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Dogs Who Take Over The Household, and Intimidate the Family Members

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Question Dogs Who Take Over The Household, and Intimidate the Family Members

    There are some dogs who, regardless of breed or size, will take over the household and dominate all of the family members. Sometimes it's the little Chihuahua, who bites and growls at everyone who comes near him or his one favorite owner, usually the one who allowed him to become spoiled and act in such a manner.

    Then there the larger intimidating dogs, who will go up onto the couch, and when asked to move, they growl at the owner. They're usually left alone then, because they have created some degree of fear in their humans. Letting them have their way only worsens the situation, and they take control in every room.

    I've heard stories of dogs not letting the wife into the bed next to her husband, because they feel some jealousy and they own the husband to a degree. Instead of working on resolving the issue, the wife may just sleep in another bed or on the couch, as it's easier that way.

    Do you know anybody who has a dog that is dominating their household, and intimidating the family members?? Do you have one yourself?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    South Wales, UK
    I don't have one myself, and don't know anyone who does (thank goodness!) but I did have one foster who did exactly what you've described Alpha. A stunning Pomeranian/Spaniel X (looked like a pom dipped in chocolate) who was an unclaimed stray.

    From the car journey home from the pound, I knew something wasn't right, if you stroked the dog in the wrong place he would growl and twice he nipped me sharply on the hand for no reason. We took him home anyway, determined to try and help the little guy. Obviously he'd been spoiled rotten wherever he'd come from and been allowed to get away with whatever he wanted, and when the nasty behaviour worsened he was dumped.

    He used to bite (hard) if you walked past him, if he was on the sofa and you leaned over to pick up something. If you tried to call him outside he would charge & bite. Putting him to bed at night was a nightmare. Eventually we had to admit defeat & find a place with a larger rescue who had the facility to get him proper behavioural help.

    While he was here though, I was (I'm a little embarrassed to say) really nervous. I felt anxious whenever I was near him, and couldn't leave my dog alone with him. I felt totally on edge constantly for the week he was here. Such a shame that such a lovely dog was allowed to end up that way when as you say Alpha, the problem IS correctable.

    If you have a dog with these type of issues, please seek help & don't dump them. It's not the dogs fault.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Goldfinch, you had a terrible experience there. The only case I have had personal experience of was with my first pet, a dachshund. He was fine and very affectionate. He displayed just one strange piece of behaviour. If you walked between him and the wall light, he would go crazy and bite. At no other time did he cause any problems. So we just made sure that the wall light was off if we needed to pass in front of him!

    Regarding pets dominating the household, if the caretaker has a pet from birth or a very young age, then good training in what is acceptable or not can prevent many of the problems mentioned by Alpha. But of course if the pet is already adult or nearly adult when s/he enters the home, then bad habits may already be established. Some sort of behaviour modification strategy is then necessary. As Alpha says, one needs to work on resolving the issue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Goldfinch, thanks for sharing that, and kudos to you for taking him home and giving him a chance, even after the incident in the car. Honestly, I would be very nervous with a dog around that would bite or nip, regardless of his size.

    LPC, that is very unusual indeed, I wonder if the sudden blocking of the light would send a certain signal to his brain...something he couldn't control. Or, maybe it had something to do with the shadow that may have been created by passing the light.

    I had an Alaskan Malamute when I was younger, and didn't know much about training a dog. He was very dominant, and would growl and show his teeth sometimes if I tried to move him or get near him in our truck with the camper shell. He was only there on vacations, during travel from camp to camp. Luckily he never actually bit me, but just the intimidating behavior was unsettling. I stuck with the firm scold of "No!", when he did it, but I don't think my words are what made him decide to stop. If I had it to do all over again, I would have given him more attention and training as a young puppy, and spent more time with exercises like walking on lead, with me as alpha, and basic commands.

    I had a neighbor who had a male Chihuahua, that bit him on numerous occasions, and would charge at me and others when he was loose in the front yard. It appeared that he was very spoiled by the owner, but the love for his dog made him overlook the attacks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Glastonbury, England
    All 'pack' animals adhere to a social hierarchy. And all animals, males especially, will seek to be 'top dog'.
    So yes, a pet dog has to know its place or it can lead to conflict. (In its wild state biting a subordinate to keep them in their place is perfectly the norm.)

    Some people I know had one of the European mountain dogs. A dog that is essentially a one man dog (it was female) and one bred to face down packs of wolves in the mountains, day or night, and alone (apart from its master).... One tough cookie.
    A wholly inappropriate breed for a suburban setting, with only two 'on the level' pavement walks for exercise and stimulation!!!

    Had to be pts when it bit the man's wife! Jealous over his affections I guess.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    That's a shame that she had to be put to sleep for biting the wife, they do have jealous behavior just as humans.

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