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My 3 y/o Alaskan Malamute was recently aggreesive with an older (and slightly crippled) dog that she is very familiar with. We had been staying with a relative and the dogs were hanging out with no issue, as they have for 2 years. On Saturday night we had a party and there were many adults and children present. Our malamute was much calmer than normal much of the time (I was actually really proud of her), but after a few hours she got in a fight with this older dog over food. I did not see the fight as I had gone inside for a short period of time, but apparently it was pretty scary. The other dog is okay as they got split up pretty quickly.

I am concerned something like this could happen again. I keep getting scared, thinking what if a child had been standing there and been hurt, or one of the three people it took to split up the fight had been bitten.

Obviously, she should not have been left without my direct supervion but there is no way I can always be watching or garuntee something else won't happen.

What do I do?

Is this sweet dog too much responsibility for me and I need find her a new home? I obviously love her deerly and want to find a solution to ensure she can safely be around other dogs and children, but I also cannot afford to be liable if something tragic happens.

There was one other incident where she attacked a Pomeranian. It was when we first adopted her at 1 year old, and we did not do a proper job of introducing them. Lesson learned.

When we adopted her, all we were told was that she needs to be an only dog, as she does not like to share food with other dogs. She is an only dog, but she also seems to love her play dates.

How many lessions does a dog owner need to learn before they learn they are not the proper owner for a certain type of dog?

Do I write this off as a random incident and just try to be "more careful

Any useful suggestions would be much appreciated. Anyone else had this issue?
 

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Did she instigate? Or did the other dog? Do you know what were the circumstances that lead to the fight?

Food is a common cause for dog fights. From what you were told when you adopted her it sounds like she is a resource guarder when it comes to food (common in all dogs but more so in rescue dogs). Knowing this you could start to work on it, there are resources in the training stickies about resource guarding and lots of info on the web.

I can't tell you whether you should or shouldn't keep the dog, that depends on whether you're comfortable doing so. I can tell you that if it were my dog I sure as hell wouldn't even be thinking of giving him or her up for 1 isolated incident in which nobody got hurt. It wouldn't have even crossed my mind.
 

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Do what the rescue advised her to do. Don't let her around other dogs where there is food lying around. She has a dog/dog resource guarding issue with food, which is extremely common and has absolutely no bearing on her disposition towards humans.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No one said who started it. Most likely it was our malamute though, as the other dog as always been pretty passive.
Thank you for the suggestions. I will certainly do more research on resource gaurding.
I am in completely unfamiliar territory and was just paranoid on how this issue that could translate to people, especially with children. I do understand these dogs, like just about any dog, need to be supervised when around any children and children need to be properly taught how to behave around dogs.
Thank you again for responding. I just needed someone to reassure me I was doing the right thing. I havent been able to get ahold of her trainer...
 

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One thing I would ask you here is will she allow you to take her food dish when it has food in it? I'm not talking about taking it away from her, as much as moving it to a different location, such as you would do if you need to clean up some type of spill near her dish.
If she is OK with this, if there is no aggressive behavior toward you in this type of situation, then you already know what to do. Just make sure she isn't around other dogs when food is out.
I agree with Esand in post # 2, the idea of getting rid of her over this incident would not even cross my mind.
 

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Do what the rescue advised her to do. Don't let her around other dogs where there is food lying around. She has a dog/dog resource guarding issue with food, which is extremely common and has absolutely no bearing on her disposition towards humans.
^^This^^

I also wanted to add that even if she resource guards against humans, it still wouldn't mean that she was "aggressive" or a "bad dog".

You will find loads of helpful links and advice on here for RG.

No matter how well her training goes, I would still never have food out again with other dogs. It's just not worth the risk.

Best of luck to you. :)
 
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