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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 have a male golden retriever that is 14 months.

Customer Question

I have a male golden retriever that is 14 months. He has been neutered and is the kindest dog I have ever seen. Everybody loves him. He goes to day care twice a week and is around my parents and in laws dogs all the time. We just got another golden retriever puppy, a female. She is 8 weeks and we brought her home yesterday while our older dog was at my parents house. She is great. She's already going to the bathroom outside and isn't nervous at all. We brought our older dog home today and things have gotten a bit worrisome. At first, he totally ignored her. We kind of facilitated some play time and every time she would try to play with him, he would want to play with us. Then our older dog starting showing some aggressive signs. It was mainly about toys. We bought her some new toys (our older dog already has plenty). She would be playing and he would come take it. Then she would try to take it and he would snarl and growl. Not a big deal, but it has since gotten a little worse where it almost feels like he is egging her on. He will almost give her a toy, then snarl and take it away. It will happen several times and then she feels banished from the room and leaves. He also is doing a a thing where he will block her from us. He will lay down (and he is 85 lbs) and totally block her from us. It just seems like a lot of jealously / possessiveness. I have only seen the older dog growl on 1 occasion before hand (and that was because someone was in the backyard). He is the friendliest dog and it worrying me that he is being so mean to the puppy. It has only been 1 day, but I was wondering if this is common or if I should be doing something proactive to prevent more tension.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Sally G. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I have been in the dog field for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today.
It sounds like they did not meet on the best of circumstances. Usually when you are bringing a new dog into the home you have them meet on neutral territory and take them for a walk then bring them both back to the home.
It also sounds as it there may be a bit of possession aggression going on but it is too soon to tell. Older dogs will reprimand younger dogs, this is not unusual. Generally puppies have little to no social skills at 8 weeks old.
What I would do at this point is take away all toys so there is nothing to be possessive about. You can train both dogs separately for now and play separately for now until you see where this is going. The problem is if you leave this stuff out, and there is possession aggression this can get worse over time rather than better.
I would also put the older dog on the learn to earn diet so this puts the dog on an more even playing field and starts to nip any passiveness in the bud.
Train both dogs daily using a positive method. This will help give the pup some more manners and will help if this is what the older dog is upset about. As well it will show the older dog more consistency which is needed at this time. The smaller pup may only last 5 to 10 minutes before getting bored , that is normal and you want to stop training at that point. The older dog can go a little longer but actually keeping sessions short but doing them throughout the day will show the dog consistency and what you expect as the head of the home.
I will direct you to sites for clicker training in case you are not familiar. If find dogs do very well with this at a young age and an older age. Just be sure the reward is worth working for.
I will post my article on the learn to earn below to get you started.
Reactions to Actions or Learn to Earn
Copyright Sally G
In some instances with training depending on how well the dog responds to the above training you may also want to incorporate a type of ‘learn to earn’ training as well.
What learn to earn training means is that you are taking charge of their entire life’s wants and needs. No more free food is put down in front of them. Keep the daily dose of food in a closed tin in the area where the dog is fed, call the dog to you and ask him to sit. When he sits, he gets a handful of food. Do this throughout the day using any command that the dog knows and the dog must obey that command in order to get some food.
You will also take control of when the dogs can play. The toys should have been put away before this but if they were not, put all toys away, then when you are ready to play take out a toy and play with the dog, when you decide play is over put the toy away again.
Petting does not come to them just because they nudge you, you decide when this takes place, which means you would call them to you and pet them at your discretion and ask that a command be obeyed . If they nudge to be petted, you ignore that, but you can give the dog a command at any time to obey and reward that behavior with petting. Again you always want to reinforce a behavior you have asked for. So even though you know the dog has nudged you to be petted, you don’t have to totally ignore the dog, in fact this is the perfect opportunity to turn that nudge into a trick or command and praise and reward the dog for that.
Anything your dog takes for granted such as you opening the door to let it out, putting on a leash to go for a walk, allowing it to walk though a door before you, etc. these are all privileges to a dog that come naturally due to the human’s repetitive actions over time but many humans don’t realize this.
So before you go through that door put the dog in a sit or wait and you walk through first then invite the dog to walk through. Again this should be rewarded with praise. Before you put the leash on you ask for a sit stay. Furniture is a no, no for dogs that have aggressive tendencies because it puts them in a higher charge over the others in the home, even children.
Dogs should not just be allowed on the couch without specific invitation if at all. This need to be close and cuddle is more a human thing than a dog thing. Dogs do like to be close to the one they love and respect, but sitting on the floor next to that person will be enough to please them.
This is not to say that no dog should ever be allowed on a couch, it is perfectly fine if you have stable easy going dogs. It is when there are problem dogs in the home that furniture should be off limits to all dogs.
As mentioned above, in most cases dogs have developed habits that some owners allowed and gave in to over time but did not realize it. What might be helpful to the owner is to sit and make a list of all the good things your dog gets for free by an action that you have let the dog do for years. This will help you to turn those free behaviors into commands or tricks that can earn a reward.
When the dog tries that action to get the desired reaction from you, stop and think, did I call the dog over to be petted? Did I tell the dog it is time to go out and that is why he brings the leash? Did I say let’s play so that is why he dropped the ball in my lap? All of those actions got the dog reactions in the past usually in a positive beneficial way to the dog. So now it is time to turn that all around.
Keep in mind that dogs do what works for them and if it stops working they usually stop doing it. So when they growl or snap at you when you reach for that bone, it usually works as the human won't take it. I would never suggest to take anything from a growling dog, merely explaining that this works for the dog so therefore they do it. Using the learn to earn program does not really give them a chance to become possessive.
Dogs that are well balanced within a group to begin with do not really need any of the above things to change; it is your right to spoil a well rounded dog! It is only homes with dogs in it that have social limitations around other dogs that should need the above direction.
Clicker training/positive method training/ print off
video’s to see how clicker training is done, scroll down to videos

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