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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

I've been living my with boyfriend and his dog, Rocko, for a year. Rocko is an almost 2 year old 40 lb mutt (Wisdom panel said staffy, German shepherd, and chihuahua). He is a sweet boy, but is incredibly toy driven, to the point of being obsessive, and has shown other obsessive behaviors. As a puppy he became obsessed with lights, and would chase them and stare at shadows (this has faded - he no longer stares at shadows, but he is still very quick to alert to any reflections), and recently he has been enthralled with digging in muddy puddles.

Rocko has exhibited some toy possessiveness in the past, primarily around really really chewy balls. We keep those away from him. If a dog tries to steal his toy he will tell them off, but it's usually just a bark and air snap, and then all is back to being hunky dory. He is around dogs a lot, at the park, at a doggy day care, and at work with me 2 days a week where there are several other dogs. He isn't very food driven, and his food usually sits for several hours after we feed him.

Enter new puppy. Petra is a 6 month collie mix who entered our home 5 weeks ago. She is 30 lbs, loves Rocko, but is definitely a pest. They play together well, if sometimes a bit too rough. They both take turns being the underdog, and they listen when the other one cries uncle. But, she's a puppy. She's constantly following him, trying to play. He will usually join in, but I think it's sometimes not really his choice. When we play fetch with Rocko, she will run after and try to steal the toy from him. He has seemed rather tolerant of all this. He has told her off a few times, but generally accepts it.

Since getting Petra, Rocko has become slightly food possessive. He will growl and air snap at her when she gets near his bowl, even if she's just walking by. This has decreased over time though.

Today, I took Rocko to the dog park, and he was reactive in a way I've never seen him. He was digging a muddy puddle and an 11 month heeler came and sniffed. He went after it, snarling and barking and chased it for around 30 feet. Things calmed down, and when no one was around I threw the ball for him. A little dog ran over in excitement and he went after it too! Knocked it over, growling and snapping. Enough was enough, we put the leash on. On the way out, another dog came up and tried to sniff him. He bared his teeth, snarled, and lunged.

I'm sure this has to do with the new puppy. Misplaced aggression? Frustration at having to share and constantly having a dog around? I'm not sure. We make sure to give Rocko tons of love, we play with him, he goes to school with me 2 days/week, and Petra comes 2 others, so they have time alone, and independent play time. Maybe we aren't giving him enough? Maybe we need to protect him more from Petra, and really work with her that when we're playing with him, we're playing with him? I could really use some advice.

In addition to this, Rocko has been seeming a bit "put out." He's not as quick to interact with us, and sometimes seems kind of depressed. We're trying to keep working with him, training with him independently (he shuts down really quickly with training, so it's challenging), and are giving him lots of love. Petra goes in the crate at night and he cuddles with us.

I could really use some insight, ideas, advice... I'm confused that this aggression is coming out in other contexts, not at home. Also, we have been to the dog park twice more in the past few weeks with no problems. Just today....
 
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