How concerning is resource guarding...

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Maxy24, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    in a puppy? Do you think it is unusual for a puppy to resource guard?
    Tucker has done it since the day we got him. He wouldn't be too bad when he had a forbidden object, he just wouldn't let go (he's surprisingly strong). Then he started growling as well so I taught him drop it and he listens SUPER well to it. I find my parents forget they need to use the exact command word (they'll try saying let go instead of drop it and don't understand why it doesn't work). Mom's figuring it out though. They also weren't carrying treats, but they do now, or at least mom does.

    Anyway he would flip out when you physically prevented him from doing something. For example one day He and Phoebe had a meeting (Phoebe continues hating him) and Phoebe wanted to leave so they started walking away. He was flipping out on the end of the leash because he wanted to get to her, I started pulling him back to the stairs to go inside but was worried about him hurting himself (he would do full flips) so I picked him up and he went crazy with biting me, not normal puppy biting, serious "you let go of me now" biting.

    And I guess he bit mom pretty bad the other day. After dinner they left some of the pork on the table and Willie stole it (which he always does, I don't know why they haven't figured it out) and then Tucker took it from him (mostly assumtion, Willie probably didn't like it) and they saw him with it and mom went to take it and he bit her. I wasn't there so I don't know how intense he was and I don't know if mom tried asking for a drop it, I doubt it though. Cause I know what I would have done, I'd likely have asked for a drop it (as he is really good at it), picked up the pork, and gave it (or some of it) back as it's already been all over the floor, we don't want it and it'd have been a good training opportunity.

    They're still having a really hard time housebreaking him too, he hasn't gone a day without an accident.

    They probably should have gotten an adult, but low an behold they have a puppy and there's nothing they can do about that. A terrier like puppy to boot.

    Anyway, do you think resource guarding in a pup is a very bad sign (like he just has a terrible temperament), or is it just a normal dog thing? I know it's normal for adult dogs, but I don't know with pups. I really wish I was there so I could work with him and really make them do certain things with him. I know they are not watching him well enough as he's chewed through a wire and a chunk of the coffee table, obviously eyes were not on him like they were when I was there. I'm going home on the 8th so I think it'll be training boot camp for my parents. Not that they'll necassarily stick to it but I got to try.

    So how worried should I be about this?
     
  2. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    He sounds like my kind of dog. :)

    Resource guarding, IMO, is completely normal at any age. It's when it's not handled properly while they're a pup and is instead allowed to escalate or worse, provoked, that it becomes a serious issue.

    Lots of trade games and I'd start him on an NILIF program. He sounds a bit headstrong. :)
     
  3. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    It doesn't mean that you have a dog with a bad temperament. You have a dog who is likely a little insecure. He also sounds like he has a low frustration tolerance. I would use the NILIF, and I would work on his self-control and some confidence building. But make no mistake, he's gonna be a challenge. I kinda like 'em like that too. :)
     
  4. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    While resource guarding is normal survival behavior, it can become very dangerous if not counter conditioned.... and isn't likely to go away all by itself in a puppy that's showing this much crankiness. I don't like the sound of his biting hard when picked up. I would definitely do those trading game exercises every day and try to get him to "see the light." LOL. The light being...that it is great fun to give things to the person asking....that he gets a higher value reward, plus often times gets the thing he had back right away. Same with picking him up or handling him in any way that he might object to...in contexts that he might not be thrilled with. (More PR in handling him in circumstances he may not be that keen on.) It sounds like he has a rather pissy, spit and vinegar kind of temperament so the more you can do to compensate, the better chances of him chilling out a little better later on.
     
  5. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    oh yeah, I know the guarding can become a huge problem, I just wanted to be sure we don't have a little time bomb pup or something, so long as it's not a terrible sign in a pup it's okay, we can work with that. SO not the sort of dog they should have gotten, but oh well it's the risk you run when you get a puppy from a shelter.

