Posted by renacocina
Mar 1, 2011
My 18 yr. old Autistic daughter & I share a home with my sister. I have a 5 year old, female Aussie, and last August we rescued an 10+/- month old, female Chow/Am. Eskimo mix. The Chow is a very smart girl, and is lovable & well behaved the majority of the time. She definitely sees me as the Alpha, but she won't allow anyone else to feed her, and becomes aggressive when disciplined by my sister. She has bitten Sis several times (nothing serious), but it needs to stop. I was bitten one time while removing a food source the dog found outside. I was wearing leather gloves which why I believe the dog bit me so hard. Usually if she realizes she has her mouth on me she immediately backs off. I generally take her by the collar/scruff of the neck and put her in her crate if she is out of hand. Sis is obviously somewhat afraid of being bitten, and won't handle the dog when she is showing aggression. I believe this is part of the issue. The dog and my daughter mostly ignore each other. My question is, do I take control and force the dog to accept Sis? Should Sis work with the dog more to get better control of the situation? We really don't want to have to get rid of her, but we can't have biting. She is also quite upset when someone comes to the house but we are working on that one. Note We believe she was very possibly abused by her previous owner.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Mar 2, 2011
Hi renacocina,

So your Chow/Am Eskimo mix is now almost 1.5 yrs old. It is adolescent period for dogs and it is very important that you make sure she is good with ANY human beings, not only obedient to you.

She bit your sister and your sister is now afraid of her. That lets your dog realize that she can get rid of anybody she doesn't like by biting, which can include kids as well.

How does your sister do with your other dog? Do they have good relationship? If they do you can use this a good example. Show the Chow mix how your Aussie interacts with your sister. Have your sister give Aussie a treat in front of Chow mix and give Chow a treat as well.

If your Aussie treats your sister somewhat disrespectfully, the above method won't work. However, if your Chow sees you as a leader, YOU can discipline Chow to be respectful to your sister. No growling or snapping should be allowed to people. As one side (your sister) is afraid of the other side (Chow), negative feeling can be felt by the Chow and that makes the Chow more fearful or nerveous to your sister. It is like catch 22, or negative reaction. I think you should step in and get Chow used to your sister. Chow will soon understand there is nothing worry about her. Have your sister feed all meals is a good way to start. Make your Chow realize that your sister brings good stuff. Have her take the dog for walk. Dogs learn lessons/routines only from what they experience. They don't read books or listen to lectures. I hope your Chow will soon learn that your sister is not a threat to her, instead she is a nice person who brings all those goodies to her. In the mean time, please make sure you reprimand your Chow's inappropriate behaviors consistently.
Posted by renacocina
Mar 2, 2011
Thank you for your response! In general the Chow is very sweet to my sister; she allows sis to walk her (and she is made to heel when on the lead), she gets love & attention from sis, etc. However, she doesn't allow sis to feed her, and especially becomes cranky when I'm not around on the weekends - the bites have pretty much happened when I'm not home, with maybe one exception. Sis does interact well with the Aussie, who is a very sweet, well mannered girl.

I have always corrected, or disciplined for any bad behavior mostly because if sis does it the Chow reacts badly. Sometimes when she misbehaves she will go straight to her crate, because she knows that's what is next, but when one of us goes to close the door she starts barking viciously. We almost feel she has a Jekyll & Hyde personality!

One of the rules in our house is that the dogs must sit and wait until we tell them they can eat, and both do this very well. The Aussie gets her dish first, and the Chow waits until she is done, and then The Chow gets her food. In the beginning feeding was kind of a circus no matter what we tried. Sis & I were both involved originally, but the Chow was continuously showing aggression toward the Aussie, even when we fed in separate rooms. She would finish eating, and then go find the Aussie & attack her even though both were done eating, and their bowls were picked up. I finally just took the bull-by-the-horns, and within a couple weeks had them eating in the same room, one after the other with no aggression in the mix. If I'm not available and sis tries to feed, the Chow won't let her near the food bin to fill the bowls. That led sis to tying the Chow at the back door the next time, but when she turned around to go get the dishes the dog bit her on the back of the leg.

I'm sorry about the "novel", I'm just trying to give a glimpse of what is going on with this dog. We have been reading and studying everything we can to help with this situation, and appreciate any advice we get.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Mar 2, 2011
Hi renacocina,

OK. Now I see a better picture. So, your Chow has food aggression both towards people and other dogs. Maybe she was a long time stray and had to fight over food with other dogs so she became very protective/possessive.

I still think it is better to correct this behavior, because you never know when you have to have someone else feed her, for example, you might go on a trip, or get hospitalized (I hope this won't happen but everybody can get sick sometimes...). Does she take treats (biscuits) from your sister?

Since she can WAIT to be fed, can you and your sister put a few kibbles in her bowl alternately? Your sister might have to just look away and throw the kibbles in from a distance at first since she is afraid of getting bit. You can reprimand your Chow when she breaks her "Wait".

Do this for a week and see if it makes any difference
Posted by KOPCaroline
Mar 3, 2011
hey rena,

I agree with MHDs last post, I think you should work with your sister and the chow and run as mediator between the two. Let your sister give the commands, and if any aggression shows in the chow, correct it.

Buddying up on feeding is a good idea too, since thats where most of the aggression shows. Both of you put kibble in the bowl, maybe let your sister give the "wait" command and then say when chow can go for it, with you there to provide assistance of course.

Basically work as a team to train and correct, train and correct. Be repetitive, be consistant, and be patient!! This will take time, after all, the "normal" now is that the dog knows how to "control" your sister, but with the two of you working together with the chow, things will improve!!

Hope things go smoothly, please keep us updated!