Sudden strange aggression in my pup


New Member
Hey ya'll. I'm new. Sorry to start off on such a rough footing.

I am really concerned about some recent behavior and I'm not entirely sure where to locate resources or how to deal with it. I was hoping someone here might have some ideas as to why my doxie is behaving so oddly and might be able to point me in the right direction.

My doxie is about 2 years old, neutered male.

This behavior started about a week ago. When he has a high value treat or toy (kong, a certain ball) he gets very defensive of them. He growls and snaps if you come near him or try to pet him.

If you try to pick him up and away from the object he hunkers down and spreads out like he's trying to grip the ground while attempting to bite.

After "finishing" with his toy or treat he walks away but if you try to pick him up or follow he tries to bite.

He has never shown any food aggression before and has never been without food. He gets "high value" treats and toys fairly often.

For some background as to why it might be happening:

In July we moved to a new house. He loves to "guard" the new house by barking at noises outside. He never used to guard our old place.

In October we brought home a rescue mutt of a dog as we now have a bigger house and a fenced in lawn. The two get along swimmingly. He seems really happy to have a playmate.

His recent aggression isn't toward the other dog at all. I haven't seen him ever snap at the other dog (spayed female, 10 months). The girl dog can also come near his food/toys and he doesn't seem to mind. They often play tug together with no signs of aggression.

He is only acting this way towards us (myself and my fiance).

Is this just resource guarding? Should I cut out high value treats and toys completely? Does this behavior have a tendency to "get worse" if left unchecked? Should he just be ignored if he displays this sort of behavior?

Sorry for all the questions - I'm just not a big fan of getting bitten by my little pup!


New Member
There are certain 'tricks' to show a dog that you are the top dog of the house. Are you familiar with these? When going out for a walk, open the door and the dog has to sit and wait until you say to go. You go through the door first because the top dog goes first. He must remain beside you on the walk, not in front. While on a walk, no scanning the horizon like he's watching for enemy fire. Just in 'walking' mode.

For food and treats, he must sit and wait. Top dog controls all food and treats. Let's say you're on the couch eating popcorn. Does he come up and paw you demanding popcorn? Top dog has control of food, so he must keep his distance until you invite him over and give him some. It's not that he can't have any, it's that you decide when he can have some. This is a way to train him that he does not control food or toys.

Are any of these tips helpful?
Hopefully there will be more suggestions coming.

Please post some pics of the poopsies and introduce them to us! We'd love to meet them.


New Member
We do the door thing as much as possible - some rainy days it isn't too feasible as we have a very small stoop and two excited dogs.

He does not actively beg for food. He sits at a distance eyeing the food/you and will sit for treats on command. He has a very reliable "sit" and loves to show it off.

I did try to clicker train him with the new puppy. He did not respond at all to it. The puppy, on the other hand, learned to "sit", "lay", "shake", "rollover" reliably. He just did not want to learn how to "lay" - acted very stubborn during training sessions, got disinterested and walked off (even though I kept them short and the pup remained interested the entire time).

Edit: I forgot to mention, he is great on his leash. I trained him as a puppy with a "gentle leader" and he does really well staying beside the walker. He does show some "leash aggression" on walks if he is wearing his collar - barking at people/other dogs. Nothing very mean sounding (no raised haunches) and we are working on that. He does not have this behavior if he is wearing a gentle leader or a harness. It is only with a collar.

He gets along with other dogs and frequents a doggy day care facility. I have only seen him react negatively toward one dog - a very, very large rottie mix. I'm actually convinced he was upset over the environment (this was when we were at the pound looking to adopt a puppy).
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