Tiny dog who thinks he is boss, help please!

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Tiny dog who thinks he is boss, help please!

Post by xkimchix » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:34 am

Currently my boyfriend has this pekingese and he believes he is the top dog.
Everyone in the house hold is afraid of him when he growls or barks! Sometimes he would stare at guests and then suddenly attack! There has been countless times where he has bite guests, his own owners and myself as well!
When the door bell rings he barks non-stop and no one stops him! WHEN guests come over he goes insane and in order to make him stop they have to hold him or close the door in the kitchen which he stays.
When we try to take him for a walk he doesn't want to walk and sudden his tail falls in between his legs. He suddenly loses all motivation and doesn't respond to treats at all. He actually makes my boyfriend carry him!
He is overprotective of his food and if there is something good it in he won't let anyone get near it. And what's worst its placed right beside the dinner table.
At dinner he sits around the table and starts to beg, and to make it works they eventually give in and give him food.
When he wants to go outside he whines and he gets his way!
This dog is spoiled and in return attacks people!

What can we do to change this behavior?
At one point they were serious about getting rid of him! I had to tell them that if they were to put him in the pound he'd be more than likely to be put down for his aggression and non-friendliness!

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Post by DogzRule1996 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:18 pm

Have you watched the episode about Stains the Aussie? Where he stares at the cupcake? If you have, do what Victoria did, if not, then here is what she did. She taught the dog not to go past this line that separated the kitchen from the living room. She told Stains to sit and stay, and walked off to the kitchen table and sat down. If Stains got up, she would get up, go back to the dog, and repeat the command. Eventually, the dog understood that he was not allowed to go into the kitchen. Change where the food is placed. The kitchen is positively the worse place to feed a dog because then he is associated the kitchen for free food. Tell your boyfriend to stop feeding the dog table scraps. That is just praising and telling the dog that it is ok to come and beg for food. When guests arrive, either put him in a crate or train him. Get a can with beans or fill it with something that would make a loud noise when shook. Tell someone to ring the doorbell. At that split second you know he's going to start barking, sit at the cough and shake the can. The noise should distract the dog long enough for him to be quiet. If all is quiet, praise and reward. If not, then try again. He will soon learn that quiet is what you want. After that is accomplished then you can go about introducing guests, but let's not get to that right now. About the walking... I think the dog is either lazy or scared of walking. I remember this show where Victoria had the same problem with Peanut (or some little dog that I remember as a Pomeranian). Anyway, she had this stick with a treat in the end and she held it out in front of the dog to encourage her to walk. When she's gone a good distance she can get the treat and it is then replaced with another one. If that doesn't work or you don't like the idea maybe jog around and get the dog excited and make him want to move and play. Remember to tell them not to give in to that cute little puppy begging face. Teach them to ignore the dog. They have to learn when the dog is just wanting to be spoiled and get his own way or if he really needs to do whatever it is.

Victoria's episodes :)
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Post by xkimchix » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:53 pm

Thank you for your advice but there is some problems with that.

We have moved his food into the laundry room which we live him there at night. (He is kept in the kitchen / laundry room because it is the only room in the house that doesn't have carpet )
At dinner tonight we tried to get him to go into his room, and when we told him he refused to do so. He looked away from us and didn't move, and when we moved he started to growled and snarled. I used a can full of nuts to distract him and it worked for awhile but he continued to do so. After rattling it REALLY loud and using my loud voice he finally listened and stayed in his room.

Afterward he came out and bite his owner and myself when we got near him. Distracting him with a can is hard enough but he attacks all of a sudden.
How do you stop a dog from attacking because you can't really just distract him. I had to pin him down with my hand to get him to stop.
Should we use water to also distract him too ?
And once he attacks he doesn't stop so its hard to actually treat him when he calms down.

He won't listen to his owners!
This is getting serious the whole family is scared of him and it's pushing everyone to to the edge about getting rid of him. Not only is he aggressive he's also very old so I feel like there would be no chance of him finding a home.

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Post by Nettle » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:05 am

This dog is NOT aggressive. He is afraid and unhappy, and only has dog ways in which to tell you all this.

First he needs a full vet check including blood tests for organ function. Older dogs often have undiagnosed pain and/or illness, and this makes them reactive because they feel vulnerable.

Get down to pekingese level, see those big feet, big hands coming out of the sky, big eyes staring at you - very scary.

At the moment, he thinks you are attacking him, pinning him down, making him stay on his own in a bare room - such fun - and now you think of throwing water at him. Whatever YOUR take on it, this is HIS point of view. You frighten him, make his life miserable, threaten him - no wonder he is tryng to tell you he doesn't like it.

