Friday, July 10, 2009

Jealousy and Possessive Behavior in Dogs

By Linda Cole

Possessive behavior in dogs is actually quite common. We often see them guarding their favorite toy or sleeping spot, or making sure other pets in the house stay away from their feeding bowl or treat “cookie jar.” In a way, it's hard to blame them for protecting what they believe belongs to them, and that includes their human. After all, we display the same tendencies toward other people. Being possessive of a toy or favorite resting area is one thing, but if your dog is jealous, that's another ballgame that can quickly get out of control.

Jealousy in dogs is not cute, and we unknowingly encourage bad behavior each time the dog is allowed to display this emotion with no correction from us. Jealousy can occur when you bring in a new pet, start a new relationship, have a baby or when there is any other change in your life which takes your attention away from your dog. In his mind, he has stood by you through thick and thin, and given unconditional love— and now you are giving your attention to someone else. How rude.

Kelly is my alpha female. She’s an adorable 14 year old terrier/mix who has eyes only for me. As far as she is concerned, I belong to her and it's her duty to protect me. I didn't realize she had taken on the role as my protector until the day she actually nipped at a friend who took one step too close to me. With my eyes opened, I began to notice it wasn't just my friend. Kelly was also protecting me from the other dogs and cats in my pack. The change in our household was a job that required a lot of overtime. I also was caring for my father who had fallen and was recovering from a broken hip. They did not get along; his walker scared her, and he was afraid of her. I had to confine Kelly when I was at work, and her little heart was broken.

Jealousy and possessive behavior in dogs can be a serious behavior problem. Some dogs will exhibit signs of depression or a loss of appetite. They may be withdrawn or show signs of aggression that you've never seen before. Kelly would lie beside me on the couch, and if another dog or cat came too close, she would leap at them with a high pitched warning bark. She was like a rattlesnake lashing out. This stressed out not only her, but the other pets and me as well.

So how do you deal with jealousy and possessive behavior in dogs? The solution isn't as difficult as it may seem, but it requires consistent dedication and a calm steady hand. Whether you know it or not, before your dog became jealous, the two of you had a daily routine. Perhaps it was a morning walk before going to work, playing ball after work, or a relaxing ear scratching session while watching TV. To a dog, routine is important because he sees any change as him losing his place by your side and in your heart.

Reassure him with extra attention and maintain a daily schedule of walking, feeding, talking to and playing with him. Encourage positive interaction between him and any new member of the pack, whether it is human or another pet.

Reestablish basic training ground rules. Your dog may need to be reminded who the boss is. A jealous or possessive dog needs to be watched and as the pack leader, you need to step in and control any signs of aggression or negative behavior before they get out of control. Make sure to reward desired behavior with a yummy treat (like CANIDAE® Snap-Bits™) or extra back scratching time. Your dog is just looking for reassurance that you still value him.

Kelly is still jealous of the other pets, but she has realized her role in the pack has not changed. I started a new routine: walks with other members of the pack, special time set aside just for her which included head scratching and girl talk, along with appropriate pack leader discipline from me when needed.

Dealing with jealousy and possessive behavior in dogs is ongoing. It's worth the effort to maintain peace in the family for their well being as well as our own. Besides, our dogs think we are the most wonderful creatures around and want to please us. The least we can do is be responsible pack leaders and set rules that are consistent and clear. In doing so, our dogs will understand their place in the pack and know what we expect from them.

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. I have a two year old Maltese/ fox terrier mix.... I always wanted another dog for her to play with.... so I found my dream dog husky. She's very sweet and gets along with her until Kate comes down to me.... my little with snap at her when the husky even gets to close to me.... I pet them both at the same time, but the little one still snaps..... both are aggressive with their food but not towards me going near it..... if u have any other ideas let me know thanks..... lilash119@Gmail. Com

  2. I have 2 Dane, Mother and daughter, which I should mention the daughter was a singleton, and is extremely jealous of her own dear mother. They are fine if I am not here, but she the daughter wants to fight with her mother over me because she has jealousy. She also had a cruiciate injury which she could only go out on leash for 6 months! And I think she got too over attached to me. HELP.

  3. We have a boxer/lab mix named Goldie. We got her when she was 6-weeks old in 2006. My husband works over night and I work during the day so, my husband has been primary caregiver for our Goldie. She has a very good temper, she is not aggressive with her food, toys or us however, she is very, very possessive of my husband. Whenever he is laying in the bed with me or my daughter she comes in the same room and licks him. The biggest thing about her possessiveness is, whenever my husband is hugging anyone - not just my daughter and I - Goldie gets in between him & the other person and presses her body against my husband's legs. We have moved to a different spot, we have tried locking our legs together and she still trys to get in the middle. If she is unsuccessful with her first try, she will wait for an opening. There are times when she is in another room laying down, and we are hugging very quitely & out of her sight, she will get up and get in between us and begin pressing against my husband. Have you ever seen this behavior? It use to be funny to it is bothersome.

  4. Hi Anonymous,

    It's always good to hear there's no aggression involved. It makes things a lot easier. Does Goldie sleep on the bed with your husband? If so, the first thing you should do is fix her up a spot beside the bed and teach her to sleep off the bed. Every time she gets on the bed, make her get off. If she won't do it on her own, get up and take her off by her collar. Have her go to her bed and make sure to give her a treat and lots of praise when she's in her bed. Once she understands and does what you ask, then you can let her back up on the bed as long as she behaves and get off when you ask her to.

    Why she's trying to get in between your husband and you or your daughter is because she's challenging both of you and thinks of you as an equal. When she's with you, even when your husband is home, you and your daughter also need to feed her, take her outside and give corrections when and if any are needed. Positive reinforcement only even when correcting. This helps Goldie learn both of you are on the same level as your husband. If you haven't taught her how to sit or lay down and stay, this would also be a good command for her to learn. When she tries to get between your husband and anyone else, have her go to a designated spot and stay there until you call her. This teaches her she's not the one in control. Again, lots of praise and treats every time she does what you ask. When you're ready to interact with Goldie, all of you give her attention and tell her how good she is. Taking her for walks is a good way to establish yourself as her leader. Teach her to walk beside you.

    I have seen this kind of behavior. I have a 10 month old Border Collie who tries to do the same thing when I give attention to my other dogs. I put her in time out if she gets too aggressive, but I usually don't have to do that. When she butts in between, I stand up and turn my back on her. If she does it again, I do the same thing. If she's persistent, then I leave the room for a few minutes and go where she can't follow me. When I go back into the room, it's the other dogs that get my attention first and then I give Keikei attention and tell her what a good dog she is. She does a good job sitting and staying and she's still a work in progress. You have to be consistent and patient to teach a dog, but if you are, they will learn.

    I hope that helps. Let me know how things go and if you need some more help. I'm happy to help anyway I can.


    1. I have a Great Dane that does the EXACT same thing!

    2. Thank you so much for this advise. I have a three month old Chihuahua/Terrier mix and she is very jealous of my daughter and my other dog. She tries to bite my dog and just won't stop barking at my daughter. I will try your techniques and see how it goes.

    3. I rescued a dog a few weeks ago. He was an unneutered miniature schnauzer. We had him nuetered immediately. He is 3yrs old. He is a great dog and very smart however he cannot stand for my husband and me to have contact of any kind. He barks and snarls and goes crazy actually. he is equally "protective" of both of us and even starts whining if we start walking toward each other. We are figuring out his other issues but this one is throwing us for a loop. we ignore his behavior but he gets agressive until we separate then he is immediately calm. The other night my husband gave me a high five and thought the dog was going to attack him. thoughts? He doesnt slepp in our bed and in fact isnt allowed in the bed.

  5. i have a bichon jack russell cross called max who is a lovely dog but wuld be very jealous of anyone who would try and give me attention when me and my husband were hugging he would bark and we would just ignore it . now i have got a new dog buster hes a cairn terrier cross and a very mild dog but max wont let me give him any attention hes growls everytime buster comes near me he doesnt bite or fight with him just growls and buster backs off, me and max would go up at night to bed wile i wuld read and hed lay at the bottom of the bed then when hubby came to bed hed put max downstairs in bed .max wont even let buster up on the bed so buster lays underneath it and then when hubby comes to take them down max barks at him, any advice generally they get on well until one of the family is about, buster came from a home where he didnt get much attention now hes craves it and max seems to be gettin more jealous every day

  6. Hi Anonymous,

    It sounds like Max thinks of himself as the top dog in your family. Not only with Buster, but with you as well.

    The first thing I would do is not allow Max up on the bed with you. Max has decided he's the alpha and his view is he gets the best resting place, which is on the bed. By making him stay off the bed, you're putting both dogs on the same level and teaching Max to understand that you and your husband are the leaders and the two dogs are the followers. Dogs will do what you ask of them as long as you are consistent, patient and stay positive. If he won't get down on his own when you tell him to get off the bed, take him by his collar and move him off. You don't have to be rough, just move him off and tell him "off" or "down", which ever word you want to use as a command. Give him a treat and lots of praise when he's off the bed, even if you had to move him off by the collar.

    How long have you had Buster? It can take awhile for pets to warm up to each other. Something else you can try is to walk them together. Both dogs need exercise and stimulation for their mind. Walking them together makes them feel like they are both part of the family. Terriers need a lot of exercise and something that can help stimulate their mind. Even mixed breed terriers need a lot of exercise.

    Another good way to teach them you are the one in control is to train them basic commands. Dogs love to learn new things and it's a good way to stimulate their minds while teaching them good manners. Start with "off or down" from the bed, for Max. Training them together with treats and praise is another good way to teach them they are both equal in your eyes and are both part of the family and it gives them positive attention.

    Be consistent and stay positive when dealing with them. Treat them as equals. The walking and training will help.

    Let me know how things go or if you have more questions.


  7. Hello Linda, great advice, I have 2 Shih Tzu's now. Spunky has been with me and my fiance for 2 years and I wanted another one, so he would have a companion for when I am not home. My fiance works most of the time so it is just Spumky and me.We adopted a female from the humane society and it was all good for 2 days, but now he is very jealous. I continue to do our same routine and make sure I talk to him if was talking to the other one. But it is not good, Spunky does not what Lacy (new Shih Tzu) and same age on the couch with us, int the bed. I am afraid he might hurt Lacy. Do you think the advice you mentioned will work in this situation. Can you please send me advice to my email

  8. This is not comment but I have a maltese ad is very possesive always want to go everywhere I go and also whe I do leave him at home he uriates on the floor or have a droppig on the floor what do I do

  9. I have five dogs and two cats from all different ages and race, however the second last born (Isa) she is a cross bread almost two years old, she becomes very possessive and aggressive if any other dogs or cats comes near me when she is with me. When she does that I reprimand her with a hard tone, and she knows she is been bad from her facial expression, then she will act all humble and embarrassed however she will still do it again. I know she is possessive so I give her a lot of kisses and love; however she will still occasionally, become possessive and aggressive, Isa is very playful dog and likes to play with the others; she only becomes aggressive with others if she is near me or my sister. I found her when she was four weeks old; she was thrown in the felt, I took her and gave great care of her since. Please advice if there is anything else we can do to sort out her behavior; I don’t want them to fight!!!!!

  10. Hi Anonymous,

    When we find a puppy that starts out in the way Isa did, we have a tendency to over compensate and coddle them because we feel sorry for them. And it's easy to treat them differently without realizing that's what we're doing. I know because I've done the same thing myself. It's important to make sure you're treating all of the dogs equally. Equal attention and fair discipline when it's needed.

    It's good that she doesn't do it all the time, but you need to make sure she understands you are the one in charge and not her.

    Have you read the other article that was posted on Living With a Jealous Dog? Here's the link for it.

    What I said in this article is the same advice I would give you right now. Please read the article. I think it will help you, but let me know if you need more help.



  11. I have a lab and JR, the lab is 6 and when with us chews everything in the garden. Is he trying to draw our attention to him what can we do?

  12. Hi Anonymous,

    Dogs and cats will chew on or eat grass, plants and weeds. It's believed some pets just like eating greens. But you do need to be aware of what they are chewing on because so many plants and weeds are toxic to pets. And grass or plants that's been treated with weed killer or other chemicals are also toxic to them.

    Dogs will also munch on plants because they are hungry. You can try to stop his munching on plants and grass by giving him a snack before you go outside, feed him 2 or 3 smaller meals throughout the day or switch to a higher quality dog food.

    Chewing on plants or grass isn't something they do to get our attention, so I would make sure what he's chewing on is safe to begin with and try giving him a little more food or snacks throughout the day to help him feel more satisfied food wise.


  13. Hi my dog Chase a 4yr old golden retriever unaltered male recently attacked my now ex-bf. He is protective of me when he feels my safety is threatened but I wasn't even in the room when he attacked my boyfriend. I was in the bathroom, Chase and my ex were in the bedroom. My ex claim that Chase had put his head his lap and that he lunged up while he was petting him he had a pretty bad laceration about 4.5 inches long and 1/2 an inch deep. I'm not sure why I don't believe him but I just want to know what could have brought that on. I still walked him we both gave him attention and food. I know at night my boyfriend locked him out of the bedroom after I'd fall asleep. I just don't know what to think or do for that matter. My dog is acting mostly normal, he does flinch a little when I pet his back though. That is something new. What can I do?

    1. This was a while back, but I suspect you don't have this boyfriend anymore. If you feel doubt regarding your boyfriend's story, there is a reason. Your dog needs to know you're in charge, but I believe this is a different issue. Hope you took him to the vet to see why he is flinching. Trust your instincts.

  14. Hi Diana,

    Are you aware of anytime that your ex may have hit or kicked Chase? The majority of dog bites are usually caused by the person who got bit, but without having seen what actually happened, that makes it hard for you. Even if Chase didn't get along well with your boyfriend, he would not have gone after your ex unless he felt threatened for some reason.

    Dogs don't just bite people out of the blue. There's always a reason why. Chase may not have liked something in your ex's body language or how he was petting him and felt threatened or he has received rough treatment from your ex that you aren't aware of. That's one possibility.

    The other thing that could be going on is Chase has an injury somewhere along his back or hips and if your ex got too close to where the injury is at and Chase felt pain, that's another reason why he might have lunge at and bit your ex. Pain can cause a dog's behavior to change. Golden Retrievers can have problems with their hips and it might be a good idea to have your vet check Chase over to make sure his aggression wasn't due to a medical reason. Dogs hide their pain and the little flinch you see may be more painful to Chase than you realize.

    Dogs can also pull muscles just like we can and that can also cause them pain. Some dogs will yelp, but others just suffer in silence. I think I'd start with a vet exam.

    Pay close attention to how Chase acts around other people and it might be a good idea to not leave him alone with anyone else for the time being unless you are certain they have a good relationship with him and they understand he may have an unseen injury or medical condition that's bothering him.

    This doesn't sound like a jealousy issue, it sounds more like a pain issue or a lack of trust and respect for your ex. because of rough handling or physical abuse that might have taken place without your knowledge.

    Please let me know if you need anything else.


  15. Hello!
    I have two Yorkie pups, male and female, I got at the same time from the same breeder. They are now ten months old. Lucy is a dream girl...good natured, loving, playful, even tempered and was easily housebroken. Johnny is a great loving and eager for attention but he's my problem child. He has yet to be housebroken and he's a bit on the timid side...and extremely jealous and possessive. He's attached himself to me and is my constant shadow. I adore him and perhaps I've babied him too much as he just seems so needy. The problem I'm having is getting enough attention to Lucy. Whenever I talk to Lucy or play with her or just lay a hand on her Johnny is right on top of her letting out a high pitched chortle and literally pulling me away from her. He looks almost panicked that I'm giving her attention. As they've got older he's now snapping at her and she's snapped back a couple times. I need to put a stop to this and have tried a firm 'no' and removing him from her or my lap but it's not working. I'm afraid of being too hard and firm because he is such a timid little soul. I don't want to cause damage that I can't reverse. Obviously I need help...desperately. Any assistance you can give me on dealing with a timid/nervous personality would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you so much!

  16. Hi Judy,

    Raising litter mates can be a challenge. It's recommended that you keep them separate from each other for the first year while you work on housebreaking and training them, but that can be hard to do. It sounds like you know them both fairly well and that's good.

    Your concern about Johnny is correct. He sounds like he's pretty insecure. How much training have you given them? Do they know basic commands? If not, the first thing I would do is teach them both how to sit, stay, lay down and come. But you need to teach them separate from each other. Do a training session each day with each one. It doesn't have to be long. 10 or 15 minutes. During training sessions, put one of them in another room so the dog you are working with has your undivided attention. Sit is the easier command to start with. Use their favorite treat and positive reinforcement with lots of praise. Take some time to play with them one at a time as well. Also, take them on walks together. Since they're small, that makes it easier to deal with both at the same time. Walking helps them feel like a family. And since they are moving, it's harder to feel insecure and fight on a walk. The exercise and stimulation from all the interesting smells may be what they both need more than anything else. Put one on each side as you walk. If they are getting along OK, put them together on one side. Let them check out smells they run across, but keep them walking at a steady pace.

