I have Abby, who is going to be 4 in November. However, I am not 100% sure of her age, she was given up by her family and was supposed to be 11months when I got her. I really don't know her full history.
She is very skittish around strange people, and always has been. My friends have a Lab, who is super friendly around anyone no matter if she knows them or not. I'm not sure if that could point to Abby being abused as a puppy, or suffering some kind of traumatic event.
Anyways, here is the current issue. I got her with my now ex-boyfriend. He moved out almost a year ago, Abby went through some issues after he left. She started mutilating herself for a while, but then with the help of the vet we got it healed and she hasn't done it since.
Now, she does have to deal with strangers coming to our house a little more often than before. She is showing aggression and almost bit my friend last night. Even before when the Ex was here, if a strange person came to the house she would bark and cower, pee, and tuck her tail tight. After a little while she'd come around to that person and be fine with them.
Now, when someone comes in the house she barks and the hair on her back is straight up. She keeps her distance from them, but as soon as they turn their back on her she goes to attack! Luckily I grabbed her last night before she could, but I think she was heading to bite my friend.
She is fine with me, and if people she already knows comes to my house she is fine to see them and excited to see them. But anyone strange now she wants to attack. If they come in and sit down she is ok with them, but again as soon as they go to leave or turn their back on her she looks like she is ready to bite.
I don't know what to do with this issue.
She doesn't get mean towards anyone new if she meets them outside the house, also. So could this be some kind of protection issue??
Also, she gets really aggressive if anyone comes near the car when she is with me. If I leave the car alone and she is in it, she cowers in the back if someone comes close. She only gets aggressive when I am around her.
Any suggestions are much appreciated.
With aggression issues, you need more than online advice.
A trainer search is available here:
Make sure that the trainer or behaviourist you choose uses non-punitive, non-physical correction-based training - you want someone who uses positive reinforcement based methods. In the meantime, you can pick up a copy of "Cautious Canine" (McConnell) and/or Help for your fearful dog (Nicole Wilde) - both are available via dogwise.com, and ensure that your dog is contained away from any visitors for the time being (in a crate, behind a baby gate or in a closed room)