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possesive behaviour

charoscoe
May 31st, 2005, 09:15 AM
I have a 18 month irish wolfhound X - Roscoe & a 6 yr old Boston - Charlie.
Charlie has always been the boss and Roscoe has always been happy to let Charlie be the boss but we've have 2 major fights in the last few weeks that have me very concerned. Both times has been over a bone and Joe & I have had to literally pull the dogs apart. It starts with Roscoe minding his own business chewing his bone, then he begins acting funny - every time we come near him he puts his head down closer to the bone - at first I thought he was tired. This went on for awhile until Charlie walked by him (Charlie doesn't bother with bones or toys unless they are playing) and Roscoe jumped on Charlie and pinned him down. Since the last time this happened I have taken away all bones as they seemed to be the only factor in this behaviour. Last night I bought Roscoe a new plush soccer ball and after a few minutes I approached him and he put his head down to protect his toy, I took the ball from him and gave it back a few times. I really don't like this behaviour, when we first brought him home form the SPCA he was very possesive of everything and we fixed that in a hurry. I worry as the two dogs are together in the house during the day. I have put away any toys that he may be possesive with. But this behaviour with a 80 lb dog fighting with a 12 lb dog is very scary.
Does anyone have any sugestions?

:ca: Lisa & Joe :ca:

Copper'sMom
May 31st, 2005, 09:24 AM
My only suggestion would be the dogs have their toys and bones when they are separated from one another. It's kind of a pain in the butt, but it's the best way to prevent anything from happening! Also, when Roscoe tries to protect at toy from YOU(pack leader), take it away and don't give it back! At least for a few hours, so he forgets about it. I'm not sure if you take it away and then give it back right away, the dog might be confused and he may see this as you teasing him - even though you are probably trying to teach him trust!

Do they eat together?

charoscoe
May 31st, 2005, 09:34 AM
Thanks,
I just worry that if I keep taking away his toys when he becomes possesive that it may make him worse. When he was a pup and acting like this with his food we would take away the dish, put a little treat in it and give it back.
They do eat together but Roscoe is not possesive of his food, he's a greeding bugger. We use two food bowls, Roscoe will usually empty the one that Charlie like to eat from first. Charlie has never been a big eater (12lb Boston) every few days I add something to his food to make sure he's eating. Roscoe won't even bud in on Charlie when he's eating.

Copper'sMom
May 31st, 2005, 09:44 AM
When he was a pup and acting like this with his food we would take away the dish, put a little treat in it and give it back.

Uh oh, doing this(giving him the treat) was actually rewarding his bad behaviour!! Roscoe looked at it this way: If I growl at anyone who comes near my dish, mom picks it up and gives me a treat, so I should do this more often to get a treat!!

charoscoe
May 31st, 2005, 09:53 AM
You're probably right but it worked for food. I will try taking the toys away and see where that gets me. Am I right to take away bones completly?

Copper'sMom
May 31st, 2005, 10:03 AM
Give them bones in seperate rooms. You can block the room with a baby gate unless one tries to jump over it to get to the other dog's bone!

Usually, what one dog has the other wants. They are just like kids, they can have the exact same toy but it's not good enough because the other kid/dog has it!

Lucky Rescue
May 31st, 2005, 10:39 AM
Charlie has always been the boss and Roscoe has always been happy to let Charlie be the boss

Charlie has been the boss because adult dogs are always dominant over puppies, but now Roscoe is maturing and may start challenging him and will no longer back down. Add to that you have two male dogs and you are going to have be careful.

Are both neutered? If not, have that done.

Bones are a VERY high value object and even dogs who normally do not guard food may guard a bone. As has been said, never give them bones together. Just the difference in size of the dogs could mean death for the Boston in the case of a fight.

If you want to work on Roscoe's possessiveness with you, get a fantastic treat - something really special that he gets only during these training sessions.

Go to him and take away his toy or whatever and immediately give him the treat. This way, he will learn to welcome you taking anything from him.

charoscoe
May 31st, 2005, 01:41 PM
Are both neutered? If not, have that done.

Bones are a VERY high value object and even dogs who normally do not guard food may guard a bone. As has been said, never give them bones together. Just the difference in size of the dogs could mean death for the Boston in the case of a fight.

If you want to work on Roscoe's possessiveness with you, get a fantastic treat - something really special that he gets only during these training sessions.

Go to him and take away his toy or whatever and immediately give him the treat. This way, he will learn to welcome you taking anything from him.

Yes, they are both neutered.

I think I will ban bones for the time being - at least until I get this behaviour under controll.

Thank you for your advise Lucky, I will try offering him a treat when I see signs of posessiveness. He's a very big strong dog with a sweet personality - I don't want to be afraid to approach him at any time, and last night I was.

Lucky Rescue
May 31st, 2005, 02:33 PM
He's a very big strong dog with a sweet personality - I don't want to be afraid to approach him at any time, and last night I was.

I don't blame you! Not only could this be dangerous, but if you show fear, the dog quickly learns how to make you back off.

I think I will ban bones for the time being - at least until I get this behaviour under controll.
I would NEVER give them bones when they are together. Give them when they are separated. With the disparity in sizes, it's too much of a risk to have them together, as your IW mix could easily kill or fatally wound your Boston.

Here's an article by Ian Dunbar that I think you will find interesting.

http://www.geocities.com/Augusta/2525/posses.htm

Cactus Flower
May 31st, 2005, 02:43 PM
You've gotten great advice- I just came on to beg for pictures!

I don't think I've seen an Irish Wolfhound on the board before.

charoscoe
May 31st, 2005, 03:17 PM
Cactus Flower, here is a pic of Roscoe - as per your request.
He's only 1/2 Wolfie. He's about 10 months here.

Cactus Flower
May 31st, 2005, 04:06 PM
OOOooooh thank you!!! He is a doll! I can absolutely see the Irish Wolfhound in him. Whatever he is mixed with, it's definitely a great looking blend!
He actually looks like he is smiling in the picture :D .