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Agressive or Possessive?

Rottimom
March 26th, 2006, 11:23 AM
Hercules has recently adopted this behaviour that I want to nip in the bud, especially before the baby comes.

Twice while chewing a rawhide he has snarled at a person. Once at our 8 yr old nephew, once at me.

The time with the 8 yr old I was actually pretty angry at the child, because for 3 years (ever since we have had Herc) we have taught the kids "LEAVE THE DOG ALONE... LEAVE ANY DOG ALONE..... WHEN HE IS EATING OR HAS A TREAT." And as Herc was lying on his own bed with his bone, the boy reached over and covered Herc's eyes. Herc responded with a lunge/warning snarl.

The time with me I truly think I startled him. He was lying at the foot of my bed chewing his bone. I was watching tv and I drifted off to sleep and I guess I unknowingly reached out and touched his paw. He did the same lunge/warning snarl.

Both times our immediate reaction was to remove his bone and discipline with firm verbal reprimands. He was instructed to lie down until we allowed him to get up. We followed up with reviewing simple commands like sit, stay, come, etc. Once we do decide to return his bone, we practise 'drop it' and 'leave it' to ensure that he will follow these commands with his most valued treat. He is doing well with these exercises and we have him to a point where he will allow people to take his bone away. He will actually toss it to my husband then sit politely and wait to get it back.

The other day my parents dropped by. Herc had a bone and after his excited greeting he laid down on his bed with his bone. My Dad was absent-mindedly petting his head and didn't notice that Herc was becoming tense. I said to my Dad "Watch Herc because his body language is telling me that he is not liking that." So Dad stopped and Herc visibly relaxed.

I'm not trying to excuse Herc's behaviour (its unacceptable to me) but in each of these incidences I can find fault with the human. Herc has a history of being agressive/possessive around other dogs with food or treats, but towards humans, this is new.

I'm confident that our discipline techniques have been working well. The only thing he still does which concerns me is lower his head to cover his treat as someone walks by him. (More so if its me, he doesn't seem to do that with my husband) My husband defends him when I say that I don't like that he does that. I know he didn't do anything but I don't like that he seems to feel the need to protect it! I feel that he should be o.k. with the fact that I may take it from him. I feel that he should allow that.

Whenever he does have a treat, we remove it from him periodically (to ensure that he continues to allow us to do so). We give it right back with lots of verbal praise. But by doing so, are we teaching him that he does have a REASON to protect his treats?

toby's tracy
March 26th, 2006, 11:39 AM
I am encountering similar issues with Toby. I wrote to a trainer who was recommended by Inverness and she sent me back an article she wrote on the topic with an invitation to contact her for further help. The article is written in French - though she did offer to do some translation if I needed it.

I have begun to follow the advice in the article, and if I feel I need more help after that I will contact her for some one-on-one advice.

I hope you find it helpful. Here's the link:
http://www.coeurcanin.com/article6.htm

On the same website you will find her email address - she seems to speak English, French, and Polish.
:love:

Prin
March 26th, 2006, 09:59 PM
IMO, whatever I give my dog, I should be allowed to take back whenever I please. If not, the dog loses that luxury. Leaving him alone tells him that he wins- when he has his bone, it's his and nobody bothers him about it. Some dogs can be more possessive than others, but anybody over him in the heirarchy should be able to remove anything from him.

toby's tracy
March 27th, 2006, 07:01 AM
IMO, whatever I give my dog, I should be allowed to take back whenever I please.

I agree, Prin. This article talks about teaching my dog that I am not a threat to his food. Protecting food is a natural instinct that can be re-trained, according to this article. It makes sense to me. I'm trying it.

rainbow
March 27th, 2006, 04:55 PM
I agree 100%....we were taught that in obedience school and it works.:thumbs up

You should always be able to take anything away from your pet. Except Logan wouldn`t give up the marmot he killed when he was 5 mo. old until it was dead.:eek:

theplainsjane
March 28th, 2006, 01:04 PM
My golden has been so bad with guarding since she was nine weeks old, that several months ago, I even considered that she might need a different home than mine.

My suggestions, now that we have it "under control" are these:

1. If possible, all food and treats are given in the crate.
2. If you dont have a crate, a bathroom or bedroom will do.

I fed Sophie in the kitchen with everybody else until there were SERIOUS fights breaking out. Of course, dog-dog guarding is different than dog-people guarding, as well.

Now, Sophie eats her dinner in my bedroom with the door closed. I do not give treats that can't be entirely consumed within moments. If I do give rawhides, etc. then Sophie has hers in my bedroom with the door shut. She feels more comfortable--and now, if I get the bag of rawhides down, she will go into my room and lie down and wait patiently for her "chewy."

She had gotten so bad that sometimes she would guard when there was nothing even there. I'd be walking by her and blammo! *snap and growl* Scary stuff.

Once I got more used to her reaction, and less frightened (she does have good bite inhibition, thank goodness), she has learned that I *will* take whatever she has that I want, even if she growls. I have put pots and pans over her head and face and taken things away. Now she doesn't even growl. She assumes the position, and I can tell that she isn't thrilled--but she has resigned herself to the fact that what mama wants, mama gets.

So, frightening at first--but if you want to take your dog's bone away, he MUST let you do it (this does not apply to other dogs). It takes time and it has to be done by someone with a bit of dog experience--but don't let him intimidate you!! I know all too well how scary and frustrating that can be. I used to want to wring Sophie's lovely little neck.

