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This is just recently becoming a problem between Willow and Bandit. First off, Bandit spends about half his time indoors and half out, plus he sleeps in the bedroom with us. Willow, on the other hand, spends most of her time outside, with supervised time inside each day, plus additional time for walks and training. Neither dog is starved for attention by any means - I am a stay-at-home freelancer, and spend the majority of my time each day with the dogs (photographing, playing, walking/hiking, sled dog training, just petting, etc.)

The last week or so, whenever I entel the kennel (either to feed, spend time out there with them, clean, or retrieve Bandit to bring him inside, or grab Willow for a walk), Willow starts roughhousing with Bandit. At first I thought it was just playing because they were happy to see me, but now I'm seeing that that's not the case. I'm really starting to think that she is resource guarding me from Bandit. She grabs his scruff and wheels him away from me, or grabs his back legs and yanks him around. The strange thing is, Willow doesn't stop and return to me for attention once Bandit has been removed - she gets obsessed with this "game" and won't let Bandit alone. Every time this has happened, I leave the kennel, wait for them to calm down, and enter again. I've tried waiting for Willow to quit on her own, but it just doesn't happen - and asking for attention, asking her to "leave it" or clapping doesn't break her focus. It's like she can't even hear me (which is probably the case - we are also dealing with her on-leash reactivity and seeing the same lack of attention, which isn't too surprising). Willow is a very intense dog to say the least, and once she gets an idea in her head, changing her mind takes a miracle.

The biggest problem happening now, is that since this started, Bandit is now acting out when I go into the kennel. It starts with whining and grabbing my pants legs at the ankle (while Willow is still going after him), then he jumps up, clings and grabs onto me with his front claws, and bites my hands and arms. The bites are PAINFUL and he whimpers and barks while doing it. I try to ignore him, turn and walk away, but since he grabs me with his front paws and holds on while biting, sometimes I have to shove him down just to get away from him. I usually try to "head him off" by asking for a sit at the first sign that he's going to jump, but either a) Willow breaks her sit, and grabs him while he's sitting and gets him worked up again, or b) Bandit jumps up and starts mouthing again as I'm reaching down to pet him and reward him for his sit.

I always ask for a sit from both dogs before I open the kennel door - they both know this, and sit patiently until I come in. But once I'm inside, it seems all heck breaks loose, and I just don't know how to handle it. It all started so suddenly and it's really frustrating. I can't tell whether Bandit's biting is just misdirected (i.e., I got in the middle of their "fight"), attention-seeking (seems the most likely?), or actually aggressive (he has good bite inhibition but he sure doesn't use it at those times, and I don't understand the whole grabbing-and-wrapping-with-his-front-legs deal).

Bandit doesn't do this behavior at all when Willow is out of the picture (for instance, when he's indoors, or on walks alone). Likewise, Willow isn't so adamant about guarding me when we're all in the house together - although she did have one moment when she was on the couch with me, and snapped at Bandit when he came up for pets. Since then, she hasn't been allowed on any furniture - that seemed to stop the behavior indoors.

I realize the answers I need are probably even within this post, but I'm just so frustrated right now after struggling with this for the 3rd time today, that I just had to vent, and hopefully get some advice from someone who is thinking clearly (which I am decidedly NOT right now). Any advice on how to handle this would be very appreciated.
 

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You can put another word to it and maybe that will help put things into perspective....bully behavior. You are correct.....it's part resource guarding and part attention seeking.
You need to take a more direct approach. Willow does not get to harass/torment Bandit. Step in front of Willow the second she starts to lock eyes with Bandit. The stepping in front (body blocking) tells her to stop. You don't need to yell or jump up and down. Here's the important move.....Willow must back-up/back off at this point. Half a step is fine...she doesn't have to go into the next county...just show you that she gets the message...leave Bandit alone. You're declaring that Bandit is YOURS..not hers to bully around.
The hard part is intercepting her everytime it happens. After awhile she should stop trying. Don't give them any slack time...snap their leashes on and go for a walk or work on obedience....show both of them that you're in charge....they follow your direction and they don't get to make up the rules....you do.
 
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