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View Full Version : Help with aggressiveness and barking...



carlyjoparchert87
18th February 2009, 04:48 AM
Hello, I am Carly and new to the forum... I have two cavaliers and are beginning to have problems with the older one. Her name is Chloe and she is 1yr 2 months. She is becoming more and more hostile everyday. I think it might have to do with the new Cavalier... her name is Gabbie. She is 5 months and we have had her for 3.

Part of the problem is food related... For example Chloe guards HER food AND Gabbies and now Gabbie is scared to eat. So now we have to sit with them but Gabbie still doesn't like to eat because she is scared she will get snapped at. Also when we are sitting with them and Chloe gets done with her food she comes to watch (aka try to sneak in to get a bite) but times when she has gotten to close and I have moved her further away and she has snapped at me. It is so crazy because she cuddles with me and lays with me and licks the hell out of my face and feet, but when I move her from Gabbies food she wants to bite???

It is not like they don't get a long... they constantly play and have a lot of fun. They sometimes love to tug a war but if Chloe doesn't feel like sharing the toy that day or time then she gets pissy... How is Gabbie supposed to know when those times are?

Chloe likes to cuddle with Gabbie (it is so damn cute) but if Chloe is already laying and Gabbie comes to cuddle with her she gets mad. Not fair if you ask me.

I don't know what to do because you can tell they love each other but chloe is causing problems. We have made sure from day 1 that we have not favored Gab or left Chloe out or anything.

The barking is another story... Having a guard dog isn't bad, but Chloe barks at things like the heater starting up or creaks the house makes. Not only is it annoying but at night it is scary because you never know if you need to get up and check things out or not... Not to mentions she is usually cuddling with me and it nearly gives me a heart attack.

I don't know how to possitive reinforce train her to not bark because if she doesn't bark it is because she is proccupied with Gabbie or she didn't hear it so if I give her a treat she won't know what for and the same for her hostility toward me and Gabbie... AAAHHH :confused:

I need h*lp!

Shelli
18th February 2009, 09:53 AM
Hi Carly, welcome to the board :p
Sorry to hear you are going through this. I cant offer any advice about the aggression, but i'm sure someone will be along soon who can.
Regarding the food guarding, when we got Roxy (almost 4) she food guarded and got quiet aggressive if Ollie went anywhere near her while she was eating. I used a baby gate to separate them at mealtimes and then gradually moved each one closer to the gate so that eventually they were eating side by side but were still separate. Now they will happily eat together.
She will still guard some high value treats, such as pigs ears, but they rarely get them, usually only when I need to crate them, so it causes no problems.
Hope this helps :)

Karlin
18th February 2009, 12:39 PM
Welcome to the board. :)

First, I'd suggest going to www.dogstardaily.com and download Dr Ian Dunbar's excellent book "After you get your Puppy". Having a good training and care manual like this to hand will quickly offer solutions to several of these problems.

Management -- eg preventing these problems being able to happen -- is far better than trying to address them after the fact. :thmbsup: Dogs generally should never be fed side by side and there's no reason they should be required to eat in each others' presence as this is just asking for a problem when least expected, at any time in the dog's lives :( -- at any time, regardless of how they appear to get along at any given point, such a situation could become a flashpoint with devastating results -- and I do know of dogs that have come close to killing each other over a similar situation, out of the blue!!. I really encourage people to have at least 6 feet between dogs that DO get along but ideally to have a barrier -- eg crates or separate rooms or physical barrier -- between their dogs.

You need to understand that you are beginning to see some behaviour that can escalate into a serious problem -- and you will need to take action on a number of points here and also be aware that the problem perhaps may turn out to be between the dogs and may be therefore more difficult to resolve. It is hard to know until you take some steps to address the current problems some of which are happening because the dogs have access to each other when they should not -- eg during meals.

On food guarding -- this is a management and a training issue. As noted, feed separately, in crates or in separate rooms. NEVER allow a situation where one dog can access another's food, or come stare at the other dog etc -- this is an atmosphere in which really serious harm can happen -- but the good thing is that you can so easily manage this by simply feeding totally separately, every meal :) . Give them 10 minutes to eat and that is it. Do not allow the younger one more time -- she will quickly learn the food is only there a short time and if you start to cajole and indulge her food refusal this problem will get worse. It does not matter if she misses a few meals -- she will not starve. There are several threads already in this section recently on food guarding/resource guarding and fussy eaters and you can also search on the topic to get information (doing a seacrh on the site generally will bring up many responses to a similar question as there are plenty of threads on common questions that will probably resolve most questions!). You also need to train each dog to happily surrender items -- the resource threads will explain how to do this as will Dr Dunbar.

On barking -- there isn't too much you can do with a dog that is sensitive to noise. Personally I would have the dog sleeping somewhere else with some white noise -- eg a radio or low level classical music -- on in the background to blur out sounds that might start them barking. I think you need to decide what you are going to be able to tolerate in a sleeping companion!

On aggression -- is your older dog spayed? This may -- I emphasise MAY -- be the start of a problem that you won;t easily be able to resolve... or it may just be an adult dog managing an annoying puppy that has now outgrown its "puppy license " (as Dr Dunbar calls it) to be a bit rude and overly playful. You need to be aware that generally the advice is not to get two dogs of the same sex -- though this applies less to cavaliers, which are a bit unusual in getting along most of the time -- and and that the greatest number of problems between dogs occur between two bitches. Unspayed bitches are worse. You may be seeing the start of a real problem as your younger dog is getting to exactly the point where she will be mature enough to start being seen as a challenge to the existing bitch. Without seeing their interactions it is hard to say whether this is some normal behaviour they will settle between themselves or may turn into a serious management problem that may require never leaving them on their own, managing them at all times when together; or rehoming one of the dogs. The last is the worst scenario but this does happen. Some females just will not tolerate another adult female in the same household though they will be fine with a male. Most of us in rescue as a policy prefer to home a dog of the opposite sex, not the same sex, as a second dog because this can become a problem and it is obviously devastating for a family to have to give up one dog.

But most likely it is simply that the younger dog is getting to the point where the older one is not interested in tolerating her pushing the boundaries. But still -- you need to be the manager of their interactions and right now you are describing some situations in which problems will only worsen unless you control what they do and when.

The snapping at you is a sign that this is already tipping into a more serious problem so again, get the Dunbar book or buy one of his other training books, and check out the many training links on the site (pinned at the top of this section).

psucavs
18th February 2009, 01:49 PM
What Karlin said.

The only thing i would recommend is to watch their reactions to different things. You older pup is a teen and doing teen things. I noticed Karlin put a bit more into the younger than the older, but you need to make sure that you punish them equally. If one snapps put them both in crates in the dark. If one wants to bark put them both up. It teaches them to both watch out for each other. Just be fair and I think they might just be going through a hard time at those "teen" years.

Karlin
18th February 2009, 01:56 PM
but you need to make sure that you punish them equally. If one snapps put them both in crates in the dark. If one wants to bark put them both up. It teaches them to both watch out for each other.
:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

This is not a board about punishment, and I cannot advocate ever taking such an approach with any dog, but especially NOT a cavalier.

Using a crate in this way simply negates every reason people crate train -- to use it as a positive place for managing dogs. I would never lock a dog in a crate and put it in the dark for any reason whatsoever. Also punishing both dogs for the actions of one is totally pointless -- how in the world does this teach anything except 'my owner is totally untrustworthy and unpredictable'? It gives NO positive model for desired behaviour and is a reaction totally unconnected to an action for the dog!

I recommend Dr Dunbar's books and website to better understand why this should not be the approach to take with ANy dog, EVER. :(

If those are your training choices, I can only hope this board might help change your mind. But I sure won't tolerate those kinds of suggestions for managing cavaliers here.

TKC
18th February 2009, 10:40 PM
Be careful how you deal with resource guarding. Her snapping at you is simply arousal and redirected aggression. Arousal (from a stimulus in this case food) is the step right before aggression. With you being there Chloe may also be guarding you also.

With resourcing punishment in the form of loss of reward can make things worse. This is because removal of the item being guarded will only increase the guarding behaviour.

