Body Language Before Dog BitesWritten by Adam G. Katz
After catching up on doggy email, I've noticed your reference to submissive posture. Your book helped more than a professional trainer I hired for my adopted Golden. We went through biting and dominance issues. The problem I am having now is I still do not trust him 100%. When he bit there really wasn't any sign it was coming (that I noticed). Even now, only sign that he doesn't like something is a lowered head and sometimes a low growl (the groomer told me this). This dog growls sometimes when he is happy. It is almost like someone taught him not to make any other noise in doors. Outside he will bark. I guess big question is how do you read a dog's face, body, etc.?
It's a tough situation you've got. You've really got to just pay close attention to dog at any time you suspect she may display aggression. The most common indicators that I used when working with clients who had aggressive dogs was to watch:
5 Surefire Ways to Show Your Dog You’re The BossWritten by Charlie Lafave
Do you have problems at your house with who’s in charge? By that I mean, does your dog think he’s boss? In your effort to form a stronger bond with your dog you may have inadvertently told him he’s Leader of Pack. Here are 5 simple and effective ways to correct that.
You Must Be The Alpha Dog First, let’s take a look at what a “pack mentality” means. Dogs are born into packs – in wild, packs are essential social order. Unlike humans, who use a variety of political processes to determine leadership and rank, dogs sort out their social order by dominance and power. In a wolf pack, there is a Top Dog – a clear leader who is dominant, Alpha male. He’s Big Dog, with pride of place at dinner table (well, if wolves had a dinner table!), first in mating, first in decision making for pack. Whether you realize it or not, your dog views your household as his own personal wolf pack. The pack mentality is so engrained in your dog’s psyche that he will either view you as a leader - or a follower - depending on your actions. If you are to have a well-trained dog, you must establish that you are leader, and he is follower. Your dog has to know in his heart that you are Alpha Dog, Head Honcho, Big Dog, Top Dog – call it whatever you want, but your dog needs to know you’re in charge. Dogs are a little like children in one respect – they’re looking for someone else to be leader – they want rules and regulations because that makes their role in pack more clear-cut and understandable. It’s scary being leader – if you’re not up to it, your dog may assume role – because someone has to be in charge! If that’s what’s happened at your house, you need to re-establish your position as Top Dog, or “Leader of Pack.” But here’s an important note: being leader of pack has absolutely nothing to do with harsh punishment. It has everything to do with consistency and setting limits. A simple rule to remember (and one people have great difficulty keeping in mind) is that you are leader, not your dog.
1. You Go Through The Door First Even something as straightforward as who walks through door first can reinforce your position as “dominant dog.” Leaders lead. Followers follow. If you allow your dog to charge through door ahead of you, he perceives that as asserting his dominance over you. Put your dog on leash, and make sure you’re first one through door.
2. You Eat Before Your Dog Who gets fed first in your house – you or your dog? In a wolf pack, leader eats first, and when he is done, rest of pack can dine. Do you feed your dog first because he pesters you when you’re cooking your dinner, and it’s simply more convenient to have him quiet and out of way when you’re eating? Food is a powerful motivator that can be used to clearly demonstrate who is ruler of roost at your house. In no way, shape or form am I suggesting that you withhold food from your dog – that’s cruel and unusual punishment any way you look at it. What I am suggesting is that you control timing of food – you should eat first, your dog second, after you’re done with your meal.