We humans tend to focus on what we don't want a dog to do. We have to turn our minds around to what we DO want the dog to do - then make it easy for the dog to do that, then reward it so doing what we want is worth its while. :)

Tell me what positive things you bring to his life. When is he taken out, played with, how much time does he spend chilling out in happy human company, when is he fed, what is his daily routine?

Then we can help you all into a harmonious relationship. :wink:
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog


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Post by xkimchix » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:19 pm

We recently took him to the vet and they said he was fine :\
That only we change his water from tap to bottle water because of his eyes.
And ever since then he's been seeing a lot better.

How do you suggest we tell him to listen?
He doesn't respond to treats when we tell him to sit in one spot ESP during dinner time. He rather sit under the table and wait for people to drop food for him.
Example: We tell him to sit and then try to treat him and he ignores the treat and then when we move he runs to the table.
We set a treat down at a spot far away from the table, he sees it and ignores it.

No one can play with him unless he wants to be played with.
For example he will nudge your hand.

When he sits on the couch and we tell him to get off he growls and refuses to get off. What do you suggest? We let him get his way?
When he starts to get pissed off he won't calm down and won't listen to food.
The whole family has been letting him get away with this because he's been growling, and biting the family members that try to get him to behave. So much that when they got him at 4 years old, they didn't bother to correct him because they were scared of him biting.
Regardless of his size they still fear him a lot.

The family can't invite guest over for dinner because if the guest sit at a table with him around he will jump up and bite them with no given warning to the guest.
If they gate him up he growls, and barks regardless making the guest uncomfortable.

He was given to the family because the past owners couldn't take care of it.
He doesn't want to be played with unless he brings the toy to you.
He USE to get feed right before dinner, now its right after dinner (but he won't eat it till he knows he can't get table food)
We try to walk him once a day but he refuses to walk and demands to be carried or he will just sit there. He also doesn't respond to commands and treats when he is out of the house.
He is around people almost all day, my boyfriends dad is retired so he lounges in the kitchen / living room watching tv, on the computer or outside working. He over feeds the dog with treats too during this time, just giving him treats for no reason.
They can't wash him without two people being around or he bites or growls when he is handled. So they usually send him out to get groomed and even then he snapped at the groomer.

The family doesn't want to hire a person to come into the house to help because they don't want someone to be there they don't know. Not to mention it's a bit too pricey at the moment.

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Post by josie1918 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:57 pm

For what it is worth, I got a 1 1/2 yr. old dachshund that had put 30 stitches in the arm of his owner, she was a really sweet, elderly lady, but clearly another breed would have been better for her circumstances. This guy had an attitude from the bowels of Hell when I got him. He had this attitude because......................Nobody ever stepped in as his leader (NOT Dominance) but he had been making the rules as long as he could remember. I do not know if this is what was going on with this little guy or not, but the scenerio is the same. It is frustrating, and I did lose some hair, but I am sure the dog is thinking why do they want me to start doing all of this stuff? pick one target behavior, devise a positive reward system for that, and EVERYONE in the family stick to it. No treats for no reason or to reward bad behavior. Find what it is he likes and make him earn it. Some issues you just have to work around, but if you look at just one behavior at a time, it seems a lot less overwhelming. I don't recall seeing anything about how long they have owned this dog, it could be he hasn't bonded with anyone yet.
Now, as far as the vet checking him over, please be aware that like dachshunds this breed can suffer from degenerative disk problems in their backs. No visible signs or symptoms at first, but it is painful to them. This might be why he doesn't like to walk.
Anyway, that's what I think.

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Post by xkimchix » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:52 pm

I'll be more clear about the dog

They got in when he was 4 years old, he's been with the family for 4 years now, so he's about 8 years old

He was given to us because the other family couldn't take care of him, no specific reason why was mentioned to them.

He has been house trained and also thought how to sit, spin, stay and jump.

There has been recent check ups with the dog, only to find that his has were bad, and that we switch to bottle water instead of tap water. After a month his eye sight has cleared up.

Up to date with his shots :\

He has been neutered when he was a puppy.

Right now our main concern is how to stop him when he bites, because NO ONE wants to get bite but if we just let him go ahead and bite he doesn't stop.
He gets pissed off when you tell him to do something and doesn't wanna do it. Example telling him to sit before he gets his dinner, he just doesn't want to sit down he wants to go to the table and have my boyfriends parents feed him treats.

