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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How would you start to train a large dog that is showing dominance around people?

It is 2 years old, maybe a little older. I am thinking about looking after it for a few weeks for a friend of a friend who is going travelling it but am unsure because I have children.

It is one of those large muscular breeds, unsure what exactly. Could have mastiff or American pitbull?

When I visited it sat on the sofa and would not move. When I met him, he jumped up and then was humping people. I don't think it is used to training as it had one of those feeders that keep filling up the bowl.

I am used to training a dog to sit, stay and wait for the command to eat, and being trained to sit when guests come to the house. So maybe I have too strict standards? My training experience is only superficial as the trained dog I looked after was my mum's. I have only just started in the last two months.
 

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Jumping & humping - dominance is only 1 of the reasons they do it. Others
are they like/love you, hormones, attention. Have you noticed thay don't often jump/hump people/dogs they don't like? I've never seen it. Proving dominance is not the only cause. Personally I think it's risky taking on a dog of that breed thats untrained, that you dont know, for a short time when you have children. However you may be 1 of those people who is willing to take that risk. Training my big dogs & small ones for me is the same. You do need to be confident you can cope before taking a dog like this on though, & that your children will cope. . . . make sure your precious children will be safe.
 

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I dont think teaching a dog to respect people & your things is too strict, just common sense as they have to be domesticated to live with us. Well done you for learning & training your mums dog! I dont think its always how long you've been doing it that counts, (although time & experience do help) some people have a natural affinity with training & dogs & it may look like they've been doing it for years. Keep going. So many dogs out there need us all, it's great to see so many people on here who genuinely care.
 

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I think jumping and humping can be a test with new dogs and people. I know people here freak out about alpha and dominant terms and a well known tv trainer but I've trained horses for many years and herd Dynamics is all about dominant and passive behavior. An established herd avoids conflict but let one new horse enter or one horse get sick or hurt or change the routine and drama ensues! My mare has had many serious injuries from alpha dominant other horses cornering her and her not fighting back when she should have. It does exist.

My dog goes to greet every dog that comes into the dog park. Most dogs he politely sniffs and walks away. Young male dogs, especially male ones he immediately tries to hump. If I don't prevent or stop that IMMEDIATELY there'll inevitably be a scuffle or a pissed off owner. If any dog, male or female does that to him, he gets very assertive and snappy and won't tolerate it at all, even for a second. He'll repeatedly do it to his best friends, male or female, until they get mad and "attack" him. Never any blood drawn or serious fight but they won't play with him that day cause he pisses them off. He's much more respectful of female dogs than males.
Looks like a dominance thing to me. He only does it to dogs never people.
 

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Great article about humping....not attributed to dominance

Ok guys, I want to share this interesting article about dog humping/mounting.

Marc Bekoff Ph.D.
Animal Emotions

Why Dogs Hump


"There isn't a single reason behind this normal behavior"

"Mounting and humping should not be considered abnormal behavior patterns.
While mounting is best known for its role in reproduction, it also occurs in many other contexts and emotional states.

Dogs mount when they're excited and aroused and even when they're stressed and anxious.

Mounting could also be what ethologists call a displacement behavior, meaning that it's a byproduct of conflicted emotions. For some dogs a new visitor to the house could elicit a mixture of excitement and stress that could make for a humping dog.


Mounting is also very common during play, sometimes as an attention-getter, an affiliative behavior, or when a dog is over-excited.
I've seen dogs going "beserk", enjoying that "doggy fit" - running here and there and mounting and humping a friend...

What about dominance and mounting?
In a recent article on mounting, Peter Borchelt, Ph. D., a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) in New York City, noted, “Mounting could be part of a suite of behaviors associated with aggression, such as high posture, resource guarding, direct stares, and threats and standing over. But mounting, in and of itself, doesn’t indicate a status issue. By itself, mounting might not mean a lot.” (cited in Hecht, 2012).

If mounting suggests a dog is under-stimulated perhaps they could be provided with additional mental or physical activities. If mounting suggests anxiety it would be good to increase a dog’s comfort level in a particular situation, Or, if a dog gets overstimulated and goes bonkers or gets rude or impolite during social interactions with other dogs or people, it would be good to encourage mutually-beneficial interactions. Guardians (aka owners) can intervene in mounting and humping by getting the dog's attention-getting or by teaching an alternate behavior to assist the dog in their interactions with others."

Link to this article:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/201209/why-dogs-hump
--
 

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I think it sounds very generous of you to offer to watch your friend's large dog!!!

But---what do we always say? Trust your instincts.

