MemberJuly 31, 2011 at 12:15 am270
I have a Dachshund (NM), spent a year in a no kill shelter with one kennel mate. I adopted him (06/2011) and learned during vet exam that he had anaplasmosis, which was treated for a month, blood work came back normal after treatment. As he became accustomed to his new home and started feeling better, he began exhibiting aggression with food, treats/toys, dog beds, etc. His aggression was directed at us and our other dogs as well. We have four other dachshunds (3 of them rescues also) ranging from 15 months old to 16 years old, who are very mild mannered, polite and respectful of one another.
In the beginning, not only did we have to separate him, we had to leash him during meals because if he left any food, we couldn’t get anywhere near the bowl because he would guard it and snarl at us. After much hard work, he now has his own space in the kitchen, where he eats off leash with the other dogs in the room, each having their own rug, which they are required to stay on until everyone has finished their meal. I don’t necessarily consider him rehabilitated with his food guarding but it looks as if we will be able to manage it successfully by sticking to this ritual as he does not exhibit any negative behaviors at all now.
I did take him to a professional trainer who interacted with him for about 3 hours and felt that he was insecure and needed us to help build his confidence. I was told not to attempt the down command because it might set us back since it can feel like a very vulnerable position to the dog. When he is in his own environment, he exudes confidence and holds his tail high, coming off in appearance as an alpha (at least to me). He still has some guarding/aggression issues particularly with the hall (high traffic area for the other dogs) and his dog bed/blanket, but you never know when this will be or how many days will pass until he decides to behave this way again. I cannot pick up a pattern to the behavior so far. He does not charge anyone, he just gives a snarl or quick bark, telling everyone to back off and keep their distance. Some days too close can be right by him and other days it can be as far away as 6-8 feet, some days he even shares (gets on a bed with one of the other dogs). He does not do this to us, just the other dogs. My only correction is a “No” when it happens and a good boy when he stops the behavior. I think he now recognizes it as unacceptable because he is usually looking right at me once he does it, anticipating a correction, which of course, I promptly give to him.
I feel comfortable with the closed fist, giving the sit command and opening the hand to supply the treat when he has completed the request. He does well on the sit and stay, which I also do off leash in the yard from 60 feet away without him breaking the command. I was advised by the trainer not to use a leash until later down the road. I would like to start on the down command, but it is frustrating for him not to be able to get the treat, and soon he is drooling and showing stress. Since he does have lingering issues with food, I would hate for this to ruin the progress we have made so far. Any advice would be appreciated. He does very well on the leash, though I have not done any real obedience training on leash since I was advised not to at this time. He can be absolutely scary with a toy, latching onto it like he is killing prey, growling, showing the whites of his eyes, stiff body, tucked tail, won’t release, etc,. I do work with him a little on this issue and he has made good improvement but I have been primarily concentrating on the other behaviors since everyone needs to coexist peacefully.
He gets along well with the other dogs, very friendly with them unless he gets into one of his “modes”. Which fortunately do not last long. Sorry for the large posting, but I hope I have provided enough information. He is estimated to be about 2 or 2-1/2 years old. Was an owner turn in. Thanks in advance for any guidance/suggestions.