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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So we moved into a new apartment on the 4th. My roommate has a three month old Aussie border collie mix. He's really cute and at first him and Cosmo played really well!

However last night we were playing a card game at the table and Cosmo was acting kind of strange. He laid down under me and my boyfriend which is fine and normal but whenever stormy would walk near us he seemed uncomfortable and he would stand up and make a whining growling noise. I didn't think much of it because he's very vocal and makes that sound at me often when he wants something or he's bored.

But then stormy (the puppy) put his paws up on my boyfriend and Cosmo immediately stood up and went around to the other side and put his head in my boyfriends lap and even put his paws up onto him and tried to essentially crawl into his lap which he hasn't really done before. He also whined at me when stormy was near and put his head on me and pawed at my arm

Regardless, still didn't think much of it. That is until Cosmo was laying under me and I heard a yelp. I looked down and wasn't really sure what happened but stormy had yelped like he was hurt. None of us saw what happened and stormy is deaf and makes weird noises so my roommate said he probably just barked because his is high pitched, but after a minute I looked back down and Cosmo was (silently!!) snarling his lips at stormy anytime stormy got close to me.

Ahh! I'm not sure what to do! He's always been jealous of other dogs when I pet them or give them attention and we worked on making him wait for his turn but he's never acted aggressively and her puppy is tiny and I don't want to cause fights over Cosmo being a big bully :( Help??
 

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This is a pretty normal reaction, and if the other dog backs away it's not necessarily a HUGE problem. You might want to check out Mine! by Jean Donaldson to help your dog anyways, though. Resource guarding isn't about being a bully as much as it is about being afraid the resource will be taken away-in this case, the resource is your attention.

If you can find a friend to help, I would set up so the dogs are both on leash with a handler that is not you, or tethered safely at a distance where they can see but not interact. Go up to the new dog, give lots of love, and then return to your dog and give even more, and treats, and play for a bit. Then repeat-so the association you're trying to classically condition is that you petting or giving attention to the other dog = better things for your own dog. I'd also manage a bit more closely while doing these to make sure they have time apart from each other, both with your attention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, I'll try that! I read that it stems from stress and insecurity, and I also wanted to know how I could make him less insecure if that's the reason he's doing it? I want him to know that he doesn't need to be stressed about me not loving him or something lol
 

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Thank you, I'll try that! I read that it stems from stress and insecurity, and I also wanted to know how I could make him less insecure if that's the reason he's doing it? I want him to know that he doesn't need to be stressed about me not loving him or something lol
It definitely can stem from those things. Since the new roommate is fairly recent, there's a lot of adaptation happening so smaller fears tend to be enlarged (sort of how you might snap at someone for talking louder than usual if you're stressed, but would otherwise just ask them to quiet down a bit). If you find he's typically insecure about offering behaviours, the best way to work on that is to shape any behaviour with a very high reward rate, and short sessions. This way, he's learning something new, but it's not difficult, there are no expectations, and he's winning every time.
 
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