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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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I have 2 (1 ea sex) 10 week old Chi puppies that are happy

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I have 2 (1 ea sex) 10 week old Chi puppies that are happy and thriving. My question is more about behavioral. My boy (ChiChi) seems very aggressive and territorial. Somewhat around toys and food but more so for protection of his sister (Chloe) and us (me and my husband). If the cat (my 11 yo cat who is still adjusting) comes near them, ChiChi starts barking really loud. I understand most of this behavior is normal but when you watch the puppies interact, you get the sense that ChiChi is a bully and domineering. Is this something that will change with age? Is this something that will improve once they are fixed? Is this truly behavioral that I can teach? Is this something my tender, loving heart just needs to deal with because this is how brothers and sisters act?
Hi there,
This behavior is not something I'd expect to change with age and neutering alone, although if you don't address it, it may get worse with time. It is likely that ChiChi has a more outgoing, confident, and dominant personality than Chloe does.

The first thing I would recommend is obedience training, for both puppies, done separately. This does two things: it teaches rules and establishes you as the boss. It also helps cement your bond with your puppies. Dogs have a natural social structure consisting of a breeding pair and their puppies. It's important that you establish yourself and your husband as the pair and the dogs as the puppies unless you want to deal with more aggressive behavior as they grow up.

First of all, nothing in your house happens for free. If it's time to eat, ask them to sit first. For a snack, ask them to do a trick. Same with attention or going outside. In dog society, the top dog gets to eat first and gets to sleep in the best spot. This means if you want to sit in the chair the dog is sitting in, the dog gets down. You can then ask for a behavior (like sit or lie down) and let them come up and cuddle with you if you like, it's just important that you are the boss.

Next, work on installing a behavior, like sit or lie down, that your dogs can do reliably every time they are asked. Something simple and easy. When ChiChi barks at the cat, for example, or does something inappropriate, make a loud sound to distract him. Then ask him for that behavior that you know he can do, and reward him when he does it. This replaces negative behavior with appropriate behavior.

Finally, remember that dog society isn't fair. If he's the boss of his sister, that's their social hierarchy that they've figured out. Feed him first, and pet him first. If you try to make him wait on her to be fair, because she seems left out, you will encourage him to "put her in her place" because he will interpret that (eating first, etc) as a challenge to his authority.

Ultimately, territorial and aggressive behavior should not be tolerated. Socialization will help-- have as many different kinds of people as possible meet ChiChi and give him a treat, so that they are less threatening to him-- but it's really important to get that obedience training started and replace unacceptable behavior with good behavior. Be consistent, and expect that he will make mistakes from time to time. Calmly correct him and move on.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Will obedience training help me with the basic training? It's not that I don't know how to teach them sit or lay, it's that they are super hyper, only go after the treat and otherwise don't listen to me. I'm not made of money but know I need to get my dogs trained
Obedience training is great! I would also recommend teaching each dog separately, as when they are together, they are not going to be very focused. Another thing that sometimes works is doing your training after a long walk or trip to the park... a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
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