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Can You Train Dog-Aggression Out Of A Dog?

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  • #16
    Wrote the previous comment because we had a team dog ripped open by a dog in a team during a head on pass a few years back. Only a few seconds but ripped the dog open and cost the other musher $1500 in vet bills.

    Have also had leaders hesitant to do further head on passes after passes with aggressive leaders and teams.

    Have some experience with malamute teams. Listen to mainer in ak

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    • #17
      Originally posted by lonealaskangypsy View Post
      But- I would like to give you credit; you gave me an idea to look up 'wolf habits' and assert those onto my dog. The most common being that the dominant animal flips the lesser wolf onto their back with the scruff on their neck- or pulls them down to the ground with an ear or the side of their cheek.

      I started doing this with my problem dog last nigh in combination with some tips from the articles that 2jumpersplease shared. I'll keep you guys updated, but thus far it's proved pretty effective. I asked my neighbors to bring their dogs into my yard with my dog safely secured away from their dogs. When she began barking aggressively, I took her and flipped her onto the ground (not hard, but literally just picked her up and set her down). She'd get up, I'd do it again. I began holding her to the ground on her back even as she was struggling to get up and bark at the other dogs. Eventually she learned I'd let her up if she didn't bark. We did it quite a few times and by the last time the dogs were getting about 5 feet away from her without her being aggressive. That's a huge improvement from her barking aggressively when they were a good 10 yards away. It seems to be rather effective, but I've only tried it once. I'll continue working on it. Even so, she's a quick learner and I think she'll catch on. Now that I know how to totally take away her 'dominance role' when she's in attack mode, it's helped a lot. When she's in a submissive position on her back she doesn't want to bark and act aggressive. She struggles and fights it, but she isn't focused on attacking the other dog- which is great. We shall see how this plays out. She's a stubborn little thing, but I think I can break her out of it. Thanks for the tip on the natural-wolf behavior mainer_in_ak. And 2jumpersplease- those articles proved very helpful!
      Full disclosure: I've never owned or worked with the mushing dogs (husky, malamute). But I do have some experience with other working breeds (German Shepherd).

      OP, the technique you are referring to is called the "alpha roll." At one point it was a technique used by police and military K9 handlers to establish their authority over uncooperative dogs. I couldn't tell you if that technique is still used but I do know that there are plenty of stories out there where dogs got irritated by this technique and flipped out on their handlers (sometimes inflicting horrendous bite wounds on the handler). I've also heard from numerous trainers (mind you these are guys/gals who don't have a problem with administering physical corrections if the situation calls for it) that advise against using the alpha roll because of the dangerous potential for backlash from the dog.

      I realize that Malamutes and huskies are very different in terms of temperament from the dogs used by police and military. I know that these sled dogs are trained to be much more submissive and accepting of humans, but at the end of the day they are still dogs, and I wouldn't risk using such a physical and close-in technique on a dog. You might get away with it for a few times, but you won't realize that your dog has had enough of these types of corrections until he is already in your face biting whatever is in his reach.

      I won't get into the effectiveness/ethics of using a hockey stick to break up a fight and/or correct a dog. Everyone has their own view of how dogs should be trained and socialized, and some people treat them more like working animals than actual pets. IMO, as long as the dog is well fed, medically and mentally in good health, well-exercised, then the dog already has a much better life than many other dogs who live neglected lives in some crappy home or an animal shelter. If you don't want to be the one physically correcting your dog, then I would recommend getting a shock collar...they can be quite effective and dissuading bad behavior (when properly used of course).

      But whatever you do, I would stop using that alpha roll technique ASAP. Wolves and some domesticated dogs do it to each other, but they are canines and have the behaviors, temperaments, and instincts to work through that kind of situation. Though you might be their master, you're not a dog, and your furry companions know that.

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      • #18
        Ok, time to add a little humor to this subject. I have a very dominate Pekingese! LOL! Yes, he loves me when he thinks he is in charge, even though I know he's not in charge. I will not let the little s@#$% out the door or in the door first, he must always wait for me to enter the door first. He's learned some but most of the time he still tries to sneak by me. He has attempted to bite me on more than one occasion when I will not let him have his way. Yes, I have used the alpha roll...and he hates it! But I keep him in that position until his eyeballs pop back into his head and his manners return. The wife hates it but she knows it must be done. Now if I could just train the wife to make sure she goes through the doors first before he does...

        Oh, and he'll sit in the window and watch the bears and deer stroll the yard without uttering one little bark. But, when a neighbor drives by in their car coming or going, he is the first one to bark until the threat is gone.

        Enjoy!

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