Sleeping with Dogs
Blues and China
Sleeping with dogs--is it a good idea? Or not?
I have Blues (Staff) who is 8. (I have had him since he was 6 weeks old). And I rescued China (red nose pit) when she was 6 mos old and she will soon be 6 yrs.
Blues has a sweet gentle nature and he is 80 pds and China who is now 60 pds (was only supposed to get to be around 35pds) is so sweet and still very playful.
About 2 yrs ago she started to attack Blues if at night they ended up under the same blanket. (They sleep with me). So I now have 2 comforters and each one sleeps under their own.
I thought he might be agitating her because when I'm not home she is crated and he isn't. But he is confined to the same room she is in and usually hangs out in his crate anyway.
Anyway lately she will growl and then attack him. It is for no reason either. He is usually asleep when she does it. I am always there to stop her and she gives fair warning with her horrible growl. She tends to look at him out of the side of her eyes, growls then lunges.
He will show his teeth if she gets that far but I am always right there. It seems to happen more often now. I usually just forcefully throw her out of bed and into a crate I keep in the bedroom.
It doesn't happen when they are hanging out in the yard. I need to put an end to it because it just is plain destructive behavior.
There have been a few times when I got caught in the middle and she has nipped me lightly. Blues can hold her down with his paw if need be but she is strong and I never want to bring out the aggressive side in Blues.
Thanks I need some advice. I love
them both dearly but I get very nervous when she gets so aggressive. There is BSL here so neither of my dogs are very friendly towards other dogs anymore (muzzles can do that).Gale's Reply:
My first recommendation is that you stop letting your dogs sleep with you in bed. I know it's sweet to snuggle with them at night. And, you've done it this way for awhile.
The problem with doing this is that it does tend to create leadership confusion. Some dogs have the personality to handle it. But for others it seems to create the unsettling sense that everyone is on the same level, so to speak, and no one is in charge.
A lot of people have found the booklet How To Be The Leader Of The Pack - And Have Your Dog Love You For It!
very helpful in re-programming the leadership dynamic with their dogs.
From your description, it sounds like China's aggressive behavior only occurs when you are all in bed together. And, if that's the case, making the bed off limits and establishing yourself as the leader may solve the problem.
However, if the problem persists in other situations, you'll need to work with her individually. A very excellent book along this line is: Click to Calm - Healing the Aggressive Dog
. Depending on the severity, you may need to enlist the help of a behaviorist.
And while it sounds like this has been going on for awhile, if the behavior is more recent or has sharply exacerbated all of a sudden, a trip to the vet is in order to make sure China is not experiencing any health issues that would cause her behavior.
Good luck. Feel free to post back and let us know how things are going. You have two gorgeous dogs.
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