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I think we made a breakthrough!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
As some of you may remember, I've been having some "alpha dog" issues with our new dog, Max. He has been demonstrating some behaviours we don't want, such as snapping, pulling on the leash, going through doors first, and so on. We've noticed that, other than the leash pulling (which was a known issue for Max, as he was not walked by his previous owner), he doesn't do these things to my boyfriend, only to me. Apparently, Max thinks he can oust me from the pack order! So, we, but especially I, have started the NILIF tactic. He has to sit until I tell him he can go......through the door, to eat his supper, etc.

Well, last night Pete wasn't home for dinner, so I just brought a chicken burger and fries home from the restaurant. When I sat down to eat, the begging started. Max would come right up to me, which he's not allowed to do. I would bring him back to his space and have him lay down. Lots of praise when he stayed, but he kept getting up as soon as I went to take another bite. I decided to take a stand, and every time he got up, I corrected him, instead of giving up and crating him, which we sometimes do at meals. After about a million repetitions, he FINALLY obeyed the stay command and laid still until I finished eating, at which point he was rewarded with a few fries (I know I shouldn't, but it's his favourite and it's only once in a while) and a nice long walk. He was even better than usual on the walk, waiting for me at doors and such!

Hopefully, we'll continue to make progress and he will soon know his place in the "pack".
post #2 of 5
Congrats! I know how frustrating consistency with alpha issues can be.

We used to have a lab that begged (and stole food from everyone's plates but mine if given a chance). We never did conquer the begging issue. He was pretty good in most other areas, but labs and food... can't easily win over that!
post #3 of 5
that's great!

NILIF is so very helpful - I've had really good results with it, both for getting DH's dog to listen to me (I know he must be part Beagle, because he's very stubborn) and for building confidence in my timid & submissive dog.

I'm glad it's working for you & Max, too! Your patience is paying off.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! We're going to keep working at it.....I'll keep you informed!
post #5 of 5
Great job! You hit on the key elements - consistency and don't give in to them when they are doing something you don't want to do. I had to retrain an adult dog that we found roaming the streets and it was so much harder to do than to catch their bad habits when they are young. Don't give up - it sounds like Max is a very smart dog and can easily be turned around!!

And I believe that Max is a beagle mix? I find that hounds are so much more stubborn than most dogs. My road dog (Ellie Mae) was a hound mix also. Just when we thought she was trained, she would "forget" (yeah, right) and we'd have to remind her again. Keep the faith!!
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