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Old August 8th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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Resource Guarding - how do you handle it?

I'm looking for help to resolve Amber's resource guarding issues. There's absolutely no problem with my taking a bone - or anything else from her but another dog is a different issue! She will guard her toy, her stick - whatever she has - and will fight to guard it.

Any suggestions?
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Old August 8th, 2008, 09:17 PM
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if there is another dog around will she let you take what she has? or will she fight you then too?
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Old August 8th, 2008, 09:32 PM
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If a toy is going to create too much stress between our dogs, I just remove it . Bones and such are fed to them separately while they're in their crates. Lucky is the only one that sometimes guards toys but only from puppies. Most of the time, we allow him to as it teaches the youngins not to take anything away from another dog. He'll never hurt them though, usually "the look", a low growl, and rarely, he snaps the air in front of them. Even the most persistent of pups learns rather quickly.

When you say that Amber will "fight" to guard her possession, what exactly does she do?
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Old August 8th, 2008, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by allymack View Post
if there is another dog around will she let you take what she has? or will she fight you then too?
I can take her treasure with or without another dog around - just not the other dog!
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Old August 8th, 2008, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
If a toy is going to create too much stress between our dogs, I just remove it . Bones and such are fed to them separately while they're in their crates. Lucky is the only one that sometimes guards toys but only from puppies. Most of the time, we allow him to as it teaches the youngins not to take anything away from another dog. He'll never hurt them though, usually "the look", a low growl, and rarely, he snaps the air in front of them. Even the most persistent of pups learns rather quickly.

When you say that Amber will "fight" to guard her possession, what exactly does she do?
My problem is mostly swimming - when I throw a stick for Amber, if another dog comes along and wants to play with her stick when she comes out, she growls. If she carries her stick after swimming - or her ball after playing fetch - and another dog comes near - growl. She has been in two actual fights over a stick - one dog was walking towards where she dropped her stick and she went after it and there was quite a fight. Another time she and another dog arrived at a stick at the same time - another dog fight.

Bobby and Amber each get a bone when they are out in the yard - no problem - they each chew their own until one leaves it and then they each try the other's bone but no fights.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by JanM View Post
I can take her treasure with or without another dog around - just not the other dog!
Hmm, i'm not sure if this would work, but wheni want to "claim" something of Enzo's i make him drop it and then step it front of it, so its more like i am guarding it ( when gaurding they give what ever they are gaurding their back) and i wait untill he settles down. Some people say this could make the problem worse, making him want to gaurd it better next time but i didnt find that happened.

Anyways, so try taking the stick or whatever from her and have another dog handy. Get the other dog to do a stand stay ( if possible, if not, a sit stay, i reccomend the stand stay so it will be easier to see the stick behind her) and then put the stick behind the other dog, this way the other dog is claiming it and she will see it as the otehr dogs, if you repeat this she should learn that she can have it one minute but she needs to give other dogs a turn too.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 09:20 PM
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Hmm, i'm not sure if this would work, but wheni want to "claim" something of Enzo's i make him drop it and then step it front of it, so its more like i am guarding it ( when gaurding they give what ever they are gaurding their back) and i wait untill he settles down. Some people say this could make the problem worse, making him want to gaurd it better next time but i didnt find that happened.

Anyways, so try taking the stick or whatever from her and have another dog handy. Get the other dog to do a stand stay ( if possible, if not, a sit stay, i reccomend the stand stay so it will be easier to see the stick behind her) and then put the stick behind the other dog, this way the other dog is claiming it and she will see it as the otehr dogs, if you repeat this she should learn that she can have it one minute but she needs to give other dogs a turn too.
I'll have to think about this one - my initial reaction is that it probably would make Amber worse but I'll think about it and see how it feels later. Right now I'm pretty edgy about the whole thing and am being very, very careful who is around when we play fetch!
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Old August 9th, 2008, 09:29 PM
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good choice on thinking about it, i wouldnt blame you either, i can see it both ways, it helps for me, but then again, i know not all dogs are the same and they dont all react the same way, i'm sure your going to do whats best for her!
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Old August 10th, 2008, 09:15 AM
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ally has the right idea IMO


you need to play the resource holder, it is YOUR toy and YOU are letting your dog play with it. if you decide the other dog can have it, then THAT is the final rule, PERIOD.


