Why Does My Dog: Get So Boisterous?

Q            My puppy Jack Russell is very boisterous and goes mad when I put a collar and lead on her. She’s ten weeks old and bites me when I pick her up. Perhaps I got the wrong breed? Will she always be so aggressive?


A            Our approach to puppies of any breed is generally the cause of them biting us. They’re cute and cuddly, so we want to show our affection and give them everything we think they need to make them happy and love us. It’s a sad situation when puppies bite their adoring owners, but all is not lost. I would suggest that you take a step back and let her see that biting you won’t work. It’s her way of trying to control you, just as she would have done with her siblings in the litter. Handling/touching a dog is reward in itself; it is in fact our primary means of giving acknowledgement, praise and affection. It’s really high value to a dog and if we give attention that is not earned we are falling into the trap of reducing our status in the dog’s mind. Expect your puppy to earn everything: her meals, cuddles, playtime etc. Ask her to “sit”, “come” or give you her immediate attention. That will put a higher value on you and what you give her.

Essex Dog Academy offers a puppy home visit that will help you solve any problems you may be experiencing with your puppy, so call Sue today to book – it will make a world of difference to you and your puppy! 

Why does a 6 year old GSD Bitch often mount 5 year old GSD Male?

Q            My six-year-old spayed German Shepherd bitch often mounts my entire male Shepherd, who is a year younger. She shows no aggression, but why does she do this?


A            Quite simply she is asserting herself over the dog. By placing her paws on the dog, she is sending a message that she is dominant and intends to keep him as the lower ranking pack member. Mounting is commonly seen between same sex dogs in order to establish procreation rights – the stronger dogs and bitches are those that mate within packs. Young dogs often mount each other during the onset of puberty, when their systems experience a hormonal surge and they try to establish seniority. Dogs may also attempt to mount their human owners in a bid to elevate their status if the owner appears weak to the dog. It is generally thought that spaying or neutering will stop such dominant behaviour, however, this is obviously not always the case. In my experience, a sharp word to the dominant dog is all that is required to stop the behaviour; obedience training to a reasonable standard when dogs are young (particularly) will enable a competent owner to do this. As an alternative, distract them by making a sharp sound and giving a firm command “no” or “off”.  However, if you are distressed by it, I suggest that you contact Sue Gilmore, a highly experienced and qualified professional dog behaviourist, to help you overcome these episodes, which would appear to be harmless and dogs being dogs in this case.


Why Does My Dog: Fear Men?

Many dogs are apparently fearful of men, even those dogs that seemingly have no reason to be. Perhaps the most common reason is that as a puppy he was not socialised with men so they are an unknown quantity. Men are generally bigger than women, have deeper voices and are often physically stronger, which may be threatening to a fearful dog. The pheromones given off by men are different to those of women, they also use different personal hygiene products and given that dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell, puppies are brought up by their mothers whose comforting smell of oestrogen remains hard-wired into their olfactory systems throughout life; their fathers tend to be absent during this period of nurturing.

Another possibility is that puppies tend to trigger maternal instincts in women; they naturally want to comfort puppies whereas men tend to be more assertive and want to be playmates.

On a positive note, if your dog is fearful of men, as a  professionally qualified behaviourist Sue Gilmore will be able to help you resolve the problem so that your dog can be calm and relaxed around all visitors and when men approach outside the home.