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Resource Guarding - Kinda Long!

Ford Girl
August 15th, 2007, 01:02 PM
Hi, I am looking for advise and opinions about resource guarding. It's something I have been dealing with and working on since Dazy was tiny and I have received so much info I don't know which way to go!!! As much as she is smart, obedient, confident and never complains about anything, she feels the need to resource gaurd, towards other dogs and once towards me - months ago. She is a dominet pup and goes full out with everything she does. We practice NILF, she doesn't sleep with us, we educated ourselves early on about dominence and adolecence, we've done 3 levels of school including puppy socialzation, we give and take her food, put our fingers in her bowl, approach her while she is chewing a bone and give and take treats, clicker train several times a week. Because she is so cute, we don't let her get away with anything!!!

ONCE she growled at me when I petted her while she was eating a bone, I grabbed the bone, gave her a correction and left her on the balcony for a few minutes. It was months ago, and this was my first reaction. Right or wrong, that's what I did.

She guards sticks at the park, she guards dogs she knows from dogs she doesn't know at the parks, she guards me from approaching dogs - like when we walk in to day care and the other dogs rush over - if I'm in site she shows her teeth, if I'm not, she's fine, she dislikes puppies and seems to hover snarl and growl - only when I am there - I was told she is guarding me - she never does this at day care once she's in and there are all kinds of puppies she plays with, but when I am there she won't let them close to me. She just spent 3 nights at a pet resort with VooDoo and she wouldn't let other dogs play with Voo. She doesn't attack, but growls, snarls, lunges in the air snapping...shows her teeth.

The funny thing is, she has met rescue pups that are fear aggressive and she just lets them snap and snarl at her, then she gently tells them "ok, enough, you are going to love and trust me, are you done yet?", then she's their friend?? It baffles me.

I have talked to 2 different trainers with 2 very different approches, here is what I have been told:

Trainer #1: Behavior: it's normal and ok for dogs to guard what's theirs towards other dogs, not humans. My reaction should be: either manage it by not allowing these items she guards (kinda hard when it's me she's guarding) or carry treats around and trade for item she is guarding. Resource guarding is in them for life, it can't be trained out of them. Never discipline for/during growl as this is the warning and we do not want to discourgae the warn - or she may go right to the snap/bite without warning.

As for the dislike of the puppies: she said that not every dog likes every dog, that's normal, do you like every human you meet? maybe your dogs just an a$$hole to puppies??

Trainer #2: Behavior: it's not ok to guard, EVER, not to humans or dogs not for any reason. My reaction should be: Take item away immediatly, show no fear, don't back down, immediatly give correction (same puppy ocrrection we learn in puppy kindergarden for nipping), make eye contact until she looks away, don't treat.

As for the dislike of puppies: she is now sensing my axiety and fear that she will hurt the puppies, I need to drop the leash and walk away calling her, and if she makes actual contact (which she hasn't), yank her leash and correct her, she said this is normal behavior that adult dogs show towards puppies who rudly approach her - BUT - no older dog did this to her when she was little. She said trust her, have faith in her that she is just showing the puppies manners.

I have done a bit of both, tried a few different things, I see the logic behind both methods, I know I have to be consistant and I am nervous about the gaurding, especially the puppies - I dont want to have a hurt puppy or scared owner...I know it would scare me if my tiny pup was being growled and snarled at by a 65lb dog!!! So, we haven't been to the off leash parks in months, I am careful to feed her in the trailer when camping, I am trying to manage the situation as best as I can. I just wish she would relax!! I see so many dogs that get balls and sticks taken from them and they just go..oh, ok, fine by me...I'll just run after you...not Dazy!!! GRRR! Frustrating!

What I am looking for is:

What do you feel your first reaction should be?

How should I handle the puppy situation?

Is this a behavior I can better?

I am just looking for insight from those who deal with this, I can't be the only one out there?? I am trying my best to keep her in line, and I know I signed up for this, I am not complaining, just looking for help and suggestions. I want to be able to take her out to parks where there are sticks and other dogs and meet puppies.

