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She is allowed on the furniture and I am able to physically control her. She has never growled at any of us nor at anyone that I know of. She did nip at the vet when she was younger and this last time with the muzzle was the worst. I think they just walked up to her and scared her. She barks at strangers when they come to the house but she hides under the table or behind me. She is not aggressive at all to them. The vet thinks she might be a sneaky dog and bite people when they turn their back. I do try to reassure her. I think I should mention that we have 3 other dogs in the home- a 9 year old male pug, a 7 year old female blue heeler, and a 3 year old female terrier mix. Cali has been stating to get into small tiffs with the terrier. I try to keep up on it because of the 3 females together. I had an accident and blew my knee. I am waiting for surgery and can't really physically do too much right now.
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Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
Get her off the furniture as well. Dogs that are allowed on furniture (even if put on the furniture) tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level or higher if on your lap, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus may start feeling they are better suited to be the boss. She is already challenging the terrier to move up in the pack. Since she is a large dog, she is better suited to be the alpha, so once she rules the rest of the dogs, she is likely to start on the humans. Keeping dogs on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow her higher that the humans or even on the same level. Attach a leash and use it to remove her from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a quick tug and firm "NO" when she attempts to get on and a treat when she starts not trying to get on the furniture. Thus you are providing negative reinforcement for the getting on the furniture and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior (not attempting to get on the furniture).
Do not reassure her when she is displaying fearful or aggressive (barking) behavior. When you show her positive attention (petting, talking soothingly to her) it encourage her to repeat the undesired behavior. It is better to ignore her behavior or give a reprimand of a short tug on the leash and a firm "NO". It is much better to keep some tasty treats like hot dog slices handy and when visitors come in, have her sit and when she obeys, give her a treat and then let the visitors give her a treat. This starts her thinking that visitors are a good thing and she is rewarded for sitting and acting good when they are there. You have to be consistent with her.
Right now you are not 100% and are injured which may cause her to potentially try and protect you from visitors so getting training started is very important. She needs to see that you are still in control.
Work with your dog in this manner and see if this doesn't help with the situation. It isn't an overnight cure, but can help. If you are worried about her biting visitors, you can put a basket style muzzle on her when children or visitors are there to prevent problems until you have her trained. You do want to get this done before she is an adult as the closer she gets to adulthood, the more likely she is to challenge the other dogs in the pack and eventually the people even if she is a bit fearful by nature.
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