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Hi,

We have recently got an American water spaniel puppy, Tessa, who is around 7 months old. We also have a 14 year old Britney Spaniel, Agnes, in our house as well. Now I understand that this breed of puppy is known to have food aggression and has attacked our older dog numerous times over her being too close to any food bowl in the house, but recently she has begun dishing out some serious attacks on Agnes, drawing blood from her leg after attacking her in the living room and outside on the back deck for no reason and once again later that night for wanting to sleep on my parents bed. Our older dog is in no way aggressive, she is pretty fat but also quiet and old, but we've seen a change in her behavior (mainly depression) since the puppy has arrived at our house. We give Agnes as much attention as we can but she wants nothing to do with the puppy and will often stay away from her even before the fights. One thing the puppy will do is drop whatever it's doing to take any attention away from Agnes. When Agnes is walking she will nip at her tail nub (her tail is clipped) and throw her body at Agnes which was what we thought was just play but it's turned into a jealous ploy to keep any attention away from Agnes (it seems). She was perfectly fine with Aggy up until last month. They would play together and Aggy would groom Tessa throughout the day so I'm not sure what is causing this horrible aggression. We can't have them anywhere near each other or she will jump Agnes and latch onto her skin without letting go, often taking huge clumps of fur with her and causing the dog to limp.
I really need to figure out what is causing all these attacks because she doesn't even give warning, she'll attack out of nowhere and unprovoked. Not to mention I have 3 young siblings in my house as well as an older dog who doesn't deserve this in her last few years. Tessa's such a sweet puppy and has a great temperament towards people so you can understand the stress and confusion of her attacking our older dog. Other dogs have visited our house and put her in her place when she tried to show dominance, but poor Agnes just won't do anything, and after the attacks if someone is holding the puppy Aggy will walk up and sniff her as if the attack never happened and the puppy will freak out and growl, snap, or jump at Aggy. I'm worried she will end up hurting her so badly that we'll need to put her down. Along with this we also did a "Dog IQ Test" to test her basic motor functions as a puppy. ( The Animal Attraction - Dog IQ Test ). Not only did she fail it miserably but continues to show strange signs of being a little but slow. She easily gives up when put on a leash or with a blanket on top of her. She shows no struggle and just lays down and doesn't move. Not to mention the far away look in her eyes. Could she have been the runt in the litter or attacked as a puppy, or maybe just a slow learner?

I desperately need help or some sort of advice since my dad is considering giving her away and I'm afraid no one will take an aggressive puppy..
 

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Have you had Tessa spayed? If not she could be coming into season which can cause behavior changes.

Did you get her from a breeder?

Tessa may need more exercise and taught to "Leave it." Feed in separate rooms or in separate kennels. Pick up empty bowls to avoid unnecessary guarding/attacks. You may also want to work with Tessa on lead in the house around Aggy. Working on Leave It when she shows any movement toward Aggy in an aggressive manner. Have her sit and settle...be sure to praise all good behavior with Aggy. Besides being old does Aggy have any health issues?
 

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You are going to need to crate and rotate them. When you have one out then the other is either in their crate or in a separate room, after a while you rotate them, the one that was in the crate or room comes out and the other one is put up. That means that Tessa will have 0 contact with Agnes, and both dogs stay safe. When you put one dog up it should be ready to sleep because you've been playing with it and training it, and you should provide it with a nice chew or food puzzle so that it's not a punishment.

I'm not an expert but from what you're describing it sounds like Tessa has some resource guarding going on along with being dog aggressive. She's at the age where her adult personality is starting to come out and that may be why she's now acting that way.

I'd also take her to the vet for a check up just in case her behavior because of a medical problem.
 
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