    The next command should be stay. When you have both of them together once they've learned sit and stay, then if Johnny starts to snap at Lucy, give him a sit and stay command and try to keep him sitting until you tell him to get up. Making him sit and stay should help to calm him down. Give Lucy attention and then put her in a sit and stay and give Johnny attention.

    I understand your concern with Johnny being insecure, but you can make him behave without being hard on him. You can try using a squirt bottle to stop him before he jumps on Lucy. The water bottle works well and won't hurt him.

    Do you know how to read a dog's body language? Knowing what to look for can help you stop things before they can escalate.

    Another thing you can do is talk to your vet to see if he/she could recommend a good animal behaviorist in your area. They come to your home and observe you and your pets to understand a pet's behavior and how you interact with them. Then they can give you recommendations and suggestions on what you need to do.

    Before calling in an animal behaviorist, I would try the walking together and teaching them basic commands first. Both of those activities may be all you need.

    Let me know how it works out and if you need more help.


  17. Hi Linda,
    Thank you so much for all the much needed advice! I will start immediately and work with them daily. Now that the weather's getting nicer I can start the walks as well. I'll come back and give you an update. Hopefully, this will help...crossing my fingers! :)
    Thanks again!

  18. I took Chase to the vet he is now a nuetered male, turns out his cataract has gotten much worse in his right eye. The vet said that could have been the trigger for the attack. My boyfriend was petting him possibly Chase had gotten spooked. If Chase really wanted to hurt him or establish dominance I doubt he would have ran away after that one bite. Next week I'm going to start him on his anti-anxiety medication and hopefully that'll make him feel a bit better. If I were going blind I'd attack out of fear too. I'm just glad that he goes to my bf and tries to play with him and get him to pet him. Thank you so much for your advice though. It really helped calm me, I know now my bf never raised a hand to my baby. It sucks that his vision has worsened so much in less than a year. He's only 4, the way I look at it is he's lucky that he has an owner who's in for the long haul.

  19. Hi,
    I have a golden/lab cross bitch, she is just 2 years old and I got her when I was made redundant. I have had her with me most of the time and I have trained her to be a therapy dog and a gun dog, she is great with people and the 2 cats we have.
    We have added a golden puppy who is now 12.5 weeks old. Bella has been very good with the puppy, she allowes the puppy to sleep with her, shares her toys, washes the pup and even helps her ask to go out but I have noticed a problem and want to fix it before it developes into a real issue, bella is very posessive over her treat bones, she snarls and groaned and prevents the puppy having access to outside. Bella gets so wound up that if I go to take the bones away (I give one of anything to each dog) she will snarl and show me her teeth. This is not usual for her. She also has to get between the pup and anyone who fusses her.
    I don't want to neglect the puppy's training because of the behaviour.
    Will they grow out of it? We have only had the puppy 4 weeks, any suggestions would be very welcome.
    Thank you.

  20. Hi Anonymous,

    No, Bella probably won't grow out of it. You will need to step in and correct her behavior and now is the best time to do it before it does get worse.

    What Bella is showing is food aggression with her treats. Does she guard her food bowl whether it's full or empty in the same way? If she does, one of the best ways to correct food aggression is to show her you are the one who controls the food and treats. Have her sit in front of you and feed her one piece of dog food at a time or break up the treats and give her one piece at a time and make her sit and stay with you. Put her on a leash if that's the only way to keep her with you. Also give a treat to the pup in a designated spot inside the house and make the pup stay in that spot. You're teaching each dog they have their own spot where they can enjoy their treats. If Bella is showing aggression with her food bowl, give each one their own spot to eat in that's away from each other. By giving Bella only one piece at a time, you're teaching her you control the food. Give her food or treats in this way for 4 or 5 days then give her a full treat and see if she is still aggressive when you try to take it away. If she is, keep giving her little bites of treats or food until she isn't growling at you when you try to take it away. Teaching her the drop it command would be good.

    This can take a couple of weeks, so be patient and stay consistent. Each dog can have their food and a treat only in their own special spot.

    Bella snarls at you when you try to take her treat because it's her way of telling you to back off, this is mine. It's the same thing she's telling the puppy.

    You can usually get a dog to give up something if you offer them something better than what they have. When she snarls at you if you try to take her treat, offer her a better treat she just can't resist, like some cooked chicken pieces. Offer it to her, tell her to drop it (the treat) and give her the chicken treat when she gives up the bone treat.

    Food aggression can show up at anytime in a dog's life. Dogs don't really know the difference between a treat and their normal meal. To them, a treat is just more food.

    Moving in between the pup and other people is her attempt to keep the pup from you. Again, put her on a leash if you have to and teach her to sit and stay when you're dealing with the puppy. Or, if it's necessary, put her in another room away from you and the pup while you're working on training with the pup. Give her attention when you're done with the pup. This is teaching her she has to share you with the puppy and you are the one in control.

    Bella is trying to set ground rules with the pup, so it's up to you to help Bella understand what your ground rules are for both of them. It sounds like they'll doing good getting to know each other.

    If you need anything else or have more questions, please let me know.


  21. Thank you very much for your advice, Bella doesn't protect her bowl or any other food, just the bones, I fear the answer might be no bones!
    We do make Teal (the pup) sit and wait while bella eats and Bella will sit and wait if I tell her to.
    I will work at your suggestion of splitting them up to train,
    Thank you for your advice

  22. Hi,
    I have a French Bulldog, Barkley I adopted two and a half years ago. I recently got a Dane puppy, Layla. Barkley has always been house trained, but lately he is being possessive and starting peeing in the same spot when i take Layla outside. He is getting quality time with just me, and he seems so jealous......any tips will be helpful

  23. Hi Anonymous,

    A dog who has been housebroken can start to mark his/her territory when a new dog is brought in. How old is Layla? If she's 6 - 12 months old, she could be leaving Barkley some nice hormone smells even though you haven't noticed her first heat cycle yet. Have you had her fixed yet? Even if Barkley has been neutered, he'll still be attracted to her smell. If he isn't neutered, doing so would help keep him from marking indoors. He could be peeing on one spot because he smells her scent on the floor. She may have gone in that spot and you didn't realize it.

    The first thing you need to do is clean the area where he's been going. I like to use apple cider vinegar slightly diluted with water to clean a pet stain. Put it in a spray bottle and generously spray the area. Take some paper towels and soak up as much as you can and then let it air dry for carpets. If it's on the carpet, you're dealing with the urine that soaked through the carpet into the pad and probably all the way to the floor. So it could take a few applications to get as much out as you can. If it's on the floor, spray the area and let it air dry. The vinegar is a good deodorizer and most dogs and cats don't like the smell of the vinegar.

    Since he started peeing inside after you got Layla, that is most likely the issue, but it wouldn't hurt to have your vet check him out to make sure he doesn't have a medical problem, like a bladder infection.

    Can you take both of them outside together instead of leaving Barkley inside alone? Dogs don't do things out of spite and to him, he's not doing anything wrong. He is, however, developing a bad habit that you need to correct, but you can't punish him for it. Just clean it the best you can and work with him on housebreaking again.

    Take them on walks together, one on each side of you to start with and then put them both on one side. Walking helps them feel like they are a family. The walk gives them good stimulation for their minds and exercise.

    If he's getting quality time with you, just keep that up. Reassure him you still love him. Adjusting to a new dog in the family can take some time. It just depends on the dog and there is no specific time limit. How are the two of them getting along? Especially when they are both around you?


  24. Hello,

    I have a female 3yr old english mastiff. I'm becoming extremely worried about her actions to other children and I would like to rehome her, with a person or a couple without children and who don't have a lot of children around. I believe she gets jealous of other children around my own children. She has mouthed 2 of my older daughters friends on the face. The kids don't do anything for her to do that. One girl was just standing and my dog leaped up and wanted to nip her, in the face. The other incident the girls were looking for movies and the dog went over and mouthed her face as well. I'm so worried, I'm worried that she will end up doing a lot of damage. She's a very big dog and has a lot of power behind her. Do you have any suggestions? If you want an email address it is

  25. Hello , I have a french bulldog. He was perfect puppy ( he is only 6 month old ) till my brother came to visit me and he will stay with me till the end of the summer. Before everything was good , now he is doing bad thing to my brother. Eating his shoes , things and even the furniture where he is sitting or putting his laptop. What should I do in this situation ?

  26. Hi Anonymous,

    Puppies chew on things and shoes are most pups favorite things to chew on. They have our scent in and on them. Your brother needs to understand he needs to keep his shoes up away from the puppy. If you don't have toys for the pup to play with, get some chew toys for him and when he has one of your brother's shoes, take the shoe away and give him a chew toy. The pup is old enough to start learning to drop what he has in his mouth. He's at a good age to start teaching him basic commands like sit and stay and drop it.

    Have your brother take the pup on walks. It's a good way to bond with the dog. Working on training is another good way to bond and in the process, you are teaching him how you expect him to act.

    Since puppies and dogs use their mouth to investigate things they find, anything that has the scent of someone they know on it is a prime target for them to chew on. They don't destroy things on purpose, but that's what usually happens when it gets in a pup's mouth. That includes the couch or a chair.

    Keep things that you don't want to take a chance on the pup getting up away from him. Give him chew toys when you find him chewing on things he shouldn't be chewing on like the couch and teach him how to sit and drop it. The walking will help get rid of pent up energy and a tired dog is less likely to chew and get into trouble.

    Another thing you can try is to take a spray bottle and spray the pup to correct him. The water won't hurt him and it gets his attention. But you want to work on training at the same time so he understands what you want him to learn.


  27. I have a 1 yr old Doxie/Spaniel that I adopted from a rescue 3 months ago. He was (unknowingly) sick when I adopted him (kennel cough & valley fever), which he's since recovered & recovering from. I'm finding out his personality now, which is mostly great. The project comes in @ his recent behavior towards my cat, who is very calm around other dogs. If she aproaches his toys to sniff or occassionally even walks through the hall, he starts barking and runs after her. I'd like to nip this in the bud as quickly as possible, & not do the wrong thing. They are fine in the same house 75% of the time, but this rare behavior (occuring about 2 times a week & escalating) is pushing her away from me & to spend more time outside. What should I do? I've removed toys, & tried to startle him out of barking. He's also jealous enough that I can't pet another animal without him pushing in. I'm starting on training him, so I will also ask my trainer, but any thoughts would be wonderful! Thank you!

  28. Hi Anonymous,

    Most Doxie/Spaniels will take after the dachshund side temperament wise which is a very sweet personality for the most part. But, because they are small dogs, they can easily develop "Small Dog Syndrome." It's easy for a dog to think he's the one in charge and since small dogs are easy to pick up when they whine or jump up on us, they can quickly learn that they can get what they want by jumping and whining and doing other things, like protect his toys from the cat. It's really not a serious problem to correct. And taking him for training is the best way to help him learn how you want him to behave.

    Let him know you are the one in charge. Take him for daily walks because that's one of the best ways for him to learn to follow you. When he starts to bark at the cat; have him sit and stay beside you so he can stay calm. Having him sit and stay teaches him you won't accept his behavior of barking at and chasing the cat. He does sound like he's becoming possessive with his toys, so give him a job to do. Instead of letting him leave his toys laying around, find a place like a toy box, where his toys are kept and teach him to pick up his toys. The training helps keep his mind focused on something besides the cat walking by his toys or in the hallway. It could take a little time for him to learn, but if you are consistent and stick with the training, he can learn to do what you ask of him.

    One of the hardest things for us to say to our dogs sometimes is "No" and then make sure they understand what it means. Have treats in a place that you can get to whenever you need them fast. Refocus his mind from the cat to you with a treat. Something he really likes to eat. Have him sit and then give him the treat and praise him. Show him there's something in it for him and he gets something he really likes when he's not going after the cat or barking at her.

    Working on the being jealous when other animals are around will take a little time, too. He needs to learn that you give attention to other pets besides him. If he's not being aggressive, when he pushes in between you and another pet, ignore him and turn your side or back to him and keep giving the other pet attention. If he moves to try and get in between when you turn, then turn away again. When you've finished giving attention to the other pet, give him lots of attention. He's just trying to reassure himself that you still love him when you're giving other pets attention. If he is aggressive, teaching him how to sit and stay gives you better control over him and he learns that he has to sit calmly while you give attention to other pets. Then he gets attention when you're done. He learns that you are in charge and not him. Having a dog sit helps calm them down. If you have to, don't hesitate to remove him from the room while you're giving attention to other pets. Then bring him back into the room and give him plenty of attention.

    I think when you get him in training and he starts to learn what you expect from him, it will help a lot to change his behavior.

    Let me know if you have other questions. And you have a really cute little guy.


  29. I have a companion I visit often and she has a jack Russel female 13 years old, at first her dog seem to behave normal and didn't act jealous of me being there in the house. I would sit on a couch next to the couch my companion would be sitting on and Sadie (her dog) didn't mind after a few months passed and now sitting next to my companion on same couch Sadie would try to get between us, paw at her master like trying to pull her away and sometimes Sadie would climb on top of the back of the couch and paw at her masters head or lay on her masters lap looking at me. Sadie lets me pet her and sometimes she rolls over to let me pet her stomach. We both know it's jealousy she is displaying. What do you suggest we do to get Sadie out of this situation?

  30. Hi Anonymous,

    My first suggestion would be to teach Sadie to stay off of the couch you two are sitting on. She can sit on the empty couch or sit or lay down in front of the couch you are on. Get some treats and reward her for staying off of the couch. Her owner needs to do the training, but you should also be able to give her commands that she follows so you should also give her treats when she does what you ask her to do. Every time she gets on the couch or sits on your friend's lap, she needs to get down and then be rewarded with a "good girl" and a treat.

    Sadie needs some time to learn to trust you. Treats and positive reinforcement can help earn you her trust. Right now, she feels her master is the one she needs to protect because of the bond she has with her. So you need to start working on your own bond with Sadie. If she is rolling over so you can pet her stomach, that's a sign of submission and it's good. So just keep working on building a bond and trust and I think you will all be fine in time.

    My second suggestion would be for you, your friend and Sadie to all go for a walk shortly after you get there. During the walk, quietly pass the leash back and forth between the two. of you. Walking helps dogs understand that everyone on the walk is part of the family. Plus, the exercise is something Sadie needs to help get rid of excess energy. She's more apt to comply with commands if she's not full of energy to start with. Both of you can also take some time to play with her out in the yard or in the house. While walking, stay calm and act natural. Talk to each other and let Sadie know what a good dog she is. You can carry treats with you and reward her from time to time if it's necessary.

    To help Sadie understand it's OK for you to be in her home and it's OK for you to sit next to your friend, the more interaction you have with Sadie, the more likely she is to accept you in her home and it helps you build a bond with her. If you are at your friend's house during meal time for Sadie, it would be good for you to give her the food now and then. Teach her to sit down before she gets her meal. It shows her that you control her food and that you have a higher place in the family hierarchy which is something dogs understand.

    She doesn't sound like she's being aggressive, so that's good. Try the walks, feeding her some meals and teaching her to stay off of the couch when you're both sitting on it. Let me know if you have other questions.


  31. Hi Linda,

    We have two mini Labradoodles. Chester is the youngest one. He's 4 and his older sister is 5. Chester sees me as some kind of a God or something. He's always been a mommy's boy but here recently it's gotten to where he gets in the middle if I try to pet or love our other dog. He'll even growl at her. I took them both to the pet store recently and he just out of the blue attacked another dog just walking by. What I mean by attacked is just a quick strike to make sure the dog didn't come close to his mommy. That's plain rude plus one of these days he'll do that to a dog that will take a chunk out of him. He's only 22 lb. Is there a way that I can teach him that it's OK to share me and this striking out at other dogs is not OK. This behavior is slowly getting worse.

    Thanks for your help!

  32. Hi Anonymous,

    It's not just dogs that could become a problem. He could also lash out at a person who gets too close to you, so yes, you need to work on his behavior.

    Small dogs can have "small dog syndrome" which means they get what they want by jumping up on people or whining or barking to get attention. This could be part of the problem. The first thing you need to do is treat him like he's a big dog and not allow him to jump up, whine or bark to get you to pick him up. Only give him attention when he has all four feet on the ground.

    The growling is showing he's being protective of you and you should teach him to sit and stay while you're giving his sister attention. He should be sitting on the floor and not with you and his sister during these times. When you finish giving attention to his sister, then give him attention. If he's not being aggressive, ignore his growling by turning your back on him. If he doesn't stop growling, remove him from the room until you're finished giving attention to the other dog.

    Work on his training...sit, stay, lay down and have him sit before you feed him or before you pick him up or allow him to sit beside you. You want him to learn that he has to work to get your attention. That's where the sit command comes in. Having a dog sit is a good way to help them calm down and they learn that you are the one in charge when they have to work to get food or your attention.

