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Question
I have a male and female dog. The male is pug/chihuahua 1 year and 3 months. Female is pug/boston terrfier and 9 months old. They're both the sweetest dogs and wouldn't ever harm or bite anyone or eachother and are the biggest cuddlers. But we moved into a new house a month ago and my wife is 18 weeks pregnant. our dogs normally have bones lying around and have no problems fighting over any but lately if our female is chewing on one and our male looks at her at all she attacks him and we have a hard time breaking up their fights and its very bad where the rest of the day the male is afraid to go close to the female. I've never seen her like this before and she seems like a totally different dog when she does that and we have no idea what the reason could be.

Answer
Hi there

Thank you your message. It sounds like the changes for them with the pregnancy and the move may have been a chance for the female to take over the top position. It then ends up with everyone on edge which gets stressful for them and ends up with more attacks. Essentially what you need to do is take over control and set some solid ground rules. Even though the attacks are over the bones there is underlying behaviour there. The best way to stop this is re introduce some rules to show them you are in control. Some ways to do this:
- allowed on couch or your beds if at all by invitation only
- set up two separate dog beds in the living room and teach them a mat command where they have to for a few minutes a day sit and stay and not move off them
- set up the food so they are fed twice a day and food is gone after 10 minutes if they don't already have this in place

I would keep bones away for a couple of months so the behaviour does not escalate then slowly introduce them but for the first time you do it put both dogs on a lead when they have the bones and tie them up while they are eating them. This creates the idea in the dogs that they are not allowed to go over to the other dog to try and take the bone.

Both are small dogs so would just be that small change in their lifestyle so should be back to normal very quickly.

Give it a month of doing the above and see how you get on

Canine Behavior

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Simon Goodall

Expertise

I can answer any questions relating to dog behaviour and dog training. My expertise lies in general dog training but also dog aggression issues or other behavioural issues that may arise.

Experience

12 years dog training Owner Dog Guru Dog Training and behaviour company in New Zealand with 26 staff 15,000 dogs trained in past 10 years

Organizations
International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants International Association of Canine Professionals

Publications
Pet Magazine Fetch Magazine International Association of Canine Professionals Stuff website blog

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Psychology, Graduated 2002 Completing MBA

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