lap agression


New Member
We're starting to have a real problem with our 3 yr old neutered male.

The 'pack' order is; DH (alpha), me ('beta'), 26 yr old son and Crash (equal in pack).

Crash is starting to growl when he's in our laps, and in the case of our son, when he approaches him as he is in our laps, yet he'll jump up in DS's lap and love all over him the minute he sits down. The 'lap growling' appears to be when he thinks we're going to move him. We notice pupil dilation, licking lips, and a general stiffness in his body. He has not yet snapped or bitten, but he's curled his lip and has 'lunged' but not snapped He doesn't seem to do it to DH (the alpha) but does with me and with DS.

We've tried soothing him with calm words and gentle stroking to show him he doesn't need to be afraid and that we're not going to move him. We've tried a sharp 'No NO' and making him get down to show him that he's not 'the boss'.

Any other suggestions?

Hunter's Parade

New Member
Yes.Stop with that stupid alpha nonsense. All you have is untrained,spoiled dog.
How about you don't let him in your laps,on sofas,chairs,beds,and other surfaces you might sit on at all?
I hope you are not talking to him in soft voice and petting him to help him "calm down".If you are, you are reinforcing him to do that.
As I understood he growls at the person in whose lap he is? I still think the easiest way would be to not let him sit in your laps at the first place.The other way-the second he is about to growl just stand up,don't put him down,just stand up while he is in your lap.You may say-no,if he knows the meaning of it.This might be the safest way to get him of your lap and not get bitten.Show him that,when he will do it,he no longer can sit in your lap.That would be negative punishment-you are taking away something he wants,he can't get that when he is behaving bad!When he is being nice reward him for that,pet him,talk in soft voice,give a treat.


New Member
My mil had a chihuahua who sat on her lap. When people came and sat with her, he'd growl and she would stroke him and say Now now, don't be scared. What that meant was that growling is what I want. She was rewarding the growling without understanding that she was doing that. He got more aggressive and bit people.

How much does he have to work for his food and toys? He should do something that you ask him to do first, before food and toys. Sit and down. When going out the door, he must wait until you go through the door first. That is showing you (or anyone else in the house) respect.

I'm glad you're here and asking questions.
If you have a few minutes, post some pics, and please give us updates too.
Don't mess with this aggression. It could get out hand.

PD had become really possessive of my lap, and wouldn't let our new dog, Frank get close to me on the couch. He snapped at Frank once and stupidly stuck my hand between the two. PD drew blood, and I got really aggressive with him, putting him on his back.

After a couple of days one of the wounds was getting red and I went to the doctor about an antibiotic. I got treated, but couldn't leave the doctor's office until animal control showed up. They wanted to put PD in quarantine, and warned that this would be his first recorded incidence of an aggressive dog. The implication was that he could potentially be put down.

I don't coddle him when he growls at Frank now, but I also don't stick my hand between the two of them anymore. PD has some chronic back pain and is on prednisone, so standing and dropping him on the floor is out of the question. But I certainly agree with the idea that you don't want to soothe him and encourage this behavior.