Attacks the Man. Resource Guarding. Bites.

Pomeranian attacks the manSadie attacks the man. It sometimes looks like she attacks out of the blue. At other times I swear the little dog, a 10-month-old Pomeranian, sets him up!

She mainly targets him, though sometimes the lady too.

The little dog shares their bed and attacks them when they try to get in. She will do the same if one of them has to get up during the night.

She attacks them when they get ready to go out. Sadie will go for the man’s feet and hands even if he’s putting his shoes on to take her out for a walk.

Worst of all is her behaviour around resources.

They leave her food down all the time. She will take a piece of her dry food and jump with it onto the sofa, next to the man. Then, there is only one way of describing it, she taunts him with it! If he moves, she attacks him.

She also treats the lady as a resource and attacks him if he so much as leans towards her.

The poor man has bite marks over his hands and arms. It’s fortunate she not a bigger dog. They’ve had several dogs before, but never one like this. Continue reading…

Jealous When Other Dog is Fussed. Dog Fights.

Nellie isn’t very happy.

This is despite being treasured, along with their other two tiny dogs, Luna and Sandy.

Nellie is a two-year-old Pomeranian, the last to join their little dog family of three. Luna is a Chihuahua Pomeranian mix and Sandy a Chihuahua.

Jealous.

Luna is Nellie’s problem. Tiny Sandy keeps well out of it. Every time the young couple sit down Luna is on them – the lady in particular. She is cuddled and fussed. Nellie herself isn’t a dog that likes so much fuss, but she doesn’t like Luna getting it either.

Luna

I’m pretty sure it’s not that she doesn’t like Luna herself (she’s absolutely fine with her when they are shut in the kitchen; they play together). She is jealous.

Jealousy is a horrible emotion that eats into you, isn’t it. It’s like Nellie is bearing a grudge. She seems to choose to act like she’s an outcast, lying away from Luna and the young couple.

Luna for her part may be tormenting her! She is obviously ‘revelling’ in her attention, rolling on her back, eyeballing Nellie, rubbing it in (that’s my interpretation). Nellie turns her back, shutting it out.

Daily fights.

Over the past few months this has degenerated into fights, sometimes several times in one day. Damage is only prevented because these fights only happen when the dogs are with the couple and they are sitting down. Someone is always there to grab them.

Reducing overall stress levels should help greatly. At present dog to dog play with Luna goes on for far too long unchecked. Human to dog play is far too vigorous also.

Giving Nellie individual attention with things she herself likes to do will help her, things like going for a walk or hunting for food. She’s not a dog that much wants cuddles.

They will cut down on the constant fussing of Luna too. The lady is having a baby soon so Luna will have to get used to this. We have a plan for preparing Nellie in particular for baby.

Common denominators leading up to a fight.

Nellie is jealous

Nellie

In analysing the fights there are certain common denominators. Fights only happen when the young lady is about, never the man alone or when the dogs are by themselves. Fights happen when the lady is sitting down (hence cuddling Luna).

I watched to see exactly what the dogs were doing – things that people hadn’t noticed. It began with some lip-licking from Luna and some displacement behaviour from Nellie – she licked herself. Someone passed the house and both dogs rushed to the window barking.

Nellie, now more unsettled walked about growling softly. She disappeared out of Luna’s view. The owners thought she was asking to go out, but no.

Nellie reappears, still growling on and off. Luna was stretching on her back. She looked at Nellie. Eyeballing and stillness. Then it exploded like the cork removed from a bottle of fizz.

The fight was immediately interrupted, not hard because Luna was already on a lap and could not leap onto the floor to get at Nellie.

After the interrupted fight.

It was about to erupt again a short while later – unfinished business. We put our plan into action.

As the fighting always involves eyeballing, I immediately put my clipboard between them, breaking eye contact. As the fighting never happens when either of them is walking about, the young man immediately got up and walked out of the room, calling Nellie who follows anyone moving about.