Thanks!!! Have a great day!

happycats
August 15th, 2007, 01:29 PM
I sympathize with you, and you have done amazing in your commitment to Dazy, trying everything:thumbs up .

My neighbours dog "Buster" who I spend LOTS of time with (every day) does exactly what Dazy does!! He is never aggressive towards me, but has guarded his "things" (food, toys) with everyone else, he also guards me, and will growls at people who come near me (not every person though). He also does try to bite (it's more of a roll on his back with his mouth going) whenever I try to get his leash on to take him home.

I felt that maybe he was getting to attached to me, so I have tried to spend less time with him:sad: But I would love to see some suggestions to your post, because staying away is killing me.

Ford Girl
August 15th, 2007, 01:52 PM
Thanks! That must be hard for you, when you really want to spend time with the pooch.

Spending less time with her is not an option unless it came to that I guess, or is that it? Her breed and her energy level will not allow me to seperate myself from her more then the 7 hours a day I work, my husband does one on one with her for leashed walks and basic tricks/command training - and she is so well behaved at home, it's like a different dog when she does this. I don't get it. And it's not that she needs a good play, we ensure she burns that energy, for everyone sake!!

BUT - she does guard her BFF furfriends, so I try and mix it up so she plays with different dogs often, she doesn't guard against the dogs in our circle of furfriends, they can have her stick...no issues, but strange dogs. AND..when a strange approaches her politly or she approaches them she lays flat, sometimes pees, very submissive like behavior, rolls over and lets them smell her...all the while showing her teeth..."like hey, I know your the boss but I dont like it". Her approach has always been this was...very submissive, but it's like when she realizes the dog she met means no harm, she then takes the lead and dominates.

Oh - and an example of a puppy she intimiadated recently- she met a 7 month old Dane who was MUCH larger then her, he bounce over to her - tail wagging, and she snarled and growled, he backed off immediatly - so it's not just tiny puppies, puppies of all ages and sized.

I do know in doggie world, if it worked once, they will keep doing it. Hummm???

jessi76
August 15th, 2007, 02:32 PM
not all dogs are park dogs. not all dogs like all other dogs. not all dogs like puppies.

I think (perhaps) your expectations are beyond what your dog's personality is.

I would start by working on "meet & greet" manners. I generally allow my dog to do "first name/last name" and then he must behave himself. first name = head/nose sniff. last name = butt sniff. no rolling on ground. no peeing. no humping. no snarling. no pawing. first name/last name ONLY. I use the leash to enforce this. first sign of my dog getting out of line = firm leash correction, refocus with a WATCH ME, and then a SIT STAY. If I have to get between him and the other dog, so be it. If I need to lead him away from saying hello, then so be it.

as for the puppy issue... sounds normal to me. Dazy warned the dane pup that she will not tolerate nonsense, and the pup got the message. I don't find that worrisome at all actually. I'd be worried if she was attacking pups, but warnings are generally fine. I wouldn't throw her into a puppy social to test this theory, she may just not be a "puppy lovin" dog. which is fine.

sounds to me like you're doing just FINE, you obviously know how to manage it, maybe just keep exposing her to these situations, keep enforcing & training, and accept that she may not ever be a "park dog", but she can get to the point of tolerating younger dogs, and politely greeting strange dogs.

Ford Girl
August 15th, 2007, 04:40 PM
I think (perhaps) your expectations are beyond what your dog's personality is.

.


Yes, I admitt it, I do have high expectations for her, since day one, she has been alot of work, which most puppies are, but she is A LOT of work behavior wise, if there is a behavior expected during a certain stage of growth, she shows it. I just hate to ease up on my expectations, she's the kind of dog that would take advantage of it, she pushes it like no other dog I know.

So, you keep your dog on leash for meet and greets? I ask cuz I was told 2 different things....again, contrdicting info.

1. on leash so you can control it, if she needs to be pulled off you have the leash to grab, not the dog

2. off leash becuase leash agression makes things worse, dogs who are dominent are more so on leash

How do you stop the lowering to the ground and rolling over and peeing when she approches if that's the first things she does? Would me stopping and telling her to stand be the way to go? Or do i pull her up and make her stand? Keepong in mind she drops right away, we could be 10 feet away. I was told that kind of approach is a good submissive sign. When she drops, give her a correction?

