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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Dog Lovers,

We recently adopted a mixed breed, female puppy from a shelter. She was approximately 4 to 5 months old and had been at the shelter for a month before we adopted her. The shelter does not have any history on the puppy.

From the onset she has been aggressive towards my husband and son when they enter either the lounge or bedrooms where myself and/or my daughter are relaxing. She is fine towards them in other areas of the house and garden, or when we are not present. She is okay if my husband and/or son are already in the room when she comes in. When my husband and I are in the office she always goes to him first, wagging her tail, when she enters. The aggressive behaviour is escalating. She hasn't bitten anyone yet but her growling and barking is getting more vicious.

We also have three other dogs with whom she socializes very well. However, if they approach us for affection whilst we are in the lounge/bedrooms, she will be aggressive towards them.

She is very single minded and has tried (unsuccessfully) to assume top dog status. My two larger dogs do not take her on, but our smaller, older dog is intimidated by her, although at other times they play very well together.

Our doors are always open so she is never locked inside, separated from the family or the other dogs and is very active.

We really do not know how to deal with this. So far we have been picking her up and putting her outside the room, with verbal reprimands. This has not been effective.

We have had over 20 rescue dogs over the years, and although they all come with baggage, we have not had a dog like this one; we are stumped.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Emma
 

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She might be resource guarding, and or possibly be slightly intimidated by men in respects to that. It sounds like when your husband and son walk in she could be guarding you, her resource, from them. And in the same respect, when your other dogs try to get attention, she doesn't want them to have her resource (again you and possibly your daughter in this case). Does she only do this with you guys or does it also happen around things like food or toys as well?
Heres the sticky for resource guarding, does this sound like what she does? http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/resource-guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Sabina88 for your reply.

After exploring the forum last night I came across Resource Guarding and read up on it. It does seem to be what she is doing, although I did not find any information with regards dealing with the behavior when it relates to human guarding. She does not do it with food, bedding or any objects. When we first got her she was very cautious around my husband and son and growled and cowered away from them where ever we were on the property. She would come to either my daughter or myself for protection as it were. After a while she developed a tolerance for them, however, if they gave her a treat she would just spit it out and scowl at them. Over time they have won over her affection and she will approach them for attention like the other dogs. The only times she adopts this behavior is when she is with us alone, and we are relaxing and my husband or another dog (she is not so bad with my son now I think about it) comes towards/in the room. If we are engaged in some activity she is fine, she only does it when we are lying/sitting on the couch or bed.

It seems from what I have read that we should avoid presenting opportunities for this behavior; not so hard with the bedrooms as they have doors, our lounge unfortunately does not. I have a gate I can put up I guess. So I am going to try to stop her coming into the lounge and bedrooms when we are relaxing alone and see how that works out. Does this sound like a good idea to you?

She has adopted the other house etiquette rules without a problem, although she will not come when called, unless she recognizes it as an 'en mass' dog call. This has proved tricky to treat as we have a very large garden and a lot of foliage for her to hide under. Even though we give her treats when she does come, she seems to have a take it or leave it attitude towards these. She definitely has a 'if it suits me attitude' which I am struggling to negotiate.

Many thanks for your thoughts.

EmmaSmith
 

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Definitely sounds like resource guarding. Human guarding is not easy to break, and I highly recommend working with a trainer who may be able to assist especially since she is starting at such a young age.
 
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