If the dog is too wild or overly excited ---or uses aggression at times to solve problems, then I would caution you to think hard about it if you have small children. (Or any children)

As we all know kids (of all ages) can be unpredictable, can scream in fun or in fear, move fast, chase, and generally have not-so-hot dog manners ---and then can set off any unknown dog. But with a large breed dog, and kids, serious harm can happen if the dog is not used to dealing with kiddos. Not all dogs are used to kidlets and their high energy, and this can lead to problems.

Not saying anything bad will happen, but if you are unsure of either your kids' reactions to a large dog, or this dog's experience with kids, I would think hard about the safety issues.

I would not subject my shy dog to staying with kids since she does not have enough experience with them. Unfair and unsafe.

I introduced my gentle super social Puma pup to a young girl and her mom the other day, and the girl pet Puma nicely--- and then SCREAMED loudly in Puma's face!! The kid scared the crap out of me and took me by total surprise. Luckily I have socialized the heck out of Puma pup and I work with her all the time to not be fearful of anything, so she did not react at all. (whew!) But----another dog may very well have bit the kid in utter surprise/fear. The girl's loud sudden scream made me jump!

Ya never know with kiddos how they are gonna react to a dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you

Thank you for all your posts. All very useful!

So I realise I am misinformed about humping being a sign of dominance, thank you for all your advice there, good to learn.

What about sofa hogging and refusing to get off when commanded to? is that just down to not being trained? I am wondering in general :)

Appreciate your wisdom ;)
 

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ha ha Thats really both, its typical for a pitty mastiff to be strong willed. He's more than likely thinking it's his couch & how dare you tell him to get off his own couch. ha ha & wondering why your sitting on HIS couch aswell! some nerve you've got! So yeah you do need to be calm but firm with that type of dog.
 

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Personally I would be concerned with being able to control the dog while you have him. You've got kids. Taking a bit of a gamble. The dog sounds untrained and the breed/s you described arent always the easiest to handle.
 

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He might be trained but just not listen to strangers or he might not be well trained. If his owner lets him lie on the furniture he thinks it's his sofa and is letting you the visitor share it.
My last dog and my current dog almost never listen/ed to anyone other than me unless it's someone they know very well that occasionally helps care for them or someone who is literally holding food in their hand.
Some arrogant guy in public who acted like some kind of dog expert approached us once, asked me a couple of questions about my dog who was lying quietly at my feet and the second I let my dog approach him to be friendly, he starts giving him commands in a strict harsh voice. My dog ignored him and went back to leaning on my legs sensing no pats, scratches or treats were forthcoming. The guy told me my dog had no training and I said no he's actually well trained but he's loyal and doesn't listen to strangers. Then proceeded to have my pup go through a whole bunch of tricks with barely a word.
Tail wagging, practically preening and showing off for praise and knowing bacon treats were in his very near future lol.
After the guy picked his jaw up off the floor he said he's a very well trained smart dog and good job or something like that. Said something about him owning and maybe competing several dogs I don't even remember.
Anyway, if you do watch this dog, treats can motivate him. I've taught many of the regular local dogs at the dog park that it's not ok to jump on me even though they jump on their owners and everyone else. They see me give my dog a treat and come racing over and I give them one too, but only if they sit with no jumping.

Definitely teach your kids not to surprise or scare him or crawl all over him or tease or annoy him by pulling or pinching or hugging him. If they're old enough to treat him respectfully and cautiously and listen to you, it's a little safer. I wouldn't leave any kids alone with my dog and he's friendly, but especially not an unknown dog.
Can't your friend who owns him tell you all about his training and behavior and quirks so you know how safe it is to watch him or not? Wouldn't his owner know if he was good around kids or not? Seems strange you don't have much information.
 

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Humping...not dominance here....

So I realize I am misinformed about humping being a sign of dominance, thank you for all your advice there, good to learn.
I am so glad you asked about dog humping the other day so I, too could read more about that lovely act. Funny, because my Gracie girl has for the first time just started mounting or humping my Puma pup who is in heat for the first time. She has never done that to any dog or anything at all, so I was a bit surprised.

Puma pup is very gentle natured so when Gracie tries it while they are also playing, Puma seems to just move her body away--no aggressive correction from Puma (thankfully!)

Puma is being patient with Gracie, so far, but I do watch them while thy are playing just to be sure.

When it happens, I gently call Gracie off her, since I don't think it is a good habit for her to learn, even if it is not completely uncommon behavior or particularly threatening between dogs. I would just worry if she ever were to try that with a strange dog, that other dog may take offense to it and act aggressively to her.

I guess that "in heat" hormones are pretty strong, huh?
 
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