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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My family and I have recently adopted a new dog named Coco. She is a rescue boxer that spent her five years of life in a cage outside and being constantly bred with other dogs. Some of her teeth are torn apart, which means she also got abused by her previous owners.
She is amazing and so sweet towards people, but she keeps on fighting with our other 3 dogs. The weird thing is that when she is outside with the dogs she acts perfectly fine but as soon as they get inside the house all hell gets loose.
This situation has been going on for three days now and I fear it may make my parents decide to get rid of her. What should I do to calm her around other dogs inside the house?
 

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Yeah, this can be tough. What's likely happening here is what trainers call "resource guarding". Two or more of the dogs are trying to "claim" the same resource, which could be a toy or a favorite place to lay down, food or just about anything. The reason it doesn't happen outside is because the claimed resource isn't there.

For the short term you can try keeping them separated while they're in the house. Put away anything they're fighting about until you get your mind around what "person", "place" or "thing" they're fighting about. The long term solution will depend on what you discover.

If I had to guess just based on your post, what I would look for first is a "place". The boxer spent a lot of time isolated outside and she might be feeling threatend and unable to escape to a "safe place" indoors. If this is what it turns out to be then keeping her physically separated from the other dogs for now might help. The trick is to find a way for her to withdraw to a "safe spot" that isn't accessible to the other dogs and then slowly introduce her to the environment in such away that interacting with the other dogs inside the house happens on her terms. Again, this is just a guess based on what you wrote so I could be totally off base here.

A shortcut in this process is to hire a professional to watch your dogs interacting. What might be invisible to you might show up like a giant dot on the radar to someone who is familiar with this behaviour. It is possible for this to be treated but depending on severity you may need help with it.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You are right, she gets specially grumpy when she is laying down with one of us or in bed, so what should I do in that case?
 

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Well, this is definitely one where you should get a pro to take a look at what she's doing. That's not me and I'm working off of posts on an internet forum, which is a handicap.

That said, there are two things that I think will help on the short term:

1) You must be clear with the dog that EVERYTHING in the house belongs to you. If my dog gives the slightest hint of claiming a space I want to be in, like a certain spot on the couch, then I send him off. He's allowed to go anywhere he wants after that but if I want to sit where he is then he needs to move, not me. Don't be mean about it; no raised voices or whatever, just train her that when you say, "get off" or "scoot over" that she does it. I spent time on that when my dog was little and it has paid huge dividends. Also, it's kind of big dog to let on the bed at all, imo, but that's more a matter of preference than anything else.

2) I'm starting to think that I was right to assume that the dog needs "space". Think of this dog as having a bigger bubble of "personal space" than your other two dogs. When those bubbles start to intersect then it will cause tension. If your other dogs aren't reading it then they might just trot right into her personal space without being aware of it. If you let her "correct" them then they'll get the message eventually but you have to be careful that it doesn't escalate beyond a correction. Frankly, for the moment I think it would be best, if you can, to try providing a safe space for her where the other dogs don't have access and/or can be trained to stay out of.

make any sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, this is definitely one where you should get a pro to take a look at what she's doing. That's not me and I'm working off of posts on an internet forum, which is a handicap.

That said, there are two things that I think will help on the short term:

1) You must be clear with the dog that EVERYTHING in the house belongs to you. If my dog gives the slightest hint of claiming a space I want to be in, like a certain spot on the couch, then I send him off. He's allowed to go anywhere he wants after that but if I want to sit where he is then he needs to move, not me. Don't be mean about it; no raised voices or whatever, just train her that when you say, "get off" or "scoot over" that she does it. I spent time on that when my dog was little and it has paid huge dividends. Also, it's kind of big dog to let on the bed at all, imo, but that's more a matter of preference than anything else.

2) I'm starting to think that I was right to assume that the dog needs "space". Think of this dog as having a bigger bubble of "personal space" than your other two dogs. When those bubbles start to intersect then it will cause tension. If your other dogs aren't reading it then they might just trot right into her personal space without being aware of it. If you let her "correct" them then they'll get the message eventually but you have to be careful that it doesn't escalate beyond a correction. Frankly, for the moment I think it would be best, if you can, to try providing a safe space for her where the other dogs don't have access and/or can be trained to stay out of.

make any sense?
We've kept her in a place of the house where she can see other dogs but not interact with them and it has done wonders. Now she's much less grumpy and I think she's getting used to their pressence.

Thanks for all of the advice!
 
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