Dog dominates children

Hi Kathy

I came across your website whilst browsing the internet for advice about
my dog’s behavior.

We have a 6 month old Labrador, she is beautiful and we really love her, for
the most part she is everything we have always wanted in a dog, however,
she does display certain behavioral problems.  My husband and I have
established dominance over our pup which is working wonderfully, the
problem is that she seems to think of herself as dominant over our two
boys (9 and 7).  I was hoping that you could give me some desperately
needed advice as we don’t know how to proceed forward.

Dominance issues with dogs and kids

What to do if your dog dominates your child


Our lab does not play bite myself or my husband, but she constantly play

bites the children especially when they are playing outside.   She jumps

and bites and plays really rough.   Seeing that she displays this behavior

towards the children only, we thought it would make sense for them and not

us to teach her that they are her pack leaders and following are the

techniques we tried:

1.  Saying “No” in a loud and low voice

2.  Turning their back on her / ignoring her

3.  Growling at her, showing their teeth

4.  Giving her neck a “tuck” and saying no

None of the above mentioned techniques have worked as yet.


We know that dogs will chew when they are still puppies, however, this

problem has recently gotten worse as our lab started swimming.  She simply

does not leave the creepy crawly or the chlorine floater alone.  We are

having a very difficult time to get her to stop biting these items.  We

have tried the following:

1.  Saying “No, don’t bite”, and giving her something in return saying


This technique hasn’t worked as yet.


Labradors love to swim

Labradors can get excited and try to “rescue” swimmers

Our lab loves to swim, unfortunately she gets EXTREMELY excited when the

kids are swimming and this causes so much problems as the kids cannot swim

like they use to anymore.


She is constantly running away from us when she is doing something

“naughty”.  How do we stop this behavior?

My kids are still young and they themselves get very excited when they

play.  It has been very difficult for them to teach our Labrador that they are

the dominant ones.

We stay far in a small town (Ellisras) and I don’t believe we have any dog

behaviorists around here.  I would imagine that it would be costly to get

someone to come out all this way.

I am at home all day as I homeschool my kids, as a result Luna (our lab) gets a fair amount of attention.  We want our pets to become part of the

family and for this reason she is allowed to come inside the house.  She

is extremely well behaved indoors!  She’s more than happy to just lie down

on her little mat.  As yet she has not chewed on any items inside the

house.  When indoors she doesn’t run, she doesn’t bite, she doesn’t jump

and she is completely potty trained.


What to do when your dog does naughty things

When she’s good, she’s very very good, but when she’s bad, she’s horrid!

It is when she plays with the kids that she turns into a real monster

teenage dog (still lovingly though as she doesn’t have an aggressive bone

in her body).

It happened again today, she got hold of one of the creepy crawly pipes

and ran with it.  Now I know that we are not supposed to chase after her

as she obviously thinks that it is a game, but if we don’t she will

completely destroy it!  What do we do?  How do you handle the situation

when your dog gets hold of an item that she is not suppose to have when

all she does is run away from you ?  I haven’t taught her to stay, and as

yet I also haven’t taught her to come either.  Could this be part of the

problem?  Somehow I doubt that she will stop when I tell her to “stay”

because she gets into such an excited mode!

Labradors and kids

Young Labradors have tons of energy and need to be walked daily to release it!

Also, we have tried everything I’ve read about in order for the kids to

establish dominance over her but nothing has worked so far.  When they

turn their backs on her in an attempt to let her know she is being ignored

she simply jumps up on them from behind and bites them real hard.

Do you have any advice?


I am desperate!!!

Please help.

Linda Erasmus

Dear Linda,

Thanks for contacting us via our website.  Your Lab is in her “teenage” stage and is doing the normal things that young dogs do. Most dogs consider children to be just another dog, and they treat them as such. There needs to be a program in place to show that the children are higher in rank and not just a playmate, plus the children need to learn how to behave with the dog.

> All dogs teethe and this lasts from between 4months and 8 months of age. They will chew on everything and anything and even more exciting if it is moving!

Teething of puppies on expensice items

Dogs of about 6 months are teenagers and will chew on everything!

Many dogs get very excited when people are in the pool, they are worried and sometimes want to “save” them.

You are probably right, there are no behaviorists nearby your town. You
have done very well so far, but one thing I always tell people is NOT TO
TURN YOUR BACK on a dog. You cannot see if the dog is coming at you and of
course the dog still jumps. Tell the children to stand sit, fold their
turn their head to the side and shut their mouth. Dogs crave attention and
they want you to look at them, touch them, and speak to them – it hypes
up even more when you do this. Although Labs are water dogs, you could try
getting a spray bottle and filling it with water and give a direct spray
her eyes, dogs don’t usually like this. You can even put a touch of
citronella oil in the water (it won’t hurt her eyes.)

How to get your dog to listen to your kids

How to get your dog to listen to your kids

Get the children to feed her. She must sit for the food, they then pretend
to eat out of her bowl (alpha dogs eat first) and then put the bowl down.
She could even down for her food – this is a very submissive position.
When the children are playing then put her on a long line (5 to 10 metres)
and if she tries to run and jump on them give a strong tug and even pull
off her feet. Do that a couple of times and she should think twice about
jumping on them.
At no time let the children rough and tumble with her as this only makes
them equal in rank.
You need to put something horrible on the pool pipe. Go to the vet and get
some Avert and spray this on the pipe. Unfortunately it is in water so you
will need to do it often.

Chilli will stop dogs chewing things

Put chilli or bitter aloe spray on expensive things puppies chew

This is so bitter that when she grabs the pipe, it will not taste nice. You can even leave a pipe out of the pool and put the
Avert or Bitter Bite or even the hottest chilli sauce on it so that when
she grabs it is won’t taste nice.

She also needs to get a long walk or run every day. A tired dog is less
likely to get up to mischief.
I know of people that put their dog on a treadmill to get rid of extra

She is just  a youngster and this behavior is very typical and something
I have to go to many houses to fix.


Kathy Clayton

Accredited Companion Animal Behaviourist &Professional Dog Trainer
011 783 3042   082 454 1750

Thanks so much Kathy, your advice is just what I’ve been looking for.  I
will implement it right away.  for a young pup Luna is mostly such a well
behaved dog.  I’m sure that your advice will help us curb the remaining
problems and help us on our way to an even happier relationship between
man and dog.

I really appreciate the time you took to answer my questions!!





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