I am very thankful for the tips and responses. I just called my husband who picked her up from day care, and the ladies told him she played with 2 5 month old labs all day, no issues, she let them run the show. (the day care ladies know my concerns and write a daily journal for me) I am begining to think it's me and puppies together she doesn't like?? Is that possible?

JanM
August 15th, 2007, 05:20 PM
Sounds like Dazy and Amber are similar personalities! Amber has stopped the lying down, crawling and peeing when someone new approaches her. I was working with a dog behaviourist and he told me to ignore her when she does that and I also asked the person to ignore her. She no longer does that. I have used the "ignore her" routine on several issues - all successfully. If she jumps at the gate when I come home, I turn around and do something until she sits - then I come back to the gate. She is usually sitting nicely now until I get in.

Amber guards her ball or her stick - whatever she has in her mouth and this is more difficult to correct. She is much, much better than she was - she used to growl and lunge at another dog if they approached her when she had the whatever in her mouth. Now she just darts away from them and continues back to me. If I see another dog coming to grab her ball - or whatever - when she has dropped it for me, I ask her to carry it - so she grabs it in her mouth and we walk a few steps. I did do an exercise, again thanks to the dog behaviourist, with a friend's dog and Amber - when Amber growled at her because of her ball - or whatever in her mouth - I would stop her, ask her to drop it and I handed it to the other dog. Then I took it from that dog and gave it back to Amber. I did this several times and it surely did help. Amber will now play with that dog with her bone. Strange dogs, though, Amber will dart away from them - but no more lunging. She will growl to say "back off" and I figure that's ok.

I'm also working with Amber on barking at bikes, chasing joggers and barking at baby carriages. She has come a long way - I do this off leash - I got between whatever she was barking/growling at and severely reprimand her verbally. She now immediately lies down when I correct her - whether she is 5 feet or 50 feet away. She now ignores most bikes and baby carriages but every once in a while she figures it's going to eat her so she starts up - but she stops right away on correction so that's a plus!

jessi76
August 15th, 2007, 07:07 PM
So, you keep your dog on leash for meet and greets?

yes, for a meet & greet my dog stays on leash. This way I remain in control and make sure he minds his manners.

How do you stop the lowering to the ground and rolling over and peeing when she approches if that's the first things she does? Would me stopping and telling her to stand be the way to go? Or do i pull her up and make her stand? Keepong in mind she drops right away, we could be 10 feet away. I was told that kind of approach is a good submissive sign. When she drops, give her a correction?

a couple suggestions...

start at 25 ft away (or more if you need it), start walking up for a meet & greet... if Dazy starts to drop, use a negative marker (I use AHT! AHT! to signal to my dog that is the WRONG move), get Dazy's attention (eye contact), give her opportunity to do better (get a sit-stay for a minute, praise her), start again.

keep her attention on YOU as you move closer to the meet & greet. talk to her... "Dazy! watch me! good girl! woooo! Dazy! hey pretty girl! look at you! watch me! up here!" .... you get the idea. keep her focused on you. when you get to her "submissive zone" (that 10 ft) ask for a sit-stay. don't make her greet yet, just try to get her to sit on her toosh, and not roll around and pee. work you way up to saying hello to the other person & dog. try to get closer each time.

granted, this is obviously best practiced with another willing person and a dog that she's unfamiliar with.... which I realize in real life is hard to come by. Is there anyone you know that you could practice with? perhaps one of the daycare ladies would be willing to do a 5 min practice with you & Dazy when you pick her up? just a thought

Ford Girl
August 16th, 2007, 12:19 PM
So, am I to understand that the submissive approach to dogs that she exibits is not acceptable? I was under the impression that if they drop and let the other dog approach it was a good thing. Hum? Good to know tho...I will try that, the day care ladies are more then willing to help me out, they work with the dogs while they are there and give corredtions as needed. She doesn't do it when human approach.

