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Canine Behavior/female corgi mix aggression

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Hi, I have a problem. I own a corgi/terrier/Chihuahua mix. She was  a rescue dog. Maybe this will help telling about her past. Well a older man owned her and beat her when she was a pup, eventually the man dumped her on the streets to die. Then she got caught by the dog catcher and she was sent to a dog pound in NJ. She was there for only 2-4 weeks and she was scheduled to be gassed to death since no one wanted her. Oh while she was there she had to compete with 2 other dogs (50-120 pound dogs) for food in dog fights when she was young. Then some nice lady thought she should save her which she did and moved to the city with the dog. Later she found out the corgi mix was dog aggressive to her two shiba inu puppies (6 months old) and nearly killed the one. So she was soon given a rescue in the state of Ohio. She was there for 2 years. Then we came by and brought her home. Now she is 6-7 years old. She still goes after dogs unless they are puppies under 4 months old she will not hurt them. Today though she attacked one of our neighbors male pitbull which was loose on our property. She bit him on the nose, 5-6 times on the bottom of the neck, and 10+ times on the stomach. Each bite drew blood by the time it was over the pitbull had to be rushed to the vet because of the deep bite wounds my dog inflicted upon the pit. She was not harmed by the pitbull. She also has what I think is aggression towards strangers. She's never bit one but has got hold of jackets while people are wearing them. She does do quick snaps at anyone who either wants to pet her or if kid or adults walk by. But I believe the stranger aggression is from the neighborhood kids. If I leave her in a kennel outside kid throw rocks at her, yelling about a foot from the kennel, or bring there other aggressive dogs next to the kennel wanting to start a fight between the dogs. Oh one other think it took her about one year till finally she would allow my grandma to even touch her without snapping. What form of aggression do you think she could have since she snapes at strangers and nearly kills dogs. I'm just very concerned about what she will do next.

Answer
Hi Sydney -

Unfortunately this dog has had a very traumatic life and she is going to need some help with her rehabilitation.  Usually a dog will become "food aggressive" when they are in a situation where she has to compete with other dogs for a meal.  This is a form of resource guarding (guading valuables) and can even be triggered if a human tries to take the food dish in some dogs.  It sounds like she is dog aggressive which is quite possible because we don't know if she was socialized appropriately or what type of experiences she had with other dogs prior to you adopting her.  Some dogs (and people) are just not social and this can be okay as long as everyone (dog, strangers, and yourself) is safe.  Talk to your veterinarian and ask for a referral to a behaviorist (different than a dog trainer) who can help you work through these issues.
The neighborhood kids should not be throwing rocks or bringing their dogs anywhere near your dog's kennel.  They are harassing your dog which is confined on your property.  I would contact your local authority regarding that situation because it will only make your dog's distrust of strangers and possible dog aggression worse the longer it continues.
This is a very serious situation so please don't hesitate to have your dog evaluated by the behavorist and start helping her with her issues.  In most states there are laws regarding aggressive dogs and if she bites another dog or a person you could get in trouble or the court could force you to euthanize your dog.  Don't wait!  Your dog will be happier and you will be a happier dog owner.  Best of luck with your dog.

Canine Behavior

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Jennifer Ganser, LMT, ABCDT

Expertise

For canines I can answer questions related to behavior, obedience training, health and massage therapy (anatomy, health benefits) For equines I can answer questions related to behavior, barn management, health and massage therapy (anatomy, health benefits) I am not a veterinarian and it is not within my scope of practice as a licensed massage therapist or certified dog trainer to diagnose health conditions. Please contact your pet's veterinarian for illness related questions and emergencies.

Experience

I am a licensed massage therapist for people, horses, and dogs and a certified dog trainer. I teach group obedience classes as well as private lessons. I also work with horses and help barns establish good management practices.

Organizations
Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) National Certification Board of Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

Education/Credentials
2009 - graduate of Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy 2010 - certified in canine/feline first aid + CPR by Red Cross 2012 - graduate of Post University equine program 2012 - graduate of Animal Behavior College Obedience program

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