Dog has started 'guarding' me and snapping at other dogs - please help, I really need to nip this in the bud!(5 Posts)
Ddog is a male (neutered) 18 month old labradoodle, and has so far been the most placid, easy going dog I have ever met.
Recently though, he's been showing signs of guarding me. If another dog comes over and I make a fuss of it, Ddog growls and snaps at the other dog. If there are treats involved, he is a lot worse.
He has never shown any aggression before, either towards Humans or dogs so I am baffled as to why this has suddenly started happening. He only does it with me, not DH or any other humans. He stayed overnight with a friend (and her dog) a few days ago and was snappish towards the resident dog while I was in the house, but apparently as soon as I left they were best buddies.
Bit of background if it helps, Ddog doesn't guard food/toys or anything else and will readily give up even high value items when we ask him to do so. He has no shortage of food or any other resources.
This guarding started at pretty much the same time as DH getting a new job which means he is out of the house 7-8 most days, having previously worked from home.
I am wondering if Ddog feels that DH has 'abandoned' him, so he has to be extra careful to guard me in case I abandon him too?
Perhaps Ddog feels that when DH is out of the house, it is his (ddog's) responsibility to guard me? (although Ddog guards me even when DH is around)
I'd really appreciate any thoughts/tips on how to manage this. Ddog was previously the friendliest, most sociable dog ever and I am really worried about this change in his behaviour
None of our dogs like us paying attention to other dogs. They get quite grumpy about it. If you really want to make a fuss of a strange dog who's not part of the family, make absolutely sure your own dog has loads of attention and treats too. I think from the dog's POV it must seem strange and threatening that you are fussing over an animal which is not part of your family. I think it's pretty normal behaviour. Perhaps someone else will say that I am wrong. It may help to ignore the attentions of other dogs for a while and build the trust with your own. You will still have a friendly sociable dog!
I really doubt that your dog is 'guarding' you. I think he sounds anxious personally. It's when he's out of his own house, it's when you're around, it's worse when food is involved.
Regardles though, of the reason for this behaviour, you can prevent it by encouraging and rewarding the correct behaviour and preventing or interupting unwanted behaviour.
I think it would be wise to speak to a behaviourist regarding this, as it would be very easy to inadvertantly make it worse and if you get a behaviourist to see you they can look at the dog's body language and make sure that you are putting any strategy into action correctly. (always helps to have someone watch what we are doing) You can find a good behaviourist at www.apbc.org.uk
Definitely not guarding you or feeling put out by you OH being away.
I would consider this a fear reaction. Best type of trainers are those that prevent the situation from happening. So at the moment do not fuss other dogs when your guy is around. I would work on the look dog, So see another dog ask him to look dog and click and give your dog a treat. Build up his confidence for a few months.
It could be jealousy or possessiveness - he regards you as his precious possession and is guarding his beloved.
Join the discussion
Please login first.