Canine Behavior/dog


99% of the time my 1 year old golden retriever is great.  Milly came to live with us 3 weeks ago.  The first few days she was with us it was great.  In the house she is generally fine but when I take her for a walk she will be walking perfectly fine and then turn, look at me and either jump or nip at my hands and grab my gloves.  I have been told that she just wants to play.  I brought Milly to two people regarding this.  One person mentioned that I should buy a pinch collar but then would not sell it to me as it will not help.  The other we visited was helpful and we are working on techniques that we were given.  Today my son went outside to help Milly with her leash and she jumped on him.  I believe she just wanted to play with him but gave him a bruise.  I would like to keep Milly but I am at the point that I am not sure if that is a good idea since she also gives my other son a hard time.  Please remember that this is only approximately 1% of the time.  How should I proceed?

After a mere three weeks, the dog may be demonstrating the reason she is a "rescue", or the reason the original owner put her up for "adoption".  When the dog stops and turns (as you describe), turn your back on her completely.  Continue to do this as she attempts to "confront" you until she is VISIBLY calm then ask for "sit", praise, go forward.  This is not "play" behavior, it is most likely the result of some stimulus in the immediate environment that interrupts her cognition and causes her stress.  The person who recommended the pinch collar should wear one, I'd be happy to be at the end of that leash.  ;o)  Since you have found an apparently enlightened trainer (as you report), stick with that person.  Reward the behaviors you LIKE, ignore the behaviors you do not like.  Milly should not be tied up outside for any reason.  There's some association between her anxiety and the leash.  Your children should have no responsibility for this dog at the present time.  It's doubtful she intended to harm the child, but an excited dog can injure a human without any intention and of course we want to be certain your children are not put into that situation.  I don't know what you mean by "she gives my other son a hard time".  I can't see anything from here.  I would require a more in-depth report from you.  That 1% might increase if the dog does not learn to trust and does not learn her "place" in your social hierarchy.  I can't make a prediction.

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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