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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is about my own dog. We got Keela about 3 months ago. She is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix (possible mix with cur according to a friend who has worked with curs). She's 4 or 5 years old. Took her a few weeks to decide that we were actually going to keep her and for her to become protective. I have decided that I know exactly why the previous owners were giving her away...she's just a tad bit OCD over her ball....just a tad. LOL Put her ball in a tree and she will find a way to climb said tree to get to her ball! She will play by herself with her ball for hours....throw it, play soccer with it, etc. Laser light....sends her nuts! We absolutely adore the mutt.

Her first night here, she got ahold of one of my indoor cats. I whaled the tar out of her until she turned loose of the cat (who lost some hair and dignity but is ok) Took another week before I truly trusted her with my babies in the house. Now they get along just fine. Barn cats? Well, they better learn to survive...I can't fight nature too much and she is bred to hunt cats.

So, long story short. My daughter usually calls Keela to go upstairs to bed with her. Keela will reluctantly crawl off my bed or out of her kennel and go up to bed with Lizzie. Sometimes she'll come back downstairs and crawl in bed with me during the night. The other night, Lizzie called her and she would not come out of her kennel. Lizzie started walking to the kennel and Keela started growling and snapped at Lizzie when she went to put her hand in the kennel! I walked in and called to Keela who just lay there staring at me....usually she thumps her tail when you talk to her, but not that night. I stepped forward and the low growling started again. I reached out and shut and latched the kennel door....Keela growling the entire time. Scared the bejeesus out of me!

Back to normal Keela by morning. Let me rub and pet all over her while eating...Thought maybe we had woken her up too suddenly, but that just can't be the issue. Last night she's laying in bed with me (shoving me out of my own bed BTW) snoring loudly and I shoved her to get her to move. She snorted, moved a little deeper into the bed and I shoved harder. She finally moved. No growling, no snapping, etc. Just reluctant motion. LOL And that's usually how she is when you wake her up. I've even kicked at her to get her to move when she's at the foot of the bed and she NEVER gets growly with me.

Any ideas what might have caused her strange behavior???
 

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It's maybe the kennel some dogs see their kennel as THEIR space their safe haven no one else is allowed ro mess with it we had a dog like That once if she was in that kennel you didn't mess with her
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Maybe...but if it is the kennel, then that's new behavior. She usually thumps her tail when she's in her kennel and we talk to her. That night, her tail never moved. And I've shut her in the kennel on many occasions when I needed to keep her locked up for whatever reason. Lizzie has reached into the kennel many times to grasp Keela's collar and get her out...no reaction then. And there was no reaction the next night or last night when we called her out of the kennel....
 

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I am sorry if this offends, but it is the first thing that comes to mind for me. Keela was adamantly telling you that she would not go with Lizzy. I would look closely at why that is. Is lizzy teasing her, forcing her to stay where she doesn't want to be, or even hurting her somehow? If you are certain that this is not the case, maybe she was hurting from something else that night and just needed that time alone. What was her previous home like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nope, doesn't offend at all. If she had come out of the kennel for me, I would have told Lizzie to just leave her alone and go to bed that Keela didn't want to go with her. I haven't seen Lizzie do anything to Keela. Usually the 2 of them inseparable when Lizzie is home from school....lay on the couch together, on my bed, etc., use each other for pillows.... The being hurt has crossed my mind. We have a lot of other animals out here and it's possible she got kicked or stepped on by a horse or burro, slammed by a goat, etc. None of us noticed that happen, but doesn't mean it didn't.

Don't really know much about her previous home. They said they'd gotten her at 2 or so...she was just "too big" for them (can't imagine how they would have felt if she'd been purebred Rhodesian!! as she's only about 50 pounds of solid muscle....about the 1/2 the size of purebred). They did text me just a few weeks ago to see how she was doing, so I would assume they really cared about her. I think her very protective attitude (she will make sure everyone knows this is HER territory and you come into with her permission) and her OCD behaviour with her ball are the reason they got rid of her. Although I'm now curious if she did this with them too and they got scared???

Any and all ideas or suggestions are welcome. I've never experienced this with any other dog without there being some sign of something....had a boxer mix that would get ear infections and would get growly about his ears, had one get kicked and was snappy when we were checking for breaks....those things are understandable. This was just so totally random....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Kind of random...but...are rhodesians prone to brain tumors? We had a white german shepherd when I was growing up that got mean as he got older. He was very protective of us and HIS home. Was super OCD about his squeaky toy (nothing funnier than a 120 pound shepherd playing with a little squeaky toy!) to the extent that he would nip at you if he thought you weren't giving it back soon enough. Would bite anyone besides family if they tried petting him... Found out after we had him put down (after he bit my dad) that they are prone to brain tumors that can cause that....Haven't seen anything about Rhodesians or curs either one that suggest that, but hadn't heard about it in the white shepherds until then either.
 

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Well, it was just one isolated instance. I would still watch her carefully and instruct Lizzy to do the same, but give her the benefit of the doubt. If it happens again, then I would get worried.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have no intention of doing anything drastic with her at all. We all absolutely adore this dog. She is normally a total sweetheart and I feel perfectly safe at home by myself with her here and know she will not let anyone hurt my daughter either! I was just trying to come with up an idea of what might have caused it so we could avoid it happening again.
 

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Was she hiding her ball? Maybe she just didn't feel good and wanted to be alone. We CANNOT let my dog in the truck unless we are going somewhere. If you try to get her out and she isn't ready, she will growl and snap. She's got a mind of her own! Also if it continues I would NOT immediately resort to rehoming her. Who's to say she won't end up in a kennel after her next owners have a minor problem. I would think about training if this continues. 2 of our 5 dogs do not get along AT ALL! We have separated our yard in half basically, 3 on one side and 2 on the other. It's peaceful, no one gets mad, no fighting, everyone gets a walk twice a day. We found something that works before resorting to finding her a new home. The smallest one who is also the one who is aggressive, is a heeler mix. Very skiddish, only responds to my grandpa and I. But we LOVE her and would do anything for her :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh no. We will exhaust all other possibilities before doing anything with her. And re-homing if this continues to be an issue just isn't an option in my book...I'd only be risking someone else getting bit and I will NOT do that. Nope, her ball wasn't in there. When I let her out the next morning she went right to her ball, picked it up and headed for the front door to be let out. This was just so random and we had never had a problem with her in the kennel before, never growled at any of us for any reason (even when we first got her and I had to get very physical with her over the cat). Like I said. Just totally random and out of the blue. I'm really leaning towards the "she just didn't feel good" for whatever reason. I just wondered if anyone else had experienced anything like this and had any ideas....And you are all coming up with great ones.
 

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I have a German shepherd lab mix who is very OCD about her tennis ball. No one else can have it, she had it in her mouth at all times. Takes it in her dog house at night: she's crazy about it!
 

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Really sounds like pain to me. She either had something hurting or was sick, but I would lean towards something hurting. She was "going off by herself" until she got better. I bet if she was an outside dog she would have went off somewhere for the night and you guys wouldn't have known where she was. Dogs are programmed not to show weakness instinctively, so they try to get off to themselves to heal.
 

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dog behavior

Hi there,

I train dogs professionally for a living. People are right that it is best to rule out a biological cause for strange behavior. I would also suggest that it may very well be a form of resource guarding. Dogs will guard things that are "theirs" such as toys, beds, food, ect.

This is one of the situations where any kind of aggression on your part is likely to escalate the problem. (i.e., don't do anything you ever saw Cesar Millan do!)

The best way to handle it is counter conditioning, in which you basically teach the dog a happy association to the situation which is upsetting to them. Using food is often the best way to do this, but you have to be very careful not to feed and therefore reinforce the aggressive behavior. I would be happy to explain the process in detail to you if you like.

The old saying "let sleeping dogs lie" is a wise one. If someone calls the dog out of her bed for something that's not important, like "come sleep in my room because I want you to", and the dog doesn't want to, it should be left alone. However, you can't allow the dog to become unapproachable in the crate so you need to gradually teach her that people approaching her in the crate is a good thing, by feeding her a morsel and then immediately going away.

These situations are best handled with the help of a professional trainer, just be careful because there are lots of quacks out there, and also lots of trainers who rely heavily on physical coercion and intimidation which are very dangerous and destructive ways to train dogs.

With a little food and the right attitude, very grumpy dogs can be rehabilitated into very happy, relaxed dogs. I have one German Shepherd who is a reformed resource guarder, who growled at and snapped at myself and my husband the first month we had him. He is now a 100% mellow and trustworthy family member. It can take up to 6 months for a rescued or rehomed dog to truly get comfortable in a new environment and that early time is very tense for the dog. Good luck!
 
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