Where shouting may be necessary simply to interrupt them, I feel there are better ways which we discussed (not listed here because what works here may not be the best plan for other fighting dogs). Ideally they should nip it in the bud before it erupts. Better still, to help Nellie with her jealousy.

It’s like Nellie resents the ‘favourite child’ and like a jealous child this brings out the worst in her. One can see from her body language she’s not happy as she watches and licks her lips, or turns her back on them.

Practice makes perfect.

Unfortunately, the more this sort of thing is repeatedly practised, the more it becomes hardwired into the brain response, increasing the likelihood of the behaviour recurring. This is why things seldom get better by themselves but go on a downward spiral.

Our work will be like a jigsaw of bits to gradually put into place, concentrating mostly on Nellie. She will need positive associations with the baby from the beginning in order to avoid jealousy. They have two months before baby is due, so work starts now.

Some people dispute that dogs have feelings like jealousy which I find ridiculous. In The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin noted that ‘everyone has seen how jealous a dog is of his master’s affection, if lavished on any other creature.’ See the Daily Telegraph article written by Sarah Knapton. To read more about dogs and jealousy, see Stanley Coren in Psychology Today.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ with every detail, but I choose an angle. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Nellie and Luna because neither dog nor situation will ever be exactly the same. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog, you can do much more harm than good as the case needs to be assessed correctly, particularly where any forom of aggression is concerned. One size does not fit all so accurate assessment is important. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Help page).

Would Rather Toilet Indoors Than Out

Brother and sister are a mix of Jack Russell, Pomeranian and ChihuahuaMillie and Max are seven months old, and supposedly brother and sister.  They are a mix of Jack Russell, Pomeranian and Chihuahua. They were bought from a pet shop at ten weeks of age so nobody will ever know.They certainly look very different, and Max is a lot bigger. He’s like a little fox!

They are delightful and full of puppy exuberance – Max in particular. Millie is a little more anxious.

The main problem is constant toileting indoors – everywhere. There are puppy pads in all the rooms. I feel because the pads are impregnated these little dogs are in effect being taught to go indoors. It’s Catch 22 because without the pads they would be peeing even more on the carpets – and pooing as well.

From the start they were toileting several times in the night, even when shut in a crate. The crate was abandoned because of the mess they made. By the age of ten weeks old most puppies  will have been introduced to the difference between indoors and outdoors, and it’s clear these little dogs had not. The problems had already started. Once home from the pet shop, they were so tiny, Millie in particular, that rules and boundaries were not properly introduced. The dogs, sleeping on the lady’s bed, will get off wee and poo several times in the night – mostly on the pads but not always.

This is a huge problem as you may imagine. Max also now marks up the curtain as well. Millie peed four times while I was there, once under the table, and the other times on puppy pads. She does lots of small puddles. I did wonder whether this constant peeing from Millie could be due to a medical problem, but she been checked over by the vet.  She is usually carried outside, but this way she will never learn that part of the process is walking to the back door.

My view is that their terrotiry should be cut down from run of the house to just kitchen and utility room, unless they are being watched – and then they should not have freedom to wander. I would advise the same thing at night. Shut them in the utility and leave them to it – but this would probably be too big a leap for the young lady. Understandably;).

Puppy training needs to go back to square one. They are praised massively for going outside, but maybe they think they are praised for going, irrespective of where. Praise needs to be gentle, not distracting, and if a little reward is dropped on the grass in front of them as they finish they may start to get the connection with toileting and grass. Visits outside will need to be very frequent, after meals, after waking, after playing, when the dogs are restless, and at least every waking thirty minutes.

They may need to try different food, because four, five or even more poos a day is excessive. The more complete the nutrition, the less waste there will be to pass through!

The final element which needs to be put in places is reduction of excitement and stress. There is persistent jumping up and maybe nipping when the lady owners come home, and at visitors. Walks are pulling affairs with anxiety around other dogs. They fly all over the chairs and people.

Stress, excitement and anxiety lead to peeing and possibly pooing. Stress and excitement also lead to drinking. Drinking leads to peeing! A few calm rules and boundaries will help enormously, I’m sure.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.