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Post by josie1918 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:04 pm

have you talked to your vet about senile dementia? They can become very very grumpy for no reason. You could try giving him some antioxidents and see if his behavior improves. Select makes a good one, they cost around 15.00 a bottle. If this were my dog, and he refused to leave the room, guess he just wouldn't get fed until he did. But then I guess I can be a little stubborn :lol:

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Post by emmabeth » Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:08 pm

DogzRule1996 wrote: Get a can with beans or fill it with something that would make a loud noise when shook. Tell someone to ring the doorbell. At that split second you know he's going to start barking, sit at the cough and shake the can. The noise should distract the dog long enough for him to be quiet. If all is quiet, praise and reward. If not, then try again. He will soon learn that quiet is what you want.
NO! absolutely do NOT do this and DogzRule PLEASE will you stop giving out dangerous advice that goes against the ethics of this forum!

This dog is quite clearly anxious and insecure and does not know how to behave acceptably. Using an aversive like this WILL make him worse.

xkimchix -

The first thing to do here is to get the dogs owners to WANT to change his behaviour. Without that nothing is going to happen at all.

He isnt a bad dog at all and whilst his behaviour IS unacceptable and inappropriate it is how it is because of the people in his life. Handled differently, he will be different.

Asking to go out is not spoiled dog behaviour, if he needs to go out why shouldnt he ask?

If he has learned that whinging to go outside is a good way of getting attention... whose fault is that? Not his, he is just a dog he repeats the things he finds rewarding.

Guarding food is natural behaviour - its not good behaviour when we mean no harm to the dog, but if a dog has learned that he must guard his food or he will lose it (and theres a lot of commonly used 'training' ideas about dogs and their food that really REALLY effectively teaches a dog he SHOULD guard it and defend it!! such as removing the bowl from him if he growls!!!), then he would be a very dumb animal not to use what he has to protect his stuff.

He is for his breed, also an old dog so a full vet check to rule out sight issues and dementia is necessary.

If he is on the couch and you want him off - dont tell him to get off.... thats confronting the issue and escalating the aggression.

Use your head instead - head out of the door with his lead if he likes walkies. Head out the back door with a squeaky toy if he likes those.. go to the fridge and start fixing a snack...

Whatever it is that would get him off the couch..... do that. Reward him if he comes to see what you are doing (but do so in a casual sort of way not a full on mega fuss way)..

You can put a harness on and leave a trailing leash on to back up certain cues/commands as well so you dont HAVE to ask and get told 'no'.... you can just make it happen, however this isnt always the best route so I would attempt to distract him otherwise in teh first instance.

In every situation where he might 'argue'... set things up so theres nothing to argue WITH. It takes two to have an argument and if you guys wont 'play'.... he cant!

Alongside this though a dog must have the attention and appropriate exercise, both physical and mental, that he needs - getting all 'bootcamp' on a dog and NOT providing these is just going to create more problems.

Anyway - as I said at the start of my post.... all this is totally irrelevant until his owners and the people he lives with, ALL want to change his behaviour and are ALL willing to do the same stuff with him.

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Post by xkimchix » Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:03 am

So if I shouldn't shake a can then what?
Once when he was all pissed off and growling he doesn't stop he lounges forward, if not distract with noise than what?
How can we as owners prevent him from growling and even biting ?

Aren't dogs more domestic, why should they have to protect the food when they know it will always be there for him? Not to mention if it is given to the animal to begin with? I hope to god this dog isn't as dumb as a goldfish :\

We will have to take him to the vet again to check him out see if he has an underling conditions.

Please explain more about how to get him off? Do we call him away? Or make food to get him off? I don't see how that can him from getting off the couch and possible prevent future doing so.
Also like to mention he is a VERY lazy dog, and sleeps almost all day only comes out for a walk and meal, play, treat, and restroom.

Once again how can we distract him properly? If noise isn't a good thing than what? How do we use positive training here? Because of his stubborness there are times where food, toys, and ect don't work on him. We can only push so much before he gets REALLY piss. He doesn't back down and it puts everyone in a sticky situation.

I wish everyone in the house was more willing to do so, but the dad just loves to spoil him. Sometimes I just wanna give up. I know when my boyfriend and I leave next month and if things haven't changed they won't be able to take care of the dog anymore end up putting him up for adoption. It almost happened once when he moved out the first time for school.

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Post by emmabeth » Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:42 am

Definately no shaking cans - hes fearful. Rattling noisey cans makes his fear worse, this is likely why he bit after you rattled at him to make him stay somewhere.