    It definately seems like a frustration thing with handling, he has no self control. I'm having them have him sit before a meal but letting him up to eat as soon as he sits, I think they can start making him wait for a release now. He feels teeth are how he can get his way so if he wants you to stop something he's gonna bite you. Like he's done it if mom's holding him and he wants to get down, but that's not as hard as he did it the day I took him away from Phoebe, he was probably just more upset about it. He is really food motivated and started listening to the drop it 100% of the time within one training session of it (and I gave him some shoes, paper, random objects, etc. to practice with once he started dropping his toys instantly). He has never not dropped something I asked him to. but try to grab something and he will not let go, you could never imagine the jaw strength of an 8 pound puppy. I actually started teaching him to drop it after I ripped my shirt by trying to stand up quickly while he held on, he just hung off of me and ripped a huge hole in my shirt lol. He's a fast learned, he started sitting by command within 1 session and downing within two (he gets really pumped about downing, he like leaps up first and slams onto the ground lol).

    NILIF sounds like a good idea with helping his frustration tolerance, I should probably have them ask for a sit before going up to other dogs since he really likes to do that. Thanks for the advice guys, it makes me feels better as his temperament has worried me, from the fear of children to this, he's just different from any dogs I've had experience with. I REALLY wish I was home though, he would be a good training experience for me.
     
  6. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    Stop holding the puppy. I wouldn't allow this puppy on the furniture, the beds, or lap. This escalates resource guarding in dogs that are prone to it. Perhaps in the future, when they have 100% compliance, they can start letting the dog in their lap, but not now. I don't allow the foster dogs on the furniture until they've shown they are compliant. Most of them I allow on furniture, but a couple I have not, and this is the same breed (Boston terriers).

    When he is with another dog, always keep a loose leash. I'd also put a harness on him- better for controlling him and makes a nice handle.
     
  7. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    *sigh*
     
  8. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    I actually agree with Maura...to an extent. I don't think never letting him on your lap or furniture is necessary, but I would be sure to only allow him when invited and ask for a sit first, or something. If he just jumps into your lap, pop him back down, ask for a sit, and then say "lap" or something that's permission to come up.

    He sounds like a puppy who needs boundaries and also very much needs to feel secure and have a routine. I don't think it's a sign he's got a bad temperament, but he's not going to be an "easy" dog and if it's not handled properly, it could become a much bigger problem.
     
  9. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    lol he never jumps on the couch himself, he's not big enough.
    And if we stop holding him how is he supposed to get used to being held?
    Having him do something before being allowed up is a good idea though, I'll certaintly pass that along, it goes along with NILIF/self control training.
    He doesn't show any signs of wanting to guard furniture, he gets very happy when we come to sit with him on the couch, not that he's often on the couch alone anyways, when he is big enough to repeatedly jump off of the couch I'm sure he'll be taught an off command. I think that would be similar to the drop it, as long as he' taught something and it's non-confrontational he'll be more than happy to listen. But he does need to learn to be okay with being physically moved too so I think I'll do as doberluv said as well and pair that sort of thing (being held back against his will, being moved off of the couch) with treats so they are seen in a positive light.

    Maura, what do you mean by "compliance".
     
  10. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    Sigh, sigh. This method is gentle, easy, and it works. Of course, we aren't there to see what is really going on, but keeping puppies of furniture and laps is easy and won't hurt anything. Depending on how things work out, the family can try letting him on the couch once he is in compliance. By that, I mean he is respecting the people, listening well, not mouthing and not snapping or biting. Let him up, but if he backslides he gets relegated to the floor again. If you want him on the couch with you, you might consider getting him a little towel or blankie and have him sit on that, even if he is in your lap. That way, he is trained to the blankie and you can put the blankie anywhere and have him go to it. I'm doing this now with our foster, using a little seat cushion. The cushion will go with her when she is adopted.