    As far as the dog in the pet shop goes, it's possible the other dog gave your dog some sort of uncomfortable body language your dog didn't like and that's why he took a swipe at him. It could have been a look or just the way the other dog moved that made your dog uncomfortable. You can get an idea of what's on your dog's mind by watching him when he's around other dogs or people. Notice if he is getting stiff in his body movements, if his ears are more laid back than usual or if he has a fixed stare on another dog. When you meet another dog away from the home, have your dog stop, sit and stay until the other dog has passed. And watch his body language.

    If you have other questions, please come back in and let me know. I'm happy to do what I can to help out.

    Walking both of them together in a relaxed walk is a good way to make dogs feel that they all belong in the family. It helps them get rid of extra energy as well.


  33. Thank you so much, Linda. I'll be working with my little buddy and hopefully help him be more secure and not as possessive. I don't think he'd actually hurt anyone or another dog but I don't want it to ever escalate to that level.

    Thanks again!
    Marty & Chester

  34. My boyfriend and I just got a dog two weeks ago, since i haven't started work yet I spend every waking moment with her and besides other issues (such as aggressiveness with other dogs) she has started to nip at him or lung at him if he gives me a kiss or holds me (also when he tries to kiss her). I honestly don't know what to do we just got her and I love her but my boyfriend (who also loves her, btw its his first dog he's very infatuated with her) is started to get irritated with her trying to attack him. What do I do?

  35. Hi Anonymous,

    I apologize for the delay in getting to your question. Where did you get your dog from? It can make a difference if she came from a shelter, pet shop or a friend. A shelter dog or even pet shop dog may become more attached to the person she's with the most dogs don't get the proper attention they need in shelters or in pet shops.

    Two weeks is a short period of time and she may be still adapting to her new home and her new family. She needs to bond with both of you and trust both of you. I would start out by taking her for walks, both you and your boyfriend, and take turns holding her leash as you walk. Stay calm because if either one of you are tense when holding her leash, she will be able to feel it.

    How old is she and what kind of dog is she? It sounds like she's not comfortable yet in her surroundings and if she lunges at your boyfriend when he tries to kiss her, she doesn't trust him yet and he needs to work on building a bond with her. Teaching her to sit, stay, lay down, etc. and having him feed her some of her meals can help with bonding. Playing with her favorite toy or ball is also a good way to bond. Grooming if she likes to be combed or just petting her when she's relaxed are good bonding moments. But it's important to stay calm and not get mad at her because she does know if you're upset. Dogs can read our body language and they do know if we're scared, upset,tense, happy, etc.

    Get some treats she really likes and you and your boyfriend need to spend some time each day training her. Start with teaching her to sit and stay. Positive reinforcement along with giving her a treat when she does what you ask is a great way to work on building a bond and earning her trust. Both of you need to be able to get her attention focused on the treat and command, to help change her aggressive behavior towards your boyfriend and other dogs. I would suggest getting her in a dog training class, but if she's aggressive towards other dogs, most trainers won't take her in a class with other dogs.

    It's very important to not get angry with her. She's confused and needs both of you to be understanding right now. Go for walks everyday to help her feel like you are all three a family and work on training her so she knows how you expect her to behave. The walking, feeding her meals and training can help her learn to trust you both and if she pays attention to your commands, it's easier to change her aggressive behavior towards other dogs. Get to know her and learn how to read a dog's body language. When you can tell what a dog is thinking just by looking at them, you can stop an aggressive reaction before she lashes out by getting her attention focused on you and having her sit down which can help calm her down. Sit and stay commands are essential.

    If her aggression towards your boyfriend and other dogs doesn't go away even with training and walking and especially if it escalates, I would highly encourage you to seek professional help for her.

    Continue down to next post. I am too long for just one.

  36. I would recommend you to talk with your vet and see if he/she knows of an animal behaviorist in your area you could talk with. Her aggressive behavior would be best dealt with by an expert if you and your boyfriend don't have a lot of experience with dogs, especially aggression. You should be able to do a search online for behaviorists in your area if your vet doesn't know of any behaviorists in your area. You can also check in your area to see if there are any vets who have a veterinary behaviorist on staff. Both are trained to help dogs change an unwanted behavior like aggression.

    The two links above will help explain what an animal behaviorist and veterinary behaviorist do and how they can help your dog.

    You don't want aggression issues to continue or get worse, so I would recommend talking to someone because you can change her behavior, but you may need some expert help.


  37. Hi, i have a pit/dane who is about 2 years old. He loves to fetch things so much that he doesn't even see the other dogs at the park. Today another dog tried to play with the same toy and my dog attacked him. I'm not sure how to go about this because he is not possessive with his toys with humans-- I trained him by taking his toys away when he was chewing and making him wait for his food. He just seems possessive with other dogs. This is his first fight, he is usually a great dog but I am afraid that he could really hurt another dog if this happened again. What can I do to break his obsession and help resocalize him?

  38. Hi Anonymous,

    If your dog is so focused on playing with his toys at the dog park, when the other dog came over to play with his toy, it's very possible your dog was startled and reacted by attacking because the other dog scared him. Or, he saw something in the other dog's body language he didn't like.

    Does he normally get along well with other dogs at the dog park? If he does, you may need to eliminate toys while you're at the park so he remains calmer. You can also see if there's other times during the day when the park has fewer dogs and he can still enjoy playing fetch without as many dogs around.

    If he loves playing fetch and has good focus, I would suggest teaching him how to catch a Frisbee, how to do flyball, train him to do dock diving or how to run agility. Check to see if there's any dog clubs in your area that do any of those activities. You don't have to do them for competition and any one of them would be a good outlet for your dog to do what he loves to do and you would be around other dog owners who can help you teach him.

    If he has a lot of energy, the game of fetch at the park is his way of getting rid of excess energy. His intensity level is already high before you get to the park because he knows you're going to play fetch with him. Pay attention to his body language and when he starts to get to a point where he's so focused he becomes obsessive, then it's time to stop the game before he shows any signs of aggression towards other dogs. He needs to be able to socialize with the other dogs in a calm state of mind. If you see him looking at or focusing a stare on a dog that's running over to play with his toy and your dog rushes to grab his toy or makes a move toward the other dog, that's a sign of aggression building in him. You will see a change in his body language that will tell you what he's going to do.

    Dogs can and do learn what stopping a game they like to play means if you stop them because of bad behavior; as long as you stop and correct them at the moment the bad behavior happens and before it turns to aggression. When he becomes too excited and obsessed with fetching, he's no longer playing and it's time to stop the game. Dogs need to meet each other calmly to properly socialize with each other.

    One other thing you can do is teach him the command "leave it" which means don't touch. When you tell him to leave it, teach him to sit and stay until you give him a command he can move and pick up his toy. That may not stop a fight from happening because dogs can get so focused on something else, like another dog approaching his toy, that he may not listen, but if he will listen, it gives you a chance to get to him or remove the toy before things get out of hand. Having to sit and wait can help calm him down as well.

    I hope that helps. Let me know if you have other questions.


  39. Hi Linda,

    I have a 3 year old female shih tzu, who is very playful with lots of energy. Then, I bought a new female maltese pup recently. My shih tzu became so timid, she does not even want to play with the new dog, with the other dogs, and with us. What's wrong with her? Is she depressed? Or just adjusting with the new dog? She still has a good appetite though.

    Another thing. My new puppy is very playful. When she comes near with my shih tzu, she barks a lot, which annoys my shih tzu, then they would eventually fight. What's wrong with her?

    I need your help. Thanks!


  40. Hi Anonymous,

    It sounds like your older dog is still adjusting to the pup. There is no time period for how long it can take a dog to adjust to a new addition to the family. Usually, a couple of weeks will do it, but not for all dogs. Some dogs can take longer to accept another dog in the family.

    A good way to help both dogs understand they are part of the family is to take them together on walks. Your older dog is just wanting to make sure you still love her. As long as she isn't being aggressive towards the other dogs or the pup; ignore her. You don't want her to learn bad behavior because of attention she gets from you. Dogs need to be able to work out some problems on their own. Walking puts them on the same level with each other and gives them a chance to interact with each other while doing something most dogs love to do.

    I would suspect the puppy barks at your shih tzu because she's learned it intimidates the older dog and to her, it's a game she's playing. Correct the pup when she starts to bark at your shih tzu if you see it's starting to upset her. A spray bottle filled with water is a great way to correct unwanted behavior and the water sprayed on them won't hurt the pet. Puppies bark at other dogs as a way of inviting play, but your older dog doesn't want to play. Not yet, anyway. Give your shih tzu some time, take both of them on walks together and make sure you're giving your older dog plenty of attention to let her know the puppy is not there to replace her.

    If the older dog was playing with you before the puppy came, take the shih tzu outside or in a room by herself and try to get her to play with you or one of the other dogs she is comfortable with. Get her favorite toy or favorite treats and teach her basic commands. Same thing with the puppy. Now's the best time for her to learn how you want her to act and learn the rules you want her to learn.

    As long as her appetite is normal and there's no other signs of a medical condition and she's not aggressive with you or the other dogs, I wouldn't worry about her not playing.

    Let me know if you have other questions or need more help.


  41. Hi Linda!

    I have a 7 year old Shihtzu female. Her name is Lexi and she is the love my life. However, she is very anti-social when it comes to other dogs. I'm so desparate for help because i just was given a new 4 month old female lhaso poople pup last friday.

    Let me first give you a lil history. I’ve had lexi since she was puppy. She is very human like. She loves humans, but not so much other dogs. She did at one point in a puppy training class like other dogs, but after taking her to her first doggy park. She got ran over by another big dog; she’s been traumatized ever since. When we go to the doggie park or the dog beach, she just stays right behind my legs and wants to be picked up all the time. She runs to the car to go home first thing. She gets so nervous and anxious that she starts drooling. She hits my mom and dad when they don’t give her food when they are eating. But she definitely does not do it to me. She refuses to walk more than 4 blocks before she tries to turn home. This is a little extreme right?
    I just brought a puppy home last Friday because my friend could not take of her anymore, Cookie. Cookie is only 4 months old, very playful and outgoing. Way smaller in size. She always tries to play with Lexi, but lexi wouldn’t budge. Lexi growled at her once, but most of the time, no aggression. Lexi just looks depressed. She no longer wants to sleep in my room anymore. Doesn’t come when I call her. Skips her breakfast meal, still eats dinner. Wherever cookie is, Lexi is at the opposite end. He tail is ALWAYS down.
    2nd night Cookie arrives, Saturday. Lexi woke up in the middle of the night pretty much faking an allergy attack. She started whimpering, whining, scratching herself and itching all over the place. She even did this weird helicopter dive into the ground. I automatically freaked out and started looking for a emergency animal hospital. As I’m getting ready to go into the car, I thought twice. I realized that there is really NOTHING that could’ve caused such an allergic dramatic reaction. So I used a very firm voice and told Lexi NO repeatedly. Then her Oscar winning performance stopped. She didn’t have any medical problems, just emotional.
    Day 3 is even worse, now lexi won’t even sleep in my room, where she always slept. Cookie is not even near my room during sleeping hours. Lexi wont come when I call, she just sits in her corner looking more depressed each minute. It is breaking my hear that I feel like lexi hates me. I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t how long its going to take for lexi to accept cookie. Is there a chance that Lexi will never accept cookie? I’m googling all day and night, cant seem to find an straight answer. Please help! Feel free to email me with ANY suggestions or recommendations thank you ahead of time for any help you can provide for me.


  42. Hi Linda

    I have two moodles, brother and sister 16 weeks old. Benji(male) has started to get possessive and has started to growl, show his teeth and snap at myself, my wife and Molly(his sister), He is normally a well behaved dog, but at night when I come back from work and he jumps up on the couch with us, he hates to be disturbed and starts his aggressive behaviour. He and Molly have had a few fights and neither backs down although he is twice her size.
    My wife works from home and he is normally well behaved during the day and plays with Molly out in the garden.
    Its like he gets into a mood and once he is over that he is fine. He is due to start puppy traing this week and I am hoping that will help.
    We have tried a firm no, separation and even a tap on the nose -which we stopped. He can be timid at times and I don't want him to grow up to to be timid dog. I have never had any issues with other dogs before (normally large farm dogs), but am lost as what to do with him as he.
    Any help would be appreciate as he is a lovely dog and and I really want to come home and be able to play with both without having to worry about his reaction.

    Need help.

  43. Hi Anonymous,

    Raising litter mates can be hard because you really need to teach each dog separately from the other one. In other words, you need to act like you have just one dog and not two while they are still growing, learning and while you are training them. Take a look at this article for how to handle litter mates.

    One suggestion is when you get home from work, after you've had time to rest a bit, take both pups on a walk. That gives both of them time with you, wears them down a bit and helps them learn they are both part of the family.

    Yes, if he seems to be timid, that could be a concern, but he could also be reacting that way because he still hasn't figured out who's in charge. Watch his body language and if you see he's becoming aggressive, have him sit. Puppies learn fast and teaching Benji to sit should help him calm down. Put him on a leash if you need to so he can't run away. Once he sits on command and stays, you can control him easier and stop encounters before they get out of hand. Molly should learn the commands as well. Puppy training class will help with all of that.

    The article link from above on the litter mates may give you some help, too.

    Something else you should do if he's being aggressive while he's on the couch is to not let him lay on it. If you want him on the couch, teach him he has to be nice if he wants to lay there. Every time he growls or snaps, make him get down. I have a dog that gets into a mood now and then. If you know how to read Benji's body language, you should be able to recognize signals he's putting out just before his mood takes over and stop him from acting out before it happens.

    The best thing you can do is be consistent with their training. Keep it positive, make it fun for you and the pups and stay calm. 16 wks. is pretty young and both pups are still works in progress. As both start to learn basic commands and what you expect from them, that will help.

    Let me know if you have other questions. I'm happy to help anyway I can. Just come back and leave another comment.

    Thank you for reading the RPO blog. Please feel free to subscribe. New subscribers are always welcomed.


  44. Need Help in CaliforniaOctober 21, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Hi, I have 5 male dogs. 3 Aussie cattle dogs, 2 of them are 5 years old, and the other is only 6 months, a corgi who is 2 years old, and a border collie mix who is only 1 year old. They are all neutered. A month ago, our only female died. That seemed to upset the pack balance. Now, the oldest/alpha cattle dog snarls, yaps, and growls at the other dogs over his dog food bowl and his personal feeding area, my other 5 year old Cattle dog, attacked the Border collie mix for using the same water bowl and going after the same ball, the 6 month old cattle dog perpetually teases and yaps at the older cattle dogs, annoying them until they finally snap, and the corgi, generally stays out of everybody's way.

    What should I do about the 2 oldest dogs? They get they're own personal feeding space ( I rotate feeding areas), lots of one on one time with me, and plenty of exersize (I live on 10 acres). I have to seperate them from the younger dogs now, because their blows are getting too bloody. The 6 month acd and the border collie have needed stitches from the bites.

    I really want to help them sort through this problem.Is there anyway that we can get them to all get along together like they were before the female died? I try to establish pack order, but it doesn't seem to work. I really need help!

  45. Hi in California,

    Dogs grieve just like we do when there's a loss in their family and sometimes it leaves a hole in the pack that can confuse the other dogs. Food aggression is something that needs to be stopped before it gets out of hand. Check out this article for help on how to deal with food aggression.

    The pup is acting like a 6 month old and just wanting to play with them.

    I know you have a large area for them to run in, but to try to build some unity back in the pack, I would suggest going on daily walks to help them learn they all belong in the same family. Start with the two older ones and take them for a nice little walk. Add the 6 month old once the older ones are comfortable walking together and then add the border collie and corgi.

    Since the cattle dogs and border collie are herding breeds, have you ever considered teaching them how to herd? Getting them trained and them giving them a job to do might help a lot. Plus, teaching the pup how to herd would help him work off his excess energy.

    Please let me know if you have other questions or need more help. I appreciate you stopping by and reading the RPO blog and we're always happy to have new subscribers.


  46. Need Help in CaliforniaOctober 21, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Thanks Linda for the advice and the link for the food aggression! I will start working on that right away!

    They are fine when they play together with us (I do frisby, fetch, agility with them, 1 hour sessions, 4x's a day during the weekdays, ) its just that when they are together alone, they get into the most horrible tiffs. We have to seperate the 3 younger ones from the 2 older ones now. Before the female died, they would settle down in their yard without out any squrimishes. Is it possible for them to live that way again?

    I am sorry to be tedious and thank you for your advice and time!

    -Still puzzled in Cali

  47. You are most welcome and you aren't being tedious. Just a concerned pet parent. It sounds like the female was the one that kept the peace in the pack and now that she's gone, the others don't know exactly what to do, so they get into fights. It is possible to have peace, but it might take some extra leadership work from you. It's the two older ones that seem more confused than the younger ones.

