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Hey everyone,

I posted awhile ago about my 6 month old Australian Shepherd, Emma, having resource gaurding issues with bones, sometimes food, and also acting defensive of me when my roomie enters my room and I am in bed. Since then, I have taken the advice given to me and worked on pouring more food in her bowl during eating or getting people to give her treats when she has a bone before she can growl. I have made lots of progress--she does not growl while eating food anymore and has stopped growling at me when she has a bone (although she still growls at other people). Small steps, but good progress!

My part 2 issue comes in recently. The past two weeks I would say a new form of growling and barking has come about:

Mostly at night or when she is sleepy my puppy will randomly growl at my roommate. As in, she will be all excited to see him and sleeping on his feet while he is at the table, then will look up at him and start growling at him. Out of the blue completely! She will growl (strangely scary for a 30lb dog) get up and lunge at him (but not bite, more nip) then kind of smell him, lick him, and then lie down again. This will continue unpredictably. I have gotten him to start joining training and randomly make her sit, lie down, etc with food throughout the day. Sometimes she will enter the living room wagging her tail to see him where he is walking around, lie down on the floor and be quiet. Then 10 minutes later start growling at him until she does the previously mentioned lunge, and then lick him. I am not sure why she is doing this or what I can do to work on it?

Important information: a couple of days ago I took her to the vet to see if everything was okay and they found she had an ear infection. I have a strong feeling it could be from this, maybe this is a random association with the pain and him when it occurs? I figured I would ask the knowledgeable people of this forum and get input to start working on anything I can do to stop this. Thanks in advance!
 

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Hmm, yes, I reckon the ear infection could well be behind it. If you've had them yourself, you know that the pain can come & go suddenly, and often especially when you're resting. So perhaps she's 'blamed' your roomy for it. Though it could be her age & she's starting to assert a 'dominant' personality - eg. your roomy makes her uncomfortable somehow - perhaps he moves his feet or she just becomes uncomfortable, so she 'tells' him to move, he doesn't, so she lunges.

But whatever the reason, this sounds like very real aggression, and I'd personally suggest you consult with a behaviourist or trainer *experienced in dealing with aggression without punishment(I'm not dead against punishment personally, but think aggression is one place it definitely shouldn't be used & can make matters worse).
 
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