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Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs

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Disclaimer: The material provided by Bailey on this web site is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only. The information presented is provided with the understanding that Bailey is not engaged in rendering medical or professional behavioral services. Such information should not be used as a substitute for behavioral advice provided by a qualified canine behavior therapist.

Please remember that Bailey's advice, comments, or opinions are solely Bailey's, and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff here at Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs.

Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs is not responsible for actions taken based on the advice provided herein.

Dog on Top

Dear Bailey,

I have a 14 month old terrier mix.  I take her to the dog park because she has a lot of energy, and she really enjoys it.  But recently she has started to become bossy with the other dogs.

She barks at them to play with her, but she sits on them when they do.  She tries to get on top of them and tries not to let them move.  How can I stop this behavior?

Nancy


Bailey's Reply:

Dear Nancy, 

It sounds like your young dog is learning to assert herself among other dogs.  This isn't unusual for most dogs.  In some cases, a group positive reinforcement obedience class can help establish canine confidence.  A confident dog usually doesn't need to assert herself to other dogs.

Once your dog gets on top of the other dogs, the play stops.  But the end of play doesn't seem to dissuade her from doing it again.  She seems to enjoy just being "top dog".

Be very observant of your dog at the dog park.  When you notice that she's on her way to pin another dog, quietly go up to her, take her by the collar, calmly say "Timeout!", and walk her away from the action.  It's important to remember to not call your dog when you are going to her.  Her name should always be associated with pleasant things, not negative ones.

Ask her to sit for two minutes away from the group, then release her back to the group when the time is up.  You don't need to walk her back, just give her a release with something like, "Okay!  Go play!".  The moment she you notice that she's about to get worked up to pinning another dog, remove her from the group, and repeat the timeout.  If she does this more than 4-5 times, leave the dog park for the day.

It's important to be consistent with this. You will be sending a clear signal to your dog that if she pins a dog, she will get removed from the group.

<bark!>

Bailey

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