have another dog around, take the toy from your dog and give it to the other one.

if your dog reacts you MUST play the in-between and stop her from getting near the other dog and wait until she is CALM and RELAXED to give the toy back.

by not addressing this IMO you are allowing aggression towards other dogs, and this will most likely escalate. (you have already seen two fights right?)

you must, again IMO, quickly address the issue of who controls all the objects in the dogs life...and YOU are the one who should be. even if that means you give to other dogs.

just my
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Old August 10th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by kigndano View Post
ally has the right idea IMO

have another dog around, take the toy from your dog and give it to the other one.

if your dog reacts you MUST play the in-between and stop her from getting near the other dog and wait until she is CALM and RELAXED to give the toy back.

just my
Well, your 2cents is worth a lot - all advice and suggestions are appreciated!
I did do this some time ago - the other dogs wouldn't touch the stick so I was left holding the stick so to speak. Doing this too requires having another predictable dog and observant and responsible handler who is on the same page as I am - so I'll go looking!

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old August 10th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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I think that playing the "guarding game" with a human VS dog, when the dog has no problems with guarding from a human is pointless. It's a completely unrelated issue.

Also, UNLESS loads of groudwork has been done, introducing another dog who is to play the guarder from Amber is not a good idea IMO. I personally think its a recipe for making her worse - I am not really sure how that teaches her to be less guardy...

The best way to approach any training or behavioural problem is to ask yourself WHY is my dog doing that???? Dogs guard because they believe that the resource is PRECIOUS. Solution: You need to make the resource UNPRECIOUS (talk about terrible english!)... I teach this early on by never giving my dog a reason to guard - in this instance an abundance of sticks are always available so there is no need to get guardy to begin with. If he does get guardy, the sticks go away or I MANAGE the situation (if I think being guardy is appropriate).

First off, you must start away from dogs and likely away from water. Why? Because you have no control over the situation if other dogs are around and when she's in the water, its impossible to stop her from self-rewarding (ie: she will always scare the other dog off and get the stick).
When playing fetch make sure you have tons of sticks and throw different ones each time. Never play tug because it can get her too focused on one particular stick (not to mention the drop is extremely important)... At the same time, work on call-offs - you throw a stick, release her and then tell her to leave it or come back to you without it. This will help you manage situations later on and ensure that you have control and Amber has self-control! In addition to call-offs, work on her dropping the stick on command no matter how far away she is from you. Work on waits and directed retrieves - throw multiple sticks and then send her to the one's you want her to fetch (it gives you more control and stops her from focusing on one item)
Once she gets good at that, you could involve a reliable dog who will either listen to its owner or is not interested in sticks to begin with. You will need to be extremely careful because you do not want to put the other dog in danger. I would start at quite a distance and work on all of the above around the dog. That is likely all I would do for the first session but if she's calm and responsive, you can bring the dog closer. Again, I would prefer that this is done over numerous sessions so she is never pushed too quickly.
When she is ready, have have her retrieve a stick in proximity to the other dog (the first few times proximity could be 15+ ft and I'd have the dog with his side or back to her - no direct stares)... Instead of releasing her after the first stick you throw, release her after you've thrown 5 or 6 sticks (or perhaps have numerous sticks "near" the other dog and throw 1 and then release her). You want to set her up so she isn't feeling like its a mad rush to get to the stick before the other dog gets to it. If you can tell that she is tense, work on more call-offs or increase distance etc....