She's fine with people approching, doesn't jump anymore, sits for a pet. Her manners towards people at 95% great with the odd excited-puppy-wiggle-butt-can't-control-myslef-slober greating she gives to a select few human friends.

Last night we gave her a bone after we cleaned her ears and gave her meds and I sat near here and traded for tiny treats using drop it and take it, both commands she knows, and I had no issues at all.

I have been taking her to public places to work on the eye contact and the attention towards me, she's great at home, will look for direction, wait for me to say take it if I drop some food on the floor like cereal, wait to come thru the door after us, wait at the bottom of the stairs until I say come..etc...but outside of the house and yard she is so scatter brained and focused on her surroundings that she doesn't pay any attention to me if there are dogs or people around...I have been going to pet stores, parking lots, and leash walking to work on this, I stop, wait for her to make eye contact and praise and treat and continue, sometimes it takes minutes before she will look my way.

I know the training methods I have used are clicker and treat based, I'd like to explore a different method at this point that encourages the eye contact and attention at any time, not just when clicker is in hand.

This morning I had her offleash for 15 mins in a dog field behind my house, she walked right behind me, looked for direction, actually retrived her ball and when i said let's go home, she walked right thru our gate. So, she knows how to behave and what I expect, I just need to get to the point where the behavior is consistant!!

Thanks for the tips, looking forward to trying the dog approach advise. I am thinking that this may help her feel secure enough that she doesn't need to drop and submitt and show her teeth at the same time. :clown: I can't imagine what mixed messages that is gving to the other dog?

luckypenny
August 16th, 2007, 12:42 PM
Penny has some of the same issues as Dazy re: aggression towards other dogs and, very recently, aggression towards strangers.

She listens extremely well to me at all times but becomes totally out of control when another dog/stranger is approaching us and the "look" command/re-directed attention has not worked for us at all. We have an appointment early next week with a trainer who came very highly recommended to us. Hopefully he'll be able to teach me how to better deal with these issues. I'll share what I've learned, especially if he has some new ideas that haven't been yet mentioned.

TMac
August 16th, 2007, 09:37 PM
She guards sticks at the park,

I don't have experience with my dog guarding people or dogs, but he does get twitchy about toys sometimes, including sticks. Our response to that (at the advice of our trainer - and it really works) is that the minute he gets snarly about a toy or stick, he immediately loses his privileges with that toy (i.e. the toy goes away where he can't get it or we leave the stick area). Its really worked and he has definitely improved on this front.

Trainer #1: Behavior: it's normal and ok for dogs to guard what's theirs towards other dogs, not humans. My reaction should be: either manage it by not allowing these items she guards (kinda hard when it's me she's guarding) or carry treats around and trade for item she is guarding. Resource guarding is in them for life, it can't be trained out of them.

I personally don't think its 'normal' to guard. I agree to not allow the toys/sticks that she's guarding and/or trade for something else, but I don't know what to suggest for guarding people. Maybe just not rewarding her with your attention?? I also don't agree that its in them for life and can't be trained out of them.. you might have to 'watch' for it for the rest of her life, but I've seen first hand that training DOES help!


As for the dislike of the puppies: she said that not every dog likes every dog, that's normal, do you like every human you meet? maybe your dogs just an a$$hole to puppies??


True that she might not like every dog she meets, and puppies can be pretty 'in your face' but that's something Dazy will have to learn is normal puppy behaviour. Just need to have more socialization with all sorts of dog behaviour (under supervision of course). Toby had to learn that other dogs mounting him was normal dog behaviour and had to learn to deal with it by either sitting or leaving the area instead of snarling back. As our trainer says its all about him learning to choose the 'right' response to the (sometimes obnoxious) behaviour of other dogs.


As for the dislike of puppies: she is now sensing my axiety and fear that she will hurt the puppies, I need to drop the leash and walk away calling her, and if she makes actual contact (which she hasn't), yank her leash and correct her, she said this is normal behavior that adult dogs show towards puppies who rudly approach her - BUT - no older dog did this to her when she was little. She said trust her, have faith in her that she is just showing the puppies manners.

