Stella has been with me for a week, now, and she’s been making good progress in every area but one: Her aggression towards Glimmer.
Anything Glimmer touches or sniffs at, whether outside or inside, Stella immediately becomes possessive of it. I’ve carefully reviewed everything from this first week with her to try and determine exactly when this behavior began, and I’ve found the answer: It was the first time I offered her and Glimmer a food treat.
Stella was fine with Glimmer before food was introduced into the equation. Since that first treat offering, Stella now sees Glimmer as competition. She’s locked into this mind-set, and although she’s willing to work around or near Glimmer when we’re outside, I have to maintain at least a 6-foot to 8-foot distance between them. And even that distance is pushing it; Stella has the power to lunge hard enough to connect with Glimmer at that distance.
Because her brain is locked into seeing Glimmer as competition, Stella’s guarding behavior has expanded to include the office. If Glimmer sets even one paw in the room, Stella immediately tries to attack her. Stella associates the office with food [it’s where she’s fed], so she guards the room with the same intense aggression she uses with food. She even tried to attack Violet when Violet came in for some affection from me.
This kind of aggression is very dangerous. At this time, my concern is that Stella is so deeply locked in to the idea that literally everything is a precious resource she has to fight to protect, that she can’t get out of it. She can’t let go and relax. It’s survival instincts at their most intense, and I’m doing all I can to find the key that will help her. She does want to relax; she works so very hard to try and behave herself so that she can be with all of us at the same time…