Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Mischa, your spaniel is engaging in resource guarding and unfortunately, apart from giving you some tips to get started with below, you do need to get in a professional to help you deal with this. It can become very serious and does tend to get worse and a bite is not out of the question. You want to avoid this at all costs as once your dog has bitten once, the liklihood of it happening again is raised. You can get me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know where you stay and I will put you in touch with somebody in your area. In between:-
a. Read the article on House Rules on my www.friendsofthedog.co.za site and get started with these until you get the professional in.
b. One of the exercises in the above is 'work to earn'. Start with this using her daily allowance of food. From now on she gets no food in a bowl at all. Start to take her food in your hand, call her, ask for a sit and then give some food. Do this throughout the day and if you out during the day, just get up a bit earlier and practise this with her breakfast. Mix it up a bit by calling, asking for sit and giving one piece, then walk a few steps and repeat. What this is doing is raising you up in the human/canine hierarchy - you are in charge of the resources and one of the main one's is food!
b. Allow the Yorki to eat separately in peace and quiet and after the dog finishes, pick up and put the food bowl away. this will prevent any reactive behaviour from happening.All dogs should be allowed to have some time to enjoy their food.
c. also read the article on Resource Guarding on the Friends of the Dog Site.
c. Until you have seen the behaviourist, no hooves or other toys which could cause a problem between both the other dog and yourself. To stimulate the spaniel more as you are taking away a source of enjoyment, rather take the dog out for more walks until you have learnt how to deal with the reactive behaviour towards you and the yorki.
d. The yorki also needs to be shown that it cant annoy the spaniel all the time, especially where food is concerned, but the behaviourist will show you how to do this.
Sorry cant help more, but any form of aggressive behaviour has to be dealt with in-house by a behaviourist. Just start with what I have mentioned above and you will be off to a flying start. Good luck Scotty
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