Aussie Possessive Aggression

by Julie
(Lawrence, Kansas)



I adopted my Australian Shepherd, Wrigley, in 2011 from an animal control shelter. He was 4 then and is 5 now. We've done obedience training and agility training, and we used to hike regularly. However, he had an FCE in March and is still in recovery. Right now, he can hobble, but can't fully walk, and he still has all of the energy that he had before his embolism.

Before the embolism, he was extra possessive and controlling of my roommate. Whenever I was in the room with them, he would follow her from room to room and try to get her attention. Now that he's recovering from his injury, his energy and behavior have escalated. He has begun nipping her hands when she talks loudly or gets excited.

My roommate helps me with Wrigley's physical therapy, and this has helped him see her as having some authority over him. We've also taken to putting him in his room any time we know that my roommate might get excited (like watching sports games, etc.)

Are there any obedience techniques that I can modify for a dog who isn't very mobile in his back legs? Should I try leashing and treating him to positively reinforce staying with me when stimulating situations crop up?

When he recovers to the point that he can stand on his own, I intend to take him back to obedience classes. I've also been taking him on lots of short walks where I support him using a help'em up harness to help him recover and dissipate his energy. I'd appreciate any any insight or help you can offer. (We're 8 weeks into his FCE recovery.)

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