    If he's going to be small enough to pick up and carry when he's grown, then yes, he needs to be comfortable being picked up. But, it's very easy to get in the habit of carrying a puppy around like he's a human infant, and you don't want that. For now, I would not be picking him up because you and he need to learn that he really can go up and down stairs, etc. I guess your parents should sit down and decide when he needs to be picked up or carried. He will need to be comfortable being picked up and placed on a table (think of the vet's office).
     
  11. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    This I would agree with. But having him sit and require permission in order to be on your lap or furniture is part of NILIF training, and is a far cry from saying to never allow them up.

    Being on laps and furniture has nothing to do with resource guarding. Unless they're guarding people or furniture.
     
  12. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    No worries, he walks plenty and goes down stairs, goes for walks, walks in the pet stores (not that he has all his parvo shots), etc. I found myself picking him up the most when it came time to go out since on several occasions I would be getting treats out of the closet or finding his leash to go out when he piddled on the floor. But mom sometimes just likes to hold the dog or lay on the couch with him.
    I just don't understand how being on the couch has anything to do with whether or not a dog nips or follows commands unless you are connecting the two (dog needs to follow a command to get up, dog gets immediately evicted for a few minutes when he nips). Just doesn't make the slightest amount of sense in my head. I don't see anything WRONG with doing it, it doesn't hurt the dog or course, I just don't see how it can help anything unless the dog does guard furniture/spaces. I still don't see it helping with that, just preventing it. I think I'd rather use going up as a training oppurtunity by having him do something first and coupling that with showing him that being physically moved against his will is a good thing, it just makes more sense to me but I do thank you very much for your input.
     
  13. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    It really might help him feel more secure...as much as I don't believe dogs very often try to be "dominant" of people...I think this is one instant where the puppy learning a) you're in charge and b) that's a good thing could carry over to his resource guarding.

    I would also urge your parents not to give him the opportunity to guard anything outside of training sessions. It's VERY difficult with a young puppy, but it is imperative with a guardy pup that you really try very hard to never have to take anything from him.

    And, like in the pork instance, where it's not a matter of instant life-or-death safety....grabbing something to trade would be the best idea.
     
  14. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    He doesn't like to be picked up sometimes, right?...... when he wants to do something else and you're cramping his "style?" LOL. If I'm getting this right, he's not afraid is he? He's just got a sense of entitlement?

    I had a very good horse trainer once who mentored me when I was in horses. She said about a pissy horse I had, "whatever she doesn't like to do, make her do it more." She didn't like baths, she didn't like walking..only prancy, jigging. She didn't want to go around on her right lead. Weah, weah, weah....drama queen and she'd play it up to the hilt. She was fine with baths until she saw the soap suds rolling off her back side. Then she thought someone was murdering her. LOL. No truer words were ever spoken. Whatever he doen't like to do, do it more. I believe that is true with dogs too. Of course, that doesn't mean flood them, frustrate them to death or frighten them. It doesn't mean to not do things gradually to help them adapt easier. But it does not mean AVOIDING doing things that you might need or want to do with your dog later. In other words, if you don't mind the dog on the furniture and he's not resource guarding that. (one possession does not necessarily generalize over to another. Dogs don't think that way.) Maybe he couldn't care less about hogging the couch. Maybe he couldn't care less about a toy. But he might care about something else. The best way to prevent furniture guarding is to teach placement cues right off the bat. When he is able to jump up on the couch, you can do what you're doing with the invitation only or do it like I do...no invitation necessary. It's up to you. But in either case, the dog should be taught what "up" means...patting the couch or air-lifting him if needed. Getting up is not rewarded other than the comfort of the couch. Moving over to make room for you or jumping down, or lifing him down earns him a treat. It's a game, complete with a happy, cheery voice and lots of lovin. It's not about respect. That's anthropomorphizing. It's either they learn what you mean and they get reinforced for what you want....or they don't. It doesn't have to be a contest of wills or who is to be respected or delegating him to the floor as a way to make the dog respect you. Being on the floor after having been allowed on the couch is unlikely to produce an association with his past snarkiness when on the couch....UNLESS putting him on the floor the second he snarks as removing the good thing as a consequence to that behavior. But it has to happen for many repititions for him to connect the two. So, just keeping him on the floor for long spells of time isn't going to teach him anything.