BTW - some dogs simply cannot help themselves when it comes to items and other dogs. It's a natural instinct and sometimes no matter what you do, it comes down to how the dog is hardwired. The only solution may be no fetching around other dogs. Its not a human leadership issue - its how dogs have communicate and bascially how they've evolved (survival of the fittest)! Also, I like to throw pebbles for my dog - he swims to the splashes but there is never anything to retrieve
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Old August 11th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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I started a new "regime" this morning - just a start that I ***** think **** may help - when Amber brings her stick back from swimming for it, I take it and walk around a bit with the stick in my hand then I go somewhere else and throw it again. Usually when I tell her "all done" - it means no more fetching and she runs off with her stick to chew it to shreds. This morning I made her drop it and leave it and didn't let her chew it at all.

So, we'll see how it goes.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 11:53 AM
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awesome idea.

telling her to drop and leave it lets her know that the stick is YOURS to control, not hers!

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Old August 11th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanM View Post
My problem is mostly swimming - when I throw a stick for Amber, if another dog comes along and wants to play with her stick when she comes out, she growls. If she carries her stick after swimming - or her ball after playing fetch - and another dog comes near - growl. She has been in two actual fights over a stick - one dog was walking towards where she dropped her stick and she went after it and there was quite a fight. Another time she and another dog arrived at a stick at the same time - another dog fight.
Hi Jan, as you know, Dazy's the same...the exact same, cut from the same golden cloth , she will drop her ball/stick and pick a fight before the other dog even shows interest. She doesn't share with dogs she doesn't know, but dogs she knows - no problem. She will even guard me if a puppy comes up to me for pets. And she's all to quick to correct inapproprioate behavior and her response is over the top - not porportionit to the situation. I dont bring balls to the park anymore, she does find sticks tho, but once she lays down to chew - I take it away from her and we go home, she can chew sticks at home.

How is she at the lake without an item to posses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanM View Post
when Amber brings her stick back from swimming for it, I take it and walk around a bit with the stick in my hand then I go somewhere else and throw it again. So, we'll see how it goes.
This is one thing the behavorlist told me, walk around, standing still causes tension and gives the dogs opportunity to strut their stuff, we never stand still at dog parks, and as Dazy comes towards me I move along, quick pace, her eyes are on me instead of on the other dogs around her. And if I see the tail and ears perk up - I correct her with a verbal sound, and tell her never mind, and we move on. Its good to never just stand there.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ford Girl View Post

How is she at the lake without an item to posses?

She "mostly" ignores other dogs now when there's nothing to possess. She will chase rabbits with or without other dogs and will usually watch me to see if I am getting a stick for her. If I do pick one up and there's another dog around, she will chase the other dog away.

This is one thing the behavorlist told me, walk around, standing still causes tension and gives the dogs opportunity to strut their stuff, we never stand still at dog parks, and as Dazy comes towards me I move along, quick pace, her eyes are on me instead of on the other dogs around her. And if I see the tail and ears perk up - I correct her with a verbal sound, and tell her never mind, and we move on. Its good to never just stand there.
The behavourist I work with told me the same thing - keep moving and I do. Sometimes people with dogs just stand and talk and I notice the dogs start to find other things to do - not always what you want - so we keep moving. Some people think I'm being antisocial but that, I figure is their problem - not mine! I don't go to the dog park when there's a group there - all the owners just stand or sit and figure the dogs will play. I don't subscribe to that theory so I just don't go.
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Old August 16th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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I agree with Kigndano,
YOU own the toy (stick, whatever) not the dog, so what right does he have go guard it? None, in my opinion.
Scruff will share anything except water - that he tries to guard at the dog park. Funny, he's ok with drinking everyone else's water but not with sharing his.
I deliberately push him away after he's drunk and let another dog in, just to let him know it's not his and to keep him from running away with his water dish. Then I give him some more so he knows he's not going to die of thirst, or whatever he thinks will happen.
So far it's working for us.
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