September 12th, 2010, 05:55 AM
Our 9-month old yorkie/bichon mix is docile and friendly with people and other dogs, but very possessive when he gets something in his mouth. We first thought it was just food, but it's also toys, stuff he picks up outside, tissues, etc. If we even appear to be going to take it away, he will growl and nip at us. He will even run over to me and growl if I pick up tissues he's previously ripped up and left. If we offer him a treat, he will give up things like pens that he's gotten hold of, but I'm worried about two things: When he gets something he shouldn't have in his mouth during a walk, and the overall fact that he's so aggressive towards us.
September 12th, 2010, 07:17 PM
Your dog is resource guarding, perfectly normal and instinctual behavior for many dogs (and even people) but they can be taught to leave or give up items freely without aggression.
Here you'll find many articles/blogs on the topic of resource guarding. http://www.dogstardaily.com/search/node/resource+guarding
I strongly recommend you get the book by Jean Donaldson, Mine! - A Practical Guide To Resource Guarding In Dogs. If you can't find it in a bookstore, you can get a copy here http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB740 . We used these tools on one of our dogs with great success and also use them in prevention work with young foster puppies. Good luck :fingerscr.