    You can wait for other things he's taught over time... to help him learn impulse control and deferring to you for the things he wants in hopes that he'll not resource guard. OR...you can jump start things by teaching him placement cues, teach him that picking him up is going to happen whether he likes it or not, BUT...that it's going to be well worth his "effort." LOL. Everytime a hand comes near him and he's about to picked up, coinciding with that act, that hand is a treat dispenser. He can be started with being picked up for just a couple seconds and then he can be free again. Then a little longer each time. He can come to LOVE being picked up rather than you wondering when he's going to "respect" you enough that you can pick him up without snarkiness.

    I would not avoid having him do things or you doing things to him, you may want to do later because of a little fear of him becoming snarky. Dive in and teach him now. That goes for brushing, cleaning ears, baths, toe nails, having other people handle him, social visits to the vet, poking, prodding, looking for ticks, teaching him to hold still...reinforcing by baby steps. All that stuff. As long as it's rewarded and made pleasant and not over-whelming (too much at once) there's no reason not to do what you want with him. There are protocals for food or toy guarding. Yes, you don't give them high value stuff at first if they are that way. If he's not guarding furniture, I'd totally let him sleep on my lap if he were my dog, but I'd practice those placement cue games every day a few times. As long as he has regular obedience practice (just a little bit every day a few times a day...5-10 minutes each, basic stuff, PR...) and defers to you for most of the things he likes, (you don't need to stress and frustrate him over every little thing...he's a baby) you shouldn't have a big issue with it later on. But your folks have to be on board and it has to be consistent.

    Just my .02. I never had a problem with a dog furniture guarding. I had Chuli on one occassion growl at me when I tried to take a super tasty bone from her when she had never had such a bone before. She thought she had died and gone to heaven. So, I realized that I had to give her something like Porterhouse steak if I were going to give her such a bone again. Or I'd have to work up the hierarchy of valuable items. But since she didn't have an issue with anything else and it was just this one time, I opted to not go through all that training and just give her a hunk of meat in trade. She's never done it again. She had a bully stick just now and all the flavor looked to be out of it. I had just opened a can of sardines. I took her bully stick from her....(no problem) and drizzled a little of the oil the sardines were in on it and gave it right back to her. LOL. Did I stop letting her on the couch because she resource guarded that bone that one time? No. She loves it when I'm on the couch with her...always has. She could be resource guarding a juicy bone every day and still never want me to stay away from the couch. I'm her pillow. She can't wait for me to join her on the couch. The two are unconnected.

    Maxi...I know you already know all this. I'm just rambling. In fact, I'm going to pm you.
     
  15. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    All our dogs have resourced guarded as puppies until taught otherwise. Buster we got before I knew better, he growled and snarled at me the first time I tried to take food off him and I whopped him on the backside and took it. I wouldn't handle it the same way again but it didn't have any really adverse affects on him really, he's always been funny with people and his food, it took him probably till 12 months old before we could even be wihtin 5 metres of him without him dropping his food and leaving.

    Quinn I've done a lot of work with since the day I bought her home, all her initial meals were hand fed and when I started feeding from a bowl I'd often walk over and drop some food in, give her a pat and leave. I want her to relise my hand nearher face doesn't always mean I want her food. I've had times I've had to push her away from stealing the cat food and things and other than one growl in the first wek she doesn't do anything more than move away.
     
