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3 year old neutered Shiba: growling on entering vehicle & if touched once inside +...
  • I have a long-haired, extremely squirmy wormy, intensely loving, in most cases (especially during the day time) Shiba Inu. I get lots of comments & complements on him regularly. "He looks just like a fox" is the most common thing I hear.

    This is my first post.

    I've been able to problem solve some of the things he's thrown in my direction, but he is a very interesting & complex animal, I / my family are discovering about him. When he's sweet, he is so sweet! But when he's shown his other side, well, that's a bit of a downer. How to unravel those things or at least understand where they may be coming from in an attempt to minimize & optimally eliminate unwanted behaviours, particularly aggressiveness.

    Instance 1. Getting into the car, he seems to take a long time getting there & he's great once he's in & the car is in motion. He's a perfect, quiet car ride companion. Totally settled & calm.

    The problem comes if he's touched once he's in or as he's getting in. Grumpy little poop. He has the most wicked sounding growl. He sounds wild. When he's growled at me, I've been getting in beside him, not looking at him or saying anything but also not recoiling & backing off. Just waiting until he's done & then waiting a little longer. I don't want him to think I"m afraid of him & embed his aggressiveness further. I don't want him to think he owns the back seat & I have no right to be there. If he growled & I backed off, I feel he'd feel he was the top dog & I refuse to let my cute little dog think he dictates what's what, especially if he's trying to tell me with aggressiveness.

    I've tried getting in the back seat ahead of him and coaxing him once I'm in to follow me, that works quite well, as he doesn't seem to feel like I'm forcing him in. Then the space is also mine, to his mind, I suppose & that's a different situation.

    Instance 2. He has been getting lots of love from my mom (evidentally too much, as now he seems spoiled & I think I need to have mom & all of us use the NILIF school of thought on him). He noses her to get petted, lies on her feet, squirmy wormies around the floor around her, lies on his back in front of her; paws at the air for attention & no matter what he does she seems to give him attention. The problem is, I think he thinks he is now top dog & mom is at his command. When we were leaving her place the other night, he stretched out in front of her & then growled a foul growl like some wild animal that had never lived with humans. Mortifying. Reflexively, I got in between her & him, I picked him up & removed him from there. He hates being picked-up, but my whole family was there & he's really my dog, I have spent the most time with him & know him best. I removed him quickly so he could stop focusing his aggression on mom. Then I came back to this forum & tried racking my brains as to what happened. I have strongly encouraged my mom not to pet him without him following with a couple of commands first; any time before she pets him. That is my best instinct at the moment.

    I have had a number of dogs before. Never a Shiba. Never have I seen the tempermentalness or heard the growling I've heard from him. He is a mystery. A challenge. I want him to be well adjusted & well-loved. If I can minimize or better yet, eliminate his snarliness at times, I would be very happy. I know my family loves him, as do I. I just need to show him how to get more of what he really wants, so he can have his love & we can be freer to love him.

    PS He doesn't like being petted when it's night time. He seems to turn into a grumpy wherewolf. So I'll give him space then...

    [mod edit: changed category and closed thread due to duplicate topic]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2014-10-17 07:39:39
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    There are TONS of threads on resource guarding and reactiveness that already exist on the forum. I suggest you start there and read through those threads. You may also want to check out some of the threads on fear and anxiety as well.

    Remember that growling is a form of communication, one of the only forms that dogs have. Growling is not necessarily a form of aggression, but usually a way for dogs to indicate that they are uncomfortable with a situation. With the car, try tossing in treats to get him more excited about getting in the car. Once he is in there, continue to give him treats until he is more calm and relaxed about the situation.

    Since this is a conglomeration of existing topics on the forum, and there are tons of excellent threads that will help you out with these issues, I am going to go ahead and close this thread. Feel free to read through the existing threads and continue the conversation there if you wish or if you have additional questions.

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    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
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