aggression towards roommate... please advise

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aggression towards roommate... please advise

Postby sirbrent » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:24 pm

I adopted my Chow Chow, Rusty, at age 6. I have had him for 4 months. He is displaying sudden aggression towards a roommate, a person who he has shared the house with for the last four months. Outside of of this recent aggression he has not shown any aggression in my time having him. When I adopted him it was from his former owner who had him since he was a puppy, the former owner moved in with his girlfriend who had three kids, one of them was with a mental disability and constantly pulled hair and cornered the dog, after a week of this Rusty eventually nipped at the child. This is were I came in to give the dog a child-free home. A little about Rusty... he is well mannered although stand-offish. He doesn't like to be fussed over and tends to walk away from attention being given. He tolerates and even seems to enjoy my attention but it has been a long bonding process. I had never seen him be aggressive until this week, he has always been very passive with other dogs, people and situations... very easy-going. The other day a butter wrapper fell on the floor and Rusty found it, I saw my roommate try to yank it out of his mouth and asked him to not do that and I would handle it, the roommate continued to wrestle the wrapper from Rusty's mouth regardless, I pleaded with him (calmly) to stop but this continued for about 15 seconds, at the end Rusty nipped at him. The problem now is that Rusty has approached him and nipped two more times: One time when he was eating and the roommate passed by and then again tonight when the roommate was breaking down a pizza box. The roommate started yelling at me and I had to diffuse the situation quickly because I was not how sure Rusty would respond to the yelling. I am not sure how to correct this behavior and fast, I am not at all pleased by this new behavior. Please help!

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Re: aggression towards roommate... please advise

Postby SkyLover » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:40 pm

Hi, I'm not an expert but I will try to help as much as I can. One thing about chow chow is that they are one owner type of dogs. It is possible that he feels threatened by your roommate as if he thinks your roommate is trying to take his spot. My dog,Sky, does not care for my brother even though when he was younger he was more attached to my brother. It may be a good idea to let your roommate take over responsibilities such as feeding, bathing, etc. so your chow can see that he also has authority. Another idea may be to find something he really really likes and when he growls or nips at your roommate, tie him up and turn your back towards him. Show him no attention. After a while he should come around if you follow these things and when he does come around to your roommate, reward him for the smallest things. Like if your roommate rubs on him and he does act out, give him a treat. Hopefully he comes around but like I said they are one person dogs. Some dogs are just very loyal like that. If I find or think of some more tips, I will let you know :) . Hope I helped. LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES!!! :)

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Re: aggression towards roommate... please advise

Postby Rory's Dad » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:35 pm

Sadly its a fairly common story with Chows. They do tend to be loyal to an individual person. You rescued a dog from someone who was single and then joined a family. The adjustment is difficult for Chows even without the added pressure of a child who tugs/pulls/corners. The result there is not all that surprising. It would take a very experienced and disciplined owner to overcome the dogs natural reaction. He probably felt threatened and replaced in the pack order even before the interactions took place. His natural reaction would be to challenge for his old spot back.

So, in your situation, you managed to bond with him. Good for you, and well done. Certainly not easy to have earned his trust after all that. But then, your roommate challenges (in his eyes) him for food. Every incident you describe suggests a food aggression. To put it in simple terms, he is protecting his resources. Not an acceptable behavior, but understandable and natural given the history.

I agree with some of what Sky has suggested. The roommate needs to be seen as a provider, and not a threat, which is what the current situation is. He does not need to be the pack leader, you do. He needs to be seen as a contributor. Yelling is definitely not the answer, integration is. I do not agree with withholding treats or tying the dog up. That is only going to worsen the situation. Ignoring Rusty or withholding attention/affection is also not the answer.

Since the root seems to be food, I would suggest placing 1/2 of his meal in the bowl and allowing Rusty to eat in peace. When he is done, YOU should pick up the bowl and refill with the rest of dinner. Roommate should then place the bowl back down. A simple comment to the dog, "Go Ahead" should suffice at this point.

In between meals, work with the dog on basic behavior commands using pea sized treats. The treats aren't the real reward, its the 'atta boy'. The treats are to keep attention. Every member of the household should work on this.

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