Resource guarding question

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by M&M's Mommy, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. M&M's Mommy

    M&M's Mommy Owned by 3 mutts

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    Mocha never ever has a resource guarding problem, until very recently I noticed that whenever he is playing with a stuffed toy & Muffin gets near him, he growls at Muffin. He doesn't growl at Missy or anyone else only Muffin & I understand why. Muffin's favorite "game" is to destroy the stuffed animals.. and if she gets a hold of Mocha's toy, 2 minutes later, that toy will be completely gutted & Mocha is only left with the toy's empty skin.

    I think Mocha has noticed this, so he guards his stuffed toys against Muffin. If he has a plastic toy, or food, he couldn't care less & never growls.

    Is it something that would potentially escalate to something else more dangerous, and that I should train him out off? (if it's so, HOW?) Whenever he growls (and I catch it), I'd tell him to stop and he'd stop right away. Muffin always keeps her distance when being growled at, so all is fine so far, but I'm thinking of the baby.. Right now, Mocha doesn't have any problems with anyone else but Muffin, but I'm afraid he'll guard against the baby once the baby can reach & grasp things.
     
  2. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    For starters, stop telling him to stop growling. Growling is a warning and if you disallow it, all you end up with is a dog who bites without warning.

    Teach the dog that giving his toy - and anything else he might want to guard - means he gets good stuff. Trade him for a better toy or food. Resource guarding is a defensive behavior, and by trading he learns that he doesn't need to be worried about losing it because he'll get something better out of the deal.

    Also, dogs that guard against other dogs don't always end up being guardy towards people. Some do though, and it never hurts to teach trade games where the dog gains something better by giving up what he has.
     
  3. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    this



    also, are you SURE hes serious? Does he growl in play otherwise? Two of mine growl when holding toys, but it the begining of play. :)
     
  4. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Strider and Kaia did this back and forth a little bit when she first got here. I did some controlled training with them, where I set Strider up with something of value. Not super high value like a steak or anything, just a fun toy that he wouldn't want to give up.

    I let Kaia into the room, and as soon as she started approaching I gave Strider a high value treat. Gradually they worked in closer and closer, so that I had them with their noses 6 inches apart, giving them each bits of hot dog, trading the toy back and forth between Strider, Kaia, and me. Every time I took the toy away the dog loosing the toy got a treat. Every time I gave the toy to a dog, the dog with no toy got a treat.

    Blah, that sounds convoluted, lol. Basically it was a giant 3 way trading game. Now instead of guarding toys, and even RMBs from each other they trade back and forth themselves. Strider will gnaw on some beef ribs, Kaia will waltz up and gnaw on the other end. So they will sit and gnaw on the same bone together. If one dog carries the bones off by themselves, instead of complaining the first dog will come to me. That gives me a chance to get another bone, treat, or take the first bone and divide it in half so they each have their own.

    We've got a 2 year old child, so harmony over food and toys is very important here.

    Does Milo like to play tug? That was something I noticed about our two. Once they got comfortable with the trading game, they started playing tug with high value toys and treats. Both of them will happily release the tug and then go in for round two without fighting over it. Before, I think they were too worried about the other dog running off with the toy to play it. Maybe doing a three way game of tug between you and them will help make sharing more fun for Milo?
     
  5. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Chulita will do a little bit of this if one of the other dogs comes too close to her when she has a Nyla bone or something. They respect her growl and leave her be. It is a communication which she is allowed to do. I never have had anyone challenge the other. Nothing ever escalates. So, between them, in their case, I let them do their doggie "discussion" because I see that they've got a good system.

    Jose` will guard the Dremel if any other dog (not human) walks too close to it if it's left out on the coffee table. The other dogs though, aren't interested in it at all. But Jose` doesn't know that when they come close, I guess. Or he just wants to make sure that they leave his Dremel alone. LOL. So, he gives a little, short growl and they walk on by or back away. They definitely have a workable system and nothing ever escalates. My three dogs get along stupendously and even these little warning communications happen quite rarely. None of them seems to even consider taking away a toy, food or bone from one who has possession of it. I mean, that's just against the rules. Their rules.

    Now, if it were the case where I felt the other dog would not back off with the little growl given, I would be more watchful and probably body block or herd the one dog away from the one who gave the warning. And keep something that appeared to be high value to both of them away when they were together. But in my dog's case, the Nyla bone isn't even what the other dog is wanting. It's the other dog just happening to walk too close and Chulita thinks she might lose it.

    If you see you're having more of a problem, a squabble or fight is on the verge, Romy's idea is good. As Corgipower said, don't punish their way of communicating. It's very important for them to operate their own way as long as it's effective and not escalating into a fight. It's designed to avoid a fight. That's what Mocha wants to do and that's what the growl is for.

    In addition, if you beef up the NILIF training a little bit, you might find that Muffin will look to you to get a toy more, rather than looking to Mocha and his toy. Be sure to have something you can give Muffin when Mocha has a toy. Make them both earn their playtime with the toy and don't leave a high value toy out all the time, just for planned play sessions.

    Remember, resource guarding is not an abnormal behavior. It's very normal and proper in a dog's world. (well, in anyone's world who wants to survive) We, obviously don't want to have them get into a real fight so if that is likely to happen, then we have to take steps to prevent that...either separation when there are high value toys or food around or try conditioning them and changing their view about the other dog...making the dog believe that the other dog is not going to cause the toy to disappear, and in fact may cause even better things to appear.

    Anyhow, just some of my thoughts...
     
  6. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    I always have to put Ollie's favorite babies up when his cousins are here ! Christmas eve they opened their presents and Ollie took all 4 in his mouth and called them his ! Up they went !
     
  7. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    am I reading this right?

    if so...:rofl1:
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    LOL. I almost missed this. Yes. The Dremel represents a very good time; lots of special treats, ice cream and cake, party favors, his friends all around, lots of scritching the belly. A very good time indeed..........all except for the actual nail filing, that is. He's not that crazy about those vibrations. But he decided a long time ago that it's all well worth it. They all dance around and are excited when I get out the Dremel, but others aren't selfish with it. And just in case the other dogs don't know it, it's his Dremel. He only lets them 'borrow' it when Mom needs to do their nails. :rofl1:
     
  9. filarotten

    filarotten Moderator

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    Brutus was guarding his cookies this morning. Cleo snarfed hers down, and snatched one of his as she ran past him. So, he proceeded to hold his two cookies between is paws right in front of her and growl while she watched. She laid there drooling and staring. The funny thing, he was drooling more than she was, because he wanted to eat those cookies. Greed finally overtook spite and he had to eat them. Filas are capable of being very spiteful.
     
  10. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    :rofl1::rofl1:

    I love the mental image that gave me.
     
  11. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    Travis guards against Lilly. I allow it. What is his is his and if he doesn't want Thunder Thighs Bunter Dog to get it he is allowed to tell her to bugger off. Now I am allowed to take things from him with no problem. So I don't see the issue. It is the same with their beds. No one is allowed to bug them if they are in their beds. That is their space. I firmly believe in treating them like entities. They are allowed to be "human" too.
     

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