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Snapping/growling While Chewing


Guest javakaty
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Guest javakaty

We've had Nica for about 2 months, and in that time we've given her a marrow bone, and just tonight gave her a rawhide. She gets really intense while chewing, and if we go up to her, she growls at us. We've given her a stern "No" when she growls, and tonight when we went to take the bone away (got small enough that we decided it could be a choking hazard), she bark/growled at my husband and nipped at the air. We took the bone away, reprimanded her, and made her go outside. When she came back in, she was still almost in a trance and paced the house looking for the bone. She came back to the living room with a contact case that we took away from her.

 

A few questions:

I like giving her the bone as it seems to really engage her, but I don't like the trance-like state it puts her in....

Do other people deal with this? Is it okay? Should we stop giving her bones/rawhides/chews altogether? Can you snap your dog out of it, or train it away? What is the best way to train her not to growl at us? Are there other ways to keep her engaged without her getting so intense?

 

She's adapted to our house really well; doesn't seem to have sleep aggression, and seems to recognize me and my husband as her people. She gets plenty of exercise, but I'm looking for ways to keep her engaged during the day and evenings, as both husband and I work full time. She does really well home alone all day - I just would love to find ways to keep her engaged, as it seems like even when we are home, she is awake and active if we are walking her, playing with her, or going for a car ride, but the rest of the time she is just laying around. Apologies for getting super wordy - I know this is just greyhound behavior, I just really want what is best for her!

 

Thanks!

 

 

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This is pretty normal for a new dog. They have never had to give up their goodies before. Search "trading up". It's a technique used to get the dogs to give you what it's eating/chewing/guarding. For now, until you've worked on it some, I wouldn't give really yummy bones that you're going to want to take away. You can overcome this.

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Lying around when you aren't interacting with her... sounds pretty normal to me.

 

As to the bones/chews... I know someone else will chime in with the "trade up" training method. Personally, the only time Summer ever growled over a yummy and it was indeed when she was newer and it was one of her first bones... I said "no" and just reached in and took it from her. Possibly a stupid move but that's just the way I always handle my dogs and so far, so good (or I've just been lucky, LOL). Ever since then, I can take it from her without a peep, even though she's a bit shaky on the "drop it" command. I also regularly take their food away (and give it right back) when they're new and sometimes even poke around in their food bowl. With the food bowl, I do try first with a stick to gauge the reaction. I still do these things, although not nearly as frequently as when she was "in training" about it.

 

Be careful with rawhide. I am not a fan of rawhide and won't give it to any dog. With a previous dog, I have TWICE had to go pretty far down the back of her throat to retrieve the piece of rawhide that was cutting off her air! And this was by no means at the end of the rawhide when it gets small.

Edited by OwnedBySummer

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I avoid giving any high yummy treats for that reason. However, the training should continue regarding "drop it" and being able to trade the food bowl if need be.

 

I usually start by just brushing by when they are eating to see if there is a reaction. Then petting the hind quarters for a second while eating and observing if there is any reaction.

 

Personally, I would just stop giving the bones and forget the rawhide!

 

Good luck.

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Removing the resource altogether isn't really a good solution for a resource guarder. If a situation ever comes up when the dog starts guarding something that's inappropriate, dangerous, or poisonous, you'll need to be able to get that item back safely. Also, the more you take away and punish the dog for growling (i.e. "Anytime I get an awesome treat, mom yells at me and takes it away"), the more they feel that it's necessary to guard. That can either make the guarding instinct worse, or it can cause the dog can begin guarding anything and everything. There are many threads here on resource guarding that offer advice on trading up. Once you get those down, you can then begin teaching "leave it" and "drop it." I would start working on those in short five minute training sessions at least once or twice a day. The key thing to remember is to ALWAYS give the item back to the dog at the end of the session. The dog will eventually realize they have no reason to guard if they always get the item back in the end.

 

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/300814-guarding-her-rawhide/?do=findComment&comment=5561486

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/284927-growling-and-air-snapping-over-a-ball/

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/278310-growling/

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/252053-miles-bit-my-roommate-on-a-walk-resource-guarding/

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After she came to me, once in a while I would give Autumn a rawhide, and I would notice a similar "trance-like" stage..........she wouldn't stop chewing on it until it was just about finished, sometimes panting afterward as if she ran a marathon! Normally, she's not at all food/treat motivated, so it was only the rawhide that brought about that reaction. I never had to take it away, so I don't know if she'd react as Nica did, but fortunately (or not?), rawhide messed up her digestive system and caused very loose stools, so she doesn't get them any more.

For chewing, I now rotate between giving her Himalayan chews or some kinds of large bones, neither of which cause obsessive chewing.

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I routinely give and take chews while the dogs are eating them, especially in the beginning. Later on when they've proven that I can take things away from them I just do it once in awhile as a reminder, and give the chewy right back. I try to make it so that the only time I take something away without giving it back is when the object is something they can't have (found food or bone on the road, garbage, objects around the house, etc.). In those cases depending on interesting the object is and how much the dog wants it I'll trade for a food reward. If it's something boring like when puppy brings me my classes I tell her "off" and chances are she'll drop it before I get to her or else I just take it and put it away. She's not really interested in my glasses, she just thinks it's fun to pick them up and relocate them.

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If she is that intense with the bones, I would work on trade up with some lower interest objects and work up. I NEVER take away an object from a dog until they have voluntarily backed away/off of it. Pulling a bone away while they are still chewing and/or don't yet understand what trading up is asking for a growl or nip.

 

This is certainly something you can train dogs out of. Teague growled over the first few bones I gave him just because he had never had anyone or anything in his personal space while eating. Now he is trained to drop even the tastiest of bones (which I do a lot because he likes to carry them off of his towel.) I pick it up and give it right back to him on the towel so he knows it isn't a bad thing.

Edited by RedHead
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