Fear Aggression / anxiety / male dominance help!
A couple of thoughts.  Like Trifan said, do everything to keep him from practicing these behaviors.  Look at it this way. Chance is afraid, he growls, snaps, bites and the scary thing goes away.  Success! Chance has now learned how to get rid of scary things but not in a way that is acceptable.  

My Mattie is terrified of strangers coming to the house, small children, and strange dogs.  For people coming to visit I tell them to completely ignore Mattie and this has worked really well.  It allows her to get to know the person without them invading her space.  You may want to try putting Chance away in a room when visitors arrive and wait until everyone is calm and seated to bring him out on leash.  Ask everyone to ignore him, bring out the treats and toys to distract him, and if at any time he seems stressed put him him back in the room.  

People often label a fearful dog as dominant or aggressive.  Last year I was at an agility trial and I saw someone that I like but hadn't seen in a while.  I went over to talk to her and a mutual friend was holding her 15 month old border collie.  The dog was clearly stressed and wasn't happy with the friend holding him.  Friend said, "He is friendly, you can pet him".  And the dog growled, it was very quiet, but it was a growl and that poor dog was looking at me terrified as if to say, "Please, don't pet me."  I said, "He looks like he needs some space, I'll pet him another time."  If I had been bit that day that poor dog would have been labeled aggressive when really he was fearful and no one was paying attention.  

With Mattie, my job is to protect her.  I want her to know that Mom will always keep her from scary things.  It has worked well, in the two years I have had her she has become so confident and happy.  

Here is one of my favorite articles:  https://suzanneclothier.com/article/just-wants-say-hi/
(10-25-2017, 05:25 AM)Sunny Wrote: Chance was adopted from a shelter when he was one year old, right? And he is now 3 years old? Has this behavior been continual, or just recent?


yes when he was 11 months we adopted him. because he was too much energy (apparently, who knows exactly why) and yeah he just turned 3, in september.

he’s always had separation anxiety since we got him. he adjusts in time but new places he tends to stress out more. our vet gave me a prescription to get filled for trazodone to help reduce his anxiety and stress when coming to the vet.

he’s destroyed couches before. but unsure of it that was from separation anxiety, stress that had been in the atmosphere due to a divorce taking place or if it was his lymes. but since we’ve adjusted. if my ex isn’t gonna be home all day or into the next, i always made sure to go out and spend time with him. the divorce was finalized and the one was moved out. and his lymes has been treated and being monitored.

over time though, it used to just be me my ex and chance on walks. well it turned into a battle getting my ex to go. so then it was just me and chance and we go as often and i can/could take him. so in time he’s realized who takes him places and does fun things with so it’s like his bond with me has increased and he’s closer to me than my ex. which i think makes him more protective of me. i could be wrong. but it hasn’t been something that has changed over night or in a short time frame.

and made it isn’t a dominant issue. and that’s fine. i just was looking for some suggestions as to what people have done to help their dogs with their anxiety and fear, so i can help my dog. that’s all i was looking for.
Kristen, you are in a difficult situation. I do think Chance has separation anxiety. And it could possibly stem from your divorce. Dogs know when you are under stress. I once had my now gone GSD at a class and I asked him to sit in front of me. He always did this perfectly but on this day was off. The instructor was horrible (I didn't go to the last two classes) and just reprimanded me, "He is off!" without telling me how to correct the problem. I left the class early and half way home discovered that I was coming down with a migraine. That is why my dog was off, I was off.

I'm not an expert but I don't think Chance is protecting you, I think he is resource guarding you. Mattie does this. Mattie had even done this with my sister. Mattie growled at my sister's dog in attempt to keep the dog away. I think my GSD was protective. If I was out in public with him and a small child approached or a woman or a kind man my dog would accept petting. But if some 'bad ass' kind of guy would approach me, my dog's hackles would go up and when the person asked if they could pet my dog I had to tell them 'no'. He never tried to protect me from someone that was a friend, only people that were threatening.

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