Hi Angie, someone told me that you are a miracle worker; I’m not sure we need a miracle but we need help! We rescued our 5 year-old beagle in November. She is a great dog in that she doesn’t jump on people, doesn’t beg, or bark incessantly. She does however, lunge at people as if she is going to bite, but she doesn’t bite. At first she really had a problem with my husband. For some reason she has decided she is my dog and is very protective of me. She will lunge at my 12 year old daughter and son, sometimes with warning, but sometimes without. We love her and want to keep her, but it is very scary. She has done this to neighbors and friends of my children. I would never forgive myself if she ever bit anyone. Right now, she just looks like she is biting, but clearly seems to know that she isn’t. She will sometimes tug on their clothes. We welcome your advice!
Hi Julie ~ Thanks for the nice words about my work with dogs! Yes, I have seen many situations like this and yes I know it can be improved. First, let me mention that in Buster’s mind he is disciplining humans which can’t be allowed for many reasons. It’s good that he hasn’t really “put teeth into it” yet, but this behavior usually does progress if not addressed. I challenge you to step back and take a look at your relationship with Buster. Dogs don’t view themselves as belonging to you, as much as claiming you. He is picking up from you that you are HIS and he is simply protecting his property. This is why he had a problem with your husband and then your children and will have a problem with anyone else that wants to approach you. The best way to get rid of all that unwanted behavior is for YOU to disagree (give him guidance by saying “hey” or “no” and pointing a finger at him or backing him up from wherever he is.) You can can see this technique between human and dog on my “3 Dog Days” video. What’s important is once you decide you really don’t want him to have that behavior and you really disagree with it……he will stop. He is getting his power from you. Dogs deciding who they are nice to and who they aren’t is bad news. That means there is no parent in his eyes. That is why he feels he can lunge or “correct” kids or other people. You must show him you don’t want that. Guidance coming from you is more powerful and has more impact on him because of your close relationship with him. I correct for any teeth on humans, any aggression toward humans/other dogs or for tugging on people’s clothing. If he is tugging the kids clothing as they are moving around then he most definitely feels it’s his job to control the kids. Dogs need shown in very black and white terms what is and what is not allowed. Feeding them “grey” information is not fair to them. If the parent is wishy-washy or indecisive about what the family rules are, He really won’t truly understand he is not allowed to have that behavior. It’s your job as the parent to treat him fairly and respectfully and to make sure all dogs and kids (all members of your family) treat each other the same way. Make sense? Thanks so much for your question!