- MemberMay 31, 2017 at 4:38 am36
I am glad to see that you caught early signs of Radar’s change in behavior and that you are being proactive about preventing possible issues from developing down the road. Prevention is always better than fixing!
In order for us to better help you, what exactly do you mean by “his behavior has turned more alpha”? Did anything in particular happened?
You are definitely on the right track by decreasing your affection for Radar and in teaching him, and your son, about the rules with toys.
If you have not already, I highly encourage you to read the “leadership” page.
This will not only help give you and your son a guideline of how to naturally put yourself in the position of leadership, but it will also help you prevent and manage a lot of issues that can potentially arise.
Just wanted to add a few more things I think may be beneficial to you:
1) Obedience training is a great way to develop a healthy and clear relationship with your dog. It’ll naturally put you in a teaching and leading position and your dog in a following and listening position. Not to mention it’s functional benefit.
We have free instructional videos of phase 1-3 here. (Mike is still in the process of updating the content of some of the videos to reflect the updates in our training system, but it’s relatively minor and these videos are still pretty accurate)
These videos will also help you prepare Radar for the e collar (phase 3) since you mentioned he is not ready for it yet.
2) You are clearly a very responsible mom and dog owner. I know you have already stated you are teaching your son to not snuggle too much with Radar (which is great!) but, just to be safe, I just want to reemphasize again how important this particular point really is.
Especially with your current situation of Radar in the process of showing more dominant behavior (I am assuming you mean this based on what you said about his behavior being more “alpha”) and your son being very young. A very risky combination if not carefully managed. Dogs, especially one with more dominant personality, can potentially “discipline” a child in situations such as hugging, since this can be seen as dominant body language from their perspective. It is absolutely important to make sure your son understand to respect your dog’s personal space. Part of being a good leader is respecting your dog and their nature.
3) It is great that you are teaching Radar to not walk in front of you. This definitely make the walk more enjoyable and safe. But, it should be noted that a dog walking in front of you have nothing to do with dominance. Alpha wolves in the wild don’t always have to be in front, they can be anywhere physically, what counts is that they are the one controlling the direction and activity of the pack. So this is more of an obedience issue (loose leash walking/heeling) than a dominance issue. You can check our the leash manner and heeling video to help teach your dog to walk nicely on leash.
Sorry for the long reply! Hope this help. Please let us know how things go.
I am sure there are more things to be said, so everyone feel free to chime in on anything that I missed!