Occassional Aggression Problems

Posted by kni1360
Aug 19, 2008
I have a 16 month old Chocolate Lab who is a great dog for the most part. He is very intelligent and obeys basic commands very well...my problem is occassional aggressive behavior of barking and snapping when I take his blanket away. If the blanket is out of the crate he chews it, so when I go to take it away and return it to the crate he barks and snaps at me. He never bites me though...I think this may be a dominance issue but I'm not sure...Also he tends to jump on everyone that enters the house...it's a happy greeting but he's a large dog and this is not acceptable...I have tried every tactic I've read in all the training books...if anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it....
Posted by Clamshell
Aug 22, 2008
Dunno what you've read in the training books (I'm still going thru the bonus books, and 1/2 way thru SSF, but I've always found that a consistant knee being jumped into, throwing the dog off balance, pretty much cured the jumping. Guests don't know to do this, so it must be consistantly practiced by everyone in the household, and frequent guests can be forewarned! Good luck!
Posted by Annie
Aug 22, 2008
Why would you think it is not a domminance issue? I would think that you trying to clear up around the house and him giving you an almost bite would be pretty clear that he thinks it´s his right to do what he wants with the blanket...and with you...

Did this make you nervous? are you watching for other signs of his disapproval? Then it worked then from his side of things.
I believe, that when you are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that this behaviour is not nice, and not to be tolerated, then the dog will sense this. Take the blanket firmly, put it in his basket, perhaps give him a treat, and go and play ball with him or something fun. The objects in your house are yours that you are 'loaning' to your dog ( similar to your kids) I don´t like my teenager snarling at me when he leaves his wet towel on the floor
good luck
Posted by Annie
Aug 22, 2008
With the jumping up, this normally happens in the first few moments of a visitor arriving. You could put your dog on a leash, ask the dog to sit, ask the visitor to TOTALLY ignore your dog, then when your visitor is seated remove your dog to a nice place ie. his blanket, and he may go and play or whatever. Is is not your dogs RIGHT to push their nose up somebodies or jump up to say hello. Actually, the visitor is there for you. Of course they may greet and play with the dog...but after a period of time has elapsed. ( for me it was at least 10mins)
I did this with my dog for visitors for at least 6 months, and now she will sit, observe, wag her tail, and then go back to lieing down by the door. There was not an opportunity to jump up...how rude
With the family of course it´s different and I agree with the knee in the chest and turning away.
good luck,
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 22, 2008
Hi there,

People tend to conclude any aggression as a sign of dominance but I don't think it is true.

kni1360's lab's behavior is "resource guarding" not "domiance". kni1360 said that the dog is obedient most of the time and intelligent. I don't think he is trying to challenge kni1360 by barking and snapping. Does he growls, or does he bare his teeth?

He thinks his blanket is a very valuable resource. He doesn't want that be taken away. What he needs to learn is that even if you take it away it will be returned to him in a second so he doesn't need to guard it. To dogs anything can be his/her resource, couches, beds, balls, even his/her own owner. That's why you might want to correct this resource guarding behavior to avoid aggression. Since it is not a dominance aggression, the approach to this issue should be totally different. Exchanging games are practical. Have him exchange the blanket with a treat, a ball, a toy, anything you think he might value. Repeat many times eveyday so that his obsession to the blanket gets lower.

Good luck