Food aggression - VENT and advice pls?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Sweet72947, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    So FOHA has this dog. His name is Quins. I think he may have some GSD in him, but other that that, who knows. Quins was an owner surrender, and was brought in by a person who handles the owner surrender stuff, wearing a muzzle, because it seems he was quite unhappy about being taken from his family. Quins lives in a run in iso, which has a door separating it from the rest of the runs in that building. Nobody can touch Quins because if you come near the cage he barks, bares his teeth, growls, and acts like a vicious beastie. He's ok when we are just walking by doing our regular stuff, but if you come up to the cage, he lashes out. Quins doesn't get time in the yard like the other dogs, because it isn't safe for us to be around him right now. This dog will have been at FOHA a week this Saturday. I know that's not that much time. I always talk to him and tell him he's being silly and that if he keeps acting like this he won't get out of that cage, and that's not any fun!

    Quins also has a nasty food aggression problem. He tries to attack when you give him his food, and when you attempt to take the empty bowl away. He is in your typical kennel run made of chain link with a slot to slide food in and out, and a guillotine door you pull down to block him either in the inside or the outside (this is how we clean his kennel). Today, I tried to make friends with Quins by putting a gob of peanut butter on a spoon and feeding it to him through the door. He licked it, then bared his teeth, growled, jumped, snarled, the whole shebang (kinda comical with peanut butter on his front teeth). But I sat there on the floor, waited out his little temper tantrum, and continued feeding him peanut butter when he calmed down. I actually had him calmly eating peanut butter, and he didn't react again until I stood up.

    And THEN (here is where my vent comes in), the kennel manager, who's training is very much correction based, tried to work with Quins about 30 minutes after this, and yells NO! at him repeatedly as he's gnashing his teeth at her, and I think banging his dish at him (I heard the yelling and banging, but I couldn't really tell exactly what was going on, I was in the kitchen, I can't stand to watch her "training"). You can imagine how much this helped. :rolleyes: I think it pretty much undid anything I may have accomplished with my peanut butter. :mad::mad::mad: It makes me sick the way she thinks she needs to "fight fire with fire" when it comes to aggression. Later on I had to give Quins his second feedings, so I brought another gob of peanut butter on a spoon along, thinking maybe I could distract him while I put his food in but nope, his behavior was actually worse this time. He really has some nice looking teeth. lol I did get him to calm down a bit though, although I had to use the spoon to push his dish in the slot, and then pull it back out again when he was done (he's a real foodie, loves to eat).

    But can anybody offer any advice for working with this dog? Maybe I should continue with the peanut butter? I don't want to see him condemned to life in a kennel run forever, he's a young dog. I do see a good dog in there somewhere. And he's a smart dog, you can see it in his eyes. He watches me when I walk past, looking like he's thinking, perhaps going "This one isn't like the others, she never screams at me or anything." Quins will wag his tail and look happy when I talk happy to him.

    Help me help him to stop being a goon!
     
  2. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I think you're doin' it right.

    If you could keep Cesarina away from him I think you'd have him literally eating out of your hand in a couple of weeks. Maybe there's some way you could ask to work with him without anyone else bothering him? Maybe call it an isolation training/therapy? ;) I know you have to walk gently since you're the Noob, but maybe if someone remembers what a different dog Opie was after you worked with him ;)

    And there are always animal crackers :D
     
  3. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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    How much time do you realistically have to work with this one? I don't know much about FOHA but serious resource guarding takes quite a bit of time to work through and isn't something to solve with dominance but rather a combination of anxiety reduction, repetition and management skills. This would be best handled in foster care.
     
  4. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    This.

    Or a foster home. I just don't see his resource guarding ever being 'fixed' in a kennel situation. It's too hard, there are too many people to undo your work, and just not enough time. IF you could get them to agree to let only you work with him and feed him and such, he might get a lot better, but there would have to be a sign on the door for everyone telling them not to feed him. (Especially Saturdays and Sundays with all the volunteers.)
     
  5. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    Instead of feeding him peanut butter, feed him his kibble bit by bit. First drop it in (you can use the spoon to get it in and drop it on the floor). Soon, you should be able to have him take it from your hand. Just make sure you arrange your hand on the outside of the fencing so he can't take more than the kibble! I would also add a clicker and charge up the clicker while doing this, but even without using the clicker feeding him this way will help.
     
  6. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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    I would not... absolutely would NOT do this. You are risking serious injury with this dog. If you've never seen a dog full on attempt an assault on someone through chain link and actually connect it's a fast way to lose a finger or a good deal of skin. This dog needs to be mentally reassured that nothing will happen to him or his food while he's eating. Put the dish in the run. Put the dog in the run. Leave him alone while he eats. Remove the dog from the run. Then pick up the dish.
     
  7. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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    Does FOHA have any people who can work with this dog in addition to you? Specifically do they have a behavior professional on staff or available for tough cases? It seems like a pretty crappy way to live if he's just going to be stuck in iso and so obviously stressed.
     
  8. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Not on staff, but some dogs get sent to a trainer's kennel that FOHA has worked with forever, knows well, and trusts. But she isn't going to take a dog that nobody can touch.

