Dog lovers everywhere agree that watching dogs play together is joyful. But what happens when dogs in your home don’t want to play and even show signs of aggression?
The first step is to try to identify the “triggers” that may be fueling the dissonance. Depending on how events unfold and your degree of comfort with identifying the triggers, you may also want to consider having a trainer come in to have eyes on what patterns and communication is in play.
Stopping and/or preventing the triggers can give you the space (emotionally and physically) to begin working on developing new behaviors that allow the dogs to reconnect with structure and safety.
Susan, the owner of both dogs has a great deal of experience with handling a variety of dogs. Red and Linus are both rescues. Linus, the mastiff mix, arrived on the scene only a few weeks ago. Red has aggressively corrected Linus on a few occasions and the incidents were increasing. Susan contacted me to get some extra eyes on the situation and a hoped for plan of action.
After I assessed each dog (apart from each other and then together) we parallel walked the dogs outside where they are the most relaxed. We came inside and began to have each dog practice the skills they were most comfortable with and moved toward teaching each to lay down on command. Finally we began walking the dogs in and around tight spaces while praising and moving quickly. The dogs were focused on performing rather then correcting each other. This began the foundation for what will be an extended program of developing skills and focus for each dog.