possessive behavior - jealous?

Posted by heypapadoug
Feb 23, 2010
We have a 2 year male old yellow lab, Koda. We've had him since he was 6 weeks old. He is now an 85 lb puppy. He is great with the grandkids, follows commands, gets along with other dogs at the dog park, etc. No chewing, barking, or biting issues, etc. Is fine on a leash.

However, if I'm hugging my wife, he wants to get his nose between us. If our 9 yr old grandson is on the couch with my wife, he climbs in between them; no agression, just wiggles in. He is allowed on the couch in the evenings but only when called up to get his back scratched. When our grand-daughter visits and my wife is holding her, there are no problems. However, after she leaves and my wife is on the couch, he almost climbs into her lap.

Today was a surprise. My daughter was on the floor playing with the baby; Koda climbed into my daughter's lap. He has never pushed at the baby but we're concernned that his size and excitement may knock her over. He is never left alone with her but my wife may be cleaning the kitchen while the baby plays.

Koda does need to go outside when the baby eats since she likes to feed him; that is not allowed. But otherwise we want him in the house so that he does not feel excluded because she is here.

Comments? Thanks.... Doug
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Feb 23, 2010
Hi heypapadoug,

Koda sounds like a very nice dog and I can see he has been loved by you and your wife and has been included in all kinds of family activities!

I don't think his behavior is a sign of possesiveness or jealousy; it sounds more like he wants to be a part of everything that is going on in your household.

Our dogs sometimes get between me and my husband when we hug and it is so cute that we hug each other just to see them coming in between us We have no problems with that because we know they are not jealous but just want to be included. In Koda's case, I believe he is the only dog so it is more so than our household where there are 3 dogs and 3 cats!

However, he can inadvertently hurt the little ones, as you mentioned, because of his size and the playfulness of lab. I would never leave him unsupervised when the little ones are around. As your grandchildren get bigger and taller, and Koda gets more mature, and they get used to each other, things will be easier but for the time being I would just keep an eye on him, not for only your grandchildren's sake but for Koda's sake as well.

Another thing you can do is to reinforce the rule of him off the furniture unless invited so that your daughter can change the baby on the couch, or have a crib for the baby.

I think it will be very nice that your grandchildren are getting used to animals from a very early age!
Posted by crazycrayonmom
Feb 24, 2010
You could try teaching your dog the arms-reach rule that I used with my pups. When our son was on the floor the dogs were not allowed within arms reach. I did that by making them back away if they got too close. And no dog play was allowed when Benno was on the floor either.

Accidents can happen quickly and nobody wants to see the baby get hurt so it's best to keep Koda at arms-length for now.
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Mar 20, 2010
Hi Doug

It's also a good idea to keep him fresh with the alpha dog training principles, because sometimes they can seem pushy when they are actually trying to dominate the situation. It is alright for him to join in on hugs as long as he is equally happy to back off immediately if you tell him to. If he doesn't mind this, it is a sign that he still views you as leader of the pack and in control of his movements. Any signs of reluctance or growling should be taken seriously and sorted out as soon as possible. You should make it clear to him that although he is important, the people of the house come first. This can be done by pushing him away gently if he pushes in when you are hugging or greeting visitors when they first arrive, without making eye contact, then turning and making a big fuss of him too if he sits quietly and waits his turn. In this way, you are showing him his place clearly, yet he will not feel excluded in the least.