    Its unlikely we will be able to find a foster home for a dog like this. We have enough trouble finding foster homes for normal dogs. I don't know why FOHA took this dog in, but I guess that's beside the point now.

    My day at work goes like this: Arrive at 7am, at the tail end of am feedings. Wash morning dishes. Hang around a little bit, maybe for 10-15 minutes while the houstrained dogs use the yard and go potty. Then clean my line. Get done around 10am. Do more dishes that people have stuck in the sink from cleaning their lines, and play with dogs, switch dogs out in the yard, pick up poo, and wait for it to be 11am. At 11am, eat lunch.
    Hang out with coworkers. Switch dogs, pick up poo, do whatever I can find to do until around 1:30 when we get second feedings ready. Feed at 2. Do more dishes. Around 2:15-2:30 we all gather our poop bags, the trash, dump the trash in the dumpster, and then hang out by lines 1 and 2 until the boss tells us to go home, or it becomes 3pm, whichever comes first.

    So you see, if I don't have to do any vet runs, or help with moving dogs around to move dogs up from intake, or any weird project the boss decides to start, I have time I can set aside for this dog. But two days a week I'm not there, and Saturdays and Sundays I'm there, but not typically working in that building (although if I plan my time right I can still get up there work with him).
     
  9. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    ^^^This.

    Is this a no-kill shelter? What is their euth policy? What is your long-term goal for this dog, to be adopted into a home?

    IME, resource guarding - especially at this level - is not something that can be solved quickly, and once it's solved it's not generalized to new people well. Which means, that even if you were to get this dog a whole lot better yourself, he will still revert back to that undesirable behavior when placed with a new person. And thinking long term, most resource-guarding dogs have good days and bad days, so even if you (people at the shelter) were to solve this problem, you'd have to have an adopter who can, and is willing to, handle a resource-guarding dog for the lifetime of the dog. I would never place this dog with children under the age of 12, even with extremely dog-savy parents it's just too huge of a risk. What is the liklihood you will find an adopter like this that will enjoy taking on a dog like this?
     
  10. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    Exactly. :(

    Totally no-kill, unless there is a medical need for euthanasia. And even then they usually let it go to the point where the animal should have been PTS already.

    Likelihood of an adopter for this dog? Zero. Nearly zero. Unless, by chance, we have someone walk in whose only requirement for a dog is severe resource guarding.
     
  11. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    This dog really needs a certified behaviorist to work with him and whomever will be caring for him. This kennel manager is an idiot! She has no business dealing with any dogs, let alone a dog with this severe an issue. This dog should not be given his food in a bowl at all, ever...not until he is completely rehabilitated. Anytime anyone walks past, a special treat should be tossed through the chain link. He should be fed by tossing pieces of kibble through the kennel. Measure out his ration and tell anyone, when they walk past to take a few pieces and toss through the wires.

    When he calms for a few seconds, whoever is working with him, should walk away about 15 ft. as a "reward" for his not snarking. At this point, people going away is what he wants more than anything. So, as he's snarling and barking, and you're standing there, you should just wait for a lull...then go away. Then go nearer again, but keep a distance that is comfortable to him, where he doesn't snarl and carry on.... and toss a treat. (if you can reach) Absolutely no aversive punishment should EVER, EVER, EVER be used on a dog with aggression issues. Gradually, you should be able to go closer and toss a handful of kibble in. As he's eating, stand there. Just as he finishes, walk away. Come back, repeat. Show him that when you're close, food happens. When you go away, nothing great happens. Gradually, the walking away will not be a reward to him anymore, but a disappointment. And coming nearer will become the good thing. (if it's done slowly, consistently and correctly)

    Of course, when not everyone is on the same page, none of this will do any good. There has to be absolute consistency. He should be taken out of that situation where there are multiple care givers...if only there were some behaviorist or behavior consultant who would be able and willing to work one on one with him in a private setting...

    Really, this dog needs professional help and I mean the kind where the person has real credentials, like a phd in behavior. This is ridiculous that this kennel manager can even be a kennel manager. She is going to further this dog's distrust in humans if she is allowed to continue working with him. This poor dog should not be adopted to any John Q, but only by someone who is trained and educated in behavior modification....at least until the dog is trustworthy. It is very dangerous to have this dog around anyone right now, who doesn't know what he/she is doing. The poor dog....sometimes when there's no one who can improve a dog's situation, the dog's trust in people, his well being, the best thing for the dog is for it to be pts.
     
  12. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Bravo again Carrie!! (and just what I was thinking {wink})
     
  13. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    I just wanted to post a little update. We had a small breakthrough with Quinns today. :) Me, and this other woman who works there have been tossing treats to Quinns, and working with him, and today both of us got our hands licked through the cage! He also acts very excited when he sees a leash, so the woman and I are thinking of taking him for a walk together tomorrow, but we'll see how he is. I am pleased with the progress he is making already. :)

    It probably helps that the kennel manager has not interacted with him at all since the incident I vented about in the OP. :D

    Oh, and when it comes to feeding time, I gate him out, put his food bowl in, and then let him back in. I was able to hook the guillotine door open without being snarked at! While he was eating. Woot.
     
