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The Problem:

He growls at us occasionally and once when other people were around, but I have been able to walk up to him and take them away from him without him making a sound. The guarding against our other dog (and probably any other dog) has caused a fight which is why we just don’t buy them bones anymore, unless they’re the type that they can eat quickly.

Potential Solution:

You seem to be experiencing the absolutely trying issue of an aggressive dog.  Does he only growl when other people or items he wants are around or when there is no one else around and you come too near?  Is this response consistent (does it happen each and every time or is it occasional)?

I’m concerned that this solution may be beyond my ability to solve for you.  Here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • Allow no children near the dog.  If someone is to be attacked I’d prefer it wasn’t a child.  Do you agree?
  • Hand feed your dog each and every meal.  One bite of food at a time, from your flat hand.  Just put a piece in the center of your palm and have him take it from you, then replace it with another.
  • Remove all items the dog might guard (toys, chews, etc.)  Toys only come out when a member of your family is playing with him.
  • Spend at least two hours a day either training, feeding, playing, or giving your dog affection.

This first step will have your dog seeing you as the person he has to come to to get what he wants, instead of the person he has to keep the things he likes from. Have all adult members of your family participate, otherwise your dog will only associate one person in the house as the person he gets things from.  Do this for a week and in the mean time give me more details and we will continue planning for him.