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Have any of you dealt with a young male beagle with a dominant personality?

We've had Tramp since he was 8 weeks old. He is now 6 1/2 months old (neutered a month ago), crate trained and still doesn't know his place in the pack very well (or does and doesn't like omega position). We use methods seen on The Dog Whisperer which usually calms him into a submisive state, but not always - sometimes it just escalates (especially with my husband).

Tramp does try to get dominant with me, but not nearly as much as with the hubby or our daughter. He and hubby had a struggle this afternoon, not long after hubby taking Tramp for a 45 min. brisk walk and Tramp did very well... we thought it would have helped. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/frown.gif

We have a six year old and he has on occassion nipped at her, trying to show dominance - this afternoon one tooth connected and gave her a small welted tooth scrape. She was not bothering him or instigating, but telling him "off" when he was trying to get her popcorn from the table. She does regularily give him treats and he won't take it from her hand with hearing "take it". He often trails along behind her trying to get a whiff of her butt (until I intervene)... which also makes me believe he sees her as another dog to dominate... this is rarely tried with hubby or I.

He doesn't sleep on the bed with us... as we found his behaviour is worse if I fall asleep on the couch with Tramp curled up with me, and the hubby is asleep on the floor with the t.v. going. Perhaps Tramp thinks HE'S my man? /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/confused.gif

We have been to puppy kindergarten with other dogs (non-dominant females), so it's not that we have no clue and no training.

I know lack of socialization is a concern we need to address, could this be contributing to our problem?

Any tips for dealing with this kind of dominant personality? I'm rather surprised to find this trait in a Beagle... :conf12:
 

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I'm not sure it is male dominant or not. The other night my husband tried to be nice and covered Charlie with a blanket, it is getting rather chill here at night. Charlie snapped at my husband and a growl. No problem with me doing that though. I told my husband if he does it again, he needs to tell him firmly "no". Seems like minor but it can grow into a bigger issue.
 

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We have a male beagle, he is one year and three months old. We have had a few dominance and aggression problems with him which started around 8 months of age. Initially it was food guarding - if we gave him a particularly tasty bone he would growl and guard the bone if anyone came near - never mind that we had no intention of taking it off him. Now he does not get bones at all anymore. He is fine with us approaching the food in his bowl and always has been, and when we give him those tooth cleaning chews we always hold onto the other end while he gnaws on it - he has to share it with us or not have it at all now.

Next it was stolen items, anything he had taken that he knew he shouldn't have, if you approached him to take it off him he would growl, get defensive, hold onto the item for grim death, and even nip on occasion. To start with my partner met growling with a fierce telling off and forced removal of the item, but this just seemed to escalate our dogs behaviour at the time. My mother would back off and call me to come and remove whatever it was that the dog had taken - but after that he would growl at my mother more than anyone else. In the end two things seem to have worked for me - if he has stolen the newspaper or a sponge or something most of the time I will walk up to him, say 'thank you very much' in a strong cheery voice with a big smile on my face, whip the item out of his mouth and praise him. If its something that dosent matter very much (newspaper already chewed... cant read it now!) I might give it back to him, he can chew it again until he is bored of it. If its something that might hurt him, or something that must not be chewed he does not get it back. However what really worked was the bag of treats in the kitchen. Swapping treats for stolen items has worked well, and now you only have to rustle the packet and he will drop whatever it is and appear, itemless, at your feet in a sit waiting for his treat. My mum uses the treats exclusively now to retrieve items and he has not growled at her in ages.

He also tries to place guard from time to time - if he does not want to get off the couch at bed time, he will let you know. I just completely ignore the protest and boot him off anyway. If he is somewhere he cant easily be removed from (under the bed) then I'll lure him out with a treat.

We might go for weeks and weeks without a single dominant outburst and then one day it will just re-surface, and we might have three or four incidents in a day. It seems to be getting better with time, but I have to say that it is always upsetting to me when my best beagle chum acts like that. Part of me wants to really tell him off - but to be honest my boyfriend tried that and it does not seem to work. The other thing that gets me is that even after the worst growling and aggressive outburst as soon as you have taken the item away he instantly reverts back to his normal self and wants to be your best pal again.

I am hoping that at the moment he is just a horrible teenager testing the water, and that one day all this will be a distant memory - just like the puppy mouthing and indoor toilet training messes are now!
 

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Just out of curiosity - how long does the puppy mouthing stage last. Snoopy is nearly 8 mths old and still play mouthes all the time and if you walk past him ( especially if it's one of the kids) he'll nip at their pants or whatever in a "playful" way. It's not aggressive but it still hurts them. We've tried the watersprayer ( which works if I have it handy but I don't always have it on me when it happens) and I've told the kids to turn away from him etc..but they just get scared and he'll usually nip their butt then. It's really frustrating and hubby is ready to rehome him if he doesn't grow out of this soon. We do a lot of training with him and he gets plenty of exercise etc. At the moment we've resorted to putting one of those meshy ( ie non-occlusive) muzzles on him when he's outside with the kids- it's either that or he'd spend half his life locked in the bathroom or tied up.
 

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Puppy mouthing felt like it would go on forever! We don't have any kids so the mouthing was more of an annoyance than a serious problem for us. It faded away really gradually so I cant say really when it stopped - definitely by a year. We did what you are doing - turn away when the mouthing starts, ignore the dog all together, or yell "ouch" and look hurt if its really bad, although I don't think he developed the brain faculties to understand he had hurt us for ages! He used to run up and nip our trouser legs (and sometimes our actual legs underneath!) in play too. It was worst when he had an attack of the puppy crazies - usually after eating, when he was just so excited there was nothing we could do with him. When he got like that we would just sit at the table and read the paper or something for an hour - ignoring him until he calmed down.

Luckily he is a lot calmer now, the puppy crazies are a thing of the past, but at the time we thought it would never end! However if we don't keep on top of the mouthing it threatens to return. We often take Bailey down to the pub with us, he has more friends in there than we do! But one of the downsides of that is ignorant blokes in the pub who love to play rough and tumble "biting" games with him where they allow him to mouth their hands and sleeves. If I catch them doing it they get a good telling off - we allow him to chomp on a toy during boisterous games, but not hands ever. If he has been allowed to play a game like this, even just once, we will see mouthing again at home over the following week. I think it is one of those self rewarding behaviours (he thinks its really fun!), and if they think they are allowed to play like that it might never end.

Perhaps you could pop your pup on a long house lead for some supervised training sessions playing with the kids in the garden - you can then pull him off if he starts mouthing or jumping up or anything inappropriate and tell him no or squirt him with water, and then reward him for playing nicely with the kids? Something I did not realise when we first got Bailey was how long it would take for behaviours to change - I think really it was a combination of him maturing and months and months of consistent action on our part. Seeing him now, and comparing him to the dog he was even just a few months ago, has made us realise how much of an immature brain he had (and probably still has!) even though his body looked grown up.

Good luck, I'm sure it will get better. It sounds like you are doing all the right things, and hopefully he will calm down by himself as he gets older.
 

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Well we've booked Snoopy in for some more obedience training ( he's only done puppy preschool and "at home" training), we also talked to a doggy psychologist ( it was part of the requirement before booking him into the course and didn't cost any extra) and she's mainly worried about his separation anxiety and not too stressed about the mouthing thing as it's not "aggressive" - there's no growling or anything viscious involved- I always knew he didn't have a mean bone in his body he just gets overly wound up when the kids are running around in the backyard. basically just "normal" puppy behaviour that will improve with age and more obedience training and most importantly "training the kids!!!" LOL that'll be hardest of all. She did say that beagles are one the hardest breeds to train and that we have a lot of work ahead of us....well we knew that too /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif But they are SOOOOOOOOOOOO worth it /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif No matter how cheeky he is during the day - when he's all curled up on his bed at night he is supercute and gentle and all is forgiven /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif He's only 8 months old - a rebellious teenager. I bought a clicker today and will try clicker training as that's meant to work well for food driven dogs. Has anyone else here used it?
 
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