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Canine Behavior/new rescue dog


"Our 5 year old border collie mix (rescued from a high kill shelter) just lost her 10 year old Mastiff mix pal.  We have had two dogs for a long time.  Roxie is spayed.  Today, we saw a 9 month old mix breed dog (rescued from high kill shelter)who was neutered three days ago.  We had the dogs meet on neutral ground and they got along well.  We brought the new dog, Dexter home today on a trial basis.  He is so sweet and affectionate.  There is no food or toy aggression at all.  Both dogs are getting along very well. Now that they are more comfortable with each other, he started mounting her. I realize that he was recently neutered and testosterone is still flowing; however this is a behavior I want to extinguish right away. How should we react when Dexter tries to mount Roxie?"

In this case, "mounting" may be sexual because the dog was just neutered. Often, "mounting"is a statement of social hierarchy. So long as your bitch is accepting (or "corrects" him with a snarl and snap), there is no problem.  However: I suggest you use positive reinforcement to create a behavior your dog will do ten out of ten times *in other words, every single time you ask for it* for high value reward (hot dog bits, string cheese, etc.)  Because mounting behavior is so primal if it is biological (rather than social), you will NOT be able to redirect the dog at first.  It will take weeks.  You have on had this dog for ONE DAY.

Give it two to three weeks.  BUT...teach this dog to "sit" using positive reinforcement:

Once the dog has "got it" (and this should not take more than approximately 35 repetitions, randomly, over the next week), ask him to "sit" for everything (Nothing In Life Is Free) for the next few months.  This will put him squarely in a place of social hierarchy UNDER you; it will also let your bitch know this is happening (do not do this with her). Dexter will then relax into a life where someone else is in charge; Roxie will maintain her "right" as a bitch to call the "shots" (also under your direction).  Use followup feature for any further questions.

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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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