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Old 07-06-2010, 09:16 AM
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milos_mommy milos_mommy is offline
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Default Young dog getting snarky with others

My boss at the grooming shop where I work has three dogs.

Alice, her 1 year old as of a few days ago, Shih-tzu X chihuahua, is causing the problem.

She's been through some changes recently...I think it was about four months ago when my bosses older dog, April (13 yr. shih) had a seizure and spent a few days at the vet. Since then, Alice has been even more attached to her, cries if they're separated, runs up to check on her as soon as she gets back into the room with April.

About two months ago, my boss also added a 4 year old whippet to her family.

All three of my bosses dogs sleep under the desk during the day.

Recently, and it only happens sometimes, when a dog walks past the area where Xena and April are sleeping, Alice will go after them, snapping and snarling.

If this behavior worsens, it means Alice will have to stay in the other room (we have two rooms), away from her "sisters" all day.

I'm not sure how to approach this. It's obviously not an anxiety issue or anything, I'm thinking it's a "protective" issue, or just her age, really.

So far, we've been praising and rewarding Alice whenever another dog goes in the area and she doesn't react, to associate other dogs being there as a good thing. If she gets really snarky, we ask her to move to the middle of the room, or bring her into the back for a little while.

Some dog trainer told my boss she has to yell at Alice when she does that. I don't think that's right, but we have been saying "NO!" if we catch her in the act, I don't know if that's a good thing to do, though.


So, any advice or help would be good here.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:44 AM
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That trainer's advice is fairly common, but what happens is the high risk of the dog associating the other dogs with punishment and can make the problem worse. All that happens with yelling at the dog is the possibility of supressing the behavior, but it will come out again.

The dog is probably being territorial and telling those other dogs to go away from her area. I'd keep feeding (like you have been) (super yummy) treats/praise before she gets a chance to get snarky, (if possible)as soon as another dog comes anywhere near. Keep up the good work of tying together good things and the other dogs. That yelling and scolding or saying "no" will only, at best, supress the behavior, but won't make the dog think any better of other dogs coming around. It will likely worsen the behavior.

When other dogs aren't in the area, I'd remove her from her place...back to a another room where it's fairly boring. Make it so the fun happens when other dogs are in the area....food, praise, special toy and nothing great happens when they're not. If she gets snarky, remove her calmly, but promptly to a back room and try again. As you approach her area, start feeding one small treat after the other before she gets a chance to snark. Repeat. There might be a lot of coming and going...back and forth, from the back room to her spot, but that consistency and promptness with the consequence is what will get the message across. No punishment, no supression. Try to get her to change her mind about having dogs in the vicinity.
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