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Thread: Aggressive Behavior in my female animal

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Aggressive Behavior in my female animal

    My female dog is overly aggressive with my male dog. Many times, she will mount him and proceed to make mating motions that are typically seen in males. Given the chance, she will always make him wait to eat, take his play things, and make him move from the spot where he sleeps. It has become such a problem that he will not even eat unless she has been kenneled out of his sight.

    We have worked hard to train her, but to no avail. We have also tried to encourage him to be less submissive. We've read books and received training tips, but she refuses to become less aggressive. I've had other dogs before who have been difficult, but I've always been able to overcome their behavioral problems by doing my best to reinforce good behavior and become responsive to their needs. What can I do?

  2. #2
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    A few questions - are both dogs neutered? How old are they, and who came first? Have you done any obedience training with either? She sounds like she needs to learn that YOU - not she - is the BIg dog in the pack, and you are in charge.

    Have you looked at NILIF - the "Nothing In Life is FREE" training method? There are several threads abut it here.

  3. #3
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    Neither of the dogs are neutered specifically because when they are older my fiance and I would like to breed them. The female is actually about 2 months younger than the male who is about 1 year and 2 months old.

    We got the male first. Before we got the female, we had a Weim (female) who he was fairly dominant with (although it seemed to be more of a passive dominance). When we had to move to a very tiny apartment last Spring (for his job), my parents took the Weim in to live on their farm because we felt it unfair to keep her inside so much (she's extremely happy their).

    We then got the female Peke to keep the male Peke company, and she decided she would dominate the household. We tried our hardest to instill the training methods we had learned from training our Weim, but she refuses...even to the point that she still is not 100% potty trained. We crate her, but she doesn't seem to mind peeing where she sleeps-even when we take her out as often as possible (including weekdays when we stop in at lunch to let her out). The vet says it isn't a physical problem, just behavioral. I love her to death, but I'm so tired of being her doormat.

  4. #4
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    Hi Pekemom, as you can see, I'm also a Peke owner and I'm a HUGE Peke aficionado. I used to mentor with several renowned Peke handlers and breeders, and I'm still madly in love with the breed. First, I noticed that you mentioned breeding. Because I love this breed so much, I have to ask: Are your pups being shown or do you plan to show them? Or are they being worked in the obedience or agility or similar ring? In other words, are they being proven? The reason I ask is because there are a LOT of homeless Pekes out there, almost all due to unnecessary breeding. If you are showing the dogs and everything, kudos to you! And if you are showing, who'd you get them from? I may know the breeder! But if your pups are solely pets, I highly encourage you consider neutering and spaying them. At this point in time, there are just too many homeless Pekes out there to encourage breeding JUST for producing pets.

    Re: Potty training. Take it two steps back and use the tether method (keep a leash on her and tie it to your waist). Since your female has gotten used to peeing where she sleeps, you can't use that natural deterrent anymore. So, rather, you'll have to keep her by your side and take her out everytime you see her sniffing. This tether method makes sure that you won't miss a signal.

    Re: Female's dominance over the male. It's actually very common for the female to dominate the male, especially in unaltered dogs. I try not to mess with the dog's pecking order too much because too much human intervention can do more harm than good. However, to reassert yourself as THE one and only leader, I also recommend NILIF: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm
    Especially in regards to feeding, I would try "cooperative feeding". In other words, have both female and male sitting in front of you. Give the female a treat while simultaneously giving the male a treat. Then give the male a treat. IMMEDIATELY treat the female thereafter. A clicker works wonderfully for this. Repeat this enough so that the female regards you giving resources to the male as a good thing. And if she ever gets too rough with him or if she starts to border on bullying, take a can of pennies or use a very low, loud "NO!". And then redirect her to her toy or her bed or her area, whatever. Just remember: whenever you punish, you have to immediately follow up with a redirection. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    The only probably with the stern/load "NO" is that it doesn't tend to phase her. Because the male is so passive, he tends to take every "NO" as if he is the one being punished. So, telling her no only scares him and he goes and hides behind the recliner while she seems not to even care. I think that his sensitivity is why I have not used these techniques with her more (I used them with our Weim and they worked well-but that was when he was a pup). The clicker seems to have helped somewhat, so I'm trying to continue using it to help her. I've been taking extra time each day to work with her and have been trying to teach her a few simple commands because I feel that will help instate my (and my fiance's) position in the household better.

