Resource gaurding, food aggression...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by taraann81, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. taraann81

    taraann81 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2009
    Ontario
    Our adorable little saint is 11 vveeks old today. Tonight vvhile eating her final meal of the day, the cat vvalked by and decided to help himself to a bit of Addy's food. She grovvled and pounced on him, in a split second. Didn't bite him, but grovvled bared her teeth and ent at him. As soon as he took off she vvent back to eating.

    Perhaps, being braver than vvise, I squatted dovvn beside her. She kept eating happily, tail vvagging vvhen she savv me so close. I reached out and patted her, she continued to eat happily. No stiffening, or slovving of eating noted. I reached my hand in her bovvl. The only change is she started vvagging her tail a bit more profusely. I reached to move her bovvl, she follovved along as I dragged it acorss the floor a foot. I reached for the bovvl again, she sat back on her haunches, ears back, smiling at me, butt vvagging.

    I added a treat to her bovvl then I let her finish her meal.

    Should I be vvorried about her shovving this tovvards the cat(besides of course for the cats sake)? Or is resource gaurding tovvards another animal completely different than resource gaurding tovvards people?

    My kids are often around the dogs vvhen they eat. She doesn't shovv any signs of this tovvards the kids, but I have never had a dog that shovved these behavious before.
    Perhaps I've been lucky, but I pride myself in the fact that my kids can,just vvalk up to either of the bullys and take anything they have from them. Be it a juicy bone or toy, the dogs relinquish anything they have to my children, no questions asked and no grovvls about it.

    I've just never experienced any sort of resource gaurding vvith any of my dogs in the past, I'm not sure if this resource gaurding tovvars the cat, could lead to her thinking she can do this to people?

    Thoughts please!
     
  2. Redyre Rotties

    Redyre Rotties Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 8, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    Put the dog where it will be undisturbed to eat. I do not bother or disturb my dogs while they are eating. If you want to work on the resource guarding, I suggest doing it at times other than the mealtime. I have never in over 40 years in dogs, had any dog with a food or resource guarding issue. Not one. Here is what I do.

    I work hard never to put the puppy in a position of wanting to guard something. If I want something, I offer a treat or toy in exchange. I take every opportunity to offer a puppy a trade up. I don't reach or grab for articles they bring back to me. I am very careful not to put the puppy in a position of even wanting to duck his head when he is coming to me with something, or has something in his possession. Instead I teach the puppy very carefully that every time my hand is coming toward him, it is to deliver something good. Something he would be wise to be interested in, no matter what he has. Puppies raised this way have zero anxiety about their things, with ANYONE. They are completely desensitized about being possessive over things. In addition to doing this, I regularly supply treats or hand feed and handful or two of the dinner from time to time before I SHUT THE CRATE DOOR and leave the dog to eat in peace.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. taraann81

    taraann81 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2009
    Ontario
    Okay, good advice. I vvill feed her in her crate. Perhaps that is vvhy I never noticed this behaviour in the bullys, vvhen they vvere younger I alvvays fed them in their crates. I also trained the "leave it" command by using treats. So sort of inadvertantly had been doing the same things as you all along.

    I also vvould occasionally put my hand in their bovvls, to "drop off" something special, a tiny piece of chese or meat. I think I read somevvhere a long time ago that it vvas a good vvay to prevent a dog from ever learing to "gaurd" his food.
    I'm not overly concerned, more curious. Its been quite a fevv years novv since vve've done the puppy thing and I seem to have forgotten alot [​IMG] I vvant to do everything right and have the saint grovv up to be just as vvell mannered and behaved as the bullys.
     
  4. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 4, 2009
    Oxford, AR
    Now me, I have kids ... and neighbor kids and nieces and nephews and friends and playdates and .. you get it.
    I want to KNOW for sure that no matter what kind of yummy pizza/lollipop/hotdog goody is dropped or waved in front of the dog that there will be no food aggression, no excuses.

    So I make certain. My mealtimes isn't sacred and neither is the dogs. Yes, my kids have rules about not bothering the dogs when they're eating, but they're kids and stuff happens. So I play the Something Better game.

    I will mess with the dogs food, with their dish, I will pull a handful of kibble right out of their mouths. And every time I do, they get Something Better. Canned food, hot dog pieces, stinky cheese crumbles. I do NOT do this every time they eat, but I do it quite a bit when they're puppies and every so often after that.
    Any kind of negative response by the puppy results in me grabbing the scruff of their necks and firmly and quickly dragging them from the food. Then I do some resource guarding. Food is MINE - dogs eat on my good graces. After I keep them away from the dish with body language they are allowed to respectfully approach and eat from my hand. It only takes once or twice max for a puppy to learn that growling over food for any reason whatsoever is unacceptable.
    Very soon a pup will learn that if anything happens at their food bowl, they run to me for their treat.

    Also, about the cat. My dogs are NOT allowed to growl at the cats for any reason. No exceptions. I don't care if the dog is eating, sleeping or the cat did something first. My dogs are not as big as a Saint, but they are certainly big enough to kill a cat by accident. A dog will discipline something by whipping their muzzle and cracking it with the side of a canine tooth. Both my dogs could kill a small cat easily that way.
    So no, they are not allowed to growl at anything, not even each other. It brings the Vast Displeasure of She Who Must Be Obeyed on them. My dogs love me and want me to be happy so we don't have much of an issue with it.

