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Aggressive Behavior To People In Specific Room Of House


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We just were at the shore for a few days. We had our semi-new pet sitter stay overnight and watch everyone. She has met the dogs several times now and has let them out for us at lunchtime 4-5 times already.

 

Well, unfortunately our sitter told us the fist night she was over Sidney bit her... he didn't break the skin thank goodness. And afterwards he did lunge at her, growled and showed his teeth. This happened when she was sitting on the couch and went to get up from it.

 

Now let me give you some background here:

Sidney and June stay in our family room while we aren't home, and at night. We have a baby gate up in there to keep them in there. They have full range of the room. We never moved their crates away because Sidney loves his and lays down in it all the time. They are in the family room as well. We just leave the doors open to them.

 

Also: we all watch TV in this room at night... it's our "family" room for real. The hounds hang out with us in it at night. It's where we are most of the evenings.

 

Ok, so this room is where the incident happened. After this happened, he wouldn't let her back in the room. So for some reason he's gotten very protective of this room... not sure if he feels it's his "crate" now, or he's being protective because we were not there. This was also the first time we went away since we've had the hounds. The pet sitter said he was fine in the rest of the house, the yard, etc and didn't show any aggressive behavior.

 

Not sure what to do about this. How can we get Sidney over this very protective hold on this room with other people?

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Can you invite the pet sitter over multiple times to just hang with you for a while in the room that he's protecting? Make her part of the "family" that belongs in that room? Maybe sweeten the deal with the sitter by providing dinner or something while she's there. If she does come over she can give him treats while she's in there and the rest of the family ignores him?

 

Just a couple of thoughts....

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We can certainly give this a shot. It's not a bad idea.

 

I am just hoping he doesn't get this way with anyone else that comes into this room.

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Really good food is your friend. Should be something he doesn't get any other time -- hot dog slivers, little bits of cheddar cheese, freeze-dried sardines, broken up gingersnaps, etc. Your petsitter should have a baggie full of those and dispense them whenever she is in his presence. She walks into that room where he is? Drop some goodies on the floor. She sits down in that room? Drop some more. She walks past him in another room? More. Helpful if you and she (she sounds like a trooper, so I'm assuming she's still your petsitter) can kinda gauge when he's getting nervous about someone's presence and drop the treats *before* that point. You could start out with you coming into the room too, or being in the room ... whatever makes him feel reasonably comfortable while he's learning to associate the petsitter with Really Good Things.

 

Same principle with other visitors. Can help some dogs to go for a little walk with you and the new person; have the new person feed a few yummies on that walk, and then come inside with you and proceed to drop treats, sit down with you in The Room if he doesn't seem nervous, etc.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Is there some special reason your dogs have to be confined to the room at all? Are they not housebroken? Are they chewers?

 

When transitioning to a new home, it's often helpful for a dog to have some confinement, but your post doesn't make it sound like these are new dogs to you. Perhaps if you just give them the run of the house, he'll stop being possessive of the family room?


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Is there some special reason your dogs have to be confined to the room at all? Are they not housebroken? Are they chewers?

 

When transitioning to a new home, it's often helpful for a dog to have some confinement, but your post doesn't make it sound like these are new dogs to you. Perhaps if you just give them the run of the house, he'll stop being possessive of the family room?

We have always kept our dogs (in the past and now) to one room while we are not home. This keeps them from getting into mischief for the quickest answer.

It will be one year next month that we've had them, so no, not really new anymore.

We could try this... though I have a feeling they will continue to bunker down in that room. And I am still wondering if his crate still being in the room has a lot to do with it? I almost wonder if we should take it away? I feel bad doing this since he lays in it all the time still.

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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I'd let him keep his crate if he likes it. Sounds like he just isn't totally comfortable with not-so-familiar people when you aren't there. I would work on that issue first.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Agree with Batmom's treating suggestion. Also helps if the new person/people avoid making any direct eye contact with the dog during these exercises. Direct eye contact is often viewed as threatening in dog language. New person can act as a treat dispenser by tossing treats on the ground while new person's back is turned towards the dog, or person's body is sideways looking away from the dog. High value meat treats work well during sessions like these. Nothing was mentioned about whether hounds are ever allowed on human furniture (when you're home) but if so, that could be another reason for heightened territorial behavior.

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Agree with Batmom's treating suggestion. Also helps if the new person/people avoid making any direct eye contact with the dog during these exercises. Direct eye contact is often viewed as threatening in dog language. New person can act as a treat dispenser by tossing treats on the ground while new person's back is turned towards the dog, or person's body is sideways looking away from the dog. High value meat treats work well during sessions like these. Nothing was mentioned about whether hounds are ever allowed on human furniture (when you're home) but if so, that could be another reason for heightened territorial behavior.

Yes! He does use the couch. He has a spot on his that's "his".

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Yes, seems he was defending his own resting territory.

 

FWIW, many dogs are safer with boundaries of resting on their own dog beds on the floor vs. on humans' furniture. This can be especially important if children live in the home (or are expected), and/or if non-family members visit the home.

 

If needed, a safe way to encourage a dog to move off human furniture is to happily call the dog into another room (e.g., kitchen) to give a yummy, high value treat. It's not safe to grab a dog by their collar when they're acting territorial on humans' furniture. Some dogs will allow a leash to be placed on their collar to be calmly lead off the sofa, but some dogs will snap when a human arm reaches towards them. Please be careful to not punish for growling. Growling is a dog's only safe way to communicate his/her displeasure. If dogs are punished for growling, they're more inclined to skip the growl and go directly to a bite next time.

 

I agree with Batmom to leave the crate in place too.

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We will try and encourage him to leave the room and come get a treat when others are in the house.

Thank you for the warning about the growling, etc. :nod

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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