    I would suggest talking with an animal behaviorist if you have any in your area. They will come to your home and ask questions and observe how the dogs interact with you and the other dogs. With everything you are doing with them, they definitely are getting plenty of exercise. Talk with your vet and see if he/she can recommend someone and you can also check with your vet or other vets in your area to see if they have a veterinary behaviorist on staff. I think a professional behaviorists can help you better than I can.

    If all of the dogs were getting along alright before the female died, there's no reason they can't learn to live with each other again, but it may take some specialized and more hands on help than I can give you.

    One thing I would do is to monitor them very closely when they are together just hanging out and step in immediately to stop aggression from the start. It may be just a matter of you taking steps to teach them what you expect from them and fighting isn't it. Is it just one dog starting the fights? Have you had them checked out to make sure there isn't a medical condition that has caused a change in behavior. It could be just one dog and the other older one is just following him.

    This is complicated when you're dealing with more than one dog and a change in behavior.

    I'm not going to leave you. See if you can find a professional in your area. I think they could help you best, but if you can't find one, just let me know. I'll do what I can to help you work through this. All dogs are worth the time and effort and if one has something going on, we just need to try and figure out what it is.



  48. hi Linda , i have a Maltese 1 years old i had him since he was a puppy his name in Nemo am living with my sister and mother and my husband and lately my dog is starting to growl at me and he bit me 2 times only me i really don't know why me!! because i play with him and feed him and give him so much going crazy because his aggression doesn't show up with anyone but me. and i thought maybe because am the youngest and everyone gives me attention? my dog is so jealous specially with my mother and every time anyone in the family hugs me or kisses me he gets very jealous and try to get in the middle and the 2 times that he bit me the first time my mother was feeding him but i didn't know and i hugged then he bite me and he was barking and growling he became crazyyyy.second time is yesterday my husband was cuddling him and came to cuddle him too then my husband went away so growled at me and bit me for the second time . i really don't know what to do and am very upset ! if u can help me with any advice . thank u

  49. Hi Anonymous,

    How much training does Nemo have? Does he understand the basic commands like sit and stay? If you haven't worked with him on training, then I would strongly suggest you work with him on those. If he knows how to sit and stay, those are good commands to help him understand you control the situation and not him. When he tries to come between you and someone else, have him sit and stay until you're done and then he can have attention. If he bites you, put him in a time out for a few minutes.

    If Nemo bites you, he isn't seeing you has his leader. Training him would help him learn you are the one in control. Dogs aren't aggressive towards their leader. Plus, you are probably giving him a signal with your body language that you don't realize that's causing him to react like he does. When you interact with Nemo, be confident and firm with him. Discipline him when he is showing bad behavior. No hitting or yelling - stay calm and remove him from the room or put him in a time out area for a few minutes. Positive reinforcement works great and it shows the dog you can be trusted and you're a fair leader. It only takes a few minutes for dogs to calm down and return to normal. Watch his body language to learn the signs he puts out before he becomes aggressive. That way you can have him sit and stay or remove him from whatever is upsetting him before he bites. Check out this article on how to read a dog's body language.

    This article might help on how to train.

    And this one talks about what a dog needs to know when it comes to basic training.

    Taking Nemo for daily walks can also help. It would be good to have others in your family walk with you so Nemo learns you all belong together. He should walk with you holding the leash and have your husband or mother walk alongside you.

    If you have more questions, please let me know. I appreciate you reading the blog and if you haven't subscribed, we are happy to have new subscribers.


  50. Hi Linda

    Thanks for getting back to me re Benji and Molly. I must admit I am disappointed that the pet store did not inform us of the issues of getting siblings. But no doubt we can overcome them with persistence. We have banished them from getting up on the couch and we are trying to be more forceful, Benji and Molly are working out who is boss and it looks like Benji is, but sometimes she stands her ground, we treat him like he is the boss (of Molly) and will only intervene if his growling looks like developing into a fight (thankfully only once and it was more barking)or if he continues it for more than a few seconds, when he is not around we give Molly attention. He still growls at us when he gets into his mood (which is normally only in the evening as he is sleeping and doesn't want to be disturbed) we are going to start using a water pistol to stop him (have you any other ideas). We have started the puppy training, which turned into a nightmare as he growled and snapped as I tried to man-handle him into different positions, but at home we now get him to sit and shake and we can put on his harness without any major issues. He is so intelligent and picks up everything at the first attempt. Sometimes he will not sit but if he is on his leash I force him into the position I want. We haven't tried the stand technique as he doesn't like to be pushed around. I am going to buy some gloves as it will build up our confidence as I am afraid that I will acidentially hurt him if he bites and I smack him back. In relation to how he sees my wife and I, should we share the training and duties or just have one person work on each dog? Also how do we show that we are both above him in pack order, my wife works from home so does most of the feeding and training etc, and when I come home he is fine for a while but then gets into his mood but then out of it and then I can get him to obey me. (Maybe I am the problem and disturbing the pack order).

    Thanks for all your help and assistance.

  51. The people at the pet shop most likely wouldn't know about raising siblings. Few responsible breeders will sell siblings. They will sell one pup and then ask you to wait to get another pup from a different litter.

    Most pet shops get their pups from puppy mills and that would explain Benji's problem. Puppy mill owners don't care about spending the time to socialize their pups so I would suspect you need to work on socializing him with other dogs, including Molly, and with people.

    Remember to only use positive reinforcement and stay calm and firm when dealing with Benji. It sounds like he's the one you need to work with the most, but don't leave Molly in the background. Treat each dog as if you only have one. Both of you need to be the pack leader, so decide on how you want to train them and then both of you follow the training program. Use the same commands and use the same techniques. That way the dogs won't be confused by two different sets of rules. If it's possible, you both need to take on the feeding duties. The leaders control the food which helps the dogs learn both of you are their leader. Keep treats handy and reward both dogs for good behavior only. Never praise them or give them treats for acting out because you don't want them to learn that unacceptable behavior is OK.

    You need to always maintain your cool and never hit him. That can backfire really fast and what Benji may learn is to fear and distrust you. Be a fair leader and deal with bad behavior in a positive matter to help him learn to trust and respect you.

    I have used a spray bottle for years with my pets. It's one of the best ways to get their attention and to correct behavior. But you also have to use positive training along with it so they learn what you want. A spray bottle works much better than a water pistol. The pistol leaks too much.

    Work on socializing Benji with people and other dogs. Keep working on training him and stay calm and consistent. I know it's hard sometimes when a dog is misbehaving, but you have to stay cool so you don't teach him the wrong things.

    The other factor you have going is Benji's personality. This article may be helpful in figuring out what his personality is.

    You do want to get to a point where you can give Molly attention with Benji around. But don't worry about that right now. From what you've told me, it sounds like you are on the right track and as long as you stay consistent and persistent, there's no reason why you can't have two well socialized and well behaved pets.

    Let me know if you have more questions. I'm always happy to help.


  52. Hi Linda
    We have an 8 year old black labrador. Our daughters have recently had babies and our dog wont leave them alone when they come to visit. It has become such a problem that they have stopped coming to visit and we have to visit our grandchildren at their homes and leave our dog at home. He is OK until either myself or my husband go near the baby or hold it and then we get 'out of character' behaviour and have to give him our attention all the time we have our visitors. He is perfectly happy with grownup visitors - it just seems to be the grandkids. Can you offer any help at all please. I'm at my wits end and missing my grandkids. thanks, Margaret.

  53. Hi Linda,
    we have a boxer, rottweiler, and a shih tzu. The rottweiler is my baby the boxer is my sisters baby and the shih tzu is my other sisters baby we have no problems with any of them except the boxer. her mommy is deaf and is over protective and becomes very jealous around her. She attacks the other dogs and they run away. when the boxer attacks the other dogs she get distructive, i have scars on my arm from her and she bit her mom in the face. I am about to have a baby and im worried she will get jealous of her mom giving her attention and bitting the baby.... she listens fine when her mom is not around but when she is, she is horrible and im now scared of her we need help! thanks, Morgan.

  54. Hi Margaret,

    Your dog sounds a bit confused with new smells and sounds that come with the babies. He has no idea what a baby is and why you are all spending so much time giving them attention when they come to visit. He's curious and sounds like he's not sure what's going on with the babies and what his role is.

    When grownups visit, they smell like people, babies don't. The first thing I would suggest is to bring some of the baby smells from your daughters homes to your home. Get a couple extra baby blankets, wrap the babies in the blankets so their baby smells are on the blankets and then let your dog smell the blankets. Leave them laying around so he has a chance to smell them and get used to the new scents. You can also get some baby lotion, powder and other products your daughters use at home and have those same scents in your home so your dog can get use to smelling them. This is all new to him.

    He's anxious and you need to reassure him he's not being replaced. So you do need to give him extra attention when the grandkids are around, but only on your terms. If he knows how to sit and stay, have him sit while you are interacting with the baby. Give him an opportunity to meet them as long as he's behaving and not getting over excited or aggressive with them. For some dogs, having a chance to sniff a baby is all they need to satisfy their curiousity. But only do that if you know he will behave and not try to paw at them. A good way to introduce a baby to a dog is to hold the baby and allow the dog to sniff the babies, feet.

    If he won't sit and stay, put him in another room away from you and the babies, but don't just leave him there because you don't want him to think he's being punished. When you let him out, give him lots of praise and attention. He may want to sniff you because you will have the baby's scent on you.

    In addition to adding baby smells to your home, you can also record baby sounds and play them at home so he has a chance to get used to that.

    Let me know if you have other questions. I'm happy to help.


  55. Hi Morgan,

    How well does the boxer mind his owner? Have the three of you spent time teaching basic commands to your dogs? The boxer needs to have her owner be the leader and training helps her learn who is in charge. If she bit your sister in the face, that says the dog doesn't respect her and doesn't see her as the leader. I would suggest you work on teaching her how to sit, stay, come on command and down. Training a dog helps build the dog's confidence and helps build a good bond between the dog and the owner. I do understand when you say your dogs are your babies, but you have to be your dogs leader as well. My dogs are my kids, but they all do understand I'm the one in charge.

    Check out this article on reading a dog's body language. If you know how to read what your dog has on their mind, it helps to stop aggressive actions before they can turn into a painful bite.

    And this one will help with basic commands.

    Please let me know if you have other questions. I am very happy to help any way I can.


  56. Hi Jodie,

    It's can be hard to understand what's going through the mind of a dog, especially one that's been adopted from a shelter because you have no idea what his history is. Do you know how long he was at the shelter? His reaction to other people could stem from his time in his formal home and from the experience he had while at the shelter. It can be confusing for a dog to suddenly find himself locked up in a shelter. The snapping when someone gets too close to his face is a typical reaction by small dogs and terriers, even mixed terriers, are very confident and energetic dogs. A lot of dogs are also uncomfortable when people reach down to pet them. The best way to pet a dog that's showing signs of being aggressive when approached from above is to do what it sounds like you've done and that's to greet them on their level. When petting a dog, the best way to do it is to bend down and move your hand up to their head so they see what you're doing. It's a lot less intimidating for them.

    Love the name, Gizzy. You and your boyfriend sound like you doing the right things for him by walking him together and you both are showing you're his leader. Good job. When he's stealing things and taking them under the table, that sounds to me like he's wanting to play and has pent up energy he needs to get rid of. If he's not settling down at night and wants to play early in the morning, he's still wound up.

    Have you had him checked out to make sure there's no medical reason for him to be going inside? If he doesn't have any medical condition, then you will need to start from the beginning on housebreaking him. When he pees inside, don't yell at him or rub his nose in it. That wouldn't fix the problem. Clean up the area with a paper towel and take it and Gizzy outside. Put the paper towel on the ground and have him smell it, but don't force him to do it. If he was housebroken before, it shouldn't take long to retrain him. It's possible he started peeing inside because of a change in routine if you're going back and forth between your place and your boyfriend's place. If you've been going back and forth between apartments, this could be upsetting his normal routine which can confuse him. That could be why he's been peeing in the house and getting into the trash. That and because he's bored as far as the trash goes. Have you taught him basic commands?

    I wouldn't cage him at night if he's fine during the day. Help him work off excess energy before going to bed. Play with him with his favorite toy, play tug of war or any other game he likes to play that can help wear him down. You can get a Kong at most pet supply stores and other stores that carry pet products. Kongs are great because you can stuff peanut butter or his favorite dog treats inside and then he has to work to get the goodies out. It gives him something to do if he's bored. You can also look for interactive toys that helps keep a dog from getting bored. If you start with helping him work off extra energy and give him something to do when he's bored, when you move into the house, you're be ahead of the game. Keep in mind when you move that it will be completely different for him and you will probably need to work on his housebreaking in the new house. Keep him on his normal routine with walks, going outside, feedings, etc.. Small dogs can suffer from small dog syndrome so make sure he understands you both are the leader.

    Check out this article about interactive toys.

    This article explains what small dog syndrome is.

    Let me know how things work out and don't hesitate to ask any other questions if you need more help. From your description, it sounds like he's bored and needs more exercise.


  57. Thank you so much for the ideas! We had a 'Gizzy' night last night and just gave him as much attention as we possibly could. He did great through the night...but I came home today and he went pee and poop in the kitchen and ripped up a box of Kleenex. I didn't yell at him because I knew he wouldn't understand. When I potty trained him before (last year), I would give him treats every time we came in from a walk. It seemed to work well.

    I completely agree with the thought that he is bored and has to much energy. I cannot seem to tire him out though...I think part of it is him being so young. He is 2 years old. It is also his breed. Being in apartments, it is hard for us to let him run. I'm not a huge fan of dog parks and can't find many around here that I want to try. As much as we can, we take him to tennis courts and throw a ball with him there. Once we move into the house he will have a HUGE back yard that is fenced in, so that will help a lot. I always have him on a leash or a lead outside, because if he is free he will take off and run. I have learned that he just wants me to chase him, so if I follow him he just runs farther. If I slowly walk behind him, he keeps looking back and won't go as far. I'm not sure I will ever trust him off of his leash though, he has been known to run into rush hour traffic. I am holding onto the idea that we will have a fenced in yard within a month and it will help a lot.

    I will let you know how things go! What do you think about Doggy Day camp every once in a while? He has been to 'Camp Bow Wow' when I was traveling and he LOVED it. I am thinking once every two weeks, or once a week when I am at work. Atleast until we get the yard.


  58. Our doberman is toy and food possessive. I've found that by ignoring her and allowing her to come to me when she's ready to hand over the ball has really helped alot.

    I feed her by herself in her own little room and she likes this. She still eats like it's her last meal, but she's calmer and more relaxed.

  59. I was viciously bitten by a jealous dog (dog one) yesterday. He is my friend's dog. He has grown to hate another dog (dog two) that is in the same yard as him. I play with both dogs separately. Both dogs are on chains. I was with dog one when dog two had gotten off chain and was coming to see me. Dog one started going nuts, I turned to see dog two about ten feet away. That is when dog one bite me very hard. I was then able to command dog one to lay down on the ground. Dog two is new and is allowed to be off leash from time to time. Dog two is a runner who stays on a chain all of the time. My friend wasn't around when dog one bit me. I don't want to tell them, but I know I have two. I have already suggested that he make dog one more of a part of his life, but he doesn't think of dogs the same way I do. My girl goes everywhere with me and can be off leash most of the time.

    When I tell him about the bite, I would like to give him more information to help dog one. Can you offer a additional advice?

    My friend was watching dog two and momma dog for a friend these last two months and should be going home tomorrow anyway. I will also be leaving in a week or two.

    Sad Puppy

  60. Hi Jodie,

    Sorry for the delay in answering your question. I've been having computer issues.

    I love the idea of taking him to doggie day camp. The once a week option would be best. He sounds like a fun little guy with a good sense of humor the way he tries to get you to chase him. But I agree with you that letting him off leash probably isn't a good idea if he likes to tease you like that.

    One activity you could get involved in with him is agility training. Once you get your yard, you could set up a small course and teach him how to run it. That's a great way to work off energy for him and I bet he'd love doing it. You don't have to go for the competition part of agility, just train him how to do all or part of it. You can get the equipment a little at a time and it's not difficult to teach a dog how to run a course. It's just like any other kind of training. And it's good exercise for people, too.

    Yes, please do let me know how things are going with him.


  61. Hi Sad Puppy,

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I've had computer problems.

    Yeah, he needs to know you were bitten. The dog's problem may be related more to being tied up too much. That has a way of making dogs more aggressive when they are restrained by a chain or whatever is used. The problem is more with the owner in this case and I know not everyone thinks of dogs like we do.

    Dog One needs more attention and most likely exercise. Your friend should take him for daily walks and reward him for good behavior with lots of praise and treats. He also needs to be his dog's leader and to do that, he needs to give the dog more time, respect and consistency.

    The hard part is trying to get him to change how he thinks about dogs. Maybe you could help him understand if he observes how you and your dog interact. Ask him why he has his dog, why did he get a dog in the first place. What kind of relationship does he want with the dog? I'd probably even ask him if he cares whether his dog is happy or not and if that matters to him. A happy dog doesn't have stress or aggression issues that make him act out and is a much easier dog to control. If he would spend more time with his dog, he might discover the same special friendship we have with our dogs.

