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Thread: Excitable Puppy and Kids

  1. #1

    Question Excitable Puppy and Kids

    Hello -first post here.

    Question for the experts. We have just brought home a neo mastiff cross puppy home into our family. The kids were used to a large dog as we had a GSDx who passed away last year. However as you can imagine there is a world of difference between a very old GSD and excitable mastiff puppy. The kids need to teach the puppy now that they are above it in the pack, I just need a few tips of how to establiish this. So far we are concentrating on saying no and keeping still and breaking out the squirty bottle when it all gets too intense.

    It is very early days but given the potential huge size of our puppy we need to get the pecking order sorted sooner, rather than later.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Near Newcastle, NSW


    Pack Mentality

    From the day you take your pup/rescue dog home he’s learning about the ‘pack’ and his place within it. Early on he’ll have his paws full trying to work out what goes where and who does what but as he sttles he’ll start probing to see where he stands.
    Your dog will not rest until he has identified the pack leader. He may decide that it’s you but he may not and should he detect no leader at all you can be sure of trouble. If you are to be the dog’s trainer it is absolutely imperative you establish your leadership credentials.

    Pack leadership is established in everyday interaction between pack members. Here are some of the more important illustrations.

    Pack leaders do not allow youngsters and lower pack members to have what they want when they want it. They use their authority to make them wait, sometimes denying them altogether.
    This sets a powerful example of who’s in charge and teaches patience to excitable young dogs. Making your dog sit and ignore things that excite him is a good way to establish your Leadership.

    Sleeping arrangements:
    No pack leader worthy of the name would ever allow a subordinate anywhere near his sleeping quarters. Only his chosen female is allowed to share the pack leader’s bed. Any pack members failing to observe this strict rule do so at their peril.
    So it’s hardly surprising when owners allow their dogs into their bedroom that they get the wrong idea. I don’t know of any dog occupying his owner’s sleeping quarters that does not eventually develop improper behaviour. Sometimes it’s disobedience, more often it’s possessiveness that transforms into aggression.
    Do not under any circumstances allow your dog into the bedroom or onto your furniture. Dogs’ belong on the floor if you want to pet him that’s the place to do it.

    Kids and dogs:
    When children are very small it’s good to establish a no-go area between them and your dog that neither enter without your permission. That way you can safely control the interaction.
    Older kids can be taught leadership skills to gain the dog’s respect. Under no circumstances should children roll around on the floor with a puppy or adult dog.

    Dogs grow fast and will soon come to regard submissive little children as puppies and will react exactly the way they would to any other puppy. Should the kids get in the way the dog will nip them. This is exactly how dogs get branded ‘dangerous’ when all they are doing is reading the natural signals.

    Kids can be leaders too, it’s just education.

    Tug ‘o’ wars and wrestling:
    Ignore that macho theory that beating your dog at tug ‘o’ war establishes leadership. All it does is teach aggression and is exactly the way police dogs are trained.
    Rough games are highly inappropriate for a pet dog. Far better to play retrieving or hunting for titbits or teach him tricks.
    Make sure you are at the centre of all your dog’s play keeping it calm and constructive and you will be a true leader.

    Pulling on the lead:
    Pulling on the lead is a clear indication that your dog thinks he’s in control. It’s no fun being dragged around by an excited dog fortunately the solution is very simple.

    All you need do is make up your mind that your dog will never walk another step in front of you and be consistent. If it takes twenty minutes to walk down your garden path you must not allow your dog to go in front.

    With your dog at your left hand side and a loose lead walk him to heel. If he surges ahead simply swing around 180 degrees snap the lead and go in the opposite direction. When he catches you up turn around and try again.

    If you are resolute your dog will soon learn he’s going nowhere unless he walks beside you on a loose lead.

    In order for your dog to understand it’s very important to be consistent so make absolutely sure you have him at your left hand side EVERY time. Make the space at your left leg his comfort zone and correct him with a firm snap of the lead if he strays.

    He will soon realise YOU are in control.

    Mental Strength:
    Dogs are not as clever as Disney portrays but there is one area in which they are infallible: reading other animals and that includes YOU.
    You cannot lie to a dog; your dog will know every slight change in your mood and react accordingly. If you are afraid he is going to misbehave he’ll do exactly that. Pack Leaders control the pack by mental strength.

    Paint a strong positive picture and that’s what you’ll get but you cannot fake it. Your dog will know whether you have confidence ort not

    There must be no dog fights. Your dog must not get injured on your watch, no leader would allow it. You are your dog’s guardian-no excuses. Whatever it takes you must protect your dog.
    Allowing him to run out of control in places where there are lots of excitable dogs is not clever. If he gets attacked your leadership credentials are zero.
    Conversely your dog must not attack others Pack Leaders do not allow attacks without their permission and you must deny them.
    That way you prove your own strength as Leader.

    Dog Training Pack Mentality

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Devonport, Tasmania


    How old are your children?

  4. #4


    15, 10 and 4. It is the 4 year old that is having the biggest issues as she can't get her voice low and gets scared when Lucy is jumping and nipping at her.

    Thankfully Lucy doesn't sustain her jumping nipping for long - just when she is having mad half hour.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Devonport, Tasmania


    Thanks for answering my question Echo.

    IMO it really is up to you as the dog's leader to nip this jumping and nipping in the bud immediately. A 4 year old child cannot be expected to do that whatsoever. TBH no child should have to.
    As the adult yourself, or your husband/partner needs to address these issues so the dog does not behave like that with ANYONE.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Remove the dog to outside to have her mad 1/2 hour. Do not speak harshly etc just remove dog to outside where it can burn off the energy.

    Is this happening mainly first up in the morning? During games? When the child is running or playing outside?

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