Aggress Problems with 6-month-old Puppy

Posted by Twiggy222
Sep 6, 2011
I need help. My 6-month-old Yorkie/Shih-Tzu mix is showing aggression, which coincided with her getting her rabies shot, being boarded for the first time, and turning 6 months all at once. She growls (doesn't bare teeth) and jumps at me if she thinks I'm going to take a treat from her after I've given it to her, if she picks up something she shouldn't have and I try to get her to leave it, and sometimes if I walk in her space while she's not there but nearby. I had gotten it under control somewhat when I started running her though a lot of the commands we learned in her puppy training class (e.g., sit, stay, leave it, come), but this past weekend, she started it up again and is seemingly growing worse. It all started when I tried to keep her from licking up chocolate cake my little cousin dropped on the floor. It's very discouraging because no matter how much I say No, or how firmly I say it, she still comes at me. She's even getting fiesty when I pick up her to put her in her crate (she won't go there on her own yet). I suspect it's more of a dominance issue than a food aggression issue because she could care less about the food in her bowl; however, it's pretty much about what she's trying to eat 85% of the time. I'm :confused: and need some advice from anyone who might know what's going on with her and can help......
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Sep 7, 2011
Hi Twiggy 222,

I don't think it is a dominance thing but she just has learned that she could get her way by growling, or not obeying to your commands

You said it's not food aggression but dogs don't see Chocolate Cake (which we always try to keep dogs away) and dog foods (it's always there and they get every day) have the same values.

It seems to me that it is a resource guarding aggression.

1. First of all, if you are free feeding your dog (in other words, the food is always available for her) stop it and feed her 2 times a day at scheduled times.

2. Practice basic obedience commands for 10 mins every day. You might want to invest some super treats for "leave it" command. Put a regular treat in front of her and tell her "Leave it", if she does give her the super treat.

3. Practice "Exchange objects" or "Drop it" command with her. Give her a favorite toy (ball, chew bone, etc. not quickly consumable item) and let her play/chew for a few seconds. Come back to her and ask her to give it back to you. If she growls tell her "Uh-uh". When she stops growling, offer a treat. She will drop the toy so you pick it up saying "Good girl". Give her back the toy and repeat taking it away (but not forcefully, but more tactically by offering a treat). Once she learns that something good happens when she listens to you and drop the toy, she won't guard those things any longer. Don't offer a treat while she is still growling.

Let us know how it goes. Good luck
Posted by Twiggy222
Sep 9, 2011
Thank you for those tips. I'm going to implement them right away. I thought we were going to have a day free of her growling at me, but it didn't happen. After bringing her in from her evening walk, I got a towel to dry her off because it was drizzling a bit and she snapped. She didn't want me to touch her. I told her no and put her in the crate for a time out. When I let her out, I gave her the command to stay with the door open until I said come. She obeyed but eventually came at me later when I took something she shouldn't have and she was no where near it.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Sep 11, 2011
Hey twiggy,

Just wanted to say I totally agree with MHN and am happy to hear you're going to try her suggestions! I do think your pup is guarding things, and it may be that the stress/seeming "abandonment" of being put in kennels for the first time may have triggered her to be more possessive. She just needs reassurance that listening to you and doing what she's asked doesn't mean she loses out, it means she gets rewarded!

Just wondering, how long ago was she kennelled? If it was relatively recent, her problems may sort out even better with more time between then and now. See how it goes.

Keep us updated please! I hope with MHN's suggestions you can see progress