    I realize not everyone has a dog pen for their dog and if a dog has to be tied up, it should only be done for short periods of time. A dog who spends a long time on a chain doesn't learn what an owner expects from him and will not learn it tied up. The owner has to take the time to be with the dog and teach him how he wants him to act.

    I hope that helps. Trying to change someone's perception of how they view a pet isn't easy to do.


  62. Hi Linda
    My issue is slightly different. My large female lurcher-type dog is very possessive over my mum's male lab. To the point that in the park she is allowed to play with other dogs but the moment he shows too much interest in another dog she barks at him and bites and pulls his back legs. He gets cross, but doesn't tell her off properly, just chases her (which she likes) or he comes to me for protection. She is 2 and he is 5. I've managed to stop her doing it when there's just the two of them which was a good result, but still can't crack this possessive behaviour.

    I tried a long training leash, but she's too strong and quick for me!

    Our walks on a weekend are usually really lovely, but if she continues with this we'll be on our own! When my mum's dog isn't with us, she's happy to play with other dogs. It's funny because she is a very easily spooked dog and is scared of so many things, but with him, I guess she knows that he's so laid-back that he won't be any trouble.

    Any advice thankfully received!


  63. Hi Jane,

    It sounds to me like she views him as a good friend. It's her way of trying to get him to play with her. I have a couple of dogs that do the same thing. In my situation, both of them will bite the other one's back legs and one will grab the other one's tail sometimes and pull it to get her attention. They are good friends, though, and would be lost without the other one. Dogs are individuals and that's just how my dogs play with each other. Neither one plays with my other dogs in the same way; it's just with each other.

    Your dog is comfortable with your mom's dog, which is good, but he sounds like he doesn't know what to do when she annoys him and she's learned how to get him to chase her which is play to her.

    Try this: Get your dog's favorite treats and teach her to sit and stay until you give her a command she can go. But you don't want to make her sit too long. Then she begins to feel like she's being punished. The sit and stay command is good to use when you want her to sit for a minute to calm down. When you have her sit, tell her "calm down". Dogs are capable of learning our words and what they mean. Make sure to give her treats and praise her with a "good girl" when she sits, stays and is calm. When you're ready to release her from the stay command, all you have to do is say, "OK or Go". Stay consistent with your commands.

    Use your long leash to teach her to come as soon as you call her. Give her a treat and lots of praise every time she comes. With her on the long leash, if she doesn't come when called, start pulling the slack out of the leash to bring her to you. Attach your end to a strong tree branch, post or a stake in the ground to help you control her if you need to. That way she's not pulling your arm off while you're trying to teach her to come every time she's called. She's not being aggressive with your mom's dog, she's just wanting to play. When she knows how to sit and stay, you can have her sit with you for a bit while your mom's dog plays with other dogs, but you need to make sure she gets time with him, too. If she's leash trained, you can also try to take her to another part of the park away from where your mom's dog is at and walk her around while he plays. Give her treats so she learns it's a positive thing that she's rewarded for. If she has a favorite toy or likes to play with a ball, play with her alone for awhile. Put her on the long leash so she has more freedom, but you can still keep her away from your mom's dog while he's playing with other dogs.

    What you want to do is redirect her attention from him to you and fun things you can do with her. And you want to teach her to come to you every time you call her.

    Do you walk throughout the week or just on the weekends? If it's just on the weekends, you should consider going on daily walks with her so she can get rid of extra energy on a daily basis.

    Let me know if you have other questions. I'm happy to help out.


  64. Thank you so much Linda. Yes, we do walk every day, but she has boundless energy! And it's only on weekends that we are joined by my mum and her dog. She does love him, but I just think she bullies him a little into playing. Whatever he has, she wants, just like an annoying little sister really. So if we play ball, she will just go and take it from him. They do sometimes play with the tuggy toys which is great because he weighs a lot more than she does and can use his weight, rather than her use her speed. I will try to use the long leash more and 'set up' some playing with another dog to try it out. She really is a good girl most of the time and comes back before my mum's dog when called. I must admit this behaviour bothers my parents more than me, which is understandable as they think she is being a bully. Thanks Linda.


  65. I need help. I have two dogs, one of which is a male pitt/lab mix, he is a very good dog I've had him now for a little over 3 years. He has never shown any signs of aggression toward any person or animal before. I recently just adopted a female shepard mix, she is the sweetest thing, very calm laid back and all. Well they got along great for the first month I brought her home and now all hell has broke loose. Reggie (my male dog) can be very aggressive with her if she gets too close to his food or his toy or if she has a toy he wants (which he won't even play with once he gets it). I'm not sure if Reggie is jealous or possessive if not both. He attacks her at random moments for things, thank god it hasn't been anything too severe. I've noticed Riley (the new girl dog) is scared to death to even go outside with Reggie or she hides behind me when he is inside.I don't want Riley to be scared in her own home or feel restricted. It's just weird he only acts like this at my house, he won't act like this at the dog park, my mom's house (with her dog), or if a person tries to take his food or toy, just my house/his house toward Riley. Before it gets out of hand how can I correct him with out having to rehome my new pup?

  66. Hi Anonymous,

    It sounds like Reggie hasn't fully accepted Riley and isn't sure about sharing his home. And he may be trying to establish himself as the leader. It can take a little time to socialize dogs with each other. And Reggie may be trying to see just how far he can go with you and Riley.

    If he's aggressive around his food, even if it's only with Riley, that is still food aggression and you need to deal with it right away. Take a look at this article to help you with Reggie's food aggression.

    Since he was the only dog in the house before Riley came, he didn't have to share anything with another dog. Now he feels threatened and feels like he needs to guard "his possessions." Read the above article. It explains how to work with your dog's food aggression.

    To deal with the toy stealing, teach him some commands: "drop it", "leave it", "come", "stay" and "stop".

    This explains the drop it command.

    This one can help with come and stay.

    Once he's learned the commands, tell him to drop it and leave it when he takes a toy from Riley. Give him his own toy and return the stolen toy to Riley. Use the stop command and have him sit down to keep him from stealing a toy in the first place. Sitting helps a dog calm down. The advantage to you in training him is he sees you as the leader and learns behavior you want him to learn.

    Try taking the dogs on walks together. One on each side of you to start out with and as they get used to walking, have them walk together on one side. Walking is one of the best ways for them to learn they are both part of the family and helps them burn off energy.

    Check this article out for some more of the basic commands all dogs should understand and know how to do. Train Riley, too.

    Your right in trying to work with both dogs before things get out of hand. Riley is feeling intimidated by Reggie and he knows she scared right now because she's telling him in her body language. Make sure you're being the leader.

    Something else you can try is get a spray bottle, fill it with water and use that to get his attention. I've used a spray bottle for years. It won't hurt the dogs and they will pay attention when you squirt them. Something else you can do is get a pop can, add enough coins or rocks to fill the can about a third of the way. Tape the opening closed so whatever is in the can can't come out. You can shake the can or toss it towards Reggie, but not at him, to get his attention.

    Please check out the articles I've included, especially the one on food aggression. As long as his aggression isn't too bad, it shouldn't be difficult for you to change his behavior. But, if you do have problems, I would advice you to talk with your vet and see if he/she could recommend an animal behaviorist in your area who could help. Some vets have a veterinary behaviorist on staff who can also help, so you might want to check and see if your vet has one.

    Try those suggestions. If you need more help, let me know.


  67. I have a 1.5 year old retriever mix and just adopted a 6 year old sheltie. They get along fine and sometimes are even in love, but my puppy is so incredibly sad. It's breaking my heart. I don't have any behavioral issues with either dog and they are well trained, but what can I do? It's a jealousy issue, without acting out. She seems depressed almost and I have seen changes in her over the last few months. I originally thought that this might go away, and it still might, but now that they are settled in she seems more sad than ever.

    I am able to take the 6 year old sheltie with me everywhere because she is so calm and small, but my younger dog is too hyper and large to take shopping at the mall for example, something I am able to do with the sheltie (they love her!) I think this has contributed to her jealousy, but I don't want to stop taking my sheltie out with me.

    I give them both attention at the same time and also focus on the jealous dog in front of the sheltie, just so she knows she is loved and still top dog. The sheltie is also very submissive to her so im not quite sure what her problem is. The puppy gets along wonderfully with all other dogs, but once she realized the sheltie was staying, she was devastated.

    Please, if you have any advice for me I would greatly appreciate it!

  68. Hi Anonymous,

    Has she had a vet check up lately? Just to make sure there's no medical issues that could be making her feel down.

    Dogs do understand if one is getting something the other isn't. Most of the time, it doesn't bother the them, but sometimes it can. If the younger one is always being left at home alone while you and your sheltie are out, she could be feeling sad about that.

    How much exercise is she getting each day? Do you take them on walks together? What do you do when you get home after taking the sheltie out with you? Do you give the younger one attention and play with her when you get home?

    When you leave her alone at home, give her a couple of Kongs (with peanut butter inside)so she has something to do and also gets a special treat while you are gone with the other dog.

    If you have a friend that's close by or neighbor you trust and is a dog lover, you could talk with them and ask if they would dog sit while you're gone either at your home or theirs once in awhile.

    Try taking her out for a walk before you leave the house with the sheltie so she gets to spend some special time with you, too.

    When you leave the house with the other one, don't look at her in a sad way, don't say good-bye or anything else to her, just go. She could be picking up on your feelings by watching your body language and face.

    Make sure she's eating properly and drinking plenty of water.

    Yes, it might take a little longer for her to fully accept your new dog, but it sounds like they are both doing good adjusting to each other and are friends. That's good.

    Try to find something the younger one really likes to do and spend extra time with her with what she likes. You might want to consider seeing if there's any dog clubs in your area you could join. That way, you could take both dogs with you. Think of places you could go or some dog activities they enjoy doing where both dogs can go. Just go for a ride in the car once in awhile so both of them can go.

    One rewarding thing you can do if you have the time and the younger one is good with people is see if your local hospital or retirement home allows dogs to visit people. If she has the right temperament and loves people, she might make a good therapy dog. If you're interested in that, check into what you need to do to have your dog certified to be a therapy dog. Let me know if you have any questions on that and I would be happy to help you find that information.

    Dogs don't keep a tally of which one goes more times or where they go, but they can understand being left alone and that may be more what's making her sad than anything else.

    Let me know if you have other questions.


  69. I have a 3 year old female lab-mystery mix (we think maybe some terrier and border collie but it's a total guess. All we know if her mother was mostly lab.) and a 1-year-old boxer-lab mix male that we adopted at 6 or 7 months old, back in the spring. Since we have gotten the younger (male) dog, the older (female) dog seems to have gotten more and more jealous/possessive, not usually of the boy but protecting our pack. She has gotten quite leash-aggressive but we are successfully working on that with the help of treats and distraction, and she seems to be catching on to that quite well. However, within our house she seems to think that she rules the world and has to protect our pack. She growls at the neighbour dog through the fence as though there is some danger to her turf. And the worst part happened this morning - my sister brought her two dogs home for the holidays and my girl seems to be very jealous. My sister's 6-month-old puppy and my boy are having a grand time, but my girl seems to think that it is "her people, her doggy brother, her toys and her house" and she has been growling at both other dogs. This morning when the two babies were wrestling and my sister's other dog was getting attention from my sister, my girl lunged at her dog and started snarling and grabbed her ear so hard that when my sister separated them, her dog's ear got badly scraped and started to bleed. I'm not sure how to convince her that sharing her people is ok!

    I think it's great that you reply to all the comments like this - thanks in advance for any advice you might have!

    - Hoping to Enjoy a Peaceful Christmas

  70. Hi Anonymous,

    How well does she know your sister's dogs? If she doesn't know them well, that could upset her. The holidays can be upsetting for dogs when their routine is upset and having extra dogs and people in the house can do that. It causes stress and confusion. Plus, she may feel like she has to take the lead role to protect her home and people.

    Don't let her growl at the neighbor's dog. Move her away from the area by using your body to block her and claim it as your's. Don't talk to her, in fact it's better if you don't. She understands what it means when you use your body language to move her back. When I need to move one of my dogs away from the fence or anywhere else, I stand between them and the fence or whatever it is I want to distract them from and claim. Then I slowly move towards them, matching their movement if they try to go around me or look around me. Once they've moved out of the area and calmed down, then I allow them back, as long as they behave. If they don't, I move them away and claim it again. Give her a few minutes to calm down and then take her to another area of the yard or inside and work on some basic training or reinforcement if she has been trained. You don't want her to learn she's being rewarded for her bad behavior and that's why you need to wait for her to calm down and move on to something else before she gets any treats or praise.

    Growling is an aggressive sign. You want to be her leader and stop bad behavior before it starts. Let her know you are the one in charge by staying patient, calm and consistent with her. Watch her body language and if you see she's becoming stressed or uncomfortable, step in and help her refocus her mind to a more positive attitude. Dogs need to be just dogs and let the human be the leader.

    A squirt bottle filled with water is a great tool to use. It doesn't hurt the dog and it works well to get her attention. But it won't break up a dog fight. You have to step in before it gets to that point. She sounds like she's feeling stressed out and feels like she has to protect her home and people and that's because she's confused as to who is the leader. That's why you need to help her learn you are the one in charge. I rarely have to use a squirt bottle with my dogs because I've always used it and my dogs know what it means.

    I hope that helps and that you will have a quiet and enjoyable Christmas.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.


  71. I have a 2 1/2 miniature schnauzer who has lived with an 11 yr old toy poodle for 2 1/2 yrs with great success. About a month ago, we acquired 2 new miniature schauzer litter mates. The 2 1/2 yr old has several times acted out against the poodle. The only thing that saved the poodle was an inflatable collar. The poodle has joint issues so he cannot really battle back against the schnauzer. The schnau is great in obedience class, in the ring, follows commands. We don't know if he thinks he is loosing his position in the family or what. We are 2 female adults, we are the alphas in the household. We want peace, cooperation, &love, & we want everyone to feel love & get along without fighting. We put him in a submissive down when he acts out against the poodle, & then put him in his kennel for a short period of time. Any suggestions would be appreciative.

  72. Hi Anonymous,

    When a new pet is brought into the house, it does upset the hierarchy for dogs. It's possible the 2 1/2 year old feels like he needs to establish himself with the pups. When it was just the two dogs, he was comfortable and didn't feel threatened by the older dog and didn't need to do anything. Two new puppies have upset that balance and he's not sure how to act.

    How is he getting along with the pups? It's good he's so well trained. That helps a lot when he will obey your commands and that helps you get in front of potential trouble if you see it coming.

    He may need some more time to adjust to the pups if it's only been a month. Try taking all three schnauzers on walks together to help the older one understand you are all one family. If your poodle is able to go on a walk, take him as well. You can also have the 2 1/2 schnauzer help you train the pups. Give him a job to do. When you're working on basic training with the pups, have him do it first, give him a treat or praise if he does it without a treat and then have the pup sit, lie down or whatever.

    Try to get them all engaged in a game. Give him extra attention, but don't over do it. Reassure him that he's not being replaced by treating him like you always have. Reward him for positive behavior and you're doing fine with punishment when it's needed.

    When you play with the pups, try to get him to join in and if he won't, give him attention when you're done playing with them. It sounds to me like he needs a little more time to socialize with the pups and is a little frustrated. He takes his frustration out on the poodle.

    Dogs need to have time to work out their place in the pack and with the new pups, your 2 1/2 might be a little confused where he stands with you and is just looking for conformation from you that his place hasn't changed.

    See if that helps any. Let me know if you need more help and please, let me know how things are going.


  73. A couple of months ago we got a Chihuahua puppy and she is exhibiting signs of jealously because whenever I call her she will not come over until the Chesapeake Bay Retriever obtains attention. If she is not given attention she immediately goes to her bowl and begins eating. Recently within the last month, she goes to her dog bowl but she also goes to the living room to relieve herself. When neither she or the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is not given attention she goes over to the other dog and grooms him. I have tried to teach her to come upon command and she does come but whenever I try to get near her she runs all around the house unless the other dog is given attention then she directly comes to without having to chase after her. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was taught properly to come upon command, to sit, and to lay down but when I try to teach the Chihuahua the same techniques she does not learn them. I have read various articles about jealously behavior and how to discourage it amongst dogs but the Chihuahua socializes well with the Chesapeake Bay Retriever and she does not have any problems with him expect when it comes to obtaining attention. She is given the same amount of attention as the other dog but she still shows signs of jealously. How can I discourage her jealously and make her come to me without having to chase her around the house? If you could you provide me with information or advice on how to solve this problem I would greatly appreciate it.