    I believe I will try the tether method with her and see how it works though. We try to keep her crated while we are gone and at night, but I hate to keep her crated while we are home.

    We won't be breeding them any time soon, but I doubt we'll show them. I know in a lot of areas Pekes are overbred, but I honestly have not seen it as an issue around here. Before we bought each of ours, we searched the local shelters and such for a few weeks hoping to find one (or a Peke mix). When we could not find one each time, we bought our Pekes from a couple who bred them about an hour from here because we could not find anywhere else around here to acquire this specific breed. I will look into it more, however, and see if overbreeding has become a problem here and then base my decision off of that. I wouldn't want to exacerbate the problem.


    Edit: My fiance made a funny comment after reading what I wrote. He said Pekes probably aren't over bred here in Coon-hound country so I needn't worry. :P Of course, he thinks we should look into it as well.

  6. #6
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    I would agree STRONGLY with what has been said already about Peke overbreeding. Yes there are too many Pekes around but the real point about the overbreeding is that they have been, as a breed, bred too genetically similar to each other. Responsible breeding is the only way out for so many popular breeds. Kennel Club standards (worldwide) have encouraged breeding practices that shrink the genetic diversity in so many breeds ( a bit like cousins and siblings breeding in humans!). This leads to a less healthy gene pool and common defects that are usually killed off in a more natural setting become the normal, or at least greatly increased, in the decreased genetic material available.

    Straight away, I urge you to get both dogs neutered. Do not breed from these dogs. Please.

    I am not saying that you should never breed. Please, learn about the gentics, the pedigrees, the particular problems associated with Pekes - and there are many (would you really want to put your bitch through this process without knowing all you can know?) - and what you will do if your pups or bitch are at risk during whelping, what you will do if a pup is badly deformed at birth etc.

    Before you even think of breeding, please, seperate these dogs until they are neutered.

    The training/behavior problems are really secondary to the intention to breed these animals.

  7. #7
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    It seems like you posted your opinion assuming several things about me.

    One is that overbreeding is a problem in MY area. Overbreeding of animals in general is a problem, yes, but I've only ever seen one Peke around my area or the area I grew up just 5 hrs away from here. This area is more known for retrievers and hunting animals or Shih Tzus.

    Another is that I know little about breeding when, in fact, I grew up on farm where we bred horses and dogs (Weims, Retrievers, Beagles, and Mini Collies). I know the risks and demands of breeding animals and I also do not believe animals should only be bred for show. The majority of people who wish to own pets cannot afford to show their animals, nor do they want to. I do not think companionship is a second rate reason to breed or own animals. I also do not think the lack of desire or money to show animals reflects that someone will not take care of their pets. I feel that I invest more time, money, and energy into caring for my animals than most who own for companionship. I also do my research into my breed's special needs and try to prevent in any way possible health problems that I can help them to avoid.

    And no...the training/behavior problems are not secondary. They may be to you, but I live with these two particular animals and I love them very much. I would like to help them be as happy as possible, and if they are misbehaving that means they want something from me. Thus, their behavior problems are very important to the entire household's happiness.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giselle View Post


    Re: Female's dominance over the male. It's actually very common for the female to dominate the male, especially in unaltered dogs. I try not to mess with the dog's pecking order too much because too much human intervention can do more harm than good. However, to reassert yourself as THE one and only leader, I also recommend NILIF: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm
    Especially in regards to feeding, I would try "cooperative feeding". In other words, have both female and male sitting in front of you. Give the female a treat while simultaneously giving the male a treat. Then give the male a treat. IMMEDIATELY treat the female thereafter. A clicker works wonderfully for this. Repeat this enough so that the female regards you giving resources to the male as a good thing. And if she ever gets too rough with him or if she starts to border on bullying, take a can of pennies or use a very low, loud "NO!". And then redirect her to her toy or her bed or her area, whatever. Just remember: whenever you punish, you have to immediately follow up with a redirection. Good luck!
    NILIF sounds like one program that institutes several things that I've done with my dogs-especially the Weim. I always require the dogs "earn" their privileges. Even when letting them outside, they must sit until I say "ok". There are a couple of small things I haven't thought of doing, but I think we'll be implementing those things this week
    Last edited by Pekemom; 11-20-2008 at 06:34 PM. Reason: grammar