  14. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Good work :) There's a difference between having the book learning and having the UNDERSTANDING of the dog :)
     
  15. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Sounds like he's appreciating you guys more. If you really want to curb his resource guarding though, I still recommend no food bowl for the time being. The way to turn his thinking around is to see that you're the one who controls the food...that it comes from your hand, that there's no bowl to "own." Then after some time of hand feeding, you could use a bowl, but continue holding it. Don't set it down. Once you relinquish it, it's his to guard. When you keep your hand on it and put in just a small handful of kibble, he eats and has to wait until YOU drop some more in for him. All this only comes well after he's forgotten about guarding a bowl of any kind. After holding onto the bowl for some time, you can try setting it down and dropping just a handful in and walking away when he finishes his last bite. Then come back and drop in another handful. Again, walk away as he finishes his last piece. Soon, he'll be begging you to come back close to his bowl. Then you go from there as far as bending closer to the bowl. It's a gradual process. Sometimes it goes quickly and sometimes it has to be more gradual. Anyhow, all that is if you want to modify that resource guarding behavior.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  16. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Thank you Doberluv for all your advice, it is very appreciated. :)

    Here's another little update on Quins. He gets to go on walks now during the week. The kennel manager took him out for the first one (and happily, did not exercise any dominance theory crap on him), and a coworker has taken him out for others, with the kennel manager's permission. He's really very sweet when he's not around high value food items. Quins is going through a tough time right now, he has no one to really trust and guide him (yet), and he's confused. This is a dog who needs someone strong he can look to and depend on. He just doesn't know what to be right now, poor thing.

    Here's two pics of Quins and I. The kennel manager let me handle him a little bit on his first walk.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Please don't mind the huge choke chain, the kennel manager put it on him (it was not used except to walk, thankfully).
     
  17. filarotten

    filarotten Moderator

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    That is wonderful news. Keep up the good work and keep us posted.
     
  18. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    You're welcome. I hope it will help and that the gradual process can be implimented. It is so hard in that kind of situation where there are several people interacting with him. You're so right that he needs someone strong and secure with him to help make him feel secure. It would be so nice if one special person could adopt him and could work through this issue because he sounds like such a great dog otherwise. It's hard to remember that food guarding isn't some weird, abnormal behavior. It's very normal and natural. It's just that some dogs don't wind up having a problem with people and some do. You're so good to work with him and it's great that you're getting to take him on walks. He's lucky in that he has a few people to pay attention to him and give him a little fun. Those are nice pictures. He looks like he's having a nice day.
     
  19. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Allllrighty then.

    Here's a little update on Quins. I took him for a walk today by myself (with permission). I took him in the play yard, and he sniffed and peed and pooped and ran around a little. Then he came over to me, and I had a slice of kraft cheese in my pocket, so I took out two pieces and asked him to sit (because the coworker that walks him said he sat for her), and he just stared at me, so I said "Quins, sit!" again, in a firm voice. He stared at me with that intense stare he does (that can be very intimidating to some) and started to jump up, and I turned away. Quins jumped on my back, held on briefly with his paws, and growled in my ear. So I leashed him and said "Fine, no more yard privileges for you!" and we went on a walk. And I kept my cheese put away.

    In the forest on a trail, we came upon a bench. I sat on the bench, and Quins jumped up on the bench next to me and had his face near my face, which made me uncomfortable, so I attempted to guide him off the bench by the leash while saying "Quins, off the bench!" and he stared at me and growled. I promptly stood up and said "Fine, lets walk!" and we continued our walk, and then I put him back in his kennel (I had no issues with this).

    Quins is a very insecure dog, and when we weren't walking, and I'd look at him and he'd look at me, he always had a hard look in his eye, and he always seems nervous. I also learned today that his previous owner used to hit him when giving commands, so I think part of Quins' behavior is due to his staying on the defensive. I admit I probably jumped the gun a bit when I tried to see if he'd obey any commands, but I have seriously never handled a dog who got that freaking upset and defiant over a simple "sit" command (and a lot of the time, insecure dogs respond well to simple training, it helps to build trust and they calm down because they learn aha, THIS is what you want from me!). I was a bit shook up after both experiences, but I'm sure I handled them better than a lot of people. Quins, you are one muddled up dog.

    One pic of the King of Bratness in the play yard:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. DogKisses

    DogKisses Durp Dog

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    Can I say that I LOOOOVE Quin?

    I have always been a sucker for the animals that no one else wants.

    You are doing a fantastic job though, not many people are willing to try. There is a huge look of relief on his face in the last pic, poor fellow. He may be "extra luney" from bordom too. Maybe the walks will help him some too.

    I do have to say, I wouldn't have a high value item like cheese around this dog for a while... try things that are very low value, lower value than dog food, maybe carrots and Cherrios? The growling may have been provoked by the cheese, he could have been bullying you for it or just gaurding it. Even if it was "out of view" like in your pocket, he knew it was there.

    Great job, baby steps are still improvements! ;)
     

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