How do I train my dog not to be possessive-aggressive towards other dogs?

Spike is an eight month old Cairn Terrier who is often at the dog park.

1-He will sometimes harass/bully a more timid dog by barking incessantly (until distracted).

2-He will sometimes fight to keep a ball or toy (sound horrible but no biting). This could happen when he had enough of "chase me" or when he joined in another dog's game of fetch and decided he wants to keep the toy. He will "play nice" for a while, but it reaches a point where he will go at them if they try to get it back. He is never aggressive to people, and once the fight is broken up, it's like it never happened, and e reverts back to his same playful self.

Is he just a terrier? Short of telling my friends not to play fetch with their dogs, or taking all the toys out of the park, what can I do to correct his behavior?

Asked by Spike on Nov 3rd 2009 Tagged resourceguarding, aggression, possessive in Socialization
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Best Answer

Lola Penelope

Lola can sometimes guard toys from other dogs, although she is better now... or I am. One reason it's better is her "leave it" and recall are super good now. The other reason is I know that what she guards is squeaky balls or old broken tennis balls, so if I see her with one of these and see her hold her head down and start looking for a "private" place to play with it, I take it away and put it out of reach.
If another dog is playing fetch or has something she seems interested in, that is when I give her the "leave it" command and tell her to come. Then I distract her with something else. It took a while for her to get to this point though. She is now 15 months, started this behavior at 5 months. Think it was right before her 1yr birthday before she got it 98% of the time.
I also gave her a lot of mini time outs when she wasn't behaving, like bullying. I'd pull her to a quiet part of the park and make her sit until she relaxed and stopped focusing on whatever I didn't want her too.

Lola Penelope answered on Nov 3rd.

Other Answers



It is the owner's responsibility to step in before your dog gets aggressive towards other's.
If you know he is harrassing a timid dog who is obviously not wanting to play or afraid, you need to take him away from the situation. I know when Deogie is getting annoyed by another. Deogie always attempts to walk away but some dogs can be persistant. I step in and stop the dog before Deogie tells them enough is enough, I tell the people, "come get your dog." People sometimes think it's okay for another dog to continue to bite, jump, hump or harrass another dog when it is quite obvious one dog wants nothing to do with it.
Deogie at times can guard toys from dogs, I need to know when it's time to take it away. When he does find a toy, as long as he is walking around with it he is fine, but once he lays down, my cue to take it away. I know as soon as he lays down, he's claiming it.
Most fights at the bark park can be avoided by people just using common sense and stepping in when needed.

♥ DEOGIE ♥ answered on 11/3/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


When he starts to bark/harass other dogs you need to step in immediately & correct him.
I would try playing fetch with him in another place (besides the dog park) with another dog. Every time he decides to keep the ball/toy correct him. When he "plays nice" give praise. The tone of your voice & consistency is key when correcting & giving praise. Your dog is still a puppy. He needs to be worked with. I think if you work on this with him regularly & put in the effort his behavior will change.
Spike is adorable:)

Sailor answered on 11/3/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


He's adorable!!!!

He is all terrier, all boy, and all adolecent puppy. You did not mention if he does this to small, big or all dogs. Some big dog will put him in his place eventually.

Snickers can be a noisy goof at the park too. If he is being a pest or just too loud, I pull him for a time out. Once he relaxes a bit I let him go play again. Some days I pull him once, others 12 times. He has a beef with Husky/Malamute types so if there is one at the park I have to watch him constantly.

Snickers answered on 11/3/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Here is a link I think you should read.
It may give you some insight to his behavior.
A cairn terrier is a hardy little dog who is full of himself very much. They have a strong outgoing personality. They are used for hunting small vermin. So, it is kind of bred into them to hunt down things, carry them and then be very possessive of them. I would if it were my dog to get him to bring the objects he hunts down then when he brings them teach him the Out command, when he does Out it, feed him diced cooked chicken breasts, use positive reward methods to teach the dog.
You may have to neuter him as well, but his personality will still be strong as that is who he is.
Find him his own toy, he would enjoy something small and similar to a prey object a rubber chicken, I have seen those, and then you could rub a piece of food on it and toss it about, but at the dog park it is hard to control a dog's behavior or prevent problems. Training at home is key.

Dieta answered on 11/4/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer