Guy Chapman (guycc) wrote in cairnterriers,
Guy Chapman

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Initial Aggression With House Guests.

I've posted in the past before about my two cairns Junie (Age 3), and Junie (Age 5).



The dogs have different personalities in meeting people and dogs. Sophie loves new dogs and people. Junie, on the other hand, is initially hostile. She didn't used to be this way until we got Sophie, but this is an outline of a usual encounter.

Both dogs see a person. Sophie gets excited, Junie starts barking shrilly. Sophie starts barking, Junie gets crazier. Sophie is all about love and kisses and tail wags, Junie's initial reaction is to bite. Junie definitely feeds off of Sophie's energy, and can actually be more calm without Sophie's influence. Not perfect, but calmer and more restrainable.

Junie has nipped people very hard in the past, to the point of drawing blood. Once she does it, however, she calms down within moments, curls up at the guest's feet, follows them around in a friendly manner, wants to sit in their lap, etc. But she has to go into "attack mode" upon initial meeting. Taking her to the dog park and off the leash isn't much better. She'll charge a dog, and once she gets that first nip or two in, she's over it and fine.

Junie is very sweet and loving towards my girlfriend and I, especially me. I think she gets jealous of other people/dogs interacting with me, and this extends to Sophie's interaction towards me. I think Junie has some insecurity and jealousy issues. We're about to move into a house from an apartment, and I'm hoping the new locale will break her of some of her possessiveness (Junie tends to think she owns the entire apartment complex, despite my reprimands/reminders that she doesn't). She's high energy, and I can't help but wonder if some of the small space may cause a lot of pent up energy.

I don't want her attacking guests, and then turning around and thinking that once she draws blood or breaks skin, it's time to cuddle. The heightened excitability factor around Sophie is something I need to figure out.

How do I introduce both dogs to people without them feeding off each other's energy?
How can I get Junie to understand that guests, family and friends should not be perceived as "threats" to my personal safety, or taking me away from her, or vice versa?
How can I get Junie to get back to her "old" personality? This has been a problem all year? Is this something that needs training? Can a 3 year old dog be "broken" of the habit since it's relatively recent?

Thanks in advance.
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