A typical example of a dog's fear based aggression. The lab displays aggression against other dogs and a particular family member, having built fear from previous experiences. To correct these problems the dog will have to be retrained using the Alpha techniques as well as obedience lessons.

Dog Displaying Fear Aggression Against Family Member

By Daniel Stevens


Dear Daniel,

We have two dogs, a chow mix (about 6 years old) and a Labrador mix (about 5 years old). Both are neutered males and we got both from people who had to get rid of them. The owner of the lab found out he was allergic and the owner of the chow was moving and couldn't keep him at his new house.

I have a step son that the lab mix always barks at. No matter what we try he still barks non-stop when ever he comes into the house. I know the dog is afraid of him because he will go behind a chair and bark. I know my son has never done anything to the dog. When he's barking I can't even get his attention.

We have tried squirt guns which seemed to work for a while but now he pretty much ignores that.

The only other time we have a problem is when we are walking and another dog comes near him. I try and make him sit when other dogs go by. He just goes nuts.

He is an extremely energetic dog. Right now we try to lock him in a bedroom whenever the son comes into the house. It seems to keep him quiet for a while. I tried to get the dog to walk with both of us but the dog was so scared he slipped his collar.

The previous owner said he had a neighbor who used to be mean to the lab. The lab had also gone through heartworm treatments. The only other thing I can think of to mention is that my son sleeps in a detached garage and is kind of a night owl so he comes in the house when we're asleep.

We used to sleep with the bedroom door open but now keep the dogs with us and the door shut.

We have used some of the techniques in your book and were doing quite a few things wrong and it has helped but not as much as we would hope for.

Thanks for any help you can give up.



Secrets To Dog Training Reply:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your email. It is likely that there is something about your lab's previous owner's neighbor that is similar to your step son, causing him to act in this aggressive manner.

I recommend a few things.

1. Please read and use the Alpha techniques as set out in the bonus Alpha Book. It is really important that your lab knows that you are in charge. In the wild, the Alpha determines how the pack will react in various situations, so if your dog knows that you are the Top Dog, and you are happy to have your son come in and out of the house, he should follow suit.

2. Try a gentle introduction. Put your dog in to a separate room, and then have your son come into the house. Get your son to sit down, with a treat in his hand, or a squeaky toy if your lab is not food motivated. Attach you dog's leash, and then bring him into the room, speaking to him in a happy, confident voice. Make sure your son does not speak to, or make eye contact with the dog, and that he remains sitting. If your dog barks, shake a can of pebbles, or growl at him. Praise him for not barking, even if he only stops for a few seconds. Have your son throw the dog a treat, but still without looking at your dog.

Try this a number of times, and if the dog approaches your son, only then should he try to pet him, and never on the head or back of the neck. Instead, have him pat your dog under the chin and on the chest. Speak to your dog in a happy voice throughout, and praise him for positive interactions.

Your son could even try engaging the dog in a game of fetch or frisbee.

3. Have daily obedience lessons with your dog to increase his confidence, and use lots of praise to encourage him.

I hope this helps Bob. Good luck, and please let me know how you progress.

Kind regards,

Daniel Stevens

If you're interested in solving all your dog behavior problems with the help of a leading expert, then I suggest you go here right now!


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