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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my 9 month old is starting to get nippy with other dogs. We are at the obedience club about two - four nights a week and have been doing this since she was 8 weeks old. So she has obviously had lots of socialization. She plays nice (although roughly) with my other two at home. She started getting snappy when dogs would sniff at her at the club a few weeks ago. She would meet nicely, but then without warning (no change in body posture ect) give a grrr-arf and sometimes little warning snap. I immediately started to let her meet other dogs and then before it got to this, call her away or tempt with a treat, have her sit, and then treat her. Being an extremely food motivated animal, this soon made the problem worse because she would warn the other dogs away from her treat. The problem seems to be the worste when I have treats out, or when she is sitting at my feet or under my chair and another dog approaches her. When I see another dog approaching I try to keep her attention on me but then she thinks she is working for a treat and competeing with the other dog for it, therefore, gets snappy. I have not seen her do this off leash, or when we just pass by dogs or anything. It is only when a dog approaches her to sniff. I feel powerless without being able to lure away or keep attention with a treat. I hate to resort to corrections in an already aggressive circumstance.

The one warning signal she gives before she snaps is almost undetectable. Her lip will twitch just a tiny bit and her muzzle is black so it is really hard to see. I noticed it when I was making her give me attention instead of looking at the near by dog who wanted to play with her. She was watching me but twitching the lip and really wanting to look at the other dog. I don't want to praise this behavior because even though she is looking at me she is still reacting badly to the presence of the approaching dog.
 

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that one little almost undetectable warning signal...right before that happens is when you want to turn her aside, redirect her attention to something else...

with reactivity timing is critical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is there a way that I can redirect her without making her think she has to guard a reward? When I ask for a sit, attention, or anything like that she gets more growly because now the dog is REALLY threatening her opportunity to get a reward. I'm going to try to get video of it (although that is kind of scary) so that you can see what I mean. It is hard to describe. Food definately gets her WAY to aroused to be a safe distraction (her jaw even quivers in anticipation of a treat). I will try using a toy that she likes but I'm a little afraid that it will have the same effect.

I don't actually think that this is true "leash reactivity." I think that the only reason the leash has anything to do with it is because she knows that when she is on a leash she is going to be working for treats.

It is weird because she doesn't resource gaurd anything at home, accept when they get fed (she eats last out of my 3) she will take her food away from the other 2 dogs, like in a corner. She will sometimes growl at Pickles if Pickles comes to sniff her food but not towards my other dog and not towards people.
 

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Great eye on catching the curl! One tactic that you can do is head off the other dog... get between them. Show her that you'll handle the situation....it's not her job to do that. If she's starting to resource guard the food then work on that at home.
Respect her space limitations. If she's OK with a brief sniff then break off the greeting after that. I have the same problem with my older dog....he's 11 now and I've never been able to get him to accept invasive sniffing by another dog....it's just not in his nature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
So when I intervene how should I go about doing this? My thought is to just step in between on coming dog and my dog? And from there where do I go to start actually changing this behavior instead of just preventing it? Sorry to ask for so many details its just that I know all this in theory but when it comes down to doing it and when its your own dog it seems so much harder! Here's my plan, tell me what problems you see!

1. Step between oncoming dog and Zerbert.
2. Allow Zerbert to approach other dog if she wants to.
3. Watch closely for the lip twitch but try to step back between them before the lip curl. . . ie. end while still on a positive note.
4. Turn back to Zerbert and praise (no treats involved).
5. Repeat whole process and extend period of time that I let the dogs sniff each other.

Yes? No?

What about, if this is going well, trying to introduce treats by giving one to the other dog and if Zerbert stays calm then she gets a jackpot?
 
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