09-08-2017, 03:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boston metro-area, USA
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| | fearful dogs R more-likely to bite than confident "aggro" dogs
"Should I try to be more dominant?"... In a word? - No.
Originally Posted by AnnaNC
My ...6-YO Lab-cross... was rescued from the street [@] 3-MO. She's lived with my boyfriend & I [ever] since.
She often barks & lunges at people / dogs who approach me. She doesn't defend my BF in the same way... sometimes, she seems to think even he is a threat to me. She tries to sit between us, & lunges at him if he moves too quickly.
She also defends food & her [bed from] our other dog, but she always seems most-defensive when I'm there.
She's bitten our other dog in fights over food or the bed, but not seriously. She always seems guilty & frightened after being aggressive.
She's never bitten a person, but I'm worried she might. Generally she's timid. While out for a walk, if she sees a distant dog, her first reaction is to try to run home.
Should I try to be more dominant around her so that she doesn't feel she needs to defend me?
"Trying to be more dominant" isn't a cure for anything; all this dumbinance, in fact, makes dogs more anxious. Build her trust in U, improve her comfort level around strangers; teach her that she's safe, & that U'll protect her; she can relax, & leave the driving to U.
Working to reduce her anxiety & fears will ease her worries & lessen the frequency of defensive-aggro, but preventing or avoiding the circs that make her feel defensive is best - then she doesn't PRACTICE the behavior. The more often she's done it, the more fluent & habitual her defensive reaction becomes.
What ppl label "guilty" behavior is actually appeasement - meant to reduce or defuse aggro from someone else; "I'm not a threat", or "I'm sorry", are the messages of appeasement; it tries to shut-off aggression or anger.
"I'm sorry" DOESN'T MEAN the dog feels guilty, or 'sorry' for WHAT s/he supposedly did; they apologize FOR EXISTING in the face of someone's anger - it has zip to do with regret for their own actions, & everything to do with what they perceive as someone's anger or aggro, ===> directed at them.
1st thing i'd do? - separate the dogs for meals, so she doesn't feel her food could be / might be taken.
Individual shipping-crates would be my preference; no dog can break into an airline-kennel.
2nd? - I'd pre-condition her to a box-muzzle, so no-one is bitten if Mgmt fails.
here's a video that shows how it's done:
3rd? - I'd start counter-conditioning, to change her opinion about strangers [humans & dogs both].
'Open Bar / Closed Bar' is an especially-good, simple process; very user-friendly & forgiving.