Too Protective and Jealous!

by R

From R... Hello! We have a mutt at home. He is five years old and came from Spain when he was nine weeks.

He was and still is not the easiest dog to train, since he is pretty dominant and stubborn.

He has always been quite sensitive to positions inside the group/family, so we are sure to have some rules like no-couch, only doing such things as we allow him etc.

He doesn't really cause too much trouble, which is why we are not always as consistent as we probably should be.

Since some months ago, I started spending more time with him. Our bond became stronger and he has more attention for me now and is calmer.

However, he has become very protective of me. Only with me, not with other family-members. I know this shows he does not always see me as leader.

It almost always is only with dogs. When he is off-leash he is very easy with other dogs, until the strange dog comes to greet me. When he is on the leash he reacts aggressively towards every dog we walk by.

He does not bite; he just "attacks" them with a lot of growling and wrestling. But because he is a pretty strong dog, this behavior can be dangerous for smaller dogs or our cats.

I don't want to be avoiding other dogs, or have to look around all the time. How can I make sure I am the leader again and that it is not necessary for him to help me?

Besides that, it's not only the fact that he is
pretty dominant, but he is also very jealous around me.

It's not severe, but he tries to claim me often. When my cats approach me, he comes to sit on or against my legs in front of me. I chase him away when he does it.

My question is, how can I make sure, in a friendly way, that I am in control again? Besides the things I named, he doesn't show much more dominant signs, especially not in the house.

Shannon Says...

Thanks for your questions. This type of problem is not something I can help you via email or phone. This requires a lot of hands on training with a professional.

The best recommendation I can give you is to find a balanced dog trainer in your area to help you with behavioral modification.

Please note - you can't solve any type of dominance, aggression or jealousy behavior problems very well by using only treats and clickers.

The best method in all obedience training, but especially behavior modification is balanced - using both reward and correction (physical, leash and collar correction).

Also, you mentioned that you aren't always very consistent. It's really important for any type of training or behavior modification to be 100% consistent.

Dogs are opportunists - if you "slack off" on the rules, they will take advantage of the situation and quickly "forget" what you've tried to teach them!

I'm sorry I can't be of more help, but as I said, your best bet is going to be to work one-on-one with a professional trainer in your area who has experience with behavior modification.

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