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Resource Guarding? Growling Exhibited Today


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Guys,

Need advice please. Started last week giving our Khya raw bones. No problem last week, she took it and had fun. Today, gave her another. My son went over to where she was to pet her and she growled at him. He came to me and said half joking, 'do you think its cause there is blood on it - she's gone Cujo / Kraken? She was running all over the place with the bone, trying to hide.

So I went over. Same thing. Throat growl, Head low. Dropped the bone and I grabbed it. Yelled very loudly at her and ignored.

But I am at a loss - she has never done anything like this. But then again, we never have given her raw bones.

This would not have anything to do with her being bitten by a Sheppard last week I am pretty certain.

Many thanks

Jo

 

 

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I'm not really sure about the growling. With Frankie, early on I played the "leave it" game. I started with kibble, and moved up to higher value treats. Now when I give her a raw bone, she does run around and try to hide it, partly because it's frozen and too cold to gnaw. Eventually she'll settle down with it, but if I want it I say "leave it" and she does drop it. I've not tried to take it directly, and maybe I should just to see what happens:) Frankie does growl when I try to brush her with the spiky brush, though, and I just figured she hates it because it's too harsh. She doesn't mind a soft brush, but that's useless for removing hair. There's always a mystery and a challenge!

 

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Thank you. I am pretty sure Khya would drop the bone if I had a treat - I will try. With any of my previous dogs, I have always been able to take anything out of the mouth, whether it was chewy stick, bone, whatever. This just caught me by surprise with Khya because previously she has never done this.

A dogwalker friend suggested this behaviour is because BONES are a different ball game for them?

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Oh dear. Bitten by a shepherd? That sort of thing can leave an imprint and cause some interesting behavior changes. It just depends on the encounter. Anything else out of the ordinary? You might have a period of re-adjustment, where she questions her world and it's safety, especially if she didn't see the bite coming. Maybe stick with routine for a month or two.

 

Games are a good idea. Maybe hold off on raw bones for a while and try working with less desirable treats. Make a game of give and take with the treat always ending in your giving the treat to her. I make sure our puppies are use to me taking anything out of their mouths at any time. I'll give a treat (something reasonably large) and then fish it back out right away then give and fish finally giving. I also will inspect teeth and gums. You can work your way up to a raw bone or just don't feed raw bones again. At any rate don't tolerate the behavior. Sounds like you made your point. I will sometimes wipe my feet when I'm really wanting to emphasize a point of displeasure. It is a way of marking. It's a simple thing that is not emotion triggering for humans but has a big impact for them. Snarlpuss at sister over toy, well now it's mine, too bad. picks up toy and wipes feet.

Edited by Sherab
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Thank you, great tip - will give a try!

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I always suggest hand-feeding if you experience ANY resource guarding issues. You can play games during this exercise - like impulse control games. Later one, when high value rewards are given I suggest walking by, without making eye contact or engaging with the dog and drop a small treat/kibble at their feet and keep going. That way you approaching while they are so engrossed in such an amazing treat is a positive thing instead of them worrying you'll take their treasure.

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At any rate don't tolerate the behavior.

 

It can be very scary, but you have to stand up to them. Remember that you can sit on them and crush them. Don't be afraid. You are a human! You've killed mammoths! Do it once, and you may never need to do it again.

You should not give the raw bones again, until you are ready. And be ready. Start with something less, a chew stick, but do not let go. Hold him/her by the scruff, and take it back. Stand up and show that it is your bone. It is a show. You are alpha.

 

If they growl and try to take it away, you have to chase them down and get it back. Several times I have had to do this, but the pay off is huge. Now, if they have something that they are not supposed to have, a dead bird, or something, they will reluctantly drop it, when they see that I am serious.

 

They definitely say, "please,...can I keep it?" Or sometimes they skitter around to get away from me pulling something out of their mouth, but in the end, when I use my kind, serious voice, they relent.

 

And there is the crux: it's me, and how I react, that makes the difference.

 

When you are Alpha, they will back down. The behaviors you describe are all ways that they are testing the pack order.

 

And don't be mad at them. In their minds, they can run faster, jump higher...why shouldn't they rise in the pack? We have to out think them. We use our voice and our body language, and we show them that we control everything around them, especially, the food.

 

Look at it as an opportunity, to reaffirm the pack order.

 

No growling at children. Absolutely not. After you are feeling confident, then you watch while your child does the same stick give/take away.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kindly note that you can muzzle an AID dog with your hand if you need to. In fact a 5'4" woman like myself can muzzle a snout with one hand and pick up the dog with the other in case of needing to remove from a situation and place in time out kennel. And yes all our dogs have needed to have icky, inappropriate things taken out of their mouths. Frequently as pups and now much less often. Once they know you can completely shut down their power the game is over.

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Thanks all, will keep you posted on progress!!!

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How old is your pup? This is all great advice and we have done all of it and still Zuni is protective of high value treats. I just make him go outside and give him space if he needs some alone time with his bone and yes the meatier the bigger the issue. He is fine if he is out on the lawn - he was really bad when he was younger and we did have to back up and re establish some rules. Some of these dogs have some more primitive instincts and Zuni is a talker and not afraid to use his growl . Now that we all understand some of the weird noises that come out our communication is improving on both sides. Good luck !

