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My friend got a second dog nearly two weeks ago. Our dogs have always spent a lot of time together, so we planned to do the same with this dog, who is the fourth dog in the “extended” pack. (We each have two.) The new dog, Em, is a girl amongst three boys. She is also in heat.

From the beginning, she has been growling at the dogs—my two in particular—when they get too close. I figured it was because she was getting used to her new home and new canine friends. (She did live with another female dog.) But now she’s gone from biting to snapping, and I’m beginning to be more concerned. Clayton is a typical playful puppy, and he’s the kind of dog that’s so social that he figures everyone else feels the same way. It’s cute, but it can also be annoying, so I intervene when I can tell it’s getting to be a bit much for her.

A couple of things worry me most. First, Cupid really has very little interest in her. When he gets within four feet of her, it’s usually to greet my friend or to play with her other dog. So it puzzles me that she growls at him when he gets close (and I mean within four feet). Second, the last time she snapped at Clayton was when he was moving away after she had growled at him. So from my (admittedly biased) perspective, the snap was unnecessary.

So I’m wondering: would being in heat contribute to her growling and/or snapping? The plan going forward is to wait it out and keep them separated as much as possible until after her heat. Also, the last time we were all together, I began praising and treating her when she didn’t growl at them in the four feet zone.

Thoughts?

One last thing, FYI: Cupid is 2, Nick is 10 months, Em is 8-9 months, and Clayton is 5 months.
 

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I don't have a clue about the heat-thing. But I just want to say that her snapping as Clayton was walking away tells me that she is probably afraid. Someone or something walking AWAY is a much easier, less scary target and is a fairly classic sign of a fear aggressive dog.

If she gets better after her heat cycle, I wouldn't worry about it (and encourage your friend to get her spayed unless she's a show dog or something). But if it doesn't, you probably need to take a step back and gradually re-introduce your pack, making sure there are plenty of treats and praise for good behavior.
 
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