Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi there, it sounds like you have always been a natural leader and automatically showed the dogs who is in charge and what is allowed - well done!
No matter how a good a leader you are when you have a situation such as above you really need the help of a professional, and please do get in touch with a qualified behaviourist. This is slowly but surely getting out of hand and serious damage could be done - please contact a behaviourist and get help - there is nothing wrong at all in saying that the situation is beyond your control - all that does is show what a committed and caring owner you are!
Without having a detailed background and having observed the dogs for myself, it sounds like your bitch is acting out of fear which many people can mistake for dominance and is very common in Rescue dogs. When a dog cant cope, it will exhibit one of the 5 F's i.e. Fight, Flee, Fooling Around, Freeze, and in extreme instances Faint. Your dog is performing the Fight instinct. This may have started out as growling/snarling and when that doesnt work, it escalates and because the behaviour worked and the perceived threat left, the behaviour of fighting is reinforced and performed again and more often than not, ends up escalating.
While working with a behaviourist who will show you how to handle this situation and will proberly bring in rehabilitation, i would suggest speaking to your vet about the use of medication to help calm her, the use of a tool such as the Pheromone collar to further calm her and i personally would bring in TTouch.
What needs to be considered is that it is not only her that is being affected, the stress of this behaviour will influence the rest of the pack as well and it does need to be attended to urgently. Thanks and good luck and would love to hear from you after you have sought advice from a professional, Scotty
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