Dominence Aggression

Posted by gooch
Mar 11, 2011
I have an 8 month old Siberian Husky who is generally a very intelligent sweet dog. He was neutured about a month ago. He has started growling at me on occasion, ears back and sometimes tries to snap at me, sometimes for no apparent reason.........if he is sleeping and I go to pet him or of course if he has a bone. I know he is testing for dominence. I have acted as "alpha" all along and have no problem making him wait for his food, etc. I am not letting him get away with it but not sure if I am handling it properly. What I have done is scold and not back down and force him to lay down.

I would appreciate any suggestions as I want to stop this in the bud.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Mar 15, 2011
Hey gooch,

I think it sounds like youre doing the right thing! The best way to handle a dog who is trying to test his limits is to make sure you put them back in their place!

Verbal correction is always the first place to start, as you've done. Physical punishment is never the way to handle these situations.

Whatever the stimulus is for setting of his challenging, keep doing it. That is, wake him when he's sleeping and don't let him get away with naughty reactions. Take his bones away from him and dont give it back until hes calm and listening to you. If you try one of these and he reacts inappropriately, either go with your making him lie down, or put him outside immediately or into a crate/corner/timeout. Whatever your solution, just make sure he knows he's done wrong.

My own dog growled at me just one time as a puppy when I went for his foodbowl while he was eating. My reaction was to say "oi!" (his naughty command, haha), grab him by the collar, take his foodbowl away (its important that they see you accomplish what you were doing that disturbed them), and put him outside. He's never growled since, and I can walk up and stick hands in the bowl, under his muzzle, and take food out, or remove the whole bowl.

Youre doing what I would so far, I'd say keep to your routine, just be repetitious and stern, as Im sure youre doing. Let us know how you get on, and good luck!
Posted by gooch
Mar 15, 2011
Thanks for the encouragement. I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing. I also tried a new approach yesterday; he growled and I growled back and he stopped! I have never had a dog test me like this and I've had huskies for 35 years! He's such a smart sweet boy. I was very disappointed when he started. Times I would expect him to growl (like when I take something out of his mouth that he shouldn't have), he doesn't! I'll keep you posted!