Help Wanted – Exorcist Needed for Child Aggressive Puppy

Child Aggressive DogChild Aggressive Puppy in Need of an Exorcism

Hi John,

We have a ten month old puppy and a seven month old granddaughter; the problem is our dog is very jealous of our granddaughter and shows aggressive behavior in the form of non stop barking, jumping up and trying to nip her. Cedric wants her toys, blankets etc. and most of all he wants our attention.  We have had to resort to putting him into his kennel because we are afraid he will hurt her. He has been to puppy school and did not do well there; he is a wonderful little dog and we love him lots but he has bad habits of not coming when called (in fact he runs away from us) we have just about lost him a couple of times; he jumps and nips and can be quite aggressive with us too, he seems to be a very strong willed dog.  We will not give him away so we have to find out a way to make it work with our granddaughter and him.

Thanks – Betty

Hi Betty,

Normally I jump on a letter that involves a child aggressive dog like a politician on a pay raise, particularly when the writer says something like “we will not give him away” as I believe in children first, dogs second. I still believe that but this letter reeks not so much of bad dog as bad handling. I’m willing to bet when your dog misbehaves you think you’re saying, “No!” but he’s hearing “When you have a minute could you check your day timer? Oh. Well alright then, when you have an opening have your people call my people.”

I have what I call a rule of three regarding the consequence part of teaching. If the dog makes the same mistake three times in a row than the consequence from the dog’s perspective and that’s the only perspective that counts wasn’t a consequence and I have to massage it until it is. You need to book an appointment with a trainer that believes that firm and fair go hand in hand and that consequence for ones actions whether two-legged or four-legged is part of life.

Depending what you mean by “quite aggressive with us too”, I’d predict that if he doesn’t get an attitude adjustment from someone that loves him he could find himself in the “bone yard” before he’s three and not because he’s a victim of bad genetics or horrible abuse but because he’s a victim of lack of clarity.

You describe him as “strong willed.” You need to be stronger willed. Those two words can be whittled down to one word; parenting. I bet at this point I could turn this child aggressive dog around so fast you’d think I’d performed an exorcism but in this case the dog doesn’t need the training so much as you do and without your learning the hows, the whys and the whens when we parted company it would be long before one of Beelzebub’s minions returned to retake possession of your dog, which is why you need to book with a balanced trainer.

My experience has been when you finally say, “No!”, in a manner the dog takes seriously he will reply “Thank God! Mother where have you been?” and maybe, “Please don’t tell dad!” Between now and your balanced trainer appointment stick his leash on for him to drag around while supervised and the crate otherwise. When I say supervised I mean like a two year old kid in a room full of cacti. That alone will cut your problems in half before your balanced training appointment; but cut in half isn’t enough, still go! My gut feeling is it will be the best money you’ll ever spend on this child aggressive dog.

Regards,

John Wade

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