  9. #9
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    Yes, behaviour and training issues are secondary when more litters of mutated domestic animals of any species or breed are conceived to suffer the same as their forefathers that were trained and kept properly. This is not an attack on you, honestly, and it is, obviously, my own opinion. But if a breed of cow was known to give great milk yields, put on fantastic muscle for the meat market and yet every third animal had a recognised genetic problem that meant you couldn't breed from it, it lost 50% of it's calves because of inbreeding would farmers breed from them? No! Unless cows suddenly became a fashionable pet and humans started to decide what made a cow "pretty".

    It does matter how we train and treat the animals we have in our care right now, of course it does. My point was not against you in any way but if we do the right thing by the animals we have now, artificial creatures that suffer in great numbers to satisfy our (human) notions of perfection what makes us think that the next set of humans will behave any better than we have with the creatures we provide for them?

    Scandal! Am I saying that it is alright for some breeds to go? Yes, I am.....and yet, no I'm not. It would be so sad to let some of these breeds go without at least trying to breed back to original use of the dog. Labs, dalmations, Pekes, bloodhounds, dachsunds etc.

  10. #10
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    Despite all of your intense opinion-pushing, I still retain my stance that the most important point on this post is helping to rectify my dog's (or my) behavior problems.

    There are millions of causes out there that I could push, but I'm letting these forums be just what they are...forums for those seeking advise on their animals' behavior and not forums discussing philosophy or ideologies etc...

    If your so stuck on this issue, create another topic for it or join a lobbying group somewhere. If I were breeding the animals for show, no one would care. Why is it ok to breed for show and not companionship? Double standard...it's ok to breed animals to prance them around and show the pretty tricks they can do, but not ok to breed them for people seeking a companion who brightens the mood of a home, helps the owner deal with stress, and offers more loyalty than almost anything one can experience. There are many ways the mutation rate can be decreased in animals and much research has been done looking at methods of creating more genetic variation (i.e. genetic selection) within breeds.

    I'm done with your topic and am still concerned with mine. It is somewhat rude to dismiss someone's question in such a manner, but I'm not going to bother with being offended.
    Last edited by Pekemom; 11-20-2008 at 09:36 PM.

  11. #11
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    Another is that I know little about breeding when, in fact, I grew up on farm where we bred horses and dogs (Weims, Retrievers, Beagles, and Mini Collies). I know the risks and demands of breeding animals and I also do not believe animals should only be bred for show. The majority of people who wish to own pets cannot afford to show their animals, nor do they want to. I do not think companionship is a second rate reason to breed or own animals. I also do not think the lack of desire or money to show animals reflects that someone will not take care of their pets. I feel that I invest more time, money, and energy into caring for my animals than most who own for companionship. I also do my research into my breed's special needs and try to prevent in any way possible health problems that I can help them to avoid.


    I will be another one to say please do not breed your dogs! There are waaaay too many animals in the shelters.

    Kaitlyn (the human)
    Sadie & Rita (Forever in Our Hearts) (the Labbies)

  12. #12
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    Guys, let's just remember that the more you rely on argumentative/confrontational/offensive wording, the less you will be listened to. Talk about shooting one's self in the foot!

    Pekemom, the difference between breeding for showing and breeding for companionship is that there are, essentially, millions of companion-quality dogs being euthanized yearly in our country alone. Even though the problem may be nearly non-existent in your area, every drop affects the entire bucket. The reason some of us (I say SOME because many people on here are pro-working dogs and not necessarily pro-conformation) can agree with breeding for conformation/show ring is because breeding to a standard attempts to preserve the breed. By keeping a uniform type and temperament via the show ring, breeders can help preserve the breed as it was originally intentioned. However, when one breeds for companionship, one can totally disregard the breed type and the breed morphs. That's why we have Pekes like this:

    When the original Peke should really resemble a heavier coated version of Chik T'sun of Caversham:

    Comparing these two images, you can see how quickly breed type is lost and how quickly that "Pekingese" no longer resembles a "Pekingese". So, that's my little spiel on it. You sound like a very knowledgeable, responsible, and openminded person, so I trust you will make a good decision

    Back to the BEHAVIORAL issues...
    If a verbal "NO" is too much for your male, simply use your female's name. The dogs can tell the difference. You can try, "AY *female's name*!!" That way, the verbal reprimand is clearly directed towards the female.