You should aim to avoid him ever getting to the point where hes growling and lunging, then you have no need to distract or deal with this.

Figure out what his reasons for growling/biting are.

Dont give him those reasons again.

So he growls if someone goes near his food? Put his food where no ones going to go near it/stop going near his food/distract him away from his food if you need to do something with it.

Why should a dog protect his food?... because whilst YOU know theres always going to be food given to him, he actually doesnt know this.

Lets put this another way - if I was eating a meal with you, and I kept messing with your food, stealing bits of it, off your plate, hey right off your fork....

How long before you got pissed at me?

If I kept doing this, how long before you hit me/yelled at me/stabbed me with your fork? Even though you know theres loads of food, theres more in the fridge, theres more in cupboard, you can go to the store...

Now if you spent time with people who messed with your food... and you had to defend your food because people would keep moving it, taking it... messing with it.... and then you went to live somewhere with people who didnt do this...

Do you think sometimes you might still misinterpret someone leaning over the for the salt or just generally waving their hand around, as someone about to take something?

I bet you would, because thats something even we as humans learn, we dont naturally like people messing with our food, we really dont like people taking it, no matter how much there is available.

Why would a dog be any better given he has less ability to understand our actions and gestures?

If you give a dog something.. its his. If he fears that you will take it away again, and many dogs do because many people teach them that they will by messing about, then they will guard and defend it.

SOmetimes this is necessary - sometimes its left over from a time when it was necessary.

So it might be that its no longer necessary for this dog to guard food, but for whatever reason HE still thinks it is.... so you have to stop him thinking this.

Its no good just trying to stop him SAYING 'hey leave my food alone'... you have to stop him needing to say it.

So put his bowl in another room, feed him at set times of day and when he ISNT present - remove the bowl (call him away from it if needs be, in return for a treat, never take a bowl away from a dog who is near the bowl or eating from it!).

If people wish to give titbits or left overs from their plates, put a pot on the table to scrape left overs into rather than feeding him from the table.

If hes on the sofa and telling him something like 'hey, off!' makes him growl... dont do that.

Do something else, make it NOT about getting off the sofa, say 'hey buddy lets do this?...' and offer a game or a toy or a treat. Get crafty, pick up the leash and say 'walkies!'.. whatever it takes to get him off the sofa, WITHOUT it ever getting into a battle specifically about the sofa!

Its about not having the confrontation in the first place and you are the one with the smarts to get round this without having an argument.

If you have gotten into a situation where hes growling or biting then thats too far gone to be trying to teach him anything good. Thats a time for minimising the 'bad' so he doesnt learn to do it more... walk away from it, change the subject - again whatever it takes WITHOUT frightening him or using force, to end the situation quickly.

Try to avoid situations where he gets into this state, its not just avoiding the issue - the less he gets to practice behaving this way, the less it will be his automatic response.

Have a read through the clicker training thread and have a go at that with him. Its highly likely to make him MUCH more interested in responding to you positively and will improve his confidence and trust.

The thing is, you cant just change ONE thing about this dogs life - all the things add up, and they are all making him insecure and unhappy.

The things he does, he does because he has found that they work. Its not about being the boss, or being clever or dumb or bad or nasty... it is THAT simple.. if it works, do it again. If it doesnt, maybe try a bit harder if it used to work, then give up.

So in each situation... see if you can find what his reward is. Whats rewarding about growling at people when hes on the sofa? Whats rewarding about guarding people away from his food?

When you can see what it is about a situation he finds rewarding, you can change it.

One of my dogs recently had a habit of growling at another of our dogs, when he was on the sofa with us.

Tempting to think it was about the sofa, and really tempting to tip him off the sofa for being rude.

Once or twice we did this and it resulted in an almighty fight with the dog he was warning.

What he actually wanted wasnt the sofa - it was to sit with us. Tipping him off just escalated the argument between him and the other dog (who also wanted to sit on the sofa with us).

What worked really well and has ended this behaviour, is us getting up and walking away.

Theres little point in him guarding an empty sofa when he wants to sit with us! So if he growls, we get off and walk away. He gets the oppositeof what he wanted, theres no escalation of confrontation, theres no dog fight, and he has since learned not to do it.

If he sits on the sofa nicely with the other dog, then cuddles all round :)

If we had gone in there shouting, rattling cans, telling him off.... we would have made the situation worse.

When we didnt think it through and just reacted thinking 'tsk, rude dog', we made it worse.

