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Old 06-17-2012, 08:19 AM
TahlzK TahlzK is offline
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Default Serenity's possessive behavior

I need to know if I'm handling this the right way or not.

When you hear me say 'mouthing', she isn't attacking Sunny. She is forcibly grabbing/letting go of mouth, pushing in to him at times. She isn't showing teeth or making noises but I know she isn't being %100 friendly here.

Serenity has issues and one of them is being a tad possessive over me and over things in my room, towards Sunny (not me). She had a issue with my chair months back and would mouth/growl at Sunny if I sat on it and had her with me. I dealt with that by now allowing ether of them near me when on that chair but if I did let them near the chair, it could only be one by one if I was on it or if they were on it, together (she only guarded it when I was on it).

A while back (over 4 months ago) Serenity attacked Sunny for jumping on the bed after she warned him not to. I should have corrected the problem right away so the fight was my fault. She gave us both plenty of warnings.

So, she has ever so slowly starting being a tad more possessive lately.

Lately (in the past week), if Serenity gets on the bed first, she will try and block Sunny/mouth his mouth to keep him off the bed. Though, after I told her off, she chased him to the futon and did it before she bullied him off there and cornered him in a corner, she got in to trouble and she backed off. This has happened twice now. I corrected this and now she isn't allowed on the bed at the moment.

What is bothering me right now is she is starting to do this bullying more. I just came in my room, shut the door and she starts on him, again. She did this right in front of me, on the ground This bothers me highly since it's as soon as we came in the room. She did this the other day too. He is uncomfortable and I can see that and I don't like it.

I have been telling her 'No' and if she doesn't listen, I will tell her again and generally push her away. I don't know what else to do when she's doing it on the floor, she isn't being possessive over the futon/bed so I can't ban her from anything.

What more can I do? She has only been doing it when it's time for bed, no other times. It's really starting to bother me now and I don't want this to become worse.

Thank you.
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:53 PM
~Tucker&Me~ ~Tucker&Me~ is offline
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Hmm, hopefully someone will chime in with more knowledge than me, but maybe a good strategy would be to carry a clicker around the house and make a point of clicking when Sunny enters the room or gets near you two. Reward reward reward when Sunny is around so that instead of stressing about him getting too close to you ("her" human), she comes to associate Sunny being nearby as a good thing because you are consistently rewarding her when he approaches.

My thinking is that if you push her away and say "no", then you are essentially teaching her that when Sunny comes around you might correct her and to therefore associate him with negative feelings. If I were in your shoes, I would be trying to reverse this feeling by changing that association to a positive one.

Originally Posted by AngryMan View Post
I think u need some angry school.
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:40 PM
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yoko yoko is offline
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Originally Posted by ~Tucker&Me~ View Post
My thinking is that if you push her away and say "no", then you are essentially teaching her that when Sunny comes around you might correct her and to therefore associate him with negative feelings. If I were in your shoes, I would be trying to reverse this feeling by changing that association to a positive one.
That's what I was thinking when I read it.

If she is associating your other dog with punishment I could see why she'd try to get him away whenever he comes into the same area.
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:09 PM
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Danefied Danefied is offline
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There are several things going on here...
1. Close quarters leads to snarks pretty easily. It interferes with needed distance for proper body language between dogs.
2. If you are going to have them both in close quarters, you need to have really clear and strongly proofed behaviors that the dogs are happy to comply with. I’m thinking things like a place/bed cue, back up, off or down from furniture. Things that you can give the dog clear direction when either is feeling insecure and not sure about how to proceed.
3. Guarding you vs. guarding objects vs. guarding locations. Guarding you can be easily solved by both dogs in a down, you in the middle, lots of calm pets, treats and make it very rewarding for them to get attention from you in the presence of the other dog.

Guarding objects and locations I deal with a little differently, and I’m not sure how it will work for you now that things have escalated.
In the dog world, possession is the law. If someone is on a dog bed (or human bed) already, it is rude for another dog to approach and try to take that spot. So IMO Serenity is justified in snarking over the other dog getting on the bed when she is up there, and Sunny was rude for pushing his way up despite her warnings. I would have told Sunny off, not Serenity.
Also (gets ready to hide) since Serenity is the bitch, Sunny should defer anyway. Everything always runs smoother if folks would just learn to defer to the bitches

You can approach this several ways. You can have a “one dog on the bed only” rule with a first-come-first-served caveat. You can have a “no dogs on the bed” rule. Or, depending on how well you can verbally control the dogs, and how much they trust you, you can play mediator and show them they both fit. So in our house what that would look like is: Queen B is on the bed, male minion asks to get up, queen B growls a warning. I enter the picture, tell queen B to move over *here* on the bed, then tell male minion to get up *here* on the bed. Let both settle, praise both dogs. At this point they will either fall asleep or one or the other will decide its not worth it and get down. That’s fine too.

Now, totally different scenario if there is no room for two dogs. Example: Last night one of the male minions was on the dog bed in our bedroom and Queen B came in, decided she wanted the dog bed, and went to stand over the male minion to “suggest” to him that he give it up. I intervened and told her to knock it off and where she could lay down. The other dog was on the bed fair & square, not cool for the bitch to come in and try to force him off the bed.

I think though, your biggest issue is the close proximity and that the dogs don’t trust your leadership & communication skills.
The tight space you can’t help, though maybe moving some furniture around might allow for escape routes, or more than one comfy spot?
The communication and leadership you can help with more training, proofing, and practice.

"We become better trainers by refusing to swallow uncritically what is tossed to us as truth,
by developing our powers of empathy and observation,
and by searching for better ways to teach and educate the dogs we love."
~Suzanne Clothier
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