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Tessa will occasionally show aggression at Dharma when I am petting or giving Dharma attention. This just happened. She and Dharma were playing and getting along wonderfully then Tessa came to me for some petting and loving so I gave it to her. Then Dharma came up. Tessa then bared her teeth and barked at Dharma, she didn't actually make contact but she scared Dharma enough that Dharma immediately backed away. I keep a shaker can handy for when Tessa gets aggressive so I shook it, when I did this, it scared the bejesus out of Dharma who went and hid behind the couch but it didn't seem to phase Tessa. So that method is apparently not going to work if it isn't going to get the right dog's attention. Now I can't get Dharma to come to me while I am on the sofa. She cuts her eyes at Tessa and looks worried. If I go to her she will respond and looks happy and gets her loving.

How to I teach Tessa that this behavior is inappropriate and that I have enough love to share? Dharma was here first and is actually my dog and I don't want her afraid to come to me for fear that Tessa will snap at her. I spent some time sitting on the floor with both of them petting Dharma in front of Tessa (Tessa was fine with that) then I petted Tessa. How else can I show Tessa that she has to share me??? This is not the first time that this has happened and it doesn't always happen. It is kind of sporadic.
 

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You need to step up the NILIF with Tessa(well both so Dharma and Tessa "feel" equal). Build up Dharma's confidence in the meantime, give her more one on one, outings, training and hand feed her.
My females are a bit on the jealous side too.
You haven't had Tessa very long have you?
I would really be concerned if she is acting this way now, wait a few months and it will be multiplied if you don't stop it now.

I don't let either one of my girls get away with snarkyness on each other, but I have to diffuse their attitudes with care. So I don't correct one if one is acting that way, just get up and move away from both.
If I were to correct one~ the other one will posture, and challenge. To shake a can at them will just ramp up the one who is challenging, so me getting up/leaving and ignoring them both is the best way to diffuse it.
I had a foster who resource guarded me it was very subtly, but he ended up jumping over our bed and biting my DH in the back unprovoked when he was going to bed. There were signs of him "over-bonding" to me, but I was trying to build his confidence so overlooked it.
After he bit my DH, he made me return him to the rescue. I never let the dog on the bed, but he was allowed to be in the room next to it. It broke my heart to give him back, he was such a good dog until that happened.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I have only had Tessa a month. I have been doing NILIF with her since day one. And she does very well with it. I also make sure whenever they go out together that Dharma is the first one out the door. And that when they walk on the leash together that Dharma walks out front (although that one is a bit tough since Tessa tends to pull more). I will do more with Dharma though. The shaker can is out though since it only served to scare Dharma silly. I will try getting up and ignoring both of them next time it happens though. I hadn't thought of that.
 

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Onyx is my dominant one and I do have to correct her. Usually I'll call her to me and just redirect her if she is being a bully to Kacie. But because Tessa is so new to the home, she needs a bit of shaping.
Are you scheduled to do any classes with her? That may help her to see that you are her leader and she isn't the one in charge of who/what gets near to you. It will also build your bond with her.
I would give each one on one time and limit the time they are together with you for a couple of weeks.
Tessa really won't show her real personality for a couple months, what you see now may just be her way of "protecting" herself because she is unsure that you won't be there for her.
 

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Actually I really need to get Dharma in classes first but the works schedule I have is so rough right now it' shard finding one to fit my schedule. I rotate shifts, have a different day off each week and work an hour and 15 minutes away. So I leave at 5 in the morning and don't get home until 9p on my 12 hour days and my 8 hour days I usually leave at 9a and don't get home until 9p. If I could find one just on Sat- well that would be perfect but I haven't found one yet.

I know that Tessa's issues are coming from being abandoned. She was dumped and then tied out behind a gas station and left to starve. So I know, like you said, she is protecting what she sees as hers.
 

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Thought I'd share this cool video showing a GSD resource guarding his owner in a park. It's VERY cool to watch all the quiet stuff going on and dog body language. No fights and obvious viciousness..........but all the premlinary 'dog' stuff we HUMANS always miss (oh, but we see the fights!).

Well narrated too....

 

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that video looks like an average day at my house. Jax 'herds' the other dogs away from me, especially when I'm just getting home from somewhere.
 

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Regen does that with us, too, and when we had our trainer come work with us on introducing our new dog to Regen, she showed us a simple fix.
If you are petting Dharma and Tessa wants to muscle in for pets or barks etc, dramatically get up without saying anything or making eye contact with the resource-guarding dog and leave the room as fast as you can and shut yourself away from them for 20 seconds. After a day of doing this, Regen got the message...I act like a butthead when Mom is petting Osa and mom leaves both of us!
Hope that helps with you :) How is she doing with her separation anxiety?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
MRL-Thanks for the video. That behavior is very mush how Tessa and Dharma act when Tessa acts up. I can see Dharma wanting to approach me, watching Tessa out of the corner of her eye and then deciding not to. When Dharma does decide to approach me, Tessa will be right behind her, pushing her away. But this doesn't always happen. It is sporadic.

Runs- I will try that next time she acts up. As for her SA. It seems to be a bit better. I spoke with a trainer who gave some exercises to try. But the exercises didn't phase Tessa at all. One of them involved putting her in my 1/2 bath and shutting the door. When she started to panic and try to get out, open the door and shake a can at her or squirt water in her face. Do this every time she started to scratch or bark. Once she calmed down and remained calm then let her out and reward and praise her. I tried it. Tessa barked once, gave a half hearted scratch at the door, I opened the door, shook the can at her and shut the door. She then laid down and was quiet. She never panicked. Next time she just went in there and laid down. She will also stay downstairs by herself and lay in my foyer while I am taking a shower in the morning. Dharma stays upstairs with me. I have also left her in her crate by herself while Dharma and I run upstairs to do stuff. No problem. But the dog knows when we both leave the house. I took Dharma to the park over the weekend and left Tessa at home. She couldn't go because of her surgery. As soon as we got home and got out of the car I could hear her barking and fussing. But then again maybe she was just excited we were home. I am still using the acepromazine on Wed when Dharma goes to daycare though just to make it easier on her to be alone for so long. And leave her in her crate with a stuffed kong and a bone.
 

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One other thought, the benzo class of drugs are better for anxiety, as ace just reduces the physical symptoms but then you have a sedated but still mentally anxious dog. Xanax and Valium actually will relieve the feeling of anxiety- I believe Valium is longer-acting of the two.
I only know because I've done a lot of reading with Regen's persistent SA and we had to use anti-anxiety meds when we left her at home alone. Does Tessa actually finish the Kong or bone when you leave her? If she does, that is a really good sign!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The trainer actually did recommend Xanax but I was a little nervous about giving it to her since she suggested giving it to her everyday. 1- she tolerates the ace really well. 2- I know the Xanax is highly addictive in humans, I didn't know if this is true in dogs or not, I also know in elderly people it can cause really bad reactions and I also didn't know if this was true for dogs. I need to call the vet and discuss it with her but have just not had the chance to yet.

Yes, she does finish the bone and kong. What she can get to of the kong at least. And my uncle says she is always doing fine when he comes to let her out and take her for a short walk during the day when Dharma is gone.
 
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