You're right that she could be sensing your anxiety. I'm not a big fan of yanking the leash for corrections though. Try just keeping an incredibly loose leash when you approach (think of a spaghetti noodle). If Dazy tightens the leash by approaching too fast, just spin around or walk in different directions much like you'd do to prevent pulling on the leash while walking. As for the showing the puppies manners, a little correction by a short/low Dazy growl should usually suffice, but that should be the extent of it I think!

FordGirl, you are doing a great job...keep up the good work and Dazy will improve with time and training for sure. The Day Care will help alot...I'd give the dog park a break for now and just have supervised play with dogs you/she knows. You're among many who have gone through this craziness! By the way - how old is Dazy now? I found Toby responded to his training even more when he turned the magic 3 years. There is something to be said for teenage years!!!! :wall: :laughing:

Ford Girl
August 17th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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FordGirl, you are doing a great job...keep up the good work and Dazy will improve with time and training for sure. The Day Care will help alot...I'd give the dog park a break for now and just have supervised play with dogs you/she knows. You're among many who have gone through this craziness! By the way - how old is Dazy now? I found Toby responded to his training even more when he turned the magic 3 years. There is something to be said for teenage years!!!! :wall: :laughing:


Thanks!! I know we do work hard on it, I'm not one to sit back and expect the behavior to just appear! Dazy is 11 months old now - will be 1 in September, so I know she is going thru adolecence, she has been since about 7 months old when she peed on our bed right in front of us!! My trainers say she is one of the most stubborn - strong minded dogs they have ever met, she pushes it any chance she can!! All the while looking so very darn cute!!!

The trainer #1's advise was what I was told first, and when it wasn't working and didn't sit well with us - i.e. normal to gaurd, we engaged trainer #2, I think her opinions and threoy's make more sense...the 3 classes we did were with trainer #1, so I might enroll her in another obedience class with trainer #2.

Trainer #2 just suggested the next time I meet a puppy (in a safe off leash area) to drop the leash, walk the opposite way like it's no big deal, call her to follow me, instead of standing there over them praying it doesn't progess further then hover and growl, my only fear with that is I may be another 20 steps away and it may not work and I won't be close enough to grab her off the poor pup. I haven't let it come to that, she told me to trust her.

We met 2 older labs last night off leash in our back yard field area, she lowered, and they appreached her, both female labs, I was a ways away from them, they smelled her, and Voo was even with her, then they all started playing. It was a good meet and greet, I was thinking good thoughts and walked towards them in an upbeat way...then said, "let's play doggies" in a hyper happy fun voice, Dazy got all hyper and was so nice to them!!! :dog:

jessi76
August 17th, 2007, 11:12 AM
The trainer #1's advise was what I was told first, and when it wasn't working and didn't sit well with us - i.e. normal to gaurd, we engaged trainer #2, I think her opinions and threoy's make more sense...the 3 classes we did were with trainer #1, so I might enroll her in another obedience class with trainer #2.

I actually thought trainer #1's advice was better. (just my own personal opinion though!) I think guarding from strange dogs is completely normal. and I agree it's the guarding from humans that's the real issue.

Trainer #2 just suggested the next time I meet a puppy (in a safe off leash area) to drop the leash, walk the opposite way like it's no big deal, call her to follow me, instead of standing there over them praying it doesn't progess further then hover and growl,

Frankly, I think trainers #2's advice is dangerous. to drop the leash and walk away - leaving an unpredictable dog w/ a puppy and hoping for the best. you have no way of controling your dog this way, no way of protecting the pup should the pup need it, no way to correct a wrong behavior, no way to enforce polite manners... I wouldn't be comfortable with such a risky situation.

Ford Girl
August 17th, 2007, 02:01 PM
Frankly, I think trainers #2's advice is dangerous. to drop the leash and walk away - leaving an unpredictable dog w/ a puppy and hoping for the best. you have no way of controling your dog this way, no way of protecting the pup should the pup need it, no way to correct a wrong behavior, no way to enforce polite manners... I wouldn't be comfortable with such a risky situation.


