Is my dog being dominant? Resource guarding? Or something else?
We’ve just had our first session with Milo and Hector the cocker spaniels.
Milo, from Ashington, Northumberland, has very strange behaviour. Basically, when something that Hector does triggers him, he bites the nearest piece of furniture to him.
They have been working with a Vet Behaviourist for the last year who has given them a dominance rank reduction behaviour modification program and some anti-anxiety medication. This has caused the behaviour to reduce dramatically, however it has not been progressing any further for the last few months. So I’ve been called for a second opinion.
Dominance in dogs is a touchy subject. It exists, but not in the way most portray it. The only time dominance leads to aggression is when one dog is insecure. In fact, dominance and hierarchy are there to AVOID conflict, the same way a manager at work is there to have the final say when there are decisions that need to be made.
Now, this is weird behaviour, something I’ve not seen before and doubt many trainers have.
I think this is a frustration based issue with redirected aggression - and yes, Milo is trying to control his movements, but for a while other reason than dominance.
In fact, I don’t think the problem lies with Milo at all!
Basically, Milo is pretty calm and relaxed but has some insecurities. Hector on the other hand is a bit lively, he moves fast and circles and gets excited, and doesn’t stop - basically, he’s a spaniel. Hector is actually a bit of a bully towards Milo and gets in his space.
It’s clear that Milo is anxious about Hector's movements too and he completely avoids eye contact.
Milo then becomes overstimulated and frustrated, instead of directing aggression toward Hector, he warns him by biting something else.
This is happening each and every day.
Here’s how we fixed it:
Created set behaviours for both dogs to do when the other enters the room. This is the main area where the behaviour is happening.
Started teaching Hector to settle and relax.
And that’s it.
Changing the guardian's behaviour in this case and the busy dog's behaviour will give Milo the security he needs to feel comfortable.
It’s a weird case, but this will solve it!!
So far today, there are 0 incidents!
Well done Gang!
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