Spoiled Cranky Dog
QUESTION: I have a 2-year-old female Schnauzer whom I purchased at 7 weeks old. She is normally a very loving affectionate pup - very attached to me. But when she's tired, she will growl at me if I pick her up or move her, even if she's on my lap. If I rest during the day and she sleeps on my chest, very sweet, but don't move her! On rare occasion she will decide she wants something I don't approve of and when I take it away, she gets nasty and will try to bite. We recently had an incident when she was tired, on my lap, put her head up for a minute and I was checking her bottom whiskers, she growled, I scolded, and when I carried on checking her bottom jaw, she bit me. In fact, she just lost it. To date I have dealt with these incidents by tossing her in the spare bathroom, closing the door and leaving her there.
When I let her out I give her the cold shoulder and she seems very sorry? We've had a few problems with other dogs as well. I try to take her around other people and dogs as much as I can. Sometimes I think its working, and then out of the blue, she'll try to attack another dog for no reason. Her attachment to me is obvious- but these cranky spells have got to go!!! She is cranky with visitors now even though she knows them.
HELP - I really love her and we just have to work this out - She started this at about a year old.
P.S. There is one person that comes over a bit that teases her when playing- I've asked him to stop - right ???
ANSWER: Normally I would suggest that a person get a dog a complete Vet Check, looking for external or internal pain of some kind that may be making them cranky, but reading your email a couple of times, I do not think that is what the problem is. Instead, I think she is spoiled big time. She simply has no "Respect" for you or anyone else. Meaning, she thinks she is above you in the Pack Hierarchy. In domesticated dogs us humans in the home replace other dogs in a normal Pack.
She does love you but love is not enough. A dog cannot happily be in the continual emotional turmoil of "Am I Boss Dog or are you Boss Dog?" They must learn that they are NOT the boss, not ever. In learning that, they are learning that all important Respect. A dog with Respect does not bite the owners or other humans either. They instinctively know they are in big trouble if they do. And the best part is: A dog with Respect is always a happier dog, simply because they know where they stand in their odd ball Pack of human/dog members.
She needs Basic Obedience Classes. Where you will learn how to and when to discipline her and when to reward her for good behavior. And she will learn far more than Come, Sit, Stay, Heel and Down. She will learn to RESPECT you if the instructor is any good at all. Many instructors out there that make me cringe watching them teaching a class. These instructors are only in it for the money or are busy teaching away without knowing near enough about "Dog Behavior" to be allowed to teach classes. Scout around until you find an instructor who comes highly recommended and has been in the business for years. Ask for credentials from where they learned the basics of teaching. Ask for references and phone these references. Ask questions in class including extra help with disciplining your dog to teach her Respect. A good Instructor will be able to answer your questions accurately for your dog personally. Beware of an Instructor who answers your questions as if all dogs are equal. "Which they are not". Each dog has its own personality and they cannot be lumped all together as one.
Your dog needs far more discipline than being put in a room and then ignored. Your dog needs to realize that you’re the boss and so are other people who live in the home. Visitors should also behave correctly with her and for Pete's Sake, anyone who thinks they have the right to tease your dog should be asked to leave if they don't have anymore brains than that.
"Now for the tough stuff". Dogs instinctively know that if they snap at a Boss Dog in a Pack situation, that the Dominant dog is going to grab them by the throat or neck and shake them around or else bite them back savagely. Of course, you’re not going to bite them or use your mouth and teeth to grab them by the throat or back of the neck.
Instead, you are going to pick a one word command, such as "Enough" as you need a command you have not used before. Now when she threatens to bite or even so much as growls or looks at you wrong. Your going to firmly in a dominant voice say, "ENOUGH". very firm, very dominant. Please no sentences to confuse the dog, just the one word. If she doesn't back down, instantly grab her by the loose skin on the back of her neck. Pick her front feet about two inches off the floor. And shake her smartly back and forth about four times. Release her. She should be totally dumb founded that you actually disciplined her in Dog Language as if you were the Leader Of The Pack. Now leave her alone. Walk away without a word. Hopefully she will even have cringed down or scampered away having learned a lesson. Now some dogs aren't so willing to learn to respect their master(s). They may challenge you almost instantly again. Grab her again (quick enough so as to not get bit) and while repeating the word, shake her hard again with only those front feet about two inches off the floor. She will get it through her head than she is not Boss Dog anymore.
Follow the directions correctly including the walking away without a backward glance or word, just like the Top Dog of a Pack would do. This cures all but the worst dogs. The worst dogs (yours is not one of them) are such Dominant Behavior animals that they will never submit to a puny human properly, thus can never be considered trustworthy and happy companions.
NOTE: It was later confirmed that this responsible and caring dog owner had already taken her dog to the Vet for a complete Check Up to veto any physical problems, before emailing www.horse-dog-advice.com