Cruzer wrote:I AM HAVING TROUBLE WITH HER TRYING TO DOMINATE MY CHILDREN AND BEING JEALOUS OF OUR OTHER SMALLER DOGS.
BECAUSE OF HER BREED I HAVE TO BE PREPARED FOR HER BEING AGGRESSIVE.
This is a huge red flag, and with you also having a son, it could be unsafe to bring this dog into your home. I sounds like her current owner is equating "dominance" with aggression, based on the rest of her description, so you will be bringing home a dog with potential human and dog aggression into a house with both another dog and a child.
I went and met Roxy today. She greeted me with a growl then jumped up and put her front paws on my shoulders and then just sniffed me. She gives very direct eye contact so I was sure to not look her straight in the eyes until I was there a while. I let the owner correct her and ask her to back away from me. Roxy has never had obedience classes nor has she been taught any other commands besides "Roxy Come", 'Sit", "No". She listens to her owner very well when asked to come. Roxy is very protective of her family and the smallest 1 lb puppy. Roxy has corrected the other two dogs many times, mostly the large puppy. Roxy seems to not show warning signs too much, right before she will snap at another dog. Roxy has also growled at the 3 year old boy living in the house. Because it is too hard to teach a 3 year old to stand up to a dog, this situation is headed for something worse.
Also Roxy does hold her tail really low almost all the time and sometimes between her legs. However, she has very dominating postures to humans and other dogs. To me, she kept jumping up and putting her paws on my shoulders. I told her down after being there a while and she complied. When I was on the floor, she basically rolled over on her back but wants to put some part of her body on you at all times. She leans on you, puts her paw up on your leg and loves to get right in your face and give very direct eye contact. She licked my face many times, but the owner was nervous she was going to bite me. Roxy has never bitten anyone "yet" but has put her mouth around someone a few times to correct them.
It sounds like she's quite nervy/fearful, and no doubt, that's not been helped by the chaos created by having multiple dogs/kids in a house with little to no training and rules. Eye contact is not necessarily a dominance behavior, it be also be an effort on a social, friendly dog's part to connect and seek feedback from a person (especially if encouraged/trained to do so), and can also occur in fearful dogs, some will avert their gaze to avoid conflict, but others will make eye contact, some even in a warning fashion. I would be curious as to whether someone trained/encouraged her to jump up and put her paws on shoulders as a greeting, as that's a pretty random behavior for a dog to exhibit upon meeting someone new. Snapping and growling are also warnings, she's telling the dog/kid to back off so she doesn't have to take the next step and bite... not that it's acceptable, but if she's been continually put in these situations and allowed/forced to deal with the dogs/kids herself (as in the case where parents don't bother to supervise and fail to stop their children from harassing the dog incessantly), that's the behavior she's going to default to in those situations, as it's probably worked in the past.
I wouldn't read too much into the leaning, paw being placed on you, etc, as these again can be behaviors due to a wide range of things, not necessarily dominance, same as rolling on her back and licking may or may not have been a submissive gesture, a lot of these things are situational, and mean little outside of context, so to speak. If she were truly the dominant dog, she wouldn't be issuing corrections to the other dogs (and kids... eek!) right and left, as she would be secure in her position, it's possible that she's had to adopt these behaviors due to the adult humans not doing their part to keep order in the house, rather than her actually seeking to be the dominant dog.
Given what you've described, I wouldn't call her 'protective', as many of the defensive behaviors she's shown are rooted in fear, and easily encouraged either by accident (owner coddling dog for being "scared", dog being put in situations where it can growl/snap to effectively ward off a perceived threat, etc), or on purpose by owners who want a "protective" dog and doesn't realize their dog is just afraid. In many of these cases, fearful dogs adopt an offensive defense tactic, where they attempt to scare off frightening things with impressive threat displays, all the while they're scared out of their mind and feeling anything but secure (picture two people arguing, one yelling threats from the safety of their front doorway, the other standing calmly on the sidewalk, speaking rationally in a normal tone... which seems more secure/confident to you?).
i understand that you are eager to help her, but it sounds as if she's not the most stable dog, and would need to be evaluated in person by a professional to determine exactly what makes her tick and how serious of an issue it is, then would likely require an experienced trainer if the issues are fixable. I don't like the idea that she's shown aggression to the children in the house, and that alone would be enough for me to pass her by (not that I'm looking for any sort of project, have enough of those already!), especially if i had kids of any sort in my home. As others have recommended, it is probably best to concentrate on making Cruz the best dog he can be, and these next few months are pretty important and trying
times... he's entering in the fun adolescence stage