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NorCal, weird noises ... yeah Coffey is in that category.

 

Sherab, I like the feet shuffle/mark idea - I think I'll borrow that.

 

Berta, mine do the run and try to hide (in the furniture) with dental bones - LOL!

 

We do a lot of "leave it" training (don't want them to forget) and 'remove from mouth training' on and off.

There was something, I think a real/raw bone, that caused Coffey to growl at Tayamni when she came over to him.

I've done repetitive training as others and gotten GOOD results.

 

I wonder if getting bitten by a Shepard has stirred up a reaction?

This did to me so I to you? Let's see what I can get away with?

Bad habits are always easier to form than good ones it seems.

 

Good luck. You are nipping it quick and that's great!

 

Let us know the results!

 

 

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Agree totally with the Alpha position in the hierarchy. You MUST convey the idea that you are alpha.

 

Lili was quite easy to get into a place of good behavior & consequently I became a bit spoiled by that...but Kona took over three years of near constant & epic struggles of will and she still displays a revolutionary streak now and then, especially when it's time to 'go get your shoes' as we call it (or get your 'pants' as its known in the Sherab household).

 

When it's time to 'saddle up', so to speak, she races around the living room at zoomy speeds, with great, reckless abandon, barking sharply and repeatedly as I affix the harness to The Squint®. Once it's her turn the zoomies gradually decrease over a short period of time until there are low guttural utterances that only submarines can understand. During this I am made of granite. No movement, eye contact, breathing or anything until she calms down. We've tried everything we can think of to get her to stop doing this but she just slowly ramps back up after a day or two of good behavior. Very cyclical girl this one. It's just her excitement level coming through as very excited barking. "Yay, It's Christmas Morning and LOOK, I got SHOES!" Now that she's five years old (! Holy Crapsicles....five!) she's mellowed a bit but this aspect of her behavior just won't die.

 

What seems to work sometimes, although I feel quite silly in the execution, is angrily barking back at her. This totally startles her and she's not sure if you're having an aneurysm or or you've been possessed by a demon but it certainly gets her attention when you break the pattern that way. Thing is, this isn't 100% effective 100% of the time. She's sharp as twelve tacks and she'll just give you that..."Yeah? Your full of $hit aren't you?" look. At that point it's time to start over....

 

It's all about breaking the unwanted pattern and substituting something else that is more acceptable and treating the living daylights out of them when they respond. I'm sure though that If she lives to be 50 years old she'll be barking at me like a complete lunatic every time she 'gets her shoes'....some habits die hard.

Edited by Chinatola
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Hey China, great to see you back on the boards. I will be in awe of you and hour lovely bride's superior occularity in October I am sure. Ahh the horn of kona, it tends to rub off on Cake for about a month. Yet another reason to be sure to be Alpha.

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Wait now....what's in October? We're headed to our Island at the end of this month for two weeks and then I have some Bidness travel after that.....did we make a plan I failed to communicate?

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Rooster has/had a lot of resource guarding issues. I have worked really hard with him and he is much better but he still has his moments. I did a lot of the things mentioned in this post but for us everything just turned into a fight. It was an all or nothing argument over food and bones and being alpha all the time and winning every time just wasn't working for us. I read an article on Couch Wolves (https://www.couchwolves.com/articles) that changed the way I was doing things and really changed our relationship for the better. Basically instead of making everything an alpha contest they suggested showing the dog that if you get what you want they will get what they want - making it a us vs the world thing and not a dog vs owner thing. It was a lot of trial and error but it worked. It worked so well that I started using this concept for all of our interactions and it has made life for us so much better. I found that all of these behaviors were fear based. What this looked like in practice is I took away all the toys in the house and put them in a closet. I would ask him if he wanted to play and he would have to sit and wait while I picked a toy and then I would give it to him and leave him alone - no trying to take it way or play alpha games with him. When he was done I would put it away. Same with food. Sit wait to eat and leave him alone when he was eating. I found that giving him space with boundaries worked the best. I did do some of the treating tricks to get him to see that if he left his food or a toy it would still be there when he got done eating the treat I was offering him. This method has brought us to a point where he comes to share his toys with me and even is sometimes OK with sharing with other dogs (we are still working on that). I can pass by him and his bowl when he is eating and there is no issue as there was before. I also found that building confidence and teaching him self control methods helped too. In the end not over playing the alpha role is what worked for us. I was so frustrated for so long and I hope that you find something that works for you and your pup. Good luck.

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Awesome Adrienne. Thanks for another tool in the tool box. Every dog is an individual and every owner is an individual. Your chemistry = what works for your pack is unique to that extent. What works for my pack might not work for yours. Especially with AIDs! The important thing is to keep working it until you form that bond that works for you. I think the key thread you hit upon is that it is all about relationship building with your pack. You can feel it when its not working and you can feel it when you are moving in the right direction. Your relationship wasn't good using the alpha play book but it's great using couch wolves, and it continues to develop into rich, funny, endearing moments of bonding. "[this]...really changed our relationship for the better". Awesomeness.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love couch wolves!! We are going through her method on recall right now as ours is a little wobbly these days. Man these pups keep you on your toesicles!!

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  • 2 years later...

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