  74. My mother has adopted a Australian cattle dog-terrier- (and maybe cyote) mix back when she was 6 weeks old. She was a calm, relaxed, sweet puppy when we got her, but it turned out she was actually very sick. After she got better (in about 2 weeks)she started showing small signs of aggression such as growling. We were very quick to correct it. Now that she is 7 months old, we have her in training classes with a private trainer because she suffers fear aggression. She has to warm up to the person before she stops barking (usually takes 30 min.)-this is something we work on a lot, and the method the trainer has established works great. But the big issue we are having with her is that she will eat everything. She just underwent emergency surgery about 10 days ago because she ate part of a fake plant and had an obstruction. She has a nastey habit of taking things and being very possessive, never her toys or food, but she takes napkins, paper towels, christmas ordiments, plastic items, pretty much everything she shouldn't get ahold of. She never does it when we are paying attention to her, its almost like she wants attention, but then doesn't want it once she has whatever item she takes. She will clamp her jaws and growl. She hasn't bitten anyone yet, but we are worried that she might if it continues. We try the "Trading" technique, but she won't swap until you back off, but then you dont have enough time to grab the item she dropped before she snatches it back. My mother is at her ends whit over it. Because she said she refuses to have a dog she cannot control or trust completely. She is a great dog any other time. Loves to please easy to obedience train, we've even looked into training for drug sniffing because she has a strong nose. It is just the possession over things she shouldn't have, that could possibly hurt her, that worries all of us. If you have any advice as to what we could try to do when she does this it would be great.

  75. Hi Anonymous,

    She sounds a little confused about what you want her to do and she may be still trying to adjust to everything. First of all, don't leave food dog down all the time. When you feed them, give them about 20 minutes to eat and then pick up their bowls.

    Most dogs will run away from you if you chase them. They view chasing as you wanting to play or she feels like she needs to run from you for some reason if she insecure or feeling intimidated. The best way to teach her to come is to get her favorite treats, call her to you and offer her one. Use a happy voice, but keep it calm so she doesn't get excited. If she doesn't come, sit down on the floor. She's a small dog and when you get down closer to her level, that makes a small dog feel less threatened. Sit down with your back turned towards her and call her again. Be patient, show her the treat and wait. Sooner or later, she will come and then reward her with the treat and lots of praise. Never chase her. When she runs from you, stop, sit down, turn your back to her and wait. Never ask her to come and then punish her in anyway when she does come. You need to help her learn why it's good to come to you and there's something good for her when she does come.

    As far as doing her business in the house, you may have to go back to step one and work on her housebreaking some more.

    Small dogs can develop small dog syndrome and the best thing you can do is to make sure you're the leader. Here's an article about small dog syndrome that may help.

    It sounds to me like she's insecure more than jealous. Help her learn to trust you.

    Let me know if you need some more help.


  76. Hi Amstinson,

    She sounds like a sweet dog.

    It sounds like she's showing signs of pica which is when a dog eats non food items. It could be she's not getting enough nutrients from her diet. Try switching her food over to a high quality dog food, like Canidae. A better diet may take care of her problem. If she's not getting what she needs from her food, she will try and get it by eating other things.

    It's possible she's developed a compulsive behavior. The best thing to do is have your vet give her a check up to make sure there's no medical problem that's bothering her. There are medical conditions that could be causing it.

    If she is healthy, talk with your vet and see if he can recommend a qualified animal behaviorists in your area. They will come to your house and watch how she interacts with everyone in her family and then they can start to figure out why she's eating everything.

    Make sure she's getting plenty of exercise and try playing games with her to help stimulate her mind as well as her body. The training for drug sniffing might be a good idea because that would keep her mind active.

    Clamping her jaws shut and growling is a normal behavior if she feels like you want what she has. When she takes stuff she shouldn't have and growls when you try to get her to drop it, what you're offering her as a "trade" isn't something she finds acceptable. Use food if you have to, cooked chicken pieces, cooked steak pieces, some canned tuna, even canned cat food might work. You need something she can't resist. As long as it has an enticing smell, most dogs will gladly drop what they have for food. If she insists on you backing off before she drops what she has, back off and offer her your trade. Make her come to you to get the food treat. If she knows how to sit and stay, have do that before she can have the treat. That would give you time to pick up what she dropped. Work with it and see if that might help her learn to drop what she shouldn't have.

    Try changing her diet and working with her with a better "trade" and see if that helps. If not, then I would suggest an animal behaviorist and a medical checkup.

    Let me know if you have other questions.


  77. I have read a lot of these posts, but not all. So I'm not sure if my question was covered. I apologize if it is a duplicate. We have a 2 1/2 year old Yorkie. We have noticed in the last six months that she gets very aggressive....growling, baring teeth, and snapping if we rub or own leg or if I'm rubbing my daughter or husbands back or leg. Do you have any suggestions on how to stop this? She hasn't bitten anyone yet and I don't want her too.

  78. Hi Veronica,

    Because Yorkies are small, they can easily develop small dog syndrome. That's what her behavior sounds like to me. She thinks she's the boss. Take a look at this article. It explains small dog syndrome.

    Take the lead role with her and work on some basic training by teaching her how to sit, stay and down. If you don't go on daily walks, take her out a couple times a day for some exercise. They don't need to be long walks. Even a walk around the block can help. Walks are also a great way to help stimulate their mind.

    She should not be allowed to show any kind of aggression for any reason, unless she's protecting you from an intruder. Don't punish her, however. That won't do any good and you risk losing her trust. Stay calm and keep things positive. It's not her fault and she apparently feels like she needs to take control which is confusing for dogs because they do expect us to be their leader.

    Teaching her basic commands gives you control over her behavior. When she shows aggression when you are interacting with your family, have her sit on the floor and calm down. If she's on the couch with you or sitting in a chair with you and shows aggression, make her get down on the floor and don't let her back up where she was.

    If you have any other questions or need help with training her, please let me know. If you help her understand you are the boss, you can correct her behavior fairly quickly. Dogs love to learn and they want to please us. We just need to let them know how we want them to act.


  79. I recently married and my Pyrenees mix has had a difficult time accepting my husband's dogs. One recently died and my husband is convinced my dog is responsible for the death and is demanding that I have my dog put down. My dog has no history of that kind of aggression although she definitely put the other dogs in line at times. She does show some aggression toward my husband's remaining dog and I am afraid if we do not find a solution for this that it will be the end of our brief marriage. Any help you can give would be very appreciated.

  80. Hi Anonymous,

    That's unfair to blame your dog unless there's evidence and even that doesn't warrant putting your dog down because the dogs aren't getting along. It's not their fault.

    What have you been doing to work on socializing the dogs to each other?

    Have you considered calling an animal behaviorists to help you learn how to work with both dogs? At this point, I think that would be your best option. You both need to work together with both dogs and you both need to be the dogs' leader. I recommend an animal behaviorists because he/she will come into your home and evaluate how you and the dogs interact with each other. It's a lot easier to help when they can see what the problem may be. You can talk to your vet and see if he/she can recommend one in your area, just make sure the person has experience in working with socializing and aggression. You can also check to see if someone in your vet's office is a Veterinary behaviorists. They can also help. Here's a couple links to articles about both.

    Have you been taking both dogs together on walks?

    If you don't have a problem giving me your email address, I'd be happy to talk to you more via email if you can't find an animal behaviorists in your area and need more help. There is always a solution.


  81. My husband and I have two Chihuahuas, Toby (3 years old) and Zoe (9 months old). They are both from the same mother, but have different fathers. Very recently, Zoe has become very aggressive toward Toby. She has attacked him on several occasions. At first we believed that it was brought on while they had treats, while they were eating, etc. Up until that point, they had literally done everything together (gone outside, ate meals, and slept with us) and we had never had a problem. Each time that Zoe attacks, Toby is the only one that comes out with any kind of injury (small injury). She is never harmed.

    A week ago tomorrow, my husband and I came home from a weekend away. While we were gone, the two dogs stayed with my in-laws. While there, they had several altercations that luckily my in-laws were able to break apart. When my in-laws brought them home on Sunday, Zoe attacked Toby worse than before. She cut his ear open and we had to rush him to the vet to have it taken care of, where the vet told me that we needed to work with them on obedience training, which we have been doing for about a week now. We have made some progress, but the dogs have been separated this whole time. We have the lower level of the house blocked off with gates, so they can still see and smell each other. We have been alternating them in different rooms so that each one knows that they have no steak or claim over any part of the house totally. However, we have also had to alternate the two of them for sleeping at night. Every other night, one of them sleeps with my mother downstairs and the other sleeps with us.

    The only time that any kind of altercation seems to arise is when Zoe sees us pick up Toby to bring him outside. She tries to jump on us to get to him. She growls and jumps to bite him. If we are holding her and Toby is near, she does not do this.

    Clearly she is testing herself as the alpha female, and she has jealousy issues (at least that is what I'm hoping we have pin-pointed the problem to). I have read so many articles saying that we should keep them separated during obedience training, and others have said that we should make sure they are not broken from a regular routine.

    We are scared to let them back into the same area as one another for fear that Zoe will attack again. When they come nose to nose at the gates, they are fine. But the minute that Toby tries to get near either one of us, she will more than likely attack. We are just at a loss of where to go from here. Should we let them back in the same room together? Should we give it more time? And what can we do to ease Zoe's jealousy?

  82. Hi Cassie,

    Zoe is more likely suffering from small dog syndrome than being jealous. She is trying to find her place in the pack and challenging you as well as Toby. Try to stay on a routine and there's no reason why you should separate them during training.

    Small dog syndrome is when a small dog doesn't see her owner as the leader. And it's possible there's also some jealousy. Keep them together while you're working with them on obedience training. But, Zoe needs to have an area that's a time out for her. Watch her body language and learn the signs she's giving you before she attacks Toby. Step in right away. Here's a link to an article I wrote on small dog syndrome. I think it might help explain how to work with Zoe and Toby.

    Teach her how to "watch me". It's easy to teach. Take a treat, hold it beside your face and give her a command to look at you. Make eye contact and then give her the treat. Toby should learn it, too. This gives you the ability to break her focus by looking at you. Have her sit and stay for a few minutes to help her calm down.

    Definitely, if you haven't been taking them together on walks, start daily walks. Walking is one of the best ways for dogs to learn they're one family. On a walk, they're equal and you are the leader because you decide where to walk, how fast to go and when the walk ends.

    For sleeping arrangements, fix up two dog beds in your bedroom. Don't let them on your bed for now. See how they do together on the floor instead of in bed with you. If one gets on the bed, get up and make him/her get down. The other way to handle it, for now, is to put their beds in one of the areas where you have a gate and have them sleep together in that area. You can run into trouble keeping them separated because then you can have a problem with having to re-socialize them. Plus, they want to be with you and you want to be with them.

    Obedience training and walking are both good ways to establish yourself as the leader. Zoe is growing up and may be confused as to where she fits into your family. Be her leader, don't allow her to growl or push Toby out of the way. If she's sitting with you and refuses to allow Toby to join you, Zoe has to get down and if she continues to be aggressive, that's when you need to put her in time out for a short time. Time out only needs to be 5 minutes or so. Dogs live in the moment and that's why getting her calmed down quickly helps. After being in a time out, give her attention and act like nothing happened.

    Stay calm when she's misbehaving because she can feel your tension. If she thinks you're excited, she's apt to become more excited. Don't be afraid to put them together. When you see Toby coming towards you, watch Zoe and step in to break her focus on him if you have to. You can use a spray bottle to help do that. The water won't hurt her and it will get her attention.

    I realize there's a lot here, but the problem isn't as bad as it seems, other than Toby getting hurt. Zoe needs to learn she isn't the boss. Keeping working on the obedience training, go on daily walks, treat both equally, don't allow any aggressive growling and make sure you're being her leader and I think you'll see a difference in a short period of time. Take a look at the article I mentioned above.

    If you're still having trouble after you've been working with her for a month or so, please don't hesitate to come back in and leave another message here. I'm happy to help.


  83. I have a 3 year old pitbull that is the nicest dog ever, however he is spoiled baby, my husbands cousin next door has a dog he plays with but he will not let her come near us at all, he gets very angry. I really wanted to bring another dog, a puppy into our family and also for him to have a play mate. my girlfriend brought a puppy over so we can see how Tag will react to it. It got very hiper and wanted to bite it (my husband had him leashed) I see that we cannot bring another animal into our house fearing that he will hurt it. With people he is fine, no problems, but any other animal, forget it. Is there a way to successfully get my dog to except a puppy or do we just have to stay 1 dog owners?

  84. the same can be said of pet owners who think they are the sole trainer of the dog. that leads to issues too, but I don't ever see anything on that

  85. Maya is a 5.5 year old chocolate Lab. She's smart, loving, happy dog, unless my boyfriend (Tony) is around. I have had Maya since she was 5 weeks, 3 days old (which i know now was a HUGE mistake, as i believe that some of her behavior is due to improper socialization). Maya was raised in the country with my parents' 2 golden retriever siblings. Maya and Tony never had problems before we were dating and for about 8 months after we started dating. In October 2010, Tony bought a house in a small town, and slowly Maya and I would stay overnight with him. She was fine for a few weeks, then all of a sudden she became horribly fearful of Tony (I can only think of a trigger of maybe being a day where Maya was wagging her tail a lot and was about to knock over some glasses, so Tony grabbed a hold of her tail). After Maya and I officially moved in with Tony in May 2011, things for Maya only got worse (Tony works 2nd shift, and i work 1st shift so he's there most of the day with the animals). She began peeing, sometimes when Tony was sleeping still, sometimes if she saw/heard him. So i started crating her, and sometimes she would still pee. And this was when Tony wouldn't even talk or look at her. Then i made her a nice raised bed (similar to the karunda) and would keep her in our basement during the day so there was no chance of her seeing him.
    This continued until August 2011, when we brought a new beagle puppy into our home. We only had Turbo for a week and a half before we lost him to coccidia, and at that point Maya really clung to Tony and wanted to be close to him. She was like a whole new dog. When we adopted Bandit, a coonhound mix, she was still fine with Tony, and was not showing any signs of fear whatsoever. Finally the house was peaceful!!
    Around January 2012 till present, she randomly began fearing him again. It was literally like the flip of a switch. It is not near as severe, as there is no peeing involved, and if he calls her by her nickname she will slowly walk to him with her head down, smiling and tail wagging. sometimes it's almost like she's crawling slowly to him. She will try to distance herself from him, and if she suddenly wants to get away from him, she takes off like a bullet. She'll take any opportunity to run away from him. She then usually hides behind/by me.
    Tony has never hit her, and i know this 100%. Tony is a very caring, loving person, and he has been trying sooooo hard with Maya. Also, anyone can raise their hand above her, and she doesn't so much as flinch at all. Truthfully, Tony doesn't like Maya, mainly because of the situation. He tries for me.
    We have tried doing training together, tried just having him work with her (he's taken her hiking through the woods, on walks by themselves, playing fetch, training, etc), the thundershirt, and many OTC "calming" pills. I have taken her to the vet, and ruled out medical cause. I honestly feel that part of it is that she now has to share me. she's no longer my "only child". i did start her in agility last week, and she seems to really enjoy it, especially because it's just her and i as a team. We have another dog, and 3 cats who she is EXCELLENT with, even though she was never raised with cats. she gets along ok with most poeple (mainly ignores them), except Tony.

    Now just yesterday, she has become fearful of her tennis ball, and frisbe which she has loved for many years. she will retrieve them if they are rolled on the ground (with encouragement) but if they are above her, she will run in the other direction. this started in the middle of her and i playing fetch last night, with no apparent trigger.
    Please!! any advice would be so appreciated.

  86. Hi Anonymous,

    Please don't blame, Maya for her actions. It's good Tony is trying, but he needs to try and be positive and calm with her. She's not acting out on purpose. Maya sounds like she's really confused for some reason. And you have done exactly what you should be doing to make sure there's no medical issues bothering her. Tony is also to be commended for working with her.

    At this point, I feel you need to talk to your vet and find out if there is an animal behaviorist in your area you could speak with. I think you need to have a professional come into your home and evaluate how Maya is interacting with you, Tony and the other animals.

    Maya sounds like a great dog. Labs are very friendly with people and other animals, but she is definitely upset with something in her environment.

    If your vet doesn't know of anyone in your area, you can research online for animal behaviorists close to you.

    I'm sorry I can't give you more information, but without being able to see her in action, it's hard to give correct advice and I could actually do more harm than good. Since she keeps going back and forth and you've tried different options, I think it's time for a professional to step in.

  87. Hi I haver two boxers that are only 6 months apart in age , they mostly get along great until lately the bigger and older one who had always been very attached to my husband has gotten so jealous that she will attack the other boxer even if my husband just touches her . both girls , running out for options . any help ?

  88. Hi
    I have a 7 year old Jack Russel/Blue Healer mix.
    During the day he is the most relaxed unagressive dog I have ever seen. When night falls however is an entirely other story! When my daughter or myself go to bed the Bleu joins us (always off the bed) If Bleu so much as hears my husband he starts growling and barking at him. If he gets on the bed while I am sleeping and my husband tries to walk in the room Bleu becomes agressive and has even lunged at him! We have tried several things including treats, commands, etc. and nothing is helping! I just dont know what to do! Bleu is the best dog I have ever had until it gets dark!

