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Ask Alecia: My Great Dane Is Misbehaving!

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Dear Alecia,

I rescued a female Great Dane who sleeps with me in bed at night.  If I go to bed before my husband, “Dottie” goes beserk.  She barks and I almost think she would bite him if I didn’t hold her back.  She is fine with other males.

She also use to ride in the car very well, and now she is a maniac when we go. My other two dogs are perfect, and she runs from one side of the car to the other barking. Otherwise, she is a doll. — Diane

Dear Diane,

It sounds like Dottie is using her size to control and manipulate the relationship between you and your husband.  First thing I would recommend is not allowing Dottie to sleep in your bed.  By allowing her to do so she is running the show.

Second, what re-training have you done with Dottie?  Or have you allowed your other dogs to train her?  I would highly recommend retraining on all basic commands and walking on lead to establish who the leader is and allow her to relax into her role.

Lastly I would consider Dottie having to do some work for what she wants- sit and stay for treats, laying down to get her food, sitting before she goes outside, etc.

Sounds like Dottie is a great gal who needs some reminders about the chain of command.

I would also recommend walking Dottie in a Walk In Sync™ Harness for better boundaries and clear communication.

Paws Up!


Alecia Evans, PDT, MA

Alecia Evans is the inventor of The Walk In Sync™ Humane Dog Walking and Training System with her exclusive 5 Minute Manners Makeovers using the Walk In Sync™ Harness and Accu-Grip Leash, along with her Walk In Sync™ 3 Easy Steps to teach any human/dog duos to Walk In Sync in just minutes.

The former host of the award-winning GrassRoots Aspen TV Series, The Whole Animal-An Alternative Approach to Animal Care, Alecia takes a natural approach to dog training and health care. Her work has been featured on Fox and Friends, The Sandra Glosser Show, NY 1, and in Aspen Magazine,, The New York Daily News and Woof Report.

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Hanna at Dog Products

Friday 5th of August 2011

Hi Alicia and Diane,

I too have recently rescued a dog who is merely a 15 pound Shih Tzu so size, in this case, is not the issue.

This new guy has taken over the household from day one. He won’t allow my other dog near any of the doggie beds, he attempts to monopolize all the dog toys, he makes sure that he gets to me for attention first, etc.

I feel so bad for my first Shih Tzu who’s got seniority but is not allowed to practice it.

What can I do to equalize their status? Or maybe I should just wait for them to work out their own differences?


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