My dog is aggressive in his crate?

I live in a house with two dogs. One is a 5 year old shepherd mix and the other is a 2 year old springer spaniel (my girlfriends dog). When we first moved in together, the dogs got along great. In an effort to promote better behavior and save ourselves from dog hair, the dogs have since been crate trained and spend the night downstairs. My dog (the shepherd) will go into his crate with no problem but if we place our hand near the crate once he is in it, he will growl and snap at us. He is also aggressive and barks a lot at strangers walking by our house (only when he is inside). There was one time where he bit the springer during a fight over a bone. Other than that, he is a very goofy and friendly dog most of the time. It makes me nervous because his aggressive behavior is unpredictable. Whenever I am petting both dogs at the same time I feel like they could snap at each other and I will get caught in the middle. Does this sound familiar to anyone? What can I do to work on this?

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6 Responses to “My dog is aggressive in his crate?”

  1. ..sarah.. says:

    you mean possessive instead of aggressive
    possessiveness is shown my aggression majority of the time

    is he fixed? if not, that’s a good fix for it, by being intact, then he as a lot of ‘male frustration’ from not being able to breed, sounds crazy but it’s true

  2. Breaking Dawn says:

    give him some toys to entertain him. Also, talk to your vet about it!
    they can give you a great! adivce

  3. rp says:

    he should get neutered. and, take dog training classes.

  4. Amanda B says:

    He is resource guarding.. the home, crate, food issue are all indications..

    I suggest getting a consult with a trainer in person.. but a couple of handouts that may help in the mean time..http://www.k9station.com/articles/aggression.htm

  5. Acacia Rottz says:

    I have to agree with "Boxer"s idea of how to get him used to someone near and around his crate. Also there clearly is a dominance problem and he need to know you are alpha, not him.
    Another thing to do, is cover the crate when he is in it, that way he can not see the people walking by, I assume they are outside, walking down the street?? Or, you could move the crate to a room where he can not see out the windows.
    Mostly, he needs to understand you are boss, and that crate is yours, not his. And, needs to know he is not allowed to tell the other dog, or you what you can or cannot do. Perhaps getting him into some training classes might help with the dominance, alpha issue. Good luck with your boy. Hope you get it all figured out.

  6. BoxerPitRhodesian says:

    The dog is obviously very possessive over that crate. It seems "ok" now, however you need to stop him before his dominance issue leads to other situations. I would have someone else with him on a leash (remove the other dog for now in another room…) and go near the crate. Have the person holding him on the leash reward for good behavior. Keep doing this…once he’s in there, give him treats for not growling…even if you are 5 feet away…toss it in. Gradually get closer and closer to the crate while still rewarding…let him know that it’s ok when someone goes near his crate.

    On a deeper level..there is a dominance issue in the house it seems. You have the right idea giving them a safe place, however he needs to know that YOU as the alpha can do whatever and go wherever you want. He is below you…

    Good luck!