NEW AGGRESSION / 2 corgis - 8 Mo Female towards 3 year Male

Hi, Our previously very sweet new female puppy has started acting aggressively towards our 3 year old male corgi.  This started right around her first heat a few weeks ago.  He is fixed and she will be next month.  98% of the time they get along very well...play with each other, play next to each other, will wait for treats next to each other, etc.  YES, both dogs go to obedience class regularly.

Triggers:  dropped food on the floor,  a valued toy,  play that can get too rough.

If play gets too rough, we re-direct before it can escalate, but if a fight does start, we make a loud noise, tell both "no, leave it", we separate & calm them down & let them be apart for a bit.

I'm wondering....have I let this become an issue by allowing the older dog to take toys from the younger one?  Maybe I mistakenly thought they would work out the toys on their own.  The older she gets, the more toys he is allowing her to keep.

Questions: 

1. When my older boy takes a toy from the 8 month old, what do I do?

2.  My girl (8mo) will growl/snap towards the boy (3yr) sometimes (not always) if she thinks he may take her food (which he never does...but he does take her toys).  Suggestions?

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She is actually coming to the age when she will begin to assert herself. Distracting will help immensly but you cant always catch it. I would remove any toy that one takes from the other for now . Hopefully they will figure things out and settle down soon. I always separate if any aggression occurs and try not to take sides. If one is clearly looking for trouble i use leashes in the house. They usually learn quickly that aggression is not tolerated. If play gets too rough looking i change what they are doing . There are different philosophys on this but i tend to believe i should set the rules.

Thanks for the good advice and reassurance.  As far as removing the toy....ANY toy she had used to be the toy he wanted, but now he is taking them less often.  Maybe this is because she is starting to stick up for herself, which I was allowing.  I'm letting him take, and letting her protect....but stepping in for aggression.  Is that ok?  Or should I stop him EVERY time he takes a toy?  What do I do, take it back from him and give it to her and tell him no?

Female dogs tend to be dominant over males. It may be that as she's come of age, she's decided she should be the boss dog. He may acquiesce to that after enough posturing on her part. If that's the case, in a few weeks they should get things sorted out. In the meantime, I wouldn't go off and leave them together -- separate them if you're not going to be there to keep an eye on the happenings.

Bev's advice about leashing them while in the house is great. I've used leashes on a corgi and on German shepherds to foster the desired indoor behavior. Ruby the Corgi Pup was pretty determined to consume Cassie's food the minute she finished Hoovering up her own. I decided I was not going to get into the habit of locking one dog behind a closed door to feed them, there being a limit to the nuisance factor. So I leashed Ruby to the oven's door handle, placed Cassie's food in front of her on the other side of the kitchen, and then set Ruby's food down in front of her. This worked handily and gave Cassie all the time she needed to enjoy a leisurely meal.

Which brings to mind this thought: Are you privileging the dog you would like to have be the dominant dog? Weirdly, dogs seem to be conscious of timing as part of hierarchy. I always give Cassie her food dish first. And I always lift her onto the bed first. And lift her off first. I don't treat them equally because I suspect dogs don't think in terms of equality. Ruby still craves to shove the Queen of the Universe off her throne, and the Queen occasionally does lift her lip to assert her ownership of the throne, but there's very little overt competition. Occasionally they'll have a kind of mock disagreement (not a true fight), and in fact Ruby is pretty assertive. But they coexist comfortably and never compete violently.

Although you are a human and your opinion may not count much in the Dog Scheme of Things, as a practical matter if you consistently treat each dog according to its place in the hierarchy you wish to establish, you're likely to have better luck in seeing to it that Dog A remains the boss dog and Dog B comes to accept its place in the tribe. Maybe.

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