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Submissive to aggressive behaivior

March 20th, 2009, 11:48 AM
Phoebe is an 8 months old lab cross, spayed, and has always been the most submissive dog at the park. Every once in a while she will snap at other dogs who are playing a bit too rough or trying to mount her, and sometimes she will even viciously snap at or bite a dog that growls and snaps at her over her toy or stick. She probably isn't the instigator, but she snaps back with a lot of fury. And she will not tolerate a dog getting near her food bowl, a visiting bull terrier found that out the hard way. She hasn't done any damage, but it sure looks and sounds terrible. Sometimes another dog will be aggressive with her when she is rolling on the ground in front of them acting extremely submissive and excited.
She's quite hyper because of her age, very enthusiastic, loves to play fetch, and is a happy, sociable, friendly, but very submissive dog.
Why does her submissive excitement turn into aggression and cause other dogs to be aggressive with her? Any ideas?

March 20th, 2009, 12:01 PM
First of all, cute puppy, she's a beauty!

Second of all, she doesn't sound like she's submissive at all. Just because she rolls onto her back, doesn't mean she's submissive. Next time she does it, pay attention to her legs, and her tail. Is her tail tucked under her bum? If it is that could be submissive. Does she put any of her legs straight out, or on the other dog she's playing with? If so, that's not being submissive. Puppies roll around playing all the time and it's not submissive.

Turning and snapping if another dog tries to mount her is ok, as long as she doesn't escalate it further than that. It's her way of telling the other dog that they're not the boss of her, and she doesn't want to be mounted. If she does it to be possessive over a bone, stick, or her food bowl, that's not cool. In that case I would end fun time. Take away the stick, bowl of food, or whatever. She will learn quickly that it's not ok to be possessive. If the other dog snaps at her first, I would think that it's ok for her to correct the other dog, as long as you don't let it escalate from there. If she does more than just growl or bark, or snap in the air, then tell her "that's enough" and leave the area that the other dog is in so she doesn't get focused on him. Hopefully that makes sense!

March 20th, 2009, 12:06 PM
Lynne B has given you very sound advice.:thumbs up