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Aggressive behaviour

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Belle91, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Belle91

    Belle91 PetForums Newbie

    Oct 23, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum. Looking for some help for my pup, Pocket. She's a 1 year old great dane x greyhound (I think she has a bit of am staff in there too), and we've had her since 4 months as a rescue. I've had my 11 year old lab Josie for her whole life.

    Since we got Pocket, she's been very attached to my husband, and prefers him over me. In the beginning, she would bit a bit snappy towards me, and snarl or bite if I disciplined her, or either of us were giving attention to Josie. We've managed to successfully train that out, and she hasn't snarled or snapped at me in over 6 months. However, she still does this to Josie. It's particularly around food or attention, and I'm not sure if it's resource guarding or just the pecking order, and I don't know if it's harmful or normal.

    The most common scenario is food, we are now able to feed them side by side if we are watching, but if we walk away before Josie has finished, Pocket will jump over and snarl at her to steal her food. My old dog is a giant sweetie, so she just lets Pocket have whatever she wants. If they're playing, Josie is still top dog and can wrestle her down, but as soon as it's serious Pocket is the boss.

    Secondly, the one that worries me more, is usually when I come home after work and cuddle them both, half way through Pocket will just turn on Josie and snap and snarl at her. I don't think she's ever hurt her or drawn blood, but it sounds awful. She very rarely does this in front of my husband, but if she does it's because he's paying attention to both dogs, not just her.

    I'm worried this behaviour will escalate, and she'll hurt Josie one day, or worse, a child. We don't have any kids yet but hoping to soon, and I don't know how to fix this behaviour. Any help welcomed!
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Feb 1, 2016
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    Other people with more experience of multi dog households will give more detailed answers but food, toys, beds and sunny spots to lie in (and other things) can be flashpoints. You don't want this to escalate so it needs management from you -
    - feed them separately, in separate rooms. Would you enjoy your food in the constant worry someone was going to steal it and maybe smack you in the process? So just take away the tension.

    With the competition for attention someone else will pick that up (@O2.0?) But meantime have a look at the sticky thread on Resource Guarding at the top of this section.
    Lurcherlad, O2.0 and Linda Weasel like this.
  3. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Jan 5, 2013
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    Feed them separately and leave them in peace to eat, especially the youngster.

    Any dog that has guarding issues around food is more likely to get worse if stood over/watched while eating. Especially if their reactions are corrected/punished.

    If a dog is snapping “when disciplined” it is showing anxiety/fear. There is no need to “discipline” a dog imo - rather, distract and redirect, then reward/praise desired behaviour.

    This chart is useful:


    You will see snapping is almost at the top so many signals from the dog that they are unhappy/anxious will have been missed.

    Growling is the dog’s way of communicating and if ignored/punished/“trained out” leaves the dog nowhere to go.

    A snap is their next warning that they feel threatened and a bite might be the only way they feel they can protect themselves from a perceived threat.

    Most times a dog gives an unwanted behaviour because they simply don’t understand what we want of them.

    Anyone following the Alpha/Pack Leader techniques for training (now debunked) will often find themselves dealing with these issues.

    Dogs respond best to positive, reward based training, good management and clear boundaries/instructions.
    #3 Lurcherlad, Oct 23, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
    Burrowzig, lullabydream and JoanneF like this.
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