Myself, husband and 5 y.o daughter adopted a female great dane a week and a half ago. We have no other dogs in our house, only 2 cats which she has taken to quite well after being slapped a couple of times by them.
After settling in quite well, she has come to be quite territorial over space or food, growling and even snapping at my husband, growling at me when I pick her up or handle her on the couch.
I can only assume after coming from a litter of 10 other pups with 3 adult dogs in the household, she is trying to establish dominance in our pack. I'm concerned over how quickly she has done so, seeing as I have been careful not to pile on un-earned affection and let her walk all over us.
I realise we need to make it very clear we are the alphas in the family and she at the bottom. We've been working on the food aggression through hand feeding, stroking while eating, removing and re-offering the food bowl, and it seems to be going quite well.
I'm just not sure on how to handle the couch? If she jumps on it, I will demand "off" and point, she gives me full eye contact and growls, I will then quickly but lightly scruff her on the neck and demand "off" again, which results in a yelp & eventually jumping off, unless she holds her ground and tries to submit on the couch.
I am concerned this method may create further aggression in the future or cause her to constantly challenge us. I've been researching alot since this has been happening but I find the information is vague or one way or the other. As she is going to be such a big dog, it may not alway be possible to manhandle her.
If what I am doing is bad, how exactly do I cause her to get off the couch? Same for letting go of toys/shoes she is not allowed to have?
She currently sleeps inside the house (in our room on her bed/floor), we have a routine for toilet breaks, walking and play, meals only after we've eaten and they are outside. She has regular periods alone outside (while we are home and while we are not) there was initially some whining and barking but this has died off almost completely as we ignored it.
Appreciate some direction on this dawg!