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Please help with my aggressive dogs...

668 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  doxiemommy
Hello. I am brand new to this forum, so I thank you in advance for any help and advice anyone would offer to me. I have 2 dogs, one being 6 and the other being 4 years old. I have had them both since 8 weeks old. I also have a 2 year old daughter. Since I have had the 6 year old dog, he has always laid on my couch, slept in bed with me etc. When I got the second dog, he started becoming territorial, growling when the younger dog approaches him when he is laying on the couch, laying under the couch (his fav spot), or eating. My younger dog will generally walk away, unless a human is close or is involved. I think the younger dog is trying to protect the human, because she will almost "challenge" the older dog and growl back. This instantly turns into a dog fight. I have been able to manage these fights as best as I can, but with my daughter, I just (obviously) cannot put her in this potentially dangerous situation. The dogs have never bit her or snapped at her, but the older dog has growled at her if she goes to look at him while under the couch, or approaches him when hes in "his spot." I obviously interfere at that point. I have recently started denying either of the dogs a spot on the couch, and my husband has actually nailed wood to the inside bottom on our couches so they cannot lay under the couch. Im trying to prevent the situation from happening by taking away the antecedent. It is getting to the point that I have thinking of finding them new homes, but I have a difficult time giving them up if there is hope...
I know this is a very lengthy post, but any help from someone who knows what to do, would be very much appreciated!!! Thank you so much.
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Consult a behaviorist who specializes in resource guarding and uses positive reinforcement techniques. Growling when someone gets close to a certain spot is called resource guarding. It's common, normal dog behavior, but as you have seen, it can get dangerous fast. It is quite treatable, though.

In the meantime, I would keep the dogs separated at all times and do not allow your daughter to be around the dogs unsupervised not even for a second. You should never allow a small child to be alone with a dog, but a dog that's resource guarding is especially worrying.
Do I understand correctly that the older dog started this when you got the younger dog? So it's been going on for four years? Has it gotten worse recently? If it has gotten worse just recently you might consider getting a vet check for the older dog. Six isn't that old, bit, as dogs age they develop health issues and if she's not feeling well it will make her less patient or tolerant in any situation.

I do agree with resource guarding, though. If it's been going on as long as four years, it might be more of a challenge to deal with, because the dog has become accustomed to behaving that way.
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