  89. Hi Shannon,

    Sounds like Bleu is going into guarding mode at night. How is his relationship with your husband during the day and evening, before you go to bed? How much attention (playing, grooming, etc.) does he give Bleu? Does he feed him or do you do it all the time? Do you go for walks with Bleu and your husband?

    If your husband helps with Bleu's care and is seen by Bleu as one of the human leaders, he shouldn't growl at him. Since he is growling, your husband may need to work on establishing his leadership role with Bleu.

    If this is only happening at night, Bleu is guarding you. You could try having him stay with your husband until he is ready to go to bed and they go in together. It gives them some quality time alone and Bleu learns it's your husband who decides when it's time to go to bed.

    If that doesn't help solve the problem, I would then suggest making Bleu a bed in some other room besides the bedroom and that's where he sleeps at night. You can think of it like a time out for the night and sometimes it helps a dog understand that if he wants to be with you, he has to behave. That's not a solution I personally like because I want my dogs in with me at night.

    I think one of the best things to do is for your husband to prove to Bleu he is the boss, just like you. He does that by interacting with him as much as he can and giving him positive reinforcement.

    Let me know if you have more questions or need more help.


  90. Hello There
    I have a 11 month old labrador male who was very much attached to my mother since his homecoming. then my mom left our house for a 3 month long vacation and returned 2 days bak. since then he has become so aggressive towards her. though he wags his tail, he refuses to let her b alone and keeps jumping on her. if we tie him up, he keeps barking. ourlife has become one hell. pls guide

  91. Hi Anonymous,

    It sounds to me like he really missed your mom while she was gone. If he wants to be around her all the time, especially. If she can handle him, I would suggest she take him out for walks so they can reconnect with each other. Tying him up is making him unhappy and causing him to be confused. You and your mom need to work with him to stop him from jumping up on her. Work on his basic commands like sit, down, stay. Labs are very smart dogs and he should learn fast as long as you stay consistent and patient with him. Keep it positive and fun for him.

    If you need some help with training or teaching him to stop jumping, let me know. If he was attached to your mom before she left, he's happy to see her and just doesn't know how to control his excitement. That's why training is important. It helps him learn how to control himself.

    Let me know if you need anything else. I'm happy to help.


  92. Hi Linda:

    This was a great article and seems to fit my dog, Atlas, exactly, but I'm still not sure how to handle his issues (or if I've identified them correctly). Atlas is a 3.5 year old Weimaraner - Chocolate Lab mix. I adopted him when he was a year old. From the beginning he was very needy and clingy, and clearly a "one-person" dog. At the time it was just he and I, and he benefited from that with lots of attention and constant love. I trained him and he developed into a well-behaved, loving, energetic (though breed-typically anxious) Weim.

    Unfortunately, ten months after I adopted him, my schooling took me across the state and I could not take him with me. He stayed with my parents for the nine months of my absence. He adored them already and it was a good match, but he went from being an inside dog with me to an outside dog with them, which was tough for such a needy dog. Since I returned, he has been more clingy than ever. He is very jealous and has shown signs of aggression toward any men who approach me or any other dogs within sight. It seems fear-based, but I can't be sure. He was never aggressive before I returned, and the problem is getting progressively worse. I've been back for a little over a year and he has managed to injury me multiple times in his attempts to get to other dogs. He has never bit another dog, even when, despite my best efforts, he can get to them. He just pins them down, wrestles, and barks and growls (not playfully). It's worse when he encounters a dominant dog, and I'm afraid he will get seriously injured or will eventually seriously injure another dog or its owner. Furthermore, he has difficulty separating from me. Even if my boyfriend tries to take him outside on the leash, Atlas runs to me and won't go with him.

    Additional factors are that I returned home from my schooling with two new additions to the family: a puppy and a boyfriend. My dog knew my boyfriend briefly before I left for school and liked him, but showed signs of jealousy from the beginning, such as pushing between us and howling when we were affectionate with each other. Atlas and the puppy get along great, but his jealousy toward me and aggression toward others is definitely worse when the puppy is around. His obedience training disappears, and my once great dog becomes unmanageable. I have tried reactivity training (desensitization) but it did not help and was more disheartening than anything. He shows signs of improvement occasionally when I use a new training technique (of which I have tried dozens upon dozens of techniques and devices), but within a few days he reverts back to the aggression which is usually worse each time. If I spend more time with him and devote myself to him, his aggression and anxiety actually seem to get worse. Behaviorists and trainers assume this is just an aggression issue and want thousands of dollars to "break" the aggression. Either I can't find the right trainer, or I have seriously misdiagnosed the issue. He is wonderful with children, with dogs he knew before the separation occurred, and is great with friends' individual dogs once he has overcome an initial "argument" with them and determined they are OK.

    Can you offer any advice? Am I doing something wrong? I would love to get my dog back and am dedicated to doing whatever I have to in order to help him, but feel as though I have tried everything to no avail.

    Thank you for anything you can offer,


    1. Hi Steph,

      Please forgive me for getting to your question late. I had a sick dog earlier in the week and needed to give her my attention.

      First question I have for you is have you had Atlas checked out by a vet to make sure there's no medical issues he's been dealing with?

      Second question is have you had a behaviorist come to your home to evaluate how you, Atlas and other members of the family interact together? If you haven't, that would be a good place to start, but you need to make sure they have experience in dealing with jealous behavior in dogs.

      Some trainers are quick to label a dog aggressive when they really aren't sure what's going on in a dog's mind. Atlas has had to deal with a lot of changes in his life. Dogs like and need routines and they don't do well with change. If he's good with kids, dogs he knows, and people he knows, labeling him aggressive is wrong, in my view. He may be confused as to where his standing is in your pack (family).

      What kind of exercise do you give Atlas? Walks, hiking, swimming?

      You can email me at if you like. It would be easier to help if you can answer my questions via email. I can't guarantee I can help, but I'm happy to do what I can. All dogs are worth the effort to try and figure out what's going on with them. Never give up because there is usually a solution. We just have to find it.


  93. Hi Linda,

    I live in Thailand and have two adopted street dogs: Zuki who I have had for a year and is 2 yrs ok, and Foxy who is around 4 and I have had for 6 months. (Foxy was an "unplanned" adoption - I am fairly certain she is a refugee from last Oct's massive flooding here. My initial plan in taking her in was to find her a home)

    Foxy was adopted right off the street and clearly had been in some fights with other dogs though is super people oriented. She has a pretty dominant personality - she scent marks frequently on walks (and pees like a boy!). Zuki has a very different personality, very sensitive and inquisitive, follows me around but doesnt like a lot of physical contact - based on her look and personality descriptions I have a theory she is part sight hound.

    Since I got her Foxy as been intermittently dog aggressive, generally just warning growls when street dogs (tons of these all over bangkok) or neighbor dogs make her nervous and my sense is this problem has been improving. There was tension with Zuki the first month as well but for the last 5 months the two dogs have gotten on really well, and play together at length every night. In the last month things have gotten a bit weird with Foxy being a bit growly in the apartment.

    At night Foxy will now lay down in the hallway outside my bedroom and stare at my other dog so she is afraid to come in. (Note that Zuki sleeps on the bed, though I dont let Foxy sleep on the bed - both because she is a licker and because I thought it would fuel her dominant tendencies.) I then have to go get Zuki and walk her in by the collar. Similarly, Foxy also sometimes lays down at my feet when I am at my desk and Zuki is afraid to come near. For both situations I flip Foxy into a submissive position if she growls but often she is just watching Zuki, and Zuki is intimidated.

    Foxy has also recently started trying to eat Zuki's food as soon as I put it out (Zuki used to do this to Foxy) - in both cases I watch them and make sure the correct dog starts eats from each bowl. If they dont finish all their food and the other dogs eats it I havent been worrying about that.

    Any suggestions on how to handle this? - especially Foxy's guarding of me (though I also want to nip any more general aggressive tendencies in the bud). I also wonder if any of this could be because she was in heat recently. I took her to the vet to get spayed in May, but they suggested I should wait until July as it was already at a point in her cycle when she might bleed a lot.

    many thanks for any advice!

    1. Hi Teresa,

      Yes, it is possible Foxy may be more aggressive during her heat cycle. Spaying will help, but it will take a little time after she's been fixed for her to start to calm down, and you will be able to tell if it's due to Foxy being in heat.

      Sounds like both of them have been through a lot living on the streets and that can make it hard for them to adjust to each other. I can understand why Foxy would be nervous around other dogs when you go on walks. She had to protect herself and probably fight for food, so she's wary of them. That could change as she learns you will protect her. Stay just as calm as you can when she's acting nervous. Don't try to soothe her by saying "It's alright." As long as she's not being aggressive, ignore her and keep walking past any dogs. When she stays calm, reward her with a treat and praise after you're pass the dogs. That way you're teaching her how you want her to behave.

      At night when you're ready for bed, take Zuki with you from the start and walk right past Foxy without saying anything to either one. You can also remove Foxy from in front of your door so Zuki can get into the room without being intimidated by Foxy and that would be the better way to do it.

      No, it doesn't matter if one of the dogs finishes the other one's, as long as they are finished eating.

      See how Foxy is after you get her spayed. She's only been with you for the 6 months and after she's been with you a little longer, that might help, too.

      When Foxy is lying at your feet when you're at your desk, as long as she allows Zuki in the room with both of you, I wouldn't worry if Zuki is at your feet or lying somewhere in the same room where she feels comfortable. If Foxy won't let Zuki in the room, then I would remove Foxy for 5 minutes or so and then bring her back into the room. Sometimes you need to let the dogs work things out and it sounds like Foxy is taking the top spot between the two of them.

      Keep an eye on Zuki's body language to see if you can see any signs she may be putting out to Foxy that's bothering her. A side wards glance by Zuki as she walks past Foxy... head held low, tail low and in general, keeping her eye on Foxy.

      When Foxy growls at Zuki and you have to flip her into a submissive position, instead of doing that, try just removing her for a short "time out" instead and see if that helps. She obviously knows you are the leader and using a more positive correction over making her submit to you may work better. Use a strict, but calm, tone of voice and tell her "No", remove her for a bit and then bring her back in with you and Zuki. You're teaching her that way you don't approve of her behavior when she growls.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. And I would like to give you two thumbs up for rescuing both Foxy and Zuki!


  94. Hi Linda ~
    Thank you so much for what you do!

    We have a 1 1/2 yr old Choc.Lab/Brittany mix named Zeke. He is wild and sweet at the same time and we adore him. A few months ago we added Libby a German Sheppard/Austrailian Blue Heeler to our family. She is also wild, but a huge lover at the same time.
    The trouble is that they are jealous of each other. I can't give Zeke scratches without Libby trying to bud in and vice versa. I can't play tug-of-war with Libby without Zeke pushing her out of the way. We live on acerage and so they are outside a lot during the day, and they chase and tumble and bite at eachother a lot. Yesterday Libby took a piece out of Zeke's cheek. Now she's drawn blood and we're really worried and don't know what to do.
    I love them both so much, and my husband is very attached to Zeke and I'm very attached to Libby. I want this to work and for them to get a long and love eachother as much as we love them. Can you help us help them? They won't share toys or bones so we've stopped offering toys, and we have to feed them seperatly becuase Libby will inhale her food and go after Zeke's food - he will back off and not go after her, but then he doesn't eat. We're so stressed.
    Anything you could offer would be so great. Thank you!!! :)
    p.s. - why do they try to eat rocks?? :)

    Sincerely -
    Zeke & Libby's concerned momma

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      What sort of training does Zeke and Libby have? They both should know how to sit and stay. They should know what "drop it" means.

      The most important thing both of you need to make sure you're doing is to be the leader of both dogs. Each dog should do what either one of you ask. To work on the jealousy problem...if you're petting or playing with one of the dogs and the other tries to push in between you, ignore the one being pushy, stop playing or petting and stand up with your side to the pushy one. Don't say anything and don't look at the one pushing in. Use your body language to get your message across. Wait for the one being jealous to calm down, start petting or playing with the one you were giving attention to and if the other one pushes in, stand up and turn away. Keep doing that to let them know you are the one who decides who gets attention and when. When they learn they don't get attention by pushing the other one out, that should take care of the problem.

      Another way you can handle jealousy is to make sure both dogs know how to sit and stay (wait). Have the one pushing in sit and wait their turn. Again, you're teaching them you decide when to give attention to them. When using this option, you may need to remove the one trying to push in to another area of the home until you've finished giving attention. But,you don't want to keep them waiting long if you do this. Bring the one you removed back into the room and give that one attention. This helps them learn they are removed when they butt in line. Personally, I like using the first option, standing up and using your body language. Dogs know exactly what you are saying with your body language. That's why you don't need to talk to them. The higher dogs in a pack will do the exact same thing to teach a dog under them they don't want to be bothered right now.

      The "drop it" command can be used when one has a toy and the other one steals it from them. When one takes something the other one has, tell them to "drop it", give them something good or another toy they like and return the stolen toy to the other dog.

      If Libby inhales her food, you might want to consider getting her an interactive dog food feeder. Here's a link to a good brand.

      The feeders make a dog that eats too fast slow down because she will have to work at getting the food out. The feeder is also something good to fill when you leave the dogs home alone. It's good stimulation for their minds and gives them something to do. You can get one for each dog. They aren't very expensive and hold up well.

      Dogs that try to eat non food items have a condition called Pica. It's a compulsive disorder you may want to discuss with your vet. You should pay attention to see if the dog wanting to eat rocks is also licking or trying to eat dirt, socks, plastic, rubber, stuff like that.

      Let me know if you need more help or have any questions. I'm always happy to do what I can to help.


  95. Hello Linda,

    I've read this thread and I like very much your detailed explanations and accuracy of your comments. Thank you very much for dedicating time to instruct us all on how to better understand and take care of our four legged friends.

    This is my case: I have a two year old female English Cocker Spaniel, Maia. My best friend has Maia's half brother, Toby. We have them since they were around 4 months old. They were born 3 weeks apart from each other. I had Maia spayed when she was a year old, Toby is not neutered . My friend and I live a few blocks apart, each dog sleeps at night in their own house, but during the day they are most of the time together in one house or the other, with the house owner or by themselves. They have adapted pretty well to this routine, we meet half way during the morning walk and they stay together the rest of the day. They are very good friends, chase each other, roll, swim, chase ducks, tug toys, take turns to chew a bully stick (no specific order on who crews first, although there are 2 sticks, they share the one already soften).

    Toby has started to show aggressive behavior toward Maia, growling at her for a toy, treat, food or attention. It's not constant and rare, we relate it to changes on the daily routine, for example if one of us goes on a trip and both dogs have to sleep in the same house for several days (a 1 day sleep over is fine, though), or one of us receive visitors that stay for a couple of days. Everything seems to go back to normal when the daily routine is re-established, but it seems to be escalating each time to more growling episodes and to the point that Maia hides from Toby and backs out when he stares at her.

    I understand the 'pack' rules but I am not sure how they would apply in my case. Both are very well behaved, Maia is more friendly with humans while Toby is more friendly with dogs. Both respect us as human leaders, but there doesn't seem to be an order within them. When playing, Maia tends to be more on top but it wouldn't bother her if Toby is on top. Said that, when the routine is disturbed, they do not play much.

    I'd appreciate your advice..


    1. Hi Patricia,

      Dogs hate change and even a small change in their routine can make a difference in behavior. You and your friend might want to sit down and discuss how you can keep their routine the same all of the time, even when one of you goes on a trip or has company over.

      Getting Toby neutered may help curb his aggressive issues with the growling. If it's not something that happens all the time, you can ignore his growling as long as it doesn't turn into fighting. Sometimes you need to let the dogs work things out on their own, but you also need to keep a watchful eye to make sure it doesn't turn into something more aggressive. It's possible Toby is trying to establish rank over Maia. The stare Toby is giving her is meant to intimidate her and if she is hiding and backing away, that is telling you she is intimidated.

      Do you go for walks with the two of them? If not, try doing at least one daily walk with both of them. Walking is one of the best ways for them to feel a sense of being in the same pack.

      You can use a spray bottle to get Toby's attention if it looks like he's being too intimidating for Maia. Squirting him is a humane, and for most dogs, an effective way of correcting a behavior. It's a good way to discipline, but not in a negative way.

      Making sure both know how to sit and stay is also good. You can put Toby in a sit/stay to help him calm down if you need him to.

      I would suggest trying to work on establishing a daily routine that you could stick with that would include keeping things the same when one travels or has company. Dogs like to know what's going to happen during their day, every day.

      If you have other questions, Patricia, please let me know. I'm happy to help out in any way.


