My dog is 9 months old and I know him only from the past 3 months. He was pampered and loved by my mum and dad. He was very friendly, he loved me and he used to sleep with me all the time. He allowed me to touch him, but now recently, we had to leave him in boarding for 6 days and he became very aggressive.

He is OK with my dad, he feels safe, but he bites me and he barks at everyone else except those people he knew when he was child. I feel shameful because I'm the one who feeds him. He has bitten me before going to boarding and after coming from boarding he bit my dad. There was small pattern change when my mum had to go to work for 3 months in another city. So, it's only my dad and me who are taking care of him.


Behavior is always hard to analyze remotely, but I'll try.

Your dog is now 9 months old and is pubescent. As a puppy he was automatically low in hierarchy, but as an adult, he needs to find his place in the ranking of his pack (that is your family).

He was pampered and loved by my mum and dad.

That reads like he was always allowed to do whatever he wanted and was never scolded for anything. In a dog brain that translates to:

No one establishes or enforces any rules. No one is the leader of this pack, therefore I must become the leader of this pack.

Being a leader in our human world is extremely difficult for dogs, because it's so different from the wild. Dogs who have to be leaders make rules that are not logical to us, like

  • Human walking around is chaotic

  • Human sitting on couch is calm

  • I bark at the human as soon as he tries to stand up from the couch to keep my surroundings calm.

To change his behavior, one of you has to become pack leader. That does not mean you should beat or punish your dog. It means you make rules he has to obey. Good examples are:

  • He may not sit on the couch. If he is on the couch, send him down. If he walks to the couch and looks at the seat like he wants to jump on it, tell him "No".

  • You eat first! The dog gets his food only after all of you have finished with the meal. That includes no treats during meals! You can put aside morsels for the dog, but you actually feed them to him only after all of you finished eating.

  • He may not sit at or under the table while you eat. Place a pillow or blanket a few meters away from the table and let your dog sit there while you eat. This will be difficult at first and you often have to send him back to his place at first. He has to sit or lay on the pillow, don't accept him sitting next to it.

  • You go first through every door. Gently block his path to assert the claim to go first. The dog must not squeeze by to be first out the door.

  • Make no exception. Ever. These are very few and very simple rules. The dog must always obey them. Don't punish him if he tries to avoid obeying, correct his behaviour until he obeys. That means sending him down from the couch again and again, returning him to his pillow during meals again and again, and turning around and going through the same door again and again.

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