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So...I've long been considering what on earth goes on in the mind of my pup when he acts out around my boyfriend and I. I've come to the conclusion that although he was raised with my boyfriend, he is jealous of him. He is not a possessive dog (aka, he doesn't guard his food, bowls, toys, bones, etc.) but he does seem to have an issue more and more with my boyfriend and I am not sure how to help alleviate the issue.

Onyx has always lived with me as he is, at the heart of things, my dog. My boyfriend half lives here and half lives at his own home. You would think that Onyx would have accepted his relationship with me, seeing as he has only known the two of us as a pair. However, Onyx does have a LOT more alone time with me, sometimes entire weekends. When he is home alone with me, he behaves great, we play for a tiny bit when he is energized, then he goes and grabs a hoof or bone to chew on while I do my own thing (as long as he can see me, if I leave the room, you can bet your butt he will follow. He needs to know where I am at all times).

My boyfriend has also had some alone time with him, although not extensively. From what I have been told, Onyx behaves great with him, rarely jumping at him or grabbing/nipping his hands when he wants something. Note....he behaves for him when I am not home.

If we are home at the same time, especially if my boyfriend walks in the door, Onyx will charge him, often times with an 'alert' bark, and jump at him, often times nipping at him. Onyx NEVER displays this behavior to me. If we are sitting at the table working, Onyx will jump up at my boyfriend to try and intimidate him into taking him outside. He will grab his hands. If this all fails (because I tell my boyfriend not to give in until he behaves), Onyx just sits by me and stares at me, because he does not dare try bullying me into giving him something he wants. He does not turn this silent ask to my boyfriend, but only directs it to me.

Same with the couch. I rarely let Onyx on the couch since in the summer he sheds like a beast. He even blows his coat in the winter! Sometimes he will come sit on my lap (55 lb lap dog) but he will get down if I ask. If my boyfriends sits on the couch with me, Onyx will nip at him (gently, more like grabbing his hands again) and try to sit on us or between us. He is getting to the point where sometimes he has to be blocked out of the room with us. Sometimes he does this because he wants something (like to go outside) but the way he does it seems abusive to me since he would never grab my hand or jump at me to get what he wants.

I'm not sure what to do here. I see this as a bad behavior. He does not seem to show my boyfriend the same respect he shows me when I am in the house. Apparently he treats him better when I am not present, but that tells me that Onyx is viewing him differently. Is this a jealous behavior or a 'I see your boyfriend as lower on the totem pole in this pack so I beat on him' sort of thing?

My boyfriend use to get on the ground to wrestle and rough house with Onyx. I always told him not to do that since Elkhounds do not often respect those that roughhouse with them (they view them as littermates). What are some suggestions on helping to fix how Onyx treats my boyfriend? It just seems to be getting worse honestly.

I'm not sure how to fix this if it is jealousy only, seeing as I give Onyx a LOT of love and attention even when my boyfriend is home. He does not get ignored, unless we are talking and he gets irritated, then he definitely gets ignored. He gets tug of war, he gets walks, he has a bed right at our feet by the couch. What could be going on here?

Thanks :)
 

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Dogs might treat people differently depending on how the individual people treat them. Take a look at how the two of you behave around the dog. Just be careful correcting a human. They tend to get grouch :p
Does the BF roughhouse with the dog? My dog was always nippy after I left her with my brother. Turned out he played with the dog by wrestling.

Also, you have a Norwegian elkhound? This breed is meant to charge at elk to stop them. Then bounce around to keep them in place. Young ones might do this to humans, this should be discouraged. Or they might do it to little kids when they run by.
I have an elkhound, she was always trying to stop me when we went running. Some treats and training have made her a lot better.
 

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This strikes me as a case of resource guarding. You are his chief resource, and he doesn't want any competition for your attention.

The whole idea of "respect" doesn't apply here. I wouldn't waste time thinking about "totem roles."

A lot of people have recommended the book "Mine" by Jean Donnelson.
 
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