Dog Training World Forums Aggression Problems General Aggression Problem Discussion 6 mo, likely terrier mix pup, resource guarding & aggression toward owner Reply To: 6 mo, likely terrier mix pup, resource guarding & aggression toward owner

  • Michael D’Abruzzo

    March 20, 2023 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Sybl,

    I am adding what you wrote in the PM to this thread to keep all the info in one place:

    ” Let the owner pass him fine then bolted clear across one room, around a wall, and into the other to go after him. This is after the pup had his normal morning snack treat and it was all eaten up already. I don’t feel this is normal aggression, at least I’ve not encountered this before. “

    I agree with you, that the combination of situations that you are describing, definitely does not fall into the category of “NORMAL” aggression no matter what the pup’s background may be, and I always feel that it is ethical to communicate that to the client for many reasons.

    With that being said, you never know to what degree the pup can be “rehabilitated” “managed” and “trained” which are all completely different concepts until you try, but I strongly believe that decision is mostly to be made by the person who owns the dog. Our job is to be honest and give options along with best and worst case scenarios.

    For me the biggest factor has always been, can the owners reasonably avoid getting injured by the dog. If this was a large dog this would be a very scary situation for anyone and for sure NO ONE ever knowingly agrees to adopt or buy a dog like that and it is the responsibility of the breeder or rescue to know how to give somewhat accurate behavioral assessments before they put people at risk.

    I know you have been in the trenches for quite some time and your gut can recognize when something isn’t quite your typical resource-guarding case and definitely escalating beyond “normal”.

    I discuss dogs like these in the resource guarding blueprint and also dog aggression triage:

    I would strongly recommend watching the triage video to get some clarity and to reduce frustration and confusion. It is definitely OK to tell the owners that this is not typical aggression, and normally rescues with any standards would not adopt a dog out like this.

    Therefore the owners or you should never feel like terrible people if another dog’s life is saved in return vs one that is much more likely to injure someone.

    You would be surprised at the number of people that do decide to stick it through anyway and try. I noticed that when owners understand that their dog is not acting “normally” and it is presented in a way that it is not the dog’s fault or anyone’s really, they are less likely to develop a bad attitude toward the dog, YOU as their trainer, or themselves.

    How to work with a dog like that is covered mostly in the dominance aggression and resource guarding streams. But the only thing that would make the case more difficult would be if the dog was physically larger. Difficult case, and the support is here if they want to try with you.

    Dog Shelter Triage 4.0