Hi everyone! Four months ago I adopted a two year old retriever mix and she's been absolutely wonderful. Up until recently, we haven't seen any problem behavior. She's sometimes uncomfortable around other dogs, but until recently it was never an issue. If they're too rambunctious around her, she becomes submissive and somewhat timid, but they give each other a friendly sniff and that's the end of it.
I've started bringing her to the office with me and she has exhibited food guarding around some of the other dogs. I wasn't previously aware of this because she's the only dog in our household. One dog in particular she has now gotten into two small fights with, which was shocking to me because as I've mentioned, she tends to be submissive towards other dogs. The first time there was any sort of incident between them was when he approached her while she was drinking water (he has a habit of trying to take things from other dogs). She growled at him and he growled in return, so I removed the water bowl and nothing more happened. Since then her reaction to his behavior has gotten worse. She recently bit him on the snout over a bag of her food without warning, though not hard enough to do any damage.
The food guarding is an issue that I understand and can work with her on, but what's puzzling me is her reaction to this other dog. She sometimes will growl at him for seemingly no reason. He can just be standing in the area looking in her direction, with no food to guard, and she'll start growling. Other times, she goes up to him in a friendly manner and even licks his face. On his part, he's stopped approaching her since she bit him and has very little reaction when she approaches. Poor thing was so excited for a playmate the first time they met! The other day we walked them together to the dog park, again no issue. Next day, she's growling at him. Later the same day, she's sidling up to him to lick his face. What is causing this hot and cold behavior? She has barked when dogs try to mount her at the dog park, but has otherwise shown no aggression, and as I've mentioned, is usually quite submissive! Every time she approaches him now I have no idea if she'll snap at him or give him a kiss lol, it's beyond confusing!