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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I am a new member but have joined in gaining some support and helpful advice regarding effective training and behaviour modification (and whether I should go to a qualified trainer).

Last year my partner and I adopted an 8 month old male not-neutered Siberian Husky from some friends. He wasn't abused, but he was also not getting the care he needed, i.e attention, daily walks, training and mental/physical stimulation. He was 22 kilos when we got him. Though he's a husky (and we were told pure-bred, not that it mattered to us) we believe he may have some malamute in him due to his size, he is much larger in terms of height and bone structure/muscle mass than any other male husky we've encountered, but he is not as big as a malamute.

Zeus was incredibly hyper when we first got him and didn't even know the sit command, and demonstrated very strong Alpha tendencies. After a year he's really progressed to where we can let him off lead in designated/fenced dog parks, is house trained, knows his commands (though sometimes chooses not to listen unless there is something in it for him), well socialized with other dogs and socialized with people (but that still needs some work as he gets too excited). We got him neutered as soon as possible. He gets walked everyday, rain or shine, we do not give him any human food.

Despite all our great progress, Zeus has demonstrated aggression with food possessiveness, in particular with his bones (but not his meals as we make him wait and have gotten to the point where we can put our hands in his food bowl while he eats to ensure that we are boss, not him). He is not allowed on any furniture, and is only fed after we eat. We are currently working on his food aggression, but notice that it is inconsistent, sometimes he will give us his bone or we can take it off of him, other times we cannot get near him.

Zeus also demonstrated today some aggression that I was not expecting. I accidently startled him this afternoon, he was sleeping on the floor next to the couch, and I put my foot down next to him forgetting that he was even there because he was so quiet (I may have knocked him with my foot, but it all happened so fast I'm not sure...)He woke up startled and grabbed my foot, growling and biting for about 3-4 seconds before letting go, completely stopping his aggressive behaviour and had taken on submissive qualities. This is different from his food aggression where he would have continued growling and would have not let me near him. He actually came up to me and tried to lick the wound and then when I wouldn't let him, laid down on the floor, head on the ground while looking up to indicate his submission?

I'm not sure what I should have done in that instance (and I was in incredible pain as he had bitten down hard) due to the dramatic shift in his behaviour, almost as if he had realized it was me and not a stranger? But I'm not making that assumption or excusing his behaviour as it was wrong whether it was me or a stranger, but also know that I am partially to blame for startling him. I'm also not sure what to do in the future, what could be potential issues and how to work on them, even if this is an isolated incident.

Any advice would be appreciated. As a dog owner I understand the responsibilities of owning a dog and making sure they do not harm anyone, so identifying the problem and admitting the problem is the first step to doing that.

He is generally a well-behaved dog in terms of being social, just little too clever for his own good (i.e escape artist, can open all the doors in the house etc). But he's also very tall/strong, so any behaviour like this I would like to change.
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