She is a beauty--here are some gratuitous pics: http://www.dogster.com/?144980

Mahealani770
March 28th, 2006, 01:22 PM
Wow, I know how you feel. It is so scary when your sweet dog growls, snaps and bites at you over a chewy or guarding another person. I hate it, but I feel better knowing someone else is going through the same thing. I feel a little dumb though being frightened of a medium sized Pomeranian when you have had the courage to take away a chewy from a big dog like yours. I can't even imagine taking Nicky's chewy away from him, especially when he's growling. I'm about to enroll him in training but I'm not sure if it's too expensive. It's going to be $125.00 for 7 weeks, what do you think? I'd love to be able to conquer this thing at home, for free, but I'm not sure it's going to work that way. Since you've already been through it, I'd love any techniques or advice you have to offer. Thanks,
Mahealani

LavenderRott
March 28th, 2006, 03:38 PM
It sounds like you have handled it pretty good so far, but from now on, I think you might want to limit high value treats for in his crate or a room seperate from guests or children. Also, do a search here for NILIF (nothing in life is free).

My rottweiler growled ONCE over a rawhide and she never did it again. We had a very serious discussion about it and she agreed with me - it wasn't something that needed to be repeated. :D

Mahealani770
March 29th, 2006, 06:45 AM
Hey there, what was it that you did to make sure your dog never growled over that chewy again? lol

Rottimom
March 29th, 2006, 05:49 PM
LOL LavenderRott that is very funny :D we had the same discussion with Herc when he was just a pup and growled at Daddy the first time he got a fantastic treat. We have always been so happy that he learned so quickly and hadnt (up til now) done anything of the sort again.

I have been reading up on NILIF and I like the philosophies. Although at times I feel like giving him something special just because I love him so much or just because he is so darned cute (hahaha)! I know he must earn everything and I have to resist rewarding too much just for being him!

Although hugs and kisses are always free.... I just can't help it :o

Well so far so good :fingerscr Herc has been very polite for the last few days and has allowed me to remove his treat.

Thanks all for your thoughtful advice.

LavenderRott
March 29th, 2006, 07:41 PM
Hey there, what was it that you did to make sure your dog never growled over that chewy again? lol

It is called a Come To Jesus Meeting (CTJM) and isn't something that I would recommend to someone who doesn't know their dog VERY well. CTJM's vary from dog to dog and owner to owner and isn't something that involves any type of abuse. In Chase's case, it was a matter of me holding her face in between my hands and - with my nose all but touching her nose - explaining to her in my deepest and queitest voice that such behaviour would NOT be tolerated in any way, shape or form. Since I am typically a yeller - using my deadly queit voice gets everyone's attention.

jesse's mommy
March 29th, 2006, 08:17 PM
I was wondering the same thing, but now that you've explained it, we've had many Jesus talks with Jesse. You could say she is now filled with Jesus love! :D

LavenderRott
March 29th, 2006, 08:20 PM
I was wondering the same thing, but now that you've explained it, we've had many Jesus talks with Jesse. You could say she is now filled with Jesus love! :D

It isn't about love, darlin'. It is about being afraid of MEETING Jesus, up close and personal. :D

CyberKitten
March 29th, 2006, 08:29 PM
I must admit I do not understand the Jesus thing - is it a religious issue? You have to be a Christian (and these days you know how that can lead to arguments :) ) - or did they just choose that word for some other reason???

"Our" choc lab I peridocicly "test" with the bone and food thing - not very often but occasionally - he could care less if I take his bone while he is gnawing on it (I assume he knows he will get it back since he is such a kind, lovable and obedient dog) - but I also know some shelters use this as a test of aggression and if a dog even so much as growls, he is in danger of being pts (I am not certain I agree with one such test since any animal in an insecure situation like that is scared and can act differently since s/he may realize s/he has to fight to survive so in that way it is not fair. At home, esp where children are involved, it ia whole other matter. I always think a dog who growls in that situation needs more training - professional training maybe? Have you checked the local places that do this?

Good luck!!!!

LavenderRott
March 29th, 2006, 08:37 PM
No - CK - it is not a Christian thing. You may replace the word Jesus with any diety you happen to believe in or even Satan for that matter. It is used in this instance as a figure of speech. Sorry if I offended.

jesse's mommy
March 29th, 2006, 08:39 PM
It isn't about love, darlin'. It is about being afraid of MEETING Jesus, up close and personal. :D

I know that you silly goose! We had the talk, she then repented, and is now celebrating her love. It was more of the "I'm really sorry mom, I'll never do it again kind of love".

Prin
March 29th, 2006, 09:46 PM
I must admit I do not understand the Jesus thing - is it a religious issue? You have to be a Christian (and these days you know how that can lead to arguments :) ) - or did they just choose that word for some other reason???
Haven't you ever seen an action movie where the guy says to the other guy "Are you ready to meet your maker?" It's kind of like that. Why do you look for conflicts that aren't there?

toby's tracy
March 30th, 2006, 06:16 AM
Haven't you ever seen an action movie where the guy says to the other guy "Are you ready to meet your maker?" It's kind of like that. Why do you look for conflicts that aren't there?

To be honest, the phrase threw me for a loop, too and I appreciated the question. Conflict seeking? I didn't see that - until maybe now!:)

Prin
March 30th, 2006, 04:35 PM
Asking is fine, but sticking in that little threat about how Christian things will cause an argument is looking for a conflict.. JMO. (Basically, we know CK is Catholic and to me she was implying, "C'mon, say something bad to offend me.." That is the tone I read anyway, but I could be wrong. :))