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Treat Aggression?


Guest BarneysMom
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Guest BarneysMom

I am still a little shaken, Barney just growled and barked at me over a dental chew treat. :eek We have had him for over a year, and I heard him bark 3 times - never at me or my husband though. This is also the first time he ever growled at anyone or anything. He seems to be in love with this dental chew I got from the vet. I went to pet him while he was still chewing (probably where I went wrong) and then he growled and barked at me once. I yelled at him and made him get up and drop the treat. Then took it away. I probably shouldnt have petted him while he was chewing on it, but what if I need to take it away from him, e.g. when I am going to bed and dont want to leave him alone with it? Barney has always been such a gentle, easy going dog. He never cares when i pet him while he is eating his breakfast or dinner? Any suggestions how to act right in this situation? Thank you!

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Guest boondog

Many dogs will guard things that they consider high value and that can vary from dog to dog. You've obviously found that Barney really values the dental chews. Needless to say, the easiest thing is to not bother him while he has one. If you need to get it away from him for some reason, probably the best thing to do is "trade up". Offer him something else he enjoys--a different treat, a toy, whatever. I'm sure you can find some good advice on this forum if you search "resource guarding". Good luck! :)

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It doesn't mean your dog has suddenly turned into Cujo. He just likes his treats and doesn't want you messing with him or it. Trading up is the best way to go. Though if you're into training, he should learn a nice "leave it" or "drop it" and that would also solve the problem.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Guest jfroggirl76

Many dogs will guard things that they consider high value and that can vary from dog to dog. You've obviously found that Barney really values the dental chews. Needless to say, the easiest thing is to not bother him while he has one. If you need to get it away from him for some reason, probably the best thing to do is "trade up". Offer him something else he enjoys--a different treat, a toy, whatever. I'm sure you can find some good advice on this forum if you search "resource guarding". Good luck! :)

 

 

That's exactly what we do here. I go and get a bag of treats that they really like and then call them. Once they come in whom ever is being snippy looses their prized possession. I distract them with the treats and pick up the possession.

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Everyone has their own ideas, on this, for me, I DO NOT trade up, and when I want something IT IS MINE, I take it, as you said somethings are just for safety sake, I think you did the right thing, and would continue to work with him in the same fashion, be confident and do not snatch it from him, if you feel uncomfortable, move in and stand in front of him, say "drop it" and be persistant, when he drops it, step on it (if you feel uncomfortable, bending over in his space) move it out with your foot then pick it up, I know, I know, I have read here each person's ideas on this, but the ability to take something that may be dangerous from a pup is no different than taking something from a child , and I never traded up with them either, I am still THE BOSS here

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Guest BarneysMom

Hi Kydie - thank you for your suggestion. I would really like to be able to just take it from him. I guess I am not a natural Alpha, and I think Barney can feel that, which is why he growled at me in the first place. We experimented and let my husband take it away and he doesnt growl at him. And when he is there, Barney doesnt growl at me either when I take it away. I will try what you said, because if I think about it I really dont know if Barney would trade up easily. If it turns out that I just cannot be dominant I will have to find a super treat that tops his chew. :rolleyes:

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I know it is hard sometimes, but for me I always looked at "trading Up" as, (in the dog's perspective) I have this, I growl, I bark, now someone gives me a "super treat" IMHO, this is now learned behavior, what may the dog just have learned? Nasty brings success! Now I know each has their own idea here, but years of training bird dogs has proven to us, "trading up" not always to be a wise choice, Yes, Yes, I know this is a greyhound, manners, is manners, is manners, for all those who swear by "trading up" :bow

not my style

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Guest Swifthounds

I am still a little shaken, Barney just growled and barked at me over a dental chew treat. :eek We have had him for over a year, and I heard him bark 3 times - never at me or my husband though. This is also the first time he ever growled at anyone or anything. He seems to be in love with this dental chew I got from the vet. I went to pet him while he was still chewing (probably where I went wrong) and then he growled and barked at me once. I yelled at him and made him get up and drop the treat. Then took it away. I probably shouldnt have petted him while he was chewing on it, but what if I need to take it away from him, e.g. when I am going to bed and dont want to leave him alone with it? Barney has always been such a gentle, easy going dog. He never cares when i pet him while he is eating his breakfast or dinner? Any suggestions how to act right in this situation? Thank you!

 

Not aggression at all. He's resource guarding.

 

Have you worked on the command "give?" You give the dog something, say give, and wait for him to release it., and reward with a treat. Repeat until he's good at it, working up from using lower value items to items he's less inclined to want to give up. It's something (like "leave it" ) that every dog should know - and one thing that very well could save his life someday.

 

 

Many dogs will guard things that they consider high value and that can vary from dog to dog. You've obviously found that Barney really values the dental chews. Needless to say, the easiest thing is to not bother him while he has one. If you need to get it away from him for some reason, probably the best thing to do is "trade up". Offer him something else he enjoys--a different treat, a toy, whatever. I'm sure you can find some good advice on this forum if you search "resource guarding". Good luck! :)

 

Good advice.