  96. Hello Linda,

    I have a 5 yr old neutered lab/pointer mix male that my boyfriend & I adopted from a shelter about 4 1/2 yrs ago. He has been a wonderful, sweet and loving boy. We moved out of state about 6 months after adopting him & a little over a yr ago we moved back and are now living with my family. My dog loves my mom & my 6 yr old nephew (my dog is unsure how to play with him) but is unsure of my sister as she is inconsistent with him.

    My dog has always been a momma's boy from day one but it's been getting worse. He sleeps with my boyfriend & I but will not stay in the room without me or will not go to bed at all until I go in the room (this has been going on for about a yr). I have tried to shut him in the room but he stays at the door & cries.

    But he is now getting possessive. I have been sick for a couple of months so I have not been working & in fact spent most of my time in the bedroom. My dog has mostly stayed with me though I felt that he was to couped up & even shut him out at times to be with my other family & my boyfriend but he stayed at my door so someone would let him back in. Sometimes if my door was open he would lay in the room but where he could look out. He started barking and growling at family members and even my bf when they came into my bedroom; though his tail would wag most times when doing so. He would stand up on the bed when doing this. It started getting worse as in he would growl longer. I have now had surgery and am wondering if this behavior will continue once I have recovered?

    My dog has always been protective of me but not with friends & family and once he has been introduced to someone he is fine (has shocked some repairmenr when they just tried to walk in the house without me opening the door for them).

    I want to make sure this is not a larger issue since I do have a child in the household. Any an advice you could give me would be much appreciated! Thanks

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Being consistent with a dog is so important. If you aren't, it confuses the dog because he doesn't understand what you want and he will have trouble learning how you want him to behave.

      If he sees you as his leader and his bond is stronger with you than other people that's around him, he naturally wants to be with you. Labs and pointers are people friendly and they like to be where ever their owner is. That's why he gets upset when you shut him out of your bedroom now. He knows there's something wrong and it has him worried. So he most likely is trying to protect you because to him, that's his job. Dogs are social creatures and their pack is one of the most important things to them, even if it's just you and him.

      He likely will continue to behave the way he is until you are up and moving about more. Locking him away from you will only increase his stress level and confusion about why you don't want him around when all he's trying to do is protect you.

      My suggestions is to have your sister work on being consistent with him and everyone else needs to be consistent, as well. He needs to know what the rules are, but he also needs everyone's understanding right now. He's not trying to be bad and he just wants to make sure you're OK.

      If he's spending a lot of time with you in the house, he needs to get outside and get some exercise. Someone needs to take him for some daily walks, if possible. As far as the protecting goes, as long as he's not being aggressive, ignore any growling and don't tell him it's OK. Don't punish him for minor growls. He making sure no one is going to hurt you. If he knows how to sit and stay, when someone comes into the room, put him in a sit/stay by the bed so he can keep his eye on you, but be in a controlled position. Removing him will only make him more anxious and that could cause him to become more aggressive.

      If you have more questions, please let me know.


  97. Hi linda, I have a 15 month old westie called lentil and she is on the whole well behaved, lovable and friendly. I have however noticed a problem lately with lentil and my 4 month old nephew. Whenever I assist my nephew to stroke her or given her a treats she snarls and snaps at him. She is more thanks happy to lie next to him and is not aggressive towards him in any other way but this is really concerning me as I cant bare them thought of her hurting him. What is them best way to socialise her to this kind of interaction. She has been expised to babies and children since she was a pup and has shown no aggression, quite them opposite actually enjoying their company. Thanks jenna

    1. Hi Jenna,

      It's possible Lentil is picking up something in your nephew's or your body language that's bothering her, or when he touches her, it makes her uncomfortable. Some dogs can react to a touch in an hostile way if it feels odd to them for some reason.

      It's also possible Lentil isn't seeing you has her leader. Small dogs can easily develop small dog syndrome if they think they are the leader in the household. If you aren't familiar with small dog syndrome, please check out this article.

      A Westie is a great little dog and they are very good with children. She's over a year old now, however, and if she is beginning to think she's the one in charge, this is a good time to make sure she knows who her leader is. Take charge and treat her just like you would a much bigger dog.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.


  98. Hi Linda, I have a 7 yr old lab/shep mix and a 4 yr old golden ret / chow mix. I've had both dogs since they were small puppies 8 wks or so. Quincy my lab/shep was 3 when we brought home Kita. Both dogs have got along just fine, played together, ate together, etc. No issues until a couple weeks ago Kita our golden ret/chow female aggressively attacked my male lab/shep dog while I was brushing him after giving him a bath in our back yard. Since then she has become extremely aggressive towards him. I bring them in the room together with her on the leash as she still lunges at him. She is not hurting him by breaking skin so far but it seems to be escalating. She is now even growling and barking aggressively at him if she is inside and he is outside.we have cats that she shows no aggression towards or me and my daughters . She has always been a sweatheart and mild tempered. Right now I cannot even let them be in the same room because she keeps dominating him. He does not react to her attacks and so I think she feels she has the upper hand with him since he doesn't react. I have to separate them to get her to stop. Is thus something we can correct or am I going to have to find her a new home? It will break our hearts if we have to find her a new hone but things are so stressfull trying to keep peace. Please help ASAP! THANKS, KIM

    1. Hi Kim,

      There first thing you should do is have Kita checked out by your vet to make sure there's not a medical condition.

      Quincy may not be responding to her aggression towards him, but if she continues, he may start to stand up for himself.

      How much exercise is Kita getting on a daily basis? Has anything changed in the home that might have upset her? A change in routine maybe.

      The thing about mixed breed dogs is they can have characteristics from multiple breeds and you don't really know which characteristics will be more dominant. While the golden retriever is an easy going, laid back dog, the chow is more dominant and needs a confident, consistent leader to set rules. Chows will also have no problem taking over the alpha role if they think you aren't being a leader and they will try to dominate other dogs in the home. So, Kita may be showing more of her chow side than the golden retriever side.

      You will need to work on re-socializing Kita and Quincy at this point. If you aren't comfortable dealing with it, I would suggest calling an animal behaviorist in your area for help. If you don't know what they do, please read this article.

      It's not uncommon for dogs to be just fine with each other and then suddenly one turns on the other. There's a reason why a dog's behavior changes and usually it's because they don't see their owner as their leader or they have a medical condition that's beginning to show itself. The more likely cause is the leadership issue and a lack of good exercise if she's not getting enough on a daily basis. Kita's behavior can be corrected and both dogs can be re-socialized, but you may need professional help. An animal behaviorist will come into your home and evaluate how you and everyone else in the family interacts with the dogs and then make recommendations on what you need to do.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.


    2. Thanks Linda, we will start with a vet visit and training.

  99. Hi. I have 3 dogs, a two year old terrior mix shy a ten month old pit cheeks an a ten month old pom mix lulabell. Shy just recently started protecting all the food bowls an wont let the other two play with toys. He also will clean there ears an eyes more then once a day. He also puts his blanket over his food bowl like hes hiding it. Is this normal?

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      No, guarding food bowls isn't normal and covering it with his blanket could be an attempt to hide the bowl, which can be bad if he attacks another dog or a person who gets too close to the covered bowl. Shy is showing food aggression and you need to deal with his aggression as quickly as possible. For the time being, feed the other two dogs away from Shy. At meal time, have him sit in front of you, keep his food bowl up on a table so he can't help himself to the food and hand feed him. Do this for about a week and then put his food on the floor. Watch him as he eats and if he shows any aggression towards anyone in the family or the other dogs, pick the food up right away and go back to hand feeding him. You are teaching him you control his food, not him. Don't allow him to try and steal food from the other food bowls. When you put his bowl on the floor, while he eats, drop a special treat he really likes off and on into his food. This teaches him that when you're around his food, he gets something good added now and then. It helps him learn not to be aggressive when a human is near his food. Another way you can deal with it is to sit his empty bowl on the floor, put his food in a cup and hold it, wait for him to look at you and then pour just a little bit into his bowl. Let him eat that and wait for him to look up at you and then pour a little bit more in his bowl. Continue to do this until his meal is finished. Again, this teaches him you control his food.

      How much exercise is Shy getting? Terriers, even mixed ones, have a lot of energy to burn off and need daily exercise. Pit bulls also need a lot of exercise. Any dog, whether they are a mixed breed or purebred, should have a job to do. Having them sit before they eat, before going outside, when they come to you, etc. is giving them a job. It helps them learn you are the boss and makes it easier to control them when they pay attention to you.

      The grooming the other dogs is normal and as long as he isn't obsessively grooming them, I wouldn't worry about it.

      Let me know if you have other questions.


  100. Hi, Linda,

    I have a two year old neutered, male terrier mix (Luke - I've had him for about a year) and two months ago I adopted a one year old spayed, female Chihuahua mix (Miri). From the beginning, Miri has gotten jealous of Luke and attacked him. At first, it was things that were easy to prevent, like one of them leaving a rawhide around and both going for it at the same time - I would just pick up their chewies or other special toys after they'd had them for a little bit.

    But it's gotten worse, and now she goes after him over almost nothing. Much of the time, they can't sit next to me (one on each side) without Miri trying to go after Luke (and then he responds by trying to get her). Sometimes, it seems like they just look at each other wrong and she'll attack him.

    I am at my wit's end. I walk them together for a half hour in the morning and afternoon; I think this is really good for all three of us. We also play in my landlord's yard in the afternoon. I've been trying to train her but we haven't gotten much farther than sit.

    I think one of the issues is that she has so much energy - the only thing that's really tired her out is a three-hour hike, and there's no way I can do that everyday. But with all her excess energy, Miri wants to play and rough-house much more than Luke does, and that starts fights, too.

    Another issue is that I live alone in a studio - and my landlord's yard isn't dog-proofed, so I can't give them access to it during the day. It's really difficult for me to give them attention together, but it's even more difficult to keep them separated so I can give them attention on their own (to bond with Miri and keep up my relationship with Luke). I am so exhausted of their fighting and don't know what to do. Any suggestions? Thank you!!


  101. Hi,
    I have a four year old Corgi named Gracie. In August we moved to a different state and now she lives with my fiance at his house, while I am just renting an apartment until we get married. Everyone was just fine until a couple of weeks ago, Gracie has become super aggressive towards my fiance's two dogs. It got really bad last night that while my fiance was trying to break up a fight she actually bit him so hard he needed stitches. She has NEVER acted this way. We used to go to the dog park all the time and was never aggressive towards any other dogs or humans. My niece and nephew lived with me over a year and they would do all kinds of things to Gracie and she would just sit there and take it. How do I help her become more accustomed to other dogs and quit being so jealous? I have since moved her in with me, but that will not solve the problem once we get married. Please help with anything you can!

  102. Hi

    I have two dog's one is a border collie named patch who is 7 this year and a boxer named deegan who is 3. Lately in the last 6 month's my collie seem's more aggressive and jelous towards the boxer it started one day with my little girl playing out the back garden and all off a sudden out of the blue the dog's were fighting very agressivily would not stop for my girlfriend and they had blood mark's all over them and it happened 3-4 times after while i was in work untill i caught them. It's happening anytime anybody enter's the back garden the collie seem's to get extremely jelous and start's growling or fighting with the boxer. I'm at the end off my tether with this if you could help in any way possible it would be great as i have love for both these dog's and dont want to see any off them put down as it's got that bad. E-mail me if you want at thanks

  103. My brother and nephew recently got a rescue boxer. He is wonderful with one big exception. Whenever anyone tries to lean down to pet their little maltese, the boxer nips them in the face. He is not aggressive with the maltese and he loves company, but this behavior is very concerning. Can you please offer some guidance on how to correct this behavior so he does not have to be re-homed again. The rescue kennel where he came from bragged about how good he was with other dogs and children, but I am wondering if they were really aware of this behavior.

    Thanks, Lisa

  104. I foster rescue dogs. Recently, I placed a rescue with a family that consisted of a mom and 3 children between the ages of 9 and 13. Ruger is a 100lb. neutered yellow lab. The family loves him very much but are finding that their resident dog does not. Their resident dog, Harper, is a small spitz. She is constantly barking at Ruger, even lunges at him. She is only about 12lbs herself. To his credit, Ruger does not respond, but naturally Harper's barking and aggression are driving the family nuts. I have advised the mom hang in there a couple of more weeks (she's had Ruger for two now). Also told her to be sure she has established herself as the head of the household; to be sure to give food and treats to Harper first (if she thinks Harper really is the alpha), feed her first, and to crate Harper at night rather than letting her sleep on the bed so that Harper starts to see herself as being on Ruger's level. Also suggested that she spend special time with each dog, crating the other when she does this. Any other specific things that the mom can do to help balance the dog's behavior? I am hoping that this adoption does not disrupt, but will take Ruger back if absolutely necessary. Thanks!

  105. I have a 2 year old Golden mix who is firstly, unsure of new dogs. She is not aggressive--just wary of what their intentions are. After they sniff each other, she's always great with them, UNLESS they jump on me. She doesn't bite/attack, but she gets growly and will have her little fangs out as if they were wrestling. Her intention is to get the dog away from me. When everyone is leashed, it's easy to work with because I have her sit and stay. However, when we're out and everyone is off leash, the dogs are never bothered by her attitude and continue jumping on me, making her more upset. New dogs she doesn't know she leaves alone for the most part, but if we've met the dog 2+ times, she gets jealous of me even petting them. (Again, not aggressive, just bratty.)

    Any advice on what I can change about our relationship so that she doesn't feel she needs to protect me?

  106. Hi Linda,
    I have an 8 year old mix boxer that I have had since puppy. He is very well behaved and I have never had any problems with him until 2 month ago. All of a sudden he has started to go up in my sofa everytime I leave the house and move all pillows around and lie on top of everything. I have tried to barricade the sofa with tables and stuff but after a week he pushed them all down and just continued. Now I have bought a rug to cover the sofa with and it also worked for about a week but now he has started to remove the rug. When I come home he hides in his basket so I know he is aware of what he has done but he still continues and I dont know how to correct this behavior.
    I know changes in the animals life can cause these kind of problems and the one thing that has changed is that I have started to feed 2 stray kittens outside our house. However I dont let them in the house and they only come for food and sleeps outside on our staircase sometimes.
    Any suggestions would be much appreciated. At the moment my living room looks like a furniture warehouse and it would be nice to be able to use this room again.
    Thank you, Marianne

  107. Linda
    My name is Chelsea I just brought home a six month old boxer. I've only had him a couple of days. When my German shepherd or any dog comes in-between me and him or he can't get to me he has growled and snaped at them. Right away I spank and tell him no. But I'm not sure if that's a good enough way of handling the situation. Also bringing him home from only a day ago he constantly follows me around and won't hardly go to anyone else. He has a hard time coming when I call but doesn't move if someone else calls... How do i bring a six month old dog to a completely different situation and smoothly as possible without him getting tromitized or overly possesive of me?

  108. Hi Chelsea,

    First of all, spanking a dog never works, especially if you are doing it in response to actions by him he sees as being natural. Since he's only been with you for a short time, he's not completely socialized with his new environment and he's growling and snapping because he's not comfortable with the other dogs or you yet, and that's the only way he knows how to respond when he's unsure of things. It can take most dogs a couple of weeks before they begin to feel comfortable with other dogs and their new home. Be patient and give him, and your other dogs time to adjust to each other. You also need to make sure you're being his leader. Check out this article on how to be a dog's leader, and this one on how to socialize puppies and dogs, Taking dogs on walks is a good way to work on socializing them. Plus, the exercise keeps them healthy.

    Read up on how to read a dog's body language, this article can help you with that, When you can read their signals, that helps you stop problems before they begin.

    Teaching your dog basic commands like, sit, come, stay, drop it help you control your dogs and it helps keep them safe, as well. Dog training isn't hard to do, but you have to be committed and patient. Work on basic commands with the dogs, use positive reinforcement, do some training every day until they learn a command, and then reinforce it daily. Give lots of praise and treats when training, and once they know a command, then you can stop giving treats if you want.

    Check out this article on one way of teaching dogs to come, Another way to teach a dog to come is to sit quietly on the ground or floor with your back to the dog. Have treats with you. Call him to come, and when he does, give him lots of praise and treats. Always make training fun and positive. If he doesn't come at first, don't worry about it. Just keep trying. Most dogs will want to come to you just to see what you're doing. Another method you can try is to play with him. Run away from him, calling him as you run. When he comes, give lots of praise and treats. Once he's coming every time you call him, then you can stop giving treats.

    Spanking a dog won't do any good at all and you risk losing his respect and a chance to bond closely with him. Boxers love to be with their owners, and they are protective, very strong, and smart. And they need daily exercise to stay healthy. I think if you work on socializing him, work on training basic commands, be his leader, be patient, and positive, he'll start to come around as he begins to feel comfortable in his new home.

    You can also talk with your vet to see if he/she knows of any animal behaviorists in your area or if he/she is a veterinary behaviorists or has one working in the office. Check out these two articles on what the two different behaviorists do.



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