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Thread: Possesive Dog to Dog aggression. Please Help.

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  1. #1

    Exclamation Possesive Dog to Dog aggression. Please Help.

    My in-laws adopted a sweet girl from the pound named Strummer. She's approx. 3 1/2 and seems to like dogs; loves cats - she's a Shepherd mix, I think Akita probably is somewhere in there. She's fine with dogs while walking, she just ignores them actually, even when they want to play with her.

    Her eyes are a little dead which is weird, she shows no emotions when being praised, pet, or scolded. The pound and previous owner said she had two chihuahuas in her previous home and was not food aggressive. Within hours of my in-laws bringing her home, Strummer bonded closely to my mother-in-law and followed her around the house - My mother-in-law was thrilled I think to have bonded so quickly.

    Since Strummer likes other dogs and had two chihuahuas in her previous home my husband and I decided to bring our small pekingese over for a visit. Our dog went near a toy and Strummer attacked... which was okay for us, we removed all toys and tried to be overly positive when Strummer was being okay with our dog, Billie Jean. Things were okay, Strummer displayed dominance positions over Billie and Billie submitted and even rolled over on her back - fully submitting to Strummer. So we thought things had been worked out and maybe they'd even eventually play a bit later on. And a few minuted later Strummer did go into play mode and seemed to be fine, Billie was thrilled to have a play mate and got excited - after jumping around with Strummer a bit she then happily went to receive some attention from my mother-in-law. Before my mother-in-law could even get her hand low enough to reach Billie, Strummer was right there standing over Billie. Fine, right? Dominance again, good - Billie submitted right away but Strummer didn't back off - Billie couldn't move away and Strummer just stood over her - then without warning she attacked Billie while Billie was in submission. It wasn't a warning, her standing over was, the growling was... but she attacked.

    Calling Strummer off didn't help at all, so I put my self between and grabbed my dog. This almost happened again once my father-in-law got on the floor to play with the dogs, as soon as he pet my dog Strummer was up in arms.
    Later on that night, Billie simply was walking past my mother-in-law and as soon as she was near my mother-in-law Strummer stood over her again, Billie submitted again, and then Strummer again attacked without good reason. She lifted Billie off the ground somewhat before I put my arm between them and grabbed my dog. A second later, or before and my arm would have been bitten - but Billie is like our child so I didn't think about my actions.

    I'm afraid that this possessiveness over her owners will transfer over to small children - when we have children my husband and I would like to feel confident/safe that our children can run to grandma without being even growled at never mind bitten - we don't want them to fear dogs.

    Strummer is a good girl for the most part, and I don't want them to send her back to the pound of course, but I also don't want to fear this dog. We used to be able to have our in-laws dog-sit for Billie when we went on short vacations - but now I don't think I'll be able to do that - my dog LOVES (I mean REALLY LOVES) my father-in-law and it's really sad that he can't pet her when Strummer is around now, and that I can't bring Billie over for visits when we have dinner at their house, etc.

    Sorry this is so long, but I didn't want to leave any potentially important details out...
    Last edited by Christen1285; 11-20-2009 at 11:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Okay, Strummer obviously thinks she is in charge, not your mom-in-law. It would be a very good idea for her to take Strummer to a basic obedience class, and it would not only help Strummer, but help your mum-in-law, too. Let the instructor know Strummer has issues with small dogs, and a good teacher can help your mum-in-law work on how to react in these situations. Strummer thinks she is the Alpha in the house, and obviously, right now she is. A good class will help correct that, and it can be fun for both dog and human!
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Brunswick, OH
    Try the Nothing In Life Is Free deal. Whenever she does anything for Strummer, your mother in law should make Strummer do something to receive whatever she is receiving. Sit before eating, going outside, putting the leash on. Tricks before eating, being pet, laying down and snuggling.

