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Possessive/agressive Behavior


Guest rlblattau
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Guest rlblattau

We adopted our greyhound about 3 months ago. She will be 3 in February & has settled in very nicely. Lately we have been noticing that she is becoming more & more possessive about her toys, etc, some more than others. Sometimes she will growl when you approach her if she has a toy nearby. Other times she has actually lunged & attempted to bite, even if you just walk a little too close. She is otherwise very friendly & loving. I am worried she will hurt someone & we will be forced to give her up. Short of removing all toys completely, does anyone have any suggestions? Is anyone else having this problem? I have read some of the posts & it seems like she does have some "space" issues, so it may be a combination of both. The problem is that it doesn't always happen, & comes without warning. I appreciate any helpful suyggestions!

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Resource guarding certainly happens, but "trading up" is always a valuable training tool. I'm sure others will comment, but essentially it is common behaviour, but a behaviour that can be untaught. She might also be trying to test her boundaries with you as well, and it's important to be careful so you don't get caught up with some teeth!

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10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
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I might have been lucky, but when Grace growled at me when I accidently touched one of her toys I growled back louder than she did followed by an ear rub. The look on her face was priceless and she hasn't done it since.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) b. 18 June 2014 - Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 - Going grey gracefully
Guinness (Antigua Rum) b. 3 September 2017 - Gotcha Day 18 March 2022 - A gentleman most of the time

 

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I never gave any dog free access to any toy. Toys are mine and sometimes I share them. Never experienced any possessive behaviour towards me, even in dogs that showed possessive aggression towards other dogs.

 

As I am not of the kind that thinks a hound needs personal toys 24/7 around I would remove all of them and just hand them over for special occasions and would do some trade training.

 

My Lurcher was resource guarding when he came to me. Nearly bit my hand off as he found a bone and I wanted to take it away from him (my other dog would let me take away everything from her mouth. I was so used to it that I did not think about it. New dog was not used to it.)

 

He held the bone and I held the bone, he growled like a devilish hellhound ready to bite off my fingers an moving my hand towards him would not have been a good idea. But if I would let him have the bone he would have won our "fight". So we stood there. 1o minutes without moving. A bone in mouth and hand. Finally his grip losend and I could take the bone.

After that I did some hand feeding and trading games for a while. He never ever again showed any agression towards any human being.

 

Not exactly the same situation as yours but I am shure: something one can work on with almost every dog.

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Hi. It sounds like you have a dog that's starting to settle in more, with behaviour that isn't ideal in a home but within the range of normal. Against my better judgement, I tried to take a toy from my first grey the first day I had him, while he was on his comfy bed no less. He was a greyhound so I took some liberties with common sense. He froze up, bit my arm, and it was 100% my own fault. I'd recommend reading about dog body language, calming signals, signs that a dog is stressed, signs that a dog bite is imminent, Resource Guarding. Turid Ragaas and others have some useful information about reading/'listening' and responding to dog behaviour. Keep beds, toys and remnants of toys, food, safe spaces, etc. away from people areas. Stay safe. :)

 

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She actually did not "attempt to bite" - if she had wanted to she would have bitten. Since you hadn't 'listened' when she told you to back off in more 'polite' ways (stiffening -> showing teeth -> growling) she protested more forcefully. An actual bite would be the next step. She's settling in, and with that she's found out that she likes having things of her own. She can learn that they are still hers and she doesn't need to protect them from you, but it will take some work.

 

I'm unclear on why you would need to take a toy from her, unless she is destroying it and at risk of ingesting it and doing herself harm. I'd probably let her have her toys-though none of my dogs have ever ingested toys, so there's that. (Lucky us!)

 

She's not used to having to share her things, and it sounds as if she's learning to really value the toys she has. So, obviously, she wants to keep them. Working on 'trading up' as has been suggested is a good idea. If she gets something she shouldn't have, trading up is a very good trick to have in your arsenal! Making sure she has an area that is hers and she can be unbothered is another, for when she's happy in her spot and might not want to be disturbed. If you have the space, an Ex-pen can be set up to mark her area and keep her and you safe. We had one taking up about a third of our living room for a couple of years and that was our Monty's safe spot, feeding location and mostest comfortable bed (and where he stayed when we were gone). He didn't like the confines of a kennel.

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