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Agressive Posessivness

December 16th, 2007, 11:19 AM
We have a mixed terrier/bischon that is 13 months old. Lataely he seems to like to take stuff that does not belong to him. (Eyeglasses, newspaper, jackets, towels --on and on) The problem begins when we try to take it away from him. It takes two of us to catch up with him, because he will run circles around the furniture. Usually he then at some point gets into a situation where he can not get around us. When we attempt to get him to drop the article he will growl and show his teeth and more often than not, he will bite at us also. We have to pick him up (trying not to get bit) and turn him face down to get him to drop it. We can, usually get him to drop it at once if we offer him a treat. But what is really the best way to deal with this? Also at night he gets into a barking mode for what reason we don't know and nothing will calm him down. Otherwise, he is a really great dog.

December 16th, 2007, 11:26 AM
First off - stop chasing him! He is playing a rousing game of chase with you, complete with the "get me if you can" at the end.

Next time he grabs something - walk the other way and go find some yummy chewing or a really interesting squeaky toy. Make a huge deal out of your toy, with your back towards your pup. When your pup comes to see what you have, over him the goody in exchange for the forbidden item. You may find that this works so well that in time, anytime something cool and forbidden finds it's way into his mouth, he finds you to trade with!

December 16th, 2007, 01:44 PM
The best and easiest solution: don't let your dog have access to things you don't want him taking. You must stop him from self-rewarding.

Reward him for chewing/playing with appropriate toys. Give him more physical and mental stimulation (interactive toys).

And like the previous poster says - should he ever play keep away, most often the best thing you can do is ignore him or act like you've discovered something more exciting.

It sounds like this behaviour is turning into guarding, so I would do a lot of exchanging games... Offer your dog a toy, then pull out something even more high value and trade him (important part here is that you always have a higher value item AND your dog brings/trades with you - you do not move toward him to try and exchange). Eventually you can put a command to it.
I would also work on a "leave it" command. Have your dog on-leash and put a towel on the ground (out of reach). You can let him strain and try and grab it but the INSTANT he stops, mark and reward. Eventually you can work your way closer, walk around it, use higher value objects and add a command. You need to reward all calmness (basically in the beginning you will reward anytime he so much as looks away from the towel). Timing is very important because most dogs will stop for a split second just to lunge at the object again - so you need to make sure you are rewarding the correct behaviour.
In emergency situations when he has managed to steal something, it may help to have rock solid OB commands (so you may want to work on them)... While some dogs may not drop on object when you are too far away to "make them", if you tell them to sit/down-stay some listen (which enables you to get close enough to get the object). It doesn't help to call out sit or stay if you know your dog isn't going to listen... So I would only do this in an emergency and if I knew my dog would respond.

When Dodger was a puppy, we did A LOT of retrieving... We did so much that it became more rewarding to bring/show me his "treasures" than to play keep away or chew/bury/eat them. His been conditioned to expect a reward for bringing...
Right now your dog is finding everything rewarding - first stealing the item, then playing chase and also getting a treat for guarding. So really your dog is being smart - now you job is to condition him to find ignoring items or bringing them to you just as rewarding.

Good Luck

December 16th, 2007, 02:11 PM
Been watching some of the "End of My Leash" shows on TV, and the dog guy tells people (paraphrased), "Do you bribe your kids with money? That's what you're doing with the dog by bribing with treats."

Does the dog do anything else that you don't like?

Seems he's acting dominate and going around "claiming" items. :shrug:

I use the dog training philosophy of "nothing in life is free." I make Belle wait until I say it's OK to eat her food. She tries and tries to cheat and is still testing boundaries. I don't treat that often and use play time as a reward instead. (Which really just ends up as more training, but shhhh, don't tell her that.) If she's doing something I don't like, I go and claim the item/space by just standing there with an "I mean business" energy and point to the ground which tells her to either sit/lay down (I don't care which) and ignore whatever she originally wanted to get - like my cat. If she was holding something in her mouth, my behavior makes her drop it. There's no talking, no chasing, no pleading, no yelling. Only body language.

No offense towards smaller dogs, but I really can't stand them. Because a lot of owners think that a smaller dog doesn't need as much discipline as a bigger dog. Small dogs can end up as holy terrors and owners just laugh and say oh how cute.

December 17th, 2007, 07:41 PM
Been watching some of the "End of My Leash" shows on TV, and the dog guy tells people (paraphrased), "Do you bribe your kids with money? That's what you're doing with the dog by bribing with treats."

Anybody who believes treats are bribery do not understand the semantics of learning theory/behaviour. A bribe is when you actually show a dog what you have as a reward to get him to listen (when using treats the dog should not know when he is being rewarded, so clearly not a bribe)....
The training tactics used on that show are old school "yank and crank", the dog comply's out of fear. It's painful, frustrating and infuriating for me to watch.

I don't treat that often and use play time as a reward instead.

If you believe what you paraphrased from Brad Pattison then any reward is bribery... play included.:shrug: It can't apply to one reward and not another.

December 17th, 2007, 08:55 PM
I didn't say I agreed with his teachings about treats. :D Just used it as an example.

December 18th, 2007, 05:26 PM
True...but then what is the point in posting it? Why popularize something you disgagree with (especially when its completely false)???:confused:

May 30th, 2008, 06:57 PM
Lissa and LavenderRott have given you some very good advice. Advice I am employing with my own puppy. Just thought you would like to know you are not alone. I just shelled out $23 to replace one lens of a sunglass clipon that my puppy chewed up. My sister came in and put them down on the chair where he could reach them. The really huge relief is that the tiny sharp piece we think he swallowed did no harm. It was also a relief to find the sunglass lens cost quite a bit less than I was expecting.

June 2nd, 2008, 06:30 AM
A bribe is when you actually show a dog what you have as a reward to get him to listen (when using treats the dog should not know when he is being rewarded, so clearly not a bribe)....

I agree with this for the most part. I only treat on rare occasion.
I think it helps to keep your dog focused, he isnt sure he is getting the treat everytime, therefore it not a bribe? I do think its a bribe though when your dog wont listen unless you have treats. They also, most importantly, need to see you as pack leader, the one in control so they dont need to be.

We just learned clicker training...I think there is too much treating in this dog gained a couple lbs! She is also hysterical about food, (having been starved prior to ending up in a shelter)..she gets too focused on the food and cant recall what Ive asked her to do, so I try to motivate her with "fun"... she gets playtime, tug of war or a good belly rub instead. Im lucky because she LOVES 'working' for me!

I find Brad Pattison a little harsh. Maybe thats his persona for the show?

June 2nd, 2008, 06:12 PM
Giving a treat for exchange is completely fine!!! Actually it is the only thing you should do if you absolutely need to take something out of his mouth! As long as your dog doesn't go into his protective mode. Dont run after him, it is a game! He is running on adrenaline every time it happens...These are not dominant behaviors...this is a form of aggression and needs to be handled carefully. My dog did the same thing, and the more we tried to claim the thing from his mouth, the worse and worse it would get each time. This behavior, if not corrected when they are a puppy (less than 6 months!) will be harder to control when they are older. My dog is an amazing dog, just like yours, and you can live peacefully with a dog who is protective over things. It is about training them to believe that giving it back to you is MUCH more rewarding!!!