 

Everyone has their own ideas, on this, for me, I DO NOT trade up, and when I want something IT IS MINE, I take it, as you said somethings are just for safety sake, I think you did the right thing, and would continue to work with him in the same fashion, be confident and do not snatch it from him, if you feel uncomfortable, move in and stand in front of him, say "drop it" and be persistant, when he drops it, step on it (if you feel uncomfortable, bending over in his space) move it out with your foot then pick it up, I know, I know, I have read here each person's ideas on this, but the ability to take something that may be dangerous from a pup is no different than taking something from a child , and I never traded up with them either, I am still THE BOSS here

 

The problem with this thinking is that resource guarding is a natural behavior for dogs. Having to yield a food item to another creature (dog or human) is a wholly human invention. In the wild, a dog would not take from another dog, and certainly an alpha would not take from another dog, because the alpha would have taken its pieces first.

 

If you reach to take a food item from a dog and the dog growls or barks, he is resource guarding for two reasons: #1 he's a dog, and dogs in the pack don't take food from one another, and #2 you haven't taught him the wholly human concept of humans removing an item from a dog's possession.

 

Reacting to his growling with violence/aggression of your own is #1 escalating the conflict, and #2 punishing a dog for not knowing a human concept he hasn't been taught.

 

I know it is hard sometimes, but for me I always looked at "trading Up" as, (in the dog's perspective) I have this, I growl, I bark, now someone gives me a "super treat" IMHO, this is now learned behavior, what may the dog just have learned? Nasty brings success! Now I know each has their own idea here, but years of training bird dogs has proven to us, "trading up" not always to be a wise choice, Yes, Yes, I know this is a greyhound, manners, is manners, is manners, for all those who swear by "trading up" :bow

not my style

 

This is somewhat misinterpreting the above suggestion of trading up. Trading up involves offering a tastier treat in exchange for what the dog currently has before there's any growling/barking from the dog, not after. Sure, if you "trade up" the wrong way (rewarding a growling dog) you would encourage growling, but that's "rewarding growling," not "trading up."

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Guest boondog

 

This is somewhat misinterpreting the above suggestion of trading up. Trading up involves offering a tastier treat in exchange for what the dog currently has before there's any growling/barking from the dog, not after. Sure, if you "trade up" the wrong way (rewarding a growling dog) you would encourage growling, but that's "rewarding growling," not "trading up."

 

 

Good point. I didn't make that clear in my original post. Thank you for adding that.

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Guest gecko_foot

I am still a little shaken, Barney just growled and barked at me over a dental chew treat. :eek We have had him for over a year, and I heard him bark 3 times - never at me or my husband though. This is also the first time he ever growled at anyone or anything. He seems to be in love with this dental chew I got from the vet. I went to pet him while he was still chewing (probably where I went wrong) and then he growled and barked at me once. I yelled at him and made him get up and drop the treat. Then took it away. I probably shouldnt have petted him while he was chewing on it, but what if I need to take it away from him, e.g. when I am going to bed and dont want to leave him alone with it? Barney has always been such a gentle, easy going dog. He never cares when i pet him while he is eating his breakfast or dinner? Any suggestions how to act right in this situation? Thank you!

 

I know hard surprising and scary it can be when a dog acts like that for the first time. Tumnus growled and snapped at me while I was attempting to clean his teeth just last week. It was clearly a dominant behavior, and he didn't connect with me. It took me about two seconds to get over my initial shock, and once I did, I made him move away from me until his tail went down and he assumed a submissive posture. Then, I grabbed my jar of peanut butter and went back to messing with his muzzle and then moved on to teeth. Yelling at him would have made the situation escalate for both of us. I felt it was more important for him to understand (1) why he was being punished,(2) snapping at me was UNACCEPTABLE, and (3) good things happen to him when he is nice and lets me clean his teeth.

 

There are certain things that will make every dog tick, but I agree with teaching him the "leave it" command. This can work with drawing his attention from valued treats as well as cars, small animals, etc. on walks, and it will give you another leg up in the pack order.

 

Good luck!

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Guest Swifthounds

Swifthounds, thank you so much for that post. :nod the advice that a relatively new greyhound owner can use to learn.

 

You're welcome. I'm happy to help where I can!

 

 

This is somewhat misinterpreting the above suggestion of trading up. Trading up involves offering a tastier treat in exchange for what the dog currently has before there's any growling/barking from the dog, not after. Sure, if you "trade up" the wrong way (rewarding a growling dog) you would encourage growling, but that's "rewarding growling," not "trading up."

 

 

Good point. I didn't make that clear in my original post. Thank you for adding that.

 

I read your OP as someone who has used the technique, so it was clear to me without the detailed steps set out. Kudos to you for posting the suggestion.

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Guest BarneysMom

Thank you Swifthounds for your elaborate post, it is extremely helpful!

And of course thanks to everyone, I have a much better understanding of the situation now (guarding, not aggression) and that already makes it so much easier to handle.

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Guest BeakerBoy

We've actually experienced something similar with Beaker twice now, both times while he was chewing on his rawhide, which we have discovered that he LOVES! He rarely barks or makes much noise at all and he's never been agressive in the slightest bit, but there have been two occasions now when he's given a low growl (no biting or barking though) when we were near him when he was chewing his rawhide. It definitely seems like he's guarding, but when I told him to come to me instead of approaching him to take it on a different occasion, he did pretty well with that. It can definitely be a surprise to hear your dog do this, but we can always work around it/change the behavior. :)

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