    Along with Karen's suggestion of course. Basic obedience will be a good thing. I would try and get both owners to go too. It's a nice bonding time.
    Monica Callahan KPA-CTP *Woohoo!*

  4. #4
    Strummer apparently used to live happily with two chihuahuas, so it's not just small dogs... Will obedience class help the possessiveness? I know it'll definitely be beneficial in other areas for Strummer, but right now the possession she displays for her owners is my main concern... since it seems to escalate her to violence. And how does a dog get so possessive over owners she's only known for 6 hours?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Yes, it will absolutely helps the possessive behavior. She decided within arrival that she was top dog, your mum-in-law was hers to protect and rule, and no one has told her otherwise! Obedience training will certainly help that, and will help your mum-in-law and you deal with the aggression when it happens.
    I've Been Frosted

  6. #6
    Okay, good.

    If I for some reason cannot convince my in-laws to do an obedience class with her, what can/should I do when this happens? And what can I do to prevent it from happening.

    My Mother-in-law is certain that if they play outside a few times it'll be fine, I don't think she sees how Strummer has become possessive of her, not just the house and toys. However Strummer oddly enough didn't mind when my dog was at her food...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Lakeville, Minnesota
    Quote Originally Posted by MonicanHonda View Post
    Try the Nothing In Life Is Free deal. Whenever she does anything for Strummer, your mother in law should make Strummer do something to receive whatever she is receiving. Sit before eating, going outside, putting the leash on. Tricks before eating, being pet, laying down and snuggling.

    Along with Karen's suggestion of course. Basic obedience will be a good thing. I would try and get both owners to go too. It's a nice bonding time.
    Oh i totallly agree with this post. Its VERY helpful. I did it with my dog when we were having some dominance issues and it worked wonders! Another good idea would be to make sure Strummer does not sleep in the bed with your MIL. I had Heidi sleeping in bed with me and she started to show dominance issues and I kicked he out of my bed and she now sleeps in her kennel and that practically solved the dominance issues, just by doing that alone! I think the Nothing in Life is free program is wonderful and I agree that obedience classes are very good. That way Strummer can get used to other dogs being around your MIL and your MIL petting other dogs! Good luck! keep us posted!

  8. #8
    Well, my in laws won't do obedience class - we even offered to pay for one as a christmas present - they think strummer is doing fine and is the best dog they've ever had.

    Strummer doesn't sleep on their bed, so that's already done.

    She was better with my dog the second time around - but still their just something there that I can't quite put my finger on - I don't trust the dog...
    My dog just isn't visiting on days when I can't be right there to prevent any injuries - which is sad , my dog loves going over my IL's, but her safety and possible vet bills come first!
    Strummer is a great dog - especially as a walking partner for my MIL, and my MIL is absolutely in-love with Strummer (which is a big deal - she hasn't liked the past 2 dogs they had at all) I hope that as she settles in more and more that she'll be okay - when my husband and I have children we want to feel confident that they can run up to grandma and not get hurt.

    My MIL is reading a book by Caesar Milan and is currently working with Strummer to walk beside her instead of ahead - she says Strummer is doing very well with it and doesn't pull to go ahead.

    So on the outside Strummer is better trained than our dog currently - our dog won't walk nicely on a leash - she just wants to run and run... she get's so hyper - any ideas for her? We can't use a gentle lead (the kind that go behind the head and around the nose...) because she doesn't have a long enough nose... haha We tried using the leash the way Milan does - sort of as a soft choke collar, but that didn't work she just kept choking herself... If you tell her "wait" she waits for you to catch up, but then takes off running again... we usually give in instead of holding the leash tightly to our side because she will keep pulling and choke herself... it sounds so horrible as we're walking because she's wheezing as if she were dying... people stare and I feel like they think I'm harming my dog...

    My next attempt was going to be to put peanut butter on my hand so she'd stay near my side looking up at my hand, then when she's walking well I'd lower my hand and give her a lick of the peanut butter. But she's so short it'd be pretty awkward to do so I'd actually have to stop to give her the treat.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Have you tried a harness instead of a collar with her? Then, it is all up to you. The INSTANT she starts to pull, stop walking, and tell her to sit. Then walk to where she is, and start walking again. But as soon as she starts to pull, do it again. You will feel completely ridiculous, but she will eventually get the message: if she pulls, she doesn't get to walk. Make sure everyone who walks her does this. Be consistent, do this every walk, every day, and she will learn!
    I've Been Frosted

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