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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20179
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hello, hope you can help! Here is the story! My girlfriend

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Hello, hope you can help! Here is the story!
My girlfriend lives in Germany and has a Weimaraner called Finn, she has had Finn since the age of 9 months, before he lived with her dad. Finn is now just over 2 years old. I am English and moved to Germany to live with my girlfriend. Finn was 1 year and 2 months old when I came to Germany. Since I have lived in Germany I have struggled to find work and have spent many months at home why my girlfriend goes to work. I have walked the dogs (we also have a dog called Niki, she was a rescue dog), fed them and generally looked after them during the day why she is at work. Over the last 6 months Finn's behaviour has changed towards my girlfriend, he no longer greets her when she comes home, he doesn't want to sit next to her on the sofa and the biggest problem, he has started growling at her. He growls when she goes near him to say hello and other times for just no reason!! I have done some research on the net, I'm thinking its because he sees that his leader has changed and may be some separation anxiety to my girlfriend. Am I right thinking this? Now we are stuck with what to do and my girlfriend is very upset by it as there relationship was so close before I moved to Germany. I feel bad because he seems more interested in me than her..... Can you help?
Many thanks Austin
Hi Austin,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

You are partially correct. Since you are the person he is having the most interaction with, you become the leader of the pack. You likely walk him and feed him the majority of the time. You probably make him listen as well. Moreover, your girlfriend likely just wants to show him affection and give treats. To a dog, you don't fawn over another lower pack member. Only a higher pack member gets attention without earning it.

So he sees her as being lower in the pack norder now. This is easily fixed though. He just needs to see her as the boss again. He should not be allowed on the couch. He is an adult now and when he is raised to the same level as the humans, he feels he is on the same level as them. Since he has teeth and can intimidate her, he feels he is the boss. So it is best that he is kept off the furniture unless specifically invited which he has to earn by obeying a command. But I would wait on that until he is better behaved.

He also needs your girlfriend to start working with him on obedience training regardless of whether he is already well behaved or not. It is so she reestablishes herself as higher in the pack than he is. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

He is young and if this started recently, he can be turned around pretty quickly. If he isn't neutered, have that done. It should help since he just started the behavior, but still do the obedience training and nilf program. Before you know it, he should stop the aggressive behavior toward her.

Now if she wants him to show her a lot of attention, she needs to at least be the one walking him and feeding him at least when she is home.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
If he growls, do we punish him? At the moment we send him to his place.

Yes you do reprimand him. But sending him to his place may not send a clear message. Keep a leash attached and give a short tug and firm "NO" when he growls at any member of the family. It has to be almost immediate and not a minute later. He growls, the leash gets tugged and a firm "NO is given, so he understands that she is not going to let him reprimand her.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok thank you, we will try this bit it's hard to keep him in a leash all the time. We have two dogs, will these actions effect the other dog or the relationship between the two dogs?
It shouldn't affect the dogs relationship with the other dog at all. It doesn't have to be a real long leash but one that does not require you to enter is space in order to reprimand the unwanted behavior.