I agree with the your concern Jessi, which is why I haven't done it, I fear I may be too far away to stop it if it turned in to more then a growl/hover. I am going to do meet and greets on a loose leash if and when we go back to the off leash parks where there are several dogs and puppies.

It seems I should be combining a bit of both training to suit the situation and her reaction. Both trainers had valid points and things I didn't agree with, I am glad the folks her have replied, so I can see what others are doing, I don't plan to let this be as is, if I can help it. The problem I had with trainer #1 is that she said deal with it, it's all normal, and it can't be fixed or wroked on, I don't agree with that, but I also don't agree with letting Dazy free to terrorize puppies. :evil:

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Ford Girl
August 17th, 2007, 03:13 PM
Would umbilical training help me with this situation? i.e. paying more attention to me, looking to me for guidance, eye contact? If so, do you just use a longer leash and wrap it around your waist? Thanks!

TMac
August 18th, 2007, 08:46 AM
I agree with the your concern Jessi, which is why I haven't done it, I fear I may be too far away to stop it if it turned in to more then a growl/hover. I am going to do meet and greets on a loose leash if and when we go back to the off leash parks where there are several dogs and puppies

I also agree - It would indeed be dangerous should anything happen and you need to separate them!

Ford Girl
August 20th, 2007, 10:40 AM
Would umbilical training help me with this situation? i.e. paying more attention to me, looking to me for guidance, eye contact? If so, do you just use a longer leash and wrap it around your waist? Thanks!


So, I had to buy Dazy a new collar and leash this weekend, all of a sudden I could hardly get her collar off!! Her head grew over night!! ha!

Anyways, I bought a longer thicker leash and I wrap it around my waist and we went walking both days this weekend, I couldn't belive it took maybe 3 corrections - in the way of if she pulled I changed direction, and she was loose leash walking, looking at me for direction, paying attention to me...I don't have experience with umbilical training so I don't know much about it, I've seen it on TV, but if anyone could give me some tips or resaoning behind it, I'd appreciate it. It was nice not to have sore elbows after the walks or excert large amounts of energy to walk her. :thumbs up

jessi76
August 20th, 2007, 11:57 AM
sounds to me as if Dazy isn't in need of umbilical cord training. she sounds VERY WELL trained actually, with maybe just needing to work on a couple manners. Just from what I've read in your posts though, obviously, you know your dog best. I would only tether a dog to me if a) it was a pup who needed supervision and reminders OFTEN, b) it was an older dog who really needed some strong leadership/guidance OFTEN, or c) if I had reason to NOT trust the dog.

sometimes I do tether my own dog to me, but my only reasoning is to free up my hands (i.e. hiking, carrying packages, etc...) I use a caribeener (i'm sure I probably spelled that wrong) and hook it to the end of the leash and then onto my belt (or belt loop). my fiance is an avid climber, so we have many of these around our house, in varying sizes.

Ford Girl
August 20th, 2007, 12:30 PM
One thing I do struggle with is the eye contact and paying attention to me when she sees a dog approach or for meet and greets...I thought this would help her with the meet and greets and approaching...and teach her to make eye contact with me and look for guidance. Building a bond and relationship. Yes, no, maybe??

I did use a caribiner too, easy release if need be, I let her have 10 minutes off leash after the training and she listen really well.

Is there a con to doing this type of training? Can I just use this for easier leash walking if that's all I needed it for? Cuz it was certainly easier on my arms/elbows.

I was also thinking it would be good to be hands free out at camp so I can carry my beer without being pulled and spilling it. :thumbs up

jessi76
August 20th, 2007, 12:47 PM
if it's working for you, by all means, stick with it! :thumbs up and if Dazy seems to be improving and paying better attention to you... I think it's fantastic!

for me, successful meet & greets just took ALOT of practice, repetition, and positive reinforcement. Believe me when I say sometimes we did the same meet & greet 10x in a row to get one success!

I think with training, the best method is whichever one works for both owner & dog in a positive manner. heck, I trained my dog to walk nicely on leash without using a leash at all... so anything is possible!

let us know how it continues to go