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Ask the Expert: Q&A

A Food-Aggressive Beagle

Q: About three weeks ago, I rescued an adorable beagle. In the last few days, however, we've found he's food aggressive. He will take his own food/treat without a problem, but then go to one of my other eight dogs' bowls and growl, then bear teeth, and then bite if the dog won't give up his/her food. More disturbing is, he is now going after the other dogs' treats. He doesn't respond to "leave it!" When held by the collar and told to "leave it," he continues to go after the dog and snap at either myself or my husband.

 

A Snapping Bichon

Q: I'm just starting to look into how I can solve this problem. I have a 9-month-old bichon frise, who has given us nothing but joy. Just lately she has begun to snap at children occasionally. We cannot identify a common denominator in any of the instances. She has never snapped at an adult. It has happened a couple of times with children under 5, and twice with children around 10-11 years of age. Her breeder was an older woman, and we got her when she was 6 weeks of age. She has been checked by the vet and is healthy. Other then these few times she is great. I was wondering is this common and is there anything you could recommend as she is the first dog we have ever owned. No one is aggressive with her; if anything she is the queen of the house.

The Training Game Q & A

Q: I've gotten my niece onto clicker training with her family cat. I told her about the training game and we tried it out on each other a few times, although I may not be remembering all of the rules. My niece has been doing the training game with her sister, but I gather they do it more like the game Hot & Cold. She (as trainer) became angry with me (as animal) when I moved too fast and wouldn't move my arms (she wanted me to flap my arms). I tried to explain successive approximation and told her that *I* have much trouble with my timing of the clicks and thinking of ways to reinforce Cica (my cat) to get her to do a certain behavior. She thought I wasn't playing fair. She also didn't understand my saying that it's not up to the "animal" to figure out and guess what the trainer wants. Can you tell us more about the rules of this game? I love having a way to talk with my cat.

Chasing Bicycles

Q: One of my students recently asked me what to do when their dog chases them when riding a bike. The dog runs in front and around the bicycle. The student would like to stop this behavior, especially when the dog does this with the children. I struck a blank. Do you have a suggestion? This dog is just playing, but it could develop into something else if left alone.

Cowardly Corgi

Q: I would like to information on getting a dog to spend time out of its protected place and how to train it to be less afraid in the house. I have a corgi that spends most of her time in a small bathroom and has done this since she was six months old. We know something frightened her, but what? Now it has become habit.

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