I have a six-month-old Golden Retriever and a four-year-old Chihuahua- Jack Russell cross. But I just can't seem to get them to get a long.
My retriever just wants to play but my other dog is just not interested and gets snappy with her. It even appears that it's bringing out a sign of aggression of my retriever, as they got in an argument over a plastic duck yesterday and ended to fighting. My retriever didn't mark my other dog but she bit my retriever’s ear and made it bleed.
Tessa (my retriever) has started to get funny about possessions of hers and even growls at me if I try and take something away from her that's not hers. Any advice would be much appreciated!
I have an 18 month old boy so want to have an aggressive dog around him. This only happens at home. If we are walking together there's no sign of aggression whatsoever.
Karen Wild, behaviourist, advises…
It sounds like there are a few issues here so I will try to unpick them a little.
Older dogs often do not want to play with a puppy. I like to give them a bit of time apart so the older dog can settle down rather than have to try to discipline a younger dog who really needs to learn a few manners. If the older dog is smaller than the pup, this can create other issues since the smaller dog cannot easily prevent the puppy from doing things and this might explain why she bit the retriever’s ear. Definitely give your older dog some space and time to herself and encourage your puppy to play and learn from other older dogs elsewhere, which will help.
It also sounds like there are issues to do with possessiveness and this is something I would consult a professional about, without delay. You can find an APBC member near you on www.apbc.org.uk - this is particularly important as you have a young child, who is probably not likely to notice any warning signals, as kids simply don’t spot these things. A registered behaviourist will be able to advise you on the signals to look out for, the possible risks and other ways to manage and prevent this behaviour long before it escalates.