Foxhound puppy sometimes attacks

Deborah S
by Deborah S
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QuestionI have a five month old female foxhound puppy. She is usually very sweet with our other dogs but whenever they come near me she lunges at them and sometimes even attacks them. Can you give me some advice to stop this behavior? (Becca Montgomery - Indiana)

Answer

It sounds like your girl is already showing signs of “guarding behavior”. In this case, she is guarding you, which is a type of “resource.” Behaviorists also call this “resource guarding.” It is best to “nip it in the bud” while she is still young and be on the lookout for other types of guarding behavior. The first step in fixing this is to take a step back and look at what else is going on in the picture when this aggression happens. Does it happen any time she is close to you or only in certain locations in the house? Is it during any particular time of the day? Sometimes dogs can actually be “guarding” something else that is very situational. If you determine that there is a connection between location, time of day, or activity with this aggression towards your other dogs you can focus changing things around that.

For example, if you are preparing dinner and she becomes aggressive towards the others she may actually be guarding the food and not you. Another example, if you are sitting in the recliner in the living room and she attacks any dog that comes near you, she may be guarding that location you are in. However, if she is aggressive with the others anytime indoors, outdoors, on the leash, off the leash, in the living room, in the bathroom wherever, whenever, there is no “rhyme or reason” then yes, she is probably guarding you.

Always keep her veterinarian involved when working on a behavior problem like this. He or she may recommend involving a respected trainer or behaviorist that can come to your home and evaluate how the dogs interact with each other. Also, if the other dogs are females this can be a part of the issue. Same-sex households tend to have more problems with fighting than mixed households, even if they are all spayed.

Some tips to help get you started:

  • Determine if there is any “rhyme or reason” behind her behavior, as noted above.
  • If this is happening in a certain time, place or situation be aware and try to prevent any run-ins.
  • She may have a deep need to be near you and wants to “hog” the attention to herself. Don’t push her away, keep her near you when you interact with the other dogs. This way she may feel more secure and less need to drive the others away.
  • Put one dog on each side (including her) of you while seated and spend time with them, petting and giving treats. Keep the others away during this time and rotate which dog is with you during this exercise. ALWAYS = Take care to not become hurt if you think a quarrel with break out.
  • Reward calm, non-aggressive behavior with treats when all dogs are together with you.
  • Be sure to spend equal “quality time” with each dog. If the foxhound is being especially clingy at all times, it is okay to put her in another location (crate) with a treat and spend time with the other dogs.
Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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