    I HIGHLY recommend NILIF in the meantime. Really do implement it and be strict for now. NILIF is not just about earning privileges. It is also learning self-control. Dog has to "Wait" before coming in from the yard. Dog has to "Wait" before it can exit the front door. Dog has to give you eye contact before it can eat dinner. etc. etc. It's a comprehensive method. Use NILIF with everything all the time!

  13. #13
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    My issue is that breeding for show creates exactly the problem that Carrie was speaking of...low levels of genetic variation that cause animals within a breed to become more genetically similar thus creating more probability for mutation. Breeding for companionship is not as strict as breeding for show, so it seems to encourage more variation.

    I do see how different the two pictures. I've actually noted myself that my two pekes, although thoroughly purebred, do not have the same length of hair as a traditional Peke. My younger one's hair has not grown out fully yet, though, but I'm fairly certain it will not have the volume of the traditional style. Like I said though, I searched the kennels for weeks looking for Pekes or Peke mixes around here to no avail. Hunting/working animals are much more prominent in the South. Here in the eastern part of my state, you don't find many small breeds other than Yorkies or Shih Tzus because most people want hunting companions or retrievers. In the west side where I grew up, there aren't even that many shelters for animals. Inevitably, breeds that are over 2,000 years old will develop some genetic problems (like the Shar Pei) over the course of years, so I understand the points made fully...I just wasn't a fan of the person before you seeming to assume I was ignorant to all of these issues.

    My problem with calling Bianca's name is that I worry about associating her name in a negative manner may cause some problems...i.e. calling her name so she will come to me when she's outside playing may scare her instead of cause her to come to me. I've begun already reinstating the techniques in NILIF for my two. I'd used some of the ideas separately before when I read about some of them in training books. I like that NILIF incorporates all of the methods into one program to make it easier. She's in the rebelling stage right now, but she seems to be happy to learn the new commands we're trying to teach her. I hope that learning those commands will help her to respect her position in the household (not Alpha! ) She seems to have mixed feelings right now...doesn't know if she likes it yet or not.

  14. #14
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    I really only signed up for these forums to find ways to better care for my animals and not to debate ideologies. All I'm doing is saying that breeding is not my concern at the moment. IF I were to breed my animals it wouldn't be for another year or more anyways....One person can only do so much and I already have several causes in my life outside of making people knowledgeable about breeding animals. When 20% of our nation's poorest people are children (we currently have a 12.6% poverty rate...higher than most countries), I find I take a stronger stance of the needs of them over any stance on animal breeding. If animal rights (or whatever it falls into) is your stance, that is great (I'm serious...it really is great). I don't see myself as a bad pet owner for simply not making such things my priority in life.

  15. #15
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    Whatever the intended use of an animal, I make no distinction in my opinion.

    The point I was making was that it is only when the show ring is the destination for any animal that breeding for proper function and health suffers. It is then up to the people in charge of that ring that make the decisions about what makes a good breed type. Function and temperament are often stated in breed standards without proper testing of either. The animal in the show ring often has only to show the correct expression, gait and not growl at the judge for these to be "proved". I'm sorry I was not clearer in my original post, I am agreeing with you on the point that eventual use of the dog should not compromise the care taken in breeding it. I was wondering about the wisdom of breeding these animals at all and with what goal for increasing the health of the Peke population in general without solid bloodlines. You are starting with a pretty messed up breed, gentically, to start with. That was part of your post, this is a forum, it interested me, so I put my opinion in the open.

    You suggested that I join a "group" or become an activist....?

    We have never met, this is our first interaction. Maybe we could just talk for a bit before we direct each other away from a brilliant source of information, opinion and diversity? I have obviously offended you and I am sorry for that. It was not my intention at all. I tend to say what I think and I expect the same from others...I do not expect to upset or offend.

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