What is this?

For the last week, there has been something strange going on in my house at bedtime. I'm guessing it is some source of resource guarding, but it is weird.

As a reminder: Liyah has an xpen set up with her crate, and litterbox and sleeps in there at night. Since she's been here I've always put a "squirrel dude" with her kibble in it anytime she has to spend time in the xpen or crate. Ruby and Brando both sleep on the bed with me at night.

When Liyah first came here, I would let all 3 b's run upstairs at the same time…Liyah being the smallest would given a bit of a headstart and still Ruby would get by her and get to Liyah's crate first...sometimes Brando would, sometimes he wouldn't. Eventually there started to be squabbles between Ruby & Brando over Liyah's treat. So the way I stopped it was I would let Liyah run up first, close her door, and then come let Ruby & Brando loose at the same time.

Well over the last week, if Brando gets upstairs first, he will wait for Ruby at the door and then charges at her growling as she comes in the room...this definitely ISN'T play. After it happened the first 2 times, I switched how I released them to go upstairs and held Brando back, letting Ruby upstairs first. That seemed to work ok. Last night I made the mistake and let Brando up first and it was nearly an all out fight, he stood at the door and came out growling at Ruby as she reached the top of the stairs, so then she reacted. Thing is Ruby will not back down to Brando...so when it happens I feel the need to intervene to stop it. Oh, within 2 minutes of breaking up their squabble, they were both on my bed playing together. I figured starting tonight I would bring them upstairs on leads. So they enter the room at the same time.

I always said that I wasn't really sure of the pack order in my house. Ruby is easy going, so is Brando. But since Liyah has been in the house, I'm really starting to see that Ruby is the dog in charge. If Brando corrects Liyah, she sometimes pays attention and if he goes off on her (noise, no biting), Liyah will stand up to him. If Ruby tells off Liyah, Liyah just lies down and takes it. If Ruby stands up to Brando, he will usually walk away after a short bit of noise. The other day she walked over to a place he was lying down and stared at him, made a small growl and he got up and moved away and she took his spot.

So does this sound like resource guarding from Brando...guarding the room he's in? Once they are both in the room it is fine...it is just the entering of the room. There have never been any squabbles over the bed, or where they sleep on the bed.

Any ideas about what I should do to stop it other than what my new plan is (walking them up at the same time on leads) or what I was already trying to do by letting Ruby upstairs before Brando.

It is so weird to me that this has suddenly started to happen...

It may be linked to the treat that Liyah is getting. They both know it is up there but neither of them are able to get it. Mine all get a treat at bedtime. Maybe you want to start rewarding Brando and Ruby for good bedtime manners with a bedtime cookie. Maybe start with them on leash walking with you upstairs and then give them their cookie when they are in the room and sitting. Then work toward them going upstairs with you without the leashes so they are still entering the room together but they both know they are not going to miss out on the bedtime snack.

Thanks Lisa…you might be onto something...they always used to get a couple of cookies at bedtime and I've been inconsistent with it lately. I'll do better with that and see if it changes the dynamic.

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