When we thought about it, and looked at it from HIS point of view to see what he was trying to gain by his behaviour... we found the solution.

The same things are possible with this dog, but you HAVE to get rid of the idea that hes bad, that he wants to be the boss, etc etc.

He is fearful. He has learned that certain behaviours 'work' for him in the past. He is anxious.

You have to change that around by teaching him to trust you, by giving him no reason to use aggression, by making it absolutely crystal clear what it is you want from him (ie what you WILL reward him for doing).

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Post by xkimchix » Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:22 pm

So we took care of him getting off the couch when he's not suppose to without him getting upset.

Walking is still an issue because when he's in the house hes all active and hyper and running around but once outside he just doesn't want to walk.
When we get his lease he gets SO happy and wants to go out but once outside he doesn't wanna be outside anymore ?

Now our second issue is with keeping him away from the dinner table
So far we have to keep the door close on him in the laundry room, but he whines a lot.
How can we actually get him to stop the whining and maybe actually keep the door open without him coming to the table?

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Post by maximoo » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:15 pm

Put up a baby gate so he can see you all but he cannot come to beg, and/or give him a stuffed kong or raw marrow bone behind the closed door to munch on while you eat dinner. Or put him in a completely different part of the house.

A technique VS uses to make dog walk is to put a treat on the end of a stick & hold it in front of dog to lure him forward. Let him have treat when he walks just a few steps then gradually increase the distance treating every few feet. Eventually phase out the treats.

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Post by emmabeth » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:25 pm

Ok - yes baby gate so he can see you guys but not get to you.

Give him a reason for wanting to be the other side of that gate - right now hes used to being around teh table and getting food so its a BIG shock to him, hedoesnt know why things have changed!

Treats, a kong filled with stuff (dont make it too hard to get the filling out just yet though)... a big raw bone... that sort of thing will help him to enjoy his seperation away from the people/their food.

For walks - have you tried clicker training him yet?

If not make that a priority, theres a sticky thread for you to read about clicker training at the top of this part of the forum.

When he knows that the click means a treat is coming, you can use this for allllllllll sorts of things.

One of which would be 'targetting' which is where he touches the end of a stick with his nose, in return for the click + treat.

That gives you some distance (because the stick is a few feet long) so you can have him follow the stick (so that he can touch it with his nose), you can have him follow it in circles... between your legs... up and onto and over and off items.

You can hold it beside your leg and walk...

Theres lots of ideas and they can help you with him outside, though you HAVE to break it down into little stages. Dont rush him.

Right now if he wont walk... just pop the leash on, go outside, reward him and go back inside.

Then nothing bad has happened... its a positive experience for him AND you because nothing has gone wrong, you have achieved your goal.

Do that for a few days and then try just going a few steps down the path.... or try a little training with something easy that he knows already.... and then back inside.

Make the steps small, make sure theres lots of chances for him to get things right and be rewarded.

Make sure you go at his pace and really limit the chances he has to get things 'wrong', and you will be surprised how quickly he actually does improve!

DO hang on in there though because this little dog is going through a LOT of major changes in the way his daily life and routine works and that IS going to make him try harder at some of his old behaviours at first. Stick with it, dont give up after the first few days as although this will have some positive effects on him quite quickly its going to take weeks and weeks of work to truly turn him around.

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Post by Lis & Addy » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:39 pm

When we try to take him for a walk he doesn't want to walk and sudden his tail falls in between his legs. He suddenly loses all motivation and doesn't respond to treats at all. He actually makes my boyfriend carry him!
That is a description of a scared dog, not one who thinks he's the boss.
He is overprotective of his food and if there is something good it in he won't let anyone get near it. And what's worst its placed right beside the dinner table.
Bad placement, for sure. No wonder he's protective of his food, if his bowl is placed so that people are constantly invading his space while he's eating.
At dinner he sits around the table and starts to beg, and to make it works they eventually give in and give him food.
As others have suggested, baby-gate. Remove the temptation for the humans to reward behavior they don't want.
When he wants to go outside he whines and he gets his way!
Yesterday morning, my dog woke me up at 4:30am, giving clear signals that she wanted to go out RIGHT NOW! We went, as quickly as I could get both of us dressed for it. (Chinese Crested, New England, early morning after the previous day's first major storm of the season. Yes, I dressed her.)

And I spent the rest of the day bragging on what a good dog I have. Because if she really needed to go (and she did!), what's the alternative? You know the answer: going in the house. When you teach your dog to potty outside, you're making a promise to the dog that you WILL take them outside, when they tell you they need to use the facilities.

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