Sometimes people get dogs who turn out to be too much dog to handle… especially when they are large, strong breeds.


Sadly, Capone is one of these dogs. At a about 1 year old and over 100lbs, his human father had surgery and could no longer walk him, and his wife and daughters could not handle his size (and lunging/aggression).

too much dog. when a dog is too big to handle

It broke their hearts, but they realized they didn’t have the time or ability to train their huge reactive dog.


So, after much deliberation, they decided to do what they felt was best for him, and they shipped him back East to a place his breeder recommended where he can run and play on a large property with no other dogs around.


This is an issue I see with many of my clients.  I see small framed women with Mastiffs and Great Danes, and I see people who are frail & weak senior citizens trying to take on an 80lb pit bull – or standard poodle.


Here’s the issue… Even if the dog is well trained, what if they hurt themselves and need to be carried up the stairs or to the car to go to ER?  Or, when they are older and arthritic, who’s going to help them up and down from the sofa and back door?


Add in that the dog is dog or human reactive, and you have a dangerous situation as well.  I’ve had people come to me whose dogs have pulled them to the ground to get to another dog, injuring them very badly.   Or, they get loose from their owner’s grip and do major damage to another dog or person.


too much dog - when a dog is too big for his owner

A couple of the larger dogs I’ve worked with recently


When considering getting a larger dog, please also make sure you have the means to care for him.  If there are 2 people who together CAN lift the dog into the car, then it might work.  Otherwise, you may end up in a very sad and desperate situation.


Of course, socialization and training when young is still key to try to avoid any issues with aggression, lunging or pulling you down the steps.  Once the dog learns he’s stronger than you, it’s VERY hard to get him to behave. When a dog realizes that if he pulls hard enough, he can get to the chicken bone on the ground, he’s going to keep doing it over and over to get what he wants.  It gets harder and harder to train him to listen to you when he literally knows he doesn’t have to.


So, when choosing a new furry friend, in addition to looks and personality, please consider what size dog you are strong enough to lift and keep from lunging so you will never have to face a difficult situation like Capone’s.


Don’t get “too much dog”.


Here’s our original post about Capone’s dog aggression:

dog on dog aggression rehabilitation training

Goodbye, Capone… You will be missed.