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Need Advice

This is a discussion on Need Advice within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello! I am in a situation where I need a little bit of advice. I am the owner of two West Highland White Terriers. One ...

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Old 11-12-2018, 06:44 PM
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Need Advice

Hello! I am in a situation where I need a little bit of advice.

I am the owner of two West Highland White Terriers. One is a 15 year old neutered male. The other is a 1 year old spayed female I got in 2017.
Cirri, my female is an all around great dog, but she does have some frustrating issues. The most concerning of which being that she is food aggressive with Casey, but not towards people. The first incident was when she was roughly six months old, when Casey had possession of a treat dispensing toy. I noticed she approached him, stared him down intently, and then lunged at him.
Other incidents have occurred while preparing their food at the same time, and once over a bowl of water and her treats stored away in a bag close by, but out of reach.
Yesterday my family and I noticed she would stare hard at Casey if we had food around, along with raising her lips. Today, while preparing their food, she attacked Casey. No blood was drawn, but they were fencing with bared teeth. Both tend to get excited for their dinner and Casey, despite his age, can hold his own. Immediately after this incident, I took her food bowl, put her in my room and fed her separately.

A little background info about Cirri. We got her from a local breeder. The parents were not on site and we were told she was the runt of the litter. I imagine that could contribute somewhat? Cirri has a mind of her own and is stubborn. Around people and other dogs, she is very outgoing and friendly. However, I notice when she pees, she often tries to lift her leg slightly. Which I believe is a sign she thinks she is boss, in her mind? She views me as the boss and listens for the most part. However, getting her to come off leash, is a struggle. She is also very reactive and barks often. I have taken her to basic training classes, a few agility classes and most recently, a lure coursing class for enrichment and exposure. I do admit I should be more firm with her than I have been in the past, and am thinking of trying to modify these behaviors on my own. My method would be to put Casey first, in all instances. Walks, feeding and so forth. Does anyone have any suggestions? What I am doing wrong, or right? I'll greatly appreciate any advice!
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Old 11-15-2018, 03:47 PM
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ok, from my understanding of it- dogs decide on the pecking order & you should let them. This status is earnt throughout a huge range of complicated dog language, contests, body language etc. it has nothing to do with size- mostly attitude. So ciri has taken to being the boss of casey & casey has accepted this- as they do. So best to leave it that way coz humans changing things can confuse & upset their agreement & rules. However, there are rules as you've seen between them where casey will tell her where his limits are. Also good. What you dont want obviously is the bullying. So its not about putting casey first coz that will very likely spike jealousy when ciri sees this- and ciri may then feel the need to show her status more. I go for equal treatment, when I have 2 dogs. equal pats cuddles time spent. I put both food bowls down at the same time, give treats one in each hand at the same time. You can do a search on resource guarding using the dog forum search icon & I explain some prevention & training methods in there. As for lifting the leg as a female. If its just a little bit off the ground, its to avoid a wet wees foot. If they're mimicking a boy & aiming their pee up on things- its to trick other dogs into thinking she's bigger than she is. They know how big a dog is by how far up the tree or post it is. So its ok for your dog to be boss as long as theyre not being excessively bossy & are still doing what your asking. Your doing alot of great things 😊 Remove triggers like food dispenser toys completely. my dog growls if people who she doesnt consider her family go near my food or hers & I let her. She guards my bed- which is hers too & she hides her biccys/treats in her bed which is on mine. I let her growl & guard. She used to push the cats head away with her head & grizzle if he even looked at her food. But she never hurt him. He knew what she meant. If she bit or hurt- it would b different- I wouldnt allow it. He died last year at 16 & also had teeth problems- so some of the posts are stuff I've got personal experience with. I really do know how hard this can be. My dog didnt want her best friend dog to use her new dogflap & stood outside it grizzling & pushing her head against hers when she tried to go out it!!! For that, I say hey- stop that, sharing! & I go pick her up- let the other dog go thru & put her on her mat/ bed. She was not fearful, just being super controlling & bossy. With food, it's different- she does seem anxious, where as with the dog flap, when I told her to stop, she stood there looking quite relaxed & smiled at me, like its a game. She's also very smart friendly & cheeky. ha ha.
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Last edited by [email protected]; 11-15-2018 at 03:52 PM.
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