Training an Aggressive Dog

We have an 18 month old Yorkie. She has become very aggressive and bites when she has something she shouldn't have and at times when you try to pick her up. It is getting worse. She had professional obedience training as a pup, and I still reinforce that training, but to no avail. She still will not mind off leash. We are at our wits end here. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


By glo from Rockford, IL


July 13, 20110 found this helpful
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My 4 year old male dachshund still does this and he has been to obedience training also. He's real possessive of his things. He's worse when he gets out of his routine like when we go visit relatives out of town. Sometimes a "swat" with my house shoe will get him to stop his bad behavior is I can catch him; he runs under the bed when he knows I'm unhappy at him. I've more or less got him figured out and know when to give him his space and leave him alone. Pets are like people in the sense that when they are tired they want to be left alone. Your dog is still young and he may get much better if he knows you mean business. I'd try "swatting" him lightly to startle him and see if that helps. It helps with my dog.

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July 18, 20111 found this helpful
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Go to the National Geographic channel and watch Cesar Milan Aka Dog Whisperer . I watch him all the time even if it's a rerun.I have a Shih Zsu and a Schnauser Terrier mix. And they have issues and by watching Cesar I've learned a lot about behavior issues. A lot of their aggression was because of me. You have to become a pack leader because right now your dog is the pack leader. That doesn't mean you have to hit them. Just watch his shows a few times and see for yourself if he makes sense. To me he makes a lot of sense and I have much better dogs because I use his techniques. Give it a try !1 pam in Mo.

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7 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 20, 2011

I'm having trouble with my 9 year old GSD/Husky mix. I think that's what she is. She's always been shy around strangers especially men. This past year she has barked almost viciously at men who enter the house or people who knock on the door. She has even barked at me a few times until she realized who I was. She's always been fine with my kids until last weekend.

A friend of mine who is a big guy came over and took a reptile I gave him. He approached the gated kitchen and my dog barked at him and he just stood there and offered his hand, but she didn't come closer. He never went into the kitchen or touched her. This was the worst I've seen her react. With different people she will behave differently. Sometimes she barks a little, sometimes a lot. I think it must be their demeanor.

For one week now my dog has been "grabbing" my 16 year old sons legs. He has autism, has never really had anything to do with the dogs, but will sometimes talk to them. My son is also a pretty big kid. In my presence I watched her approach him as if she was going to bite him and when I called her name she stopped.

With us "girls" she is just fine. I just don't understand why she is suddenly biting my son. The first time it happened he was getting a cookie like he has done so many times before and she grabbed his rear end. Today she broke the skin when he pulled away. I got her a mesh muzzle and plan on getting her to the vet ASAP. She is minimally trained; I did what I could with her. It took me 6 months to leash train her because the whole time she was trying to knock me down.

I have established dominance, but my son has never given her food, treats or anything, that's my mistake. Is it too late to fix and since she bites him. do I dare? Given his disability, he really has no desire to touch her or have her lick or touch him.

By Anne from Buffalo, NY


March 21, 20110 found this helpful
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You have a scary situation. You don't know how your son is going to act if the dog does something aggressive & if he reacts the wrong way it might push her into really hurting him-which can leave permanant mental 7 physical damage to him & a vicious dog report for your dog(which means real trouble). Are there any behavior schools/trainers or husky rescue groups you can get advice from?

I know you said she is aggressive toward men, are you sure that's what she's doing with your son,or could she be "correcting/getting after" him? My boys, who are bigger than me, have established dominance over our dog & she is VERY protective of them. BUT, if we start horsing around & I grab one of them, she will start grabbing their pants at their ankles & jumping up to bite their butts while she growls & barks at them. I think she's "helping mom" discipline them or something?

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June 8, 2015

My son's 1.5 year old Boxer Pit has started to go to bite my husband, a few times and also a friend. He is has never been like this. He lived with us last summer and is now back at our house. He will not share anything and takes things and runs and we cannot take them from him. We have a 4 year old Yorkie who holds his own, but it is getting out of control with the Pit Boxer not sharing anything and if we go to get it he goes after us.

He is very nice and will go to a friend's house with dogs and plays and no promblems. He has lived with my son and lots of boys and other dogs his whole life. We are looking for any help. My son is taking him to classes and we have called the vet.


June 11, 20150 found this helpful
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Your Boxer-Staffie (American Staffordshire Terrier is the correct name for 'pit' type dogs) is NOT 'grown-up' at all, and will not be until around aged three years.

I know this because I was a very successful breeder-trainer of AKC Boxers for over 40 years in the USA (before returning to the UK for my retirement years), and my cousin the same with Staffies.

Do ask the vet who will confirm these dogs (and their cross-mixes which btw we both did breed rescue of whilst in the US all those years) are NOT mature (proper wording, instead of 'full-grown'). Here in the UK, and more and more in the US, these dogs are being referred to as 'cross' or 'cross-breed' dogs. And once full socialised and trained you truly cannot ask for a better companion canine than these two highly intelligent and loving breeds mixed as a cross.

At 18 months you can expect two certain things from your cross - one that he will challenge you at every turn because he is still really a puppy, and two that he is still able to be turned away from bad habits.

In a nutshell, patience, consistence, and firmness is what is wanted. You've made an excellent start with the training course your son has the dog on, and in seeking information from your vet. Other excellent resources I highly recommend: your local library for books published from the late 80s through the mid-nineties for the two specific breeds - these will give you training and reinforcement tips as well as an outstanding 'heads-up' on breed specific characteristics so that you will all know what to expect as your cross comes to full maturity.

(hint, Boxers especially are 'food motivated' while Staffies prefer cuddles, effusive verbal praise, and toys especially 'tug-o-war' type. Boxers also love a good tug-o-war game but really prefer food, lol!)

Be very wary of Internet training tips - even mine! Always-always-always choose your vet as your No.1 go-to for ALL breed and training tips and assists.

Don't give up - it is entirely within the realm of possibility to achieve a successful training programme.

HOWEVER: until your cross is completely trustworthy, use a crate when you can't supervise him with the Yorkie. Please. I really cannot emphasise that enough without going into unhappy details of how many people have learnt this one the terribly hard way.

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September 1, 2014

I recently took in my cousin's dog. Her boyfriend was abusing him and trying to make him a fighting dog and now he thinks he's alpha male in the house. If someone hits me he will bite them and he doesn't like anyone he doesn't know to come near me. He is also peeing in the house and I can't smack him or tell him no in a strict voice because he gets scared. He is very protective over me and I don't know how to get him to stop being aggressive. If you can help please do, he is a great dog and if I can't get him to not be aggressive he will not be allowed at my house.

By Kathryn Wilson


September 29, 20140 found this helpful
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You don't have the expertise to deal with this.
Training an aggressive dog requires experience. In the meantime you are legally liable if he bites anybody. And if he does bite somebody he will be put down.
Is he a specific breed? Try to find out if a breed rescue will take him. Call around. It looks like he needs an expert and you aren't that person.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 20, 2011

My German Shepherd is 2 months old. She is so aggressive all the time, she bites me and when I punish her she attacks me. I can't really control her. She does not obey me at all. What should I do?

Training an Aggressive Dog

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December 27, 2010

I have a 9 month old male Lab/Pit mix. I've had him since he was 4 weeks old. He has, in the last few months, been getting progressively more and more hard to handle.

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November 22, 2010

We recently adopted a dog. He won't potty outside and is very aggressive towards visitors and one of the children in our home. What can we do?

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