Aggression towards one person

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maryhelen329
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Aggression towards one person

Post by maryhelen329 » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:52 pm

My dog Stella is the sweetest dog. Even around new people, she gets excited to play with them. But every time she sees my aunt she goes crazy. She growls and barks non stop. Even when I put her in a different room, she still barks, as if she can sense her presence in the house. She ONLY does this with this one person. My aunt is a dog lover and most dogs adore her immediately, but Stella has acted this way around her ever since she was little. They were introduced in Stella's first week here and she was scared of my aunt then, but now she's aggressive. I tried to hold her and comfort her when my aunt was here to show her that it's safe, but she is relentless. Recently when my aunt came over, Stella was barking as usual, but then when my sister's boyfriend (who she loves, normally) tried to play with her, she scratched like crazy to try and get away from him. I just want to understand a reason why she would be this way towards one person and also what I can do to stop the behavior.

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Nettle
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Post by Nettle » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:56 am

See it from the dog's point of view, and stop wanting to change her. She is afraid of Aunt for whatever reason: you may never know the reason, and even if you did, you might not be able to change her views.

It might be;

That Aunt reminds her of someone who hurt or frightened her before you got her
That Aunt smells threatening, either through products she wears or her own body scent, or from drugs she is taking
That Aunt's voice upsets her
That Aunt's body language upsets her.

Now Aunt is an adult huiman, most dogs like her, so she can be big about this one dog that is terrified of her. If someone/thing was terrified of ME I wouldn't force myself on them.

Put doggie somehwere else when Aunt visits: behind a baby gate with lots of yummy treats, toys and chewie things, and if you are expecting Aunt to visit, make sure doggie has had a good walk and is tired. Don't force any contact with the dog: as you ahve seen with your boyfriend, this doesn't work. The dog is terrified, so put her somewhere safe where she does not have to confront her fear, because scared dogs snap.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

maryhelen329
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Post by maryhelen329 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:10 pm

my aunt doesn't have a problem with stella not liking her, she doesn't try to force herself on stella and i don't try to force the connection. i just try to comfort her (in a separate room) to keep her from barking. i do all of those things that you said. if i know my aunt is coming over, i put her in a separate room where she can't even see my aunt, but she still barks like crazy. and i don't want to make her love my aunt or anything, i just want her to not bark so much with her there. she just barks nonstop when my aunt is there (which is often), no matter where you take her in or outside of the house, and it's loud. i'm a very patient person and i don't get upset with her for barking. but i don't think that nonstop barking when i have company is a behavior that should be ignored.
i don't want to know how to make her like my aunt, just how to tolerate her presence.
the reasons you gave for why it could be that stella doesn't like her were interesting though. i'm not sure what the environment where she was born was like. a friend's brother's dog got pregnant and he was giving the pups away and that's how i got stella. except i recently found out that this happens about twice a year.. with the same mom dog. so i really try to have a lot of patience with stella because i don't know how people who breed their unregistered dog at least twice a year and give away the pups (i have no clue why) could possibly be good caretakers for the puppies.

Sarah83
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Post by Sarah83 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:27 pm

i just try to comfort her (in a separate room) to keep her from barking.
What exactly do you do to comfort her? You could inadvertantly be making the issue worse. And what have you done to try and convince her your aunt isn't something she needs to worry about?

maryhelen329
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Post by maryhelen329 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:45 pm

well i originally thought the growling/barking was a protective thing, so i would hold her and show her that i'm safe so she wouldn't worry (it's works with my other dog who is also very protective). but i think it might be more fear than it is protective instinct.
to comfort her i just hold her and pet her. she likes to get up on my shoulder (she's a pomeranian so she's small) and i just rub her back. when she's scared her whole body trembles and when i do this she stops trembling and i can feel her heartbeat slow down. also, you should know, i don't grab her and throw her up on my shoulder to calm her down against her will (i know that might scare her even more). she practically throws herself in my arms when i lean down to her. so i know that this isn't something that further upsets her. my shoulder is her favorite place to be. anytime i come home after being gone for a few hours she leaps up to my arms and crawls there immediately and just lays there, she loves it.

Leigha
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Post by Leigha » Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:58 am

I wonder if by picking her up and comforting her she's seeing it as "oh stella what a good girl you're being for barking at that lady!"

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