when am I the leader again?

by Jane

My just over 2 year old male snapped at me a month ago as I was leaning over him while he had a small chew. Never done it before. Always a good dog. I have been told this was because he has no respect for me.

I trained and socialized him every day until I had to attend hospital in June 2009 until December for cancer treatment. I was not able to train him as too tired, but hubby walked him although we attended hospital every day.

Recovered fully now and started retraining him. Just wondered when and hopefully soon, I should earn his respect and how do I know when I have it?

Many thanks,

Hi Jane
Part of the problem here is probably that your reduced interaction and input coincided with his adolescence – a time when a pup, especially a male pup, is testing boundaries and trying to find where he fits in the ‘pecking order’.

Obviously this couldn’t be helped, and I’m very happy to hear that you’re fully recovered now. Your dog is still young and I think you should be able to get things back to the right footing as long as you’re consistent, patient and loving.

Dogs respect those who control the resources of life (food is a big one!) and it’s important that you are responsible for feeding, grooming, walking, training and so on at this point. Also make him ‘earn’ everything from his meals to his daily walk, by asking him to ‘sit’ and making sure he obeys before giving him his dish, clipping on his leash, giving him a treat/toy, brushing him etc. etc.

Work with him so that he knows the ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’ command inside out (where he’ll drop whatever he has in his mouth whenever you tell him to) and obeys instinctively. He also should allow you to put your hand in his food dish, or pick up his dish, without complaint. If he doesn’t already allow this, start working on it now. Whenever you begin to work on this, or on the drop it command, always give him a treat in exchange for whatever he gives you (be it his toy, or his food bowl). Feeding him a meal from your hand, letting him eat from your palm, is a good way of reducing any problems he has about your hand being near his food, and helps encourage trust.

I’d also recommend a formal obedience training class as a way of helping you strengthen the bond between you and your dog, and also to help you with some hands-on tips and advice for specific problems.

If your dog has a sound temperament, and is basically a good dog, then you should be able to get your leadership status back reasonably quickly.

Hope this helps, best of luck.

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Jun 12, 2010

when am I leader again
by: Jane hello, thank you for replying and also Isis is a beauty. Jake is now responding well to his re training. Think he is actually enjoying it again. He comes to me with his ears down looking all soleful but he aint getting of that easy. He was a great pup and adolescent so he is going to be a great adult because I will give him my utmost.

Jun 10, 2010

authoritive response
by: Isis Mom Hi Jane i totally agree with the last comment. I am also glad you are doing well. My Isis has on occasion tried to test me with a snarl, but I firmly correct her with a loud authoritive voice and she is quick to submit. I wish you the best of luck. Please keep me posted

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About The Rotty lover 2159 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone