Today has begun with an attack on Glimmer. Stella was not muzzled yet. Glimmer was in the office, sniffing the floor like she always does – there was no food present – when Stella attacked her. Fortunately, Glimmer was not bitten.
Because of her food aggression, Stella has been fed in the office, away from Glimmer and Violet. Unfortunately, this has created a situation in which Stella now guards the office and will not allow another dog anywhere near it, regardless of whether or not food is present. This means I now need to find a way to create a neutral space that will not trigger Stella’s guarding behavior.
When she is muzzled, Stella is calm and relaxed around Glimmer – as long as there is no food present. If there is food present, and if she is muzzled, she still tries to attack Glimmer. On the other side of the coin, if Stella is not muzzled, she becomes dangerously unpredictable. She has no problems at all with Violet, regardless of whether she’s muzzled or not. In fact, Stella is very respectful and gentle with Violet.
Any area Stella associates with food becomes a danger zone to any animal that enters or gets close to it. Stella’s owners brought her to me because of her reactivity towards humans. But, the dangerous guarding behavior Stella is presenting is a red-zone situation that takes priority over everything else.
Today has started out rough, but we will get through it. Calmly, patiently, and with lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement for each correct choice Stella makes.