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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 9522
Experience:  Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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I am a proud parent to two rescues. There were my girlfriends

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I am a proud parent to two rescues. There were my girlfriend's and now we're married. One of the two dogs, Chloe, has always had aggression issues. If you touch her while she's eating, she'll get rigid and growl. She sometimes does the same if you try to touch a bone she has in her possession. A couple years ago I (foolishly) thought that I needed to assert myself as the alpha in the pack and stood up to her when she growled at me. As a result, I was bitten. Over the past couple of years she seems to have calmed down a bit and will usually let me take toys away from her. 99% of the time she is super-sweet and just wants love and affection. This afternoon when I came home, I found that one of the two dogs (or both) managed to get into the trash (in-laws didn't realize that you can't leave that stuff out). I tried bringing both of the dogs over so that i could discipline them and try to get them to associate my disciplining with the act of getting into the garbage. Chloe just walked away while I was trying to convey that this was unnacceptable. When I tried to corral her into the kitchen to see the mess, she bit me as I reached for her. This is the third time that I've been bitten (each time it involved me reaching towards her while she felt defensive). My biggest concern is that my wife and I are expecting and we don't know how to correct this behavior. Can we make our home safe for a young child without getting rid of Chloe? Any advice would be appreciated.

Hello, thank you for using this site to help you with your problem. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I have been in the dog field for 25 years. It will be my pleasure to help you today. Please understand that I may send an information request so that I may gather what I need to better help you with your problem.

Congratulations on your marriage!

Do you mean the dogs had gotten into the garbage and some time had gone by before you were reprimanding them or did you see them get into the garbage , they were still near the garbage and then you reprimanded them?

What type of training do you do with Chloe daily?

What commands does she know?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

we never see them get into the garbage. They only do it when we're away. The trash in the kitchen is inaccessible to the dogs, and if we keep bathroom doors closed so are the other ones. Sometimes we forget though and then we come home to a mess.


In this particular instance, my wife's parents left a bag of trash in the kitchen without our knowledge.


I guess this is part of the problem, how do you correct a problem that only occurs in your absence... To be honest, the going through the trash isn't as big a deal to me as the lashing out when voices are raised or when she feels defensive though. I just want to make sure that Chloe won't snap at our child when she the kid is making high pitched noises or invading her space.

Thank you for that information. Please give me about 10 minutes or less to type out my answer and a detailed plan for you:) You will be notified by email when I am done if you have something pressing to do while I type
Thank you Scott for your honesty in how you handle each situation that is very refreshing to see.
If Chloe was a rescue we won't know her whole history, so she may be reacting that way because of a past history with someone or she may just be that type of personality. Without doing a temperament test you won't be sure.

But to get a handle on this please lets go over the three things that dogs see as a challenge and may end up in the human getting bit. Eye contact, touching or petting, and talking to will all be challenges to dogs like Chloe. This would go for a fear aggressive dog, an alpha aggressive dog and a possessive aggressive dog. It sounds like Chloe is possessive aggressive. One thing you can't really do is punish dogs after the fact, they do not associate your punishment with what they have done 2 minutes ago. What they do learn is that when you and the garbage are in the same place you get angry , they get punished. To them they are seeing your body language and hearing your tone of voice so they may slink down at your anger, or they may react as Chloe does because they do not know why you are doing that. If you cannot catch them in the act you can't correct them.

What I would do is put both dogs on the nothing in life is free training especially Chloe, and I would be getting her under voice control rather then trying to get too close to her for reprimanding. I would use a positive based training so she starts to see you differently and begins to trust you. I would want her to learn the command leave it so if you see her going for something you can stop her with that command and I would like to see the command trade or drop it for things you want her to take out of her mouth.

You are right to be concerned about children because if she is possessive aggressive it will not matter who tries to take things if she does not see them as a leader and children in a dog's eyes are never seen as being above them.

When you go out I would try not to set them up for failure, though I understand your in laws had a hand in this , surely over the years others will visit you and this can happen again so the best practice is to crate them when you leave so they can't get into anything. When it comes to garbage there are so many things that are detrimental to their health as well so think of it as saving them from harming themselves:)

I am going to direct you to a site for the nothing in life is free training so you can see how and why it works, and I am going to direct you to a site for clicker training to get started on leave it and drop it. Keep in mind that if the item Chloe has in her mouth is highly valued by her you will need to hold in your hand something of higher value when you do the trade or drop it command.

If you need more help with this hit reply, if not once you have rated my answer I would like to schedule a free follow up with you to see how things are going. If you feel you need help with a new problem please contact me via this link and ask your question. Referrals to friends and family are welcomed and appreciated.

Clicker training/positive method training

video’s to see how clicker training is done, scroll down to videos
Nothing in life is free

Sally G. and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

a follow up would be great, I want my wife to read everything here before we try committing to a new training regiment. I will rate to finish as soon as possible.


As a side note, I find it odd that I', supposed to rate the "service". seeing as I could not have possibly implemented the advice yet, I cannot attest to its effectiveness. So am I just supposed to be rating you on the punctuality of your response?

Hi XXXXX don't have anything to do with site rules. I am an independent contractor and all I can offer is my advice. Please know that I have been in the dog field a very long time and work with many behavior issues especially when evaluating for Therapy dog work.

The site wants you to be happy and I suppose they base that on the information and time an expert puts into your answer. From my end though I get many questions a day and can't possibly know if an owner really implements what I put in place for them, though many are very honest if they have not had the time to start working on it. Generally I find this out once the free follow up goes out:)

I want you satisfied so it is your decision on what you want to do. Surely your wife should be included in this as she also will need to train. I am just curious where you got the advice of 'asserting yourself' to Chloe as clearly it did not work. So a different approach would be in order here:) Again clearly up to you on what you want to do, no pressure:)
Hi Scott,

How is training going for you and Chloe? Hoping she is coming round to a different method:)


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