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7mo pup aggression over toys w/ other dogs - Help??

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I've had my now 7 month old Border Collie female, Lily, since she was 10 weeks. I noticed when I met her that she was a sneaky, foxy little gal and would snoop in and steal others treats or toys and run from them without hesitation. So she has had these tendencies since I got her.


I've made sure to be VERY clear that there is NO human aggression WHATSOEVER. I can take her food while she's eating, put my hand in the bowl, take treats from her, take toys, bones, etc.. anything, at any time, and she drops it immediately and shows no signs of tension or aggression. Which I'm very, very happy about.


My troubles and concerns have come with my longtime dogs not teaching her respect with toys, etc. with other dogs. My male BC(Tucker) is generally good about keeping her in her place, not letting her be disrespectful and run all over him and his space, saying enough is enough with play, etc. IMO a GOOD, stable, firm-but-not-aggressive, adult dog is the best teacher a puppy can have. So far he's done a great job.


But my Labrador Retriever(Ally) has counteracted almost all of the former respect put into place.. she has, from day one, let Lily run all over her, take her toys, be too rowdy with her, etc. etc. It's just in her nature to be very laid back, happy-go-lucky, submissive as can be..And of course it's been clear that the more Lily grabs a toy out of Ally's mouth(and Lily ALWAYS wants whatever toy another dog is playing with, even if she's never seen it before) the bolder and more confident she gets about stealing things from other dogs.


Lily will growl/snap(multiple times) at other dogs if they come up to her while she is playing and want to take her toy. She will growl and snap if they come near her while she has a treat, or come near her when she is eating her food - even if they are just WALKING past and clearly have no intention of taking her things. She doesn't fly into some aggressive rage when these things happen, but she is definitely being aggressive and not playing.

I've had people laugh when she was real small and would "snap" at another dog when they tried to take her toys.. but I've never found it cute or entertaining and have been firm about my stance on her aggression with her since day one - one day she is going to be a 40lb adult dog with a real set of teeth on her and it's not going to be funny when she injures one of my other dogs.


So. Is there anything I can do to help change this behavior???? Anybody ever have a puppy like this? Any ideas on what to do? I correct her when she shows aggression to other dogs over her things like that, but it hasn't seemed to make a huge difference.


Literally in every other aspect this girl is WONDERFUL - sweet as can be, loyal, intelligent beyond belief, everything. It's just this one area of her being too over protective of "her stuff."


I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read! :)


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I adopted an ~6 month old pup awhile back who had those tendencies. She wanted whatever the other dogs had and was willing to raise a lip and growl to get it. I don't know how much further she would have gone because I just never let her do it. My dogs weren't going to correct her for it, so I did.


I watched her carefully and was firm and consistent about it. I had to be really watchful because she was lightening fast, but if I saw the muscles tense or the lip start to lift, I immediately intervened. I reprimanded her firmly, and raised my voice a few times. There were one or 2 come-to-jesus moments because she was a tough little cookie who wanted to have her own way more than she wanted to listen to me. I was never physically abusive with her, but there were a couple of times when I grabbed her by the scruff and took her to her crate for a time out, where she had to watch the other dogs eat what she wanted.


I also did lots of impulse control training where she had to sit and wait, for her dinner, while the other dogs got treats or toys (she's much worse about food than toys,though, so that's what we worked on most), etc. And I taught her "leave it."


It's a year and a half later and she hasn't done this for quite a while. She'll swoop in to grab something if I drop it, but her "leave it" is very solid as long as I see her going for something before her mouth has actually touched it (it's a work in progress). She'll swoop in to check out the other dogs' bowls as soon as they make a step away, but again, as long as I'm watching her and tell her "no" she's fine. The only time I've seen a possessive lip lift or heard a bit of a growl recently was with a dog I was boarding, but it was very controlled and appropriate (and fortunately he was very willing to back off), though I still intervened by distracting her.


It's nice when you have a dog who will correct appropriately. But if you don't then it's your responsibility to step in and do that training. Plain and simple. ;)

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Thank you for your reply!


I guess that's kind of where my problem lies.. like I said, I have been disciplining her when she does this to other dogs since they won't, and yet she's still continuing that behavior regardless how many times she's been corrected on it

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It takes persistence and consistency. Lots and lots of both of them. <_<


There were many times it felt like I was never going to get through to Tansy. But I persevered (and am still persevering with other issues) and she's turning out to be a pretty good dog.


One of the keys, though, is that you can't ever let her get away with it. Each time she practices this kind of behavior and succeeds, it reinforces the fact that sometimes she gets rewarded with success and that just strengthens the behavior. It's the same idea as fading to intermittent rewards when training. As you probably know, intermittent rewards are a much stronger way of increasing behavior than constant, predictable rewards. That goes for both desired behavior that are deliberately rewarded, and unwanted behaviors that are accidentally self-rewarding.


So, take a deep breath and remind yourself that this it isn't going to be like this for the rest of her (and your!) life. But while it is, you have to devote all your attention to the problem so that you can get it under control.


Good luck!

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