Separate them at feeding times to prevent rehearsal of the behaviour and to provide a more secure area for Gabbie to eat and feel calm about eating. Place a ball or KONG into Chloe's bowl to slow her eating down. Gradually move them closer literally week by week.

You will also need to reinforce when Chloe does not go to Gabbie. A good way to do this is to place more food in her bowl for staying AT her bowl.

Always monitor Chloe's arousal levels watching her body language. Staring, freezing, still stiff movement, high tail (arched over back) and wide eyes are all tell tale signs of arousal and if unaddressed this will, in her case lead to her aggressing over the food.

Try this and if you feel you need more help then I would suggest you contact a CCPDT trainer in your area and arrange a consultation. See www.ccpdt.org to find a certified behaviourist in your area.

Also the book MINE by Jean Donaldson and anything on dogstardaily.com is excellent.

Let us know how you get on!

Good luck and well done you for asking for help. You can do it. Once you see light at the end of the tunnel and improvement you will be delighted that you worked with Chloe.

At the end of the day remember dogs dont feel jealously, it is a human emotion. The food is a resource and it is stress and anxiety that causes the arousal and reaction. Think logically and you can do it.

WoodHaven
18th February 2009, 11:19 PM
What Karlin said.

The only thing i would recommend is to watch their reactions to different things. You older pup is a teen and doing teen things. I noticed Karlin put a bit more into the younger than the older, but you need to make sure that you punish them equally. If one snapps put them both in crates in the dark. If one wants to bark put them both up. It teaches them to both watch out for each other. Just be fair and I think they might just be going through a hard time at those "teen" years.

You punish your dogs?? I use positive reinforcement and it has worked wonderfully for my dogs and all the rescues we have had through here.
A crate should be a secure, happy place. My dogs eat in their crates and they get special kongs, tendons and chews in their crates. A few spend the night in their crates; they put themselves to bed at 10:00 pm if we didn't do it earlier.
Dogs don't reason as humans do.

LucyDog
19th February 2009, 02:33 AM
What Karlin said.

The only thing i would recommend is to watch their reactions to different things. You older pup is a teen and doing teen things. I noticed Karlin put a bit more into the younger than the older, but you need to make sure that you punish them equally. If one snapps put them both in crates in the dark. If one wants to bark put them both up. It teaches them to both watch out for each other. Just be fair and I think they might just be going through a hard time at those "teen" years.

While I certainly don't understand nor condone using punishment on your dogs, this is just funny to me. Dogs can see in the dark just fine...so why in the world would you think they would care one way or another if they are in the dark? Seems like a silly way to punish a dog....now if it was a child that would be complete and total abuse.

ilsamom
19th February 2009, 09:33 PM
I never heard of that! I thought that cats couldn't see in the dark!


Jen and Ilsa

WoodHaven
19th February 2009, 09:47 PM
I never heard of that! I thought that cats couldn't see in the dark!


Jen and Ilsa

Cats have specialized cells in their eyes that allow them to see with a lot less light than humans need. NO animal can see in absolute darkness.

LucyDog
20th February 2009, 01:42 AM
Found this online....


Dogs have much better night vision for 2 reasons:



The have more rods (which enable night vision).
They have a structure called the Tapetum Lucidum
This is a reflective surface behind the retina (area including the light sensitive cells) that reflects light back through it (gives the eerie shine at night).

But, no you are right they can't see in absolute darkness. I still think it is a ridiculous way to punish a dog. The dog doesn't care if it is in the dark. It isn't afraid of the dark the way a person might be. Again, not saying I condone punishment either. I just thought this person's idea of a punishment was kind of dumb.

ilsamom
20th February 2009, 11:22 AM
how interesting!!! You learn something every day here. Ilsa often gets up at night for water and I've recently been leaving a light on for her as I was afraid she'd bump in the dark! To be fair it's not total darkness here we live in the city. I was wondering, when I forget the light how she gets up and gets back into bed safely. Sometimes she'd wake me up jumping off the bed and I'd rush to turn the lights on. Feeling rather relieved!

Jen and Ilsa