01-15-2009, 12:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Diego
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This is aggression. It is not benign. This is not the time to make excuses for this dog's poor behavior. It could lead to big trouble if not dealt with. However, the good news is that it has not gone super far YET and most likely could be solved with proper training. This is not about qualified or unqualified to own a dog. This is about having a problem, admitting it, and figuring out how to solve it. Since each dog is different, the absolute best is to find a good trainer in your area who can observe the dog and work with you. Ask around your area for references to good trainers. IMO, the best trainers will be ready to work with you at your house with your dog. Your husband will also need to be ready to listen to the trainer. Most likely, you both need to alter some of your behaviors. Love is not enough. You need to be ready to accept that YOU BOTH need to learn a few things. Once you humans are ready to get trained, then the dog will get better as well.
Some other basic things, you and husband need to get on same page and be a team. This is not about blame but about fixing a problem. If there is instability in the pack structure of the humans, then the dog will be confused as well. Dog should always listen to orders from you or husband without growling. If husband says something, then if safely possible, you should back up the husband and make the dog do it. That means you are standing by your husband and putting up a united front for the dog.
I think the dog should not be allowed on the bed if there is ANY issue of pack heirarchy probs or aggression. Pack leaders get their own bed/den. This is natural for dogs. A lower pack member does not expect to sleep next to a pack leader nor would any pack leader allow it. So time to put emotions aside and start doing things that reinforce the pack structure you want. Sleeping ont he bed is fine for some dogs but not for dogs that are challenging you or husband for authority. Both you and husband need to put emotions aside, frustration, defensiveness, self blame, blame on the other, excuse mongering, and then get some unbiased help from a professional. If you do that, I expect this will not be a big deal to fix. You just can't expect to keep doing things the same but get different behavior. If you want different and much better behavior from the dog, then both of you will need to improve your techniques. Dog training is usually not nearly as hard as people training! ;-)
You might also think about a lot more rules for the dog and working on basic obedience. A habit of listening is what should be instilled in the dog. Training can be a positive bonding experience if done right. Husband would do well to be in charge of feeding. If husband is busy, you could make up the food in advance and he could just deliver it. Dog should be asked to sit or do some trick before food, to remind dog of who is in charge. Dog should ALWAYS eat only after you pack leaders are done eating. Pack leaders always eat first. If you eat first, you remind the dog who is boss.
And yes, I think there should be no rough housing with the dog at least until the pack structure is worked out and the dog is behaving properly. But I think the most important thing of all is that husband and wife work harmoniously and calmly to learn new techniques for the dog. I think if you and husband are not a team and you argue, it will be hard to solve this problem and but if you are united and ready to learn, I think it will not be as hard as you think.