  16. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I've never had a puppy that resource guarded. But I'd often sit down with the pup and hold the bowl on my lap or feed by hand, taking the food from the bowl and sticking in some extra goodies too. I didn't do that entirely for the benefit of getting puppy use to my presence and handling of his stuff or to stave off resource guarding. But also, simply because puppies are so cute and I just flat out enjoyed sitting next to them when they ate, watching them enjoy their food....at least for lots of meals. And they'd get very comfortable and use to having someone around their food or putting special treats in there for them.
     
  17. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Thanks everybody, great advice. He didn't guard the food bowl before I left, or his bully sticks or toys but he tried really hard to grab it back when you took it away but I think that's to be expected. I will tell them to do some food bowl maintenence just for the heck of it, I think it'll be easy enough for them to drop some of the left overmeat from dinner into his bowl as he eats. he's guarded the higher value stuff like things he's "stolen" because they are brandy new and he really likes them when they are new. I actually think the biting when he wants you to let go of him when he wants to get to something is worse, like he did qwhen I took him away for Phoebe. He did the same thing when I was holding him at the bottom of the stairs before bed. I had him on the ground and mom was going up the steps to go to bed, I was gonna let him go up after her because I didn't want him to trip her or him to get stepped on. RIGHT before she got to the top he started biting super hard (he likes to go to bed and he hates when someone leaves him so he was super frustrated). Now that I think of it I could use it as a great training tool for self control, holding him back as someone goes up a certain amount, giving treats for every few steps they go, then letting him up. Later adding in a sit or down. See I know what I'd do, but I'm not there. Maybe they'd do it though, mom told me she's been practicing with the clicker (which is mildly concerning as I never told her how to use it lol).
     
  18. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    My question is....what do you do when a puppy bites when you pick it up?

    To teach bite inhibition and that biting is wrong, you ignore a pup who bites...put it down, walk away, etc.

    But what do you do when the puppy is biting so you DO put it down? You don't want to stress him out further by holding on to him, but you don't want to teach him biting is an acceptable way to ask to be put down.
     
  19. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    In the case of putting the pup down and walking away, that's when he's biting because he's enjoying playing with you...You remove that good thing (you) and that shows him that biting doesn't work to get your attention and have you interact with him. But in this case, he isn't biting because he wants to play. He's biting because he wants to get down. So, you don't put him down UNTIL he stops for a few seconds. In both cases, you're showing him that biting won't work to get his own way. In addition, reinforcing the act of holding him BEFORE he starts biting...even just before or as you're picking him up will help him like being held better. If it's done in short segments of time....a few seconds at first, then released as he wishes when there's a lull in the biting, he can get use to being picked up. If he gets practice being held in contexts where he's not so in a frenzy to get down...in milder situations, and reinforced...that could help him relax about it too. If it's made easy for him at first, he is more apt to succeed.
     
  20. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    The thing about biting is that you need to address the root cause.

    In the case of this dog biting when he's held, it sounds like it's not an issue of being held, it's an issue of not being able to do whatever it is he wanted to do. So that's worked through by teaching self control and raising thresholds and letting him learn that if he doesn't struggle and fight, he's more likely to get something he wants. If it was me, I wouldn't pick him up again in situations where I think there might be an issue except in training contexts where I can control the trigger.

    In the case of a dog who simply doesn't like to be held, I would work on gradually teaching him that it's OK to be handled, picked up and held by pairing it with high value rewards and progressing in increments ~ first by touching all over, then by holding without picking up, then picking up to place on something so there's not holding and eventually picking up and holding and carrying.

    If the pup is biting because he wants to engage you in play, then yes, you do put him down and ignore him so that he can learn that biting isn't an acceptable way to play with humans.

    Ares has recently become very aggressive when I try to pick him up, and I suspect that's got something to do with his hips. There's not a lot I can do about the hips that I'm not already doing, but I am rebuilding his trust in me picking him up - just in case there's ever a real need for it - by squatting and picking him up just enough to put him to place him on my legs. Finding a way to cradle him where he's comfortable which means making sure his hind end has more support from my arm, talking him through it and giving him treats for allowing it.
     

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