:20

If it helps, I have 2 GSD and a Lab cross. One dog is dopey submissive, one would be dominant if he didn't trust me 100% (abused rescue dog, whom I've had for over 6 years now) and the third falls somewhere between the two.

All three sleep where they like, which is generally on the sofas and on my bed at night. Not once have I ever had a problem. I use lots of praise, lots of fuss, lots of hugs and the odd treat too and none of my dogs are confused or act as if they can take over.

I can't see the problem with letting your dog up on the sofa, especially if he is submissive to the family. Well, apart from the hair he'll leave behind that is!

midori1999 Thu 16-Dec-10 22:20:01

I've got Jan Fennel's book. It's great for a laugh, or a doorstop, but not much else.

I wouldn't let a dog sleep in my child's room. I wouldn't leave any child alone unsupervised with any dog, no matter how trustworthy. There are so many 'what if's'. The dog could have a siezure and come out of it very aggressive, the child could wake up to go to the toilet, wake the dug suddenly and startle it, etc... If you want the dog to sleep in your DS's room, crate train the dog and have a crate in there.

Going through doors first is nothing but teaching the dog manners,m the dog won't give a jot if you feed it first or last, these things do not create pack order and in fact, as you're a human, you can't be in any dog pack.

If you want the dog on the sofa, then have the dog on the sofa. It won't make the dog think anything other than it has a comfy place to lay. I personally prefer dogs on sofas only at my invitation though, but that's up to you. I have also had dogs sleeping on my own bed in the past with no problems at all and I am sure Valhalla won't mind me saying some/all of her dogs sleep on her bed and I don't think they're plotting to overthrow her and take over the household.

DooinMeCleanin Thu 16-Dec-10 22:25:52

Yes I don't particularly like The Devil Dog sleeping there, but with no crate (we are getting one soon) and a dog that now opens doors (and yet still cannot understand 'wait' hmm) I can't think of a way to stop him. Mind you, he has slept on the stairs the last few nights, so maybe dd2 has kicked him out.

flinginghasflung Thu 16-Dec-10 22:36:35

Turn door handles upside down! Crate might work or may drive him bonkers! Hope you get some good advice. Doesn't sound like a bad dog to me smile

DooinMeCleanin Thu 16-Dec-10 22:39:44

He has a crate. He likes his crate during the day, but for some reason he ate part of it and now can and does escape it. Though god knows how, he only ate two bars and is hardly whippet like and svelte.

Tbh, he seems happier not in his crate and hasn't pee'd anywhere since he started escaping.

flinginghasflung Thu 16-Dec-10 22:47:44

I think the crate is something you have to do from puppydom. Never tried it myself, but my sister has and I'm thinking about it for the next one. My dog is very well behaved because he is largely ignored I think. We don't worry about how he feels, obviously we love him, but with the DC they come first. Until I adopted the attitude that he's only a dog, did life become easier! He's submissive, but what do you want from him?

Dexterrocks Thu 16-Dec-10 23:02:59

We have a crate but the dog hates it. Our trainer thinks he has been shut in a shed or similar for long periods and hit about the head and mouth with his previous "owner". We don't do the crate anymore anyway as he always ended up with a skinned face from trying to get out.

midori1999 Thu 16-Dec-10 23:07:42

Did you just shut him in the crate or did you train him over a period of time to like being in there and see it as a safe place?

Dexterrocks Thu 16-Dec-10 23:14:38

We put his bed, water, food bowl in it and put it in his favourite place under the stairs.
He wouldnt go in it and went hungry (when already critically underweight) so we had to feed him elsewhere. The only way he would go in it voluntarily was if I went in it too and first. We tried that for a while and he would be ok if we stayed on the stairs or in the hallway but as soon as we were out of sight he hurt his face panicking.
We have given up and folded it down as it was upsetting us all. We don't feel we need it now anyway.

Vallhala Thu 16-Dec-10 23:16:12

Chester, my biggest GSD, is sprawled across the bottom of my bed and, unusually, the other 2 dogs are on huge great squishy 15 tog duvets next to the radiator tonight.

You're right, there's no sign of the on-the-bed-sleeping GSD taking over the household, Midori. Not too sure about tonight's other bed-sharer though... DD2 is beside me, watching a DVD and would have no inhibitions about taking over!

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