    Please note, I'm not saying that Redyre Rotties way won't work - because it can. In my personal doggie experience I don't come across a lot of well-raised pups and most of my dogs come to me already resource guarding and this is what works for me. Even my Deacon who I got very young, spent the few, short weeks of his life before I got him under a shed and had to learn to not cringe when reached towards as it was his automatic reaction, as was snarling and bolting anything edible.
    Now he is totally relaxed around food. It is Mine, I am Alpha, I will provide for him and I will always provide More and Better should there be any question.
     
  5. Redyre Rotties

    Redyre Rotties Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North Carolina, USA
    Violence begets violence with dogs.

    I do not advocate intimidating and physically correcting a dog over any resource guarding or food aggression. IN PARTICULAR if your goal is to eliminate the dog's anxiety over his resources and eliminate any urge to guard it.

    IMO physically correcting and intimidating a dog over his food is counterproductive. It is damaging to the trust relationship, and it gives the dog a REASON to guard his resources. What the dog fears is the loss of his resources. IMO it is counterproductive to step up and make that come true for the animal.

    I probably should say that I currently live in a 6 Rottweiler household, including 4 intact b.itches and 1 intact male and 1 spayed female. I have bred, trained, and exhibited horses or dogs since I was about 10 years old. This is my 22nd year in Rottweilers. I don't live with a pushover breed of dog. There is no need to use intimidation and physical attacks such as scruffing.
     
  6. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Southeast NH
    Quote:Word.

    A dog resource guards for a very good reason - it's her food. Resource guarding is not status-seeking; it's just plain "hey, this is mine." Imagine if you're sitting at your desk and your boss walks by and steals your bearclaw. Yeah, he's your boss, but that's out of the question.

    Now think if you stood up, said "Hey, that's my pastry!" and your boss slammed you against the wall and yelled at you. You are highly unlikely to hand over the bearclaw next time. No, you're going to keep it in your drawer and be ready to slam his hand with a stapler.

    If, on the other hand, your boss said "Hey, I'm springing for omlets for the office - wanna come?" You'd leave your pastry happily.

    Trading up is fine. Rewarding happy eating is fine. Teaching the dog that he was right to be afraid that you'd do something insane is NOT. You're just creating more of it.

    Every dog deserves a crate or a kennel where he or she can eat without being threatened. And every dog deserves to be taught to trade and happily spit out things that are in its mouth. A dog who doesn't fear being attacked over food is the one who will give way when there's that one-in-a-million crisis where a baby drops a drumstick on the floor. A dog who thinks that she's going to get smacked around is the one who's much more risky in that situation.

    I've had a 6+ intact pack for years. NEVER seen food behavior be a status thing. My four-year-old intact b.itch, who is unquestionably the queen of everything, gets smacked on the face by the shyest of her daughters if she approaches the daughter's food, and she SHOULD. Dogs are all about politeness - they rely more on courtesy than maybe any other domestic species - and that kind of thing is rude and needs to be called out no matter who does it.
     
  7. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 4, 2009
    Oxford, AR
    I am not violent with my dogs and I don't see scruffing as a physical "attack".
    Since both of you are breeders I'm sure you've seen a Momma grab her baby and slide it back when it overstepped the limits. She is hardly "attacking" her pups and I do not "attack" my dogs.
    My dogs don't fear me and this certainly does not "beget violence"

    Also, since you have multi dog packs, I'm sure you've seen where dog 2 has a bone and dog 1 comes by and dog 2 will happily back away or share. Dog 4 in the pack may feel there is enough of a hierarchy difference to growl or grab the bone and leave. In my "pack" my dogs are dog 2 and I am dog 1. They trust me to take care of them. Nowhere did I say "Anytime you see your dog with something good scruff him and take it"
    But if I hold my hand out and say "May I?" Their response needs to be a polite "Of course." Which doesn't happen if they don't trust me.

    The "boss" scenario doesn't even relate. Nice visual - But it's an awful lot more like, my DD is eating a pastry and I walk up and take a bite. She rolls her eyes and says "So I get a cookie then?" and I say "Of course" and hand her one.
    But if she jumped in my face about it and started screaming at me we'd have an issue. Aaaand in a situation like that I doubt people would get in my face and say it I deserved violence because I was abusing or attacking her by taking a bite of her pastry.

    I've read your posts here and both of your blogs and I respect where you're coming from. Perhaps I should mention that I train, I've been paid by other people to train and I've been paid by shelters to try to save "borderline adoptable" dogs. I have never in my life dealt with a pup raised like yours. But if you have a problem with a dog or a dog with a problem I am the one that people come to to save them and far, far from having any dog ever be afraid of me for my "abuse and violent attacks" that dog will adore me for my clear rules and consistent behavior.
    Like my kids do - because it's much the same relationship. Lots of love, but crystal clear boundaries and Mom is in charge.
    I don't love my boss. I do what I have to do to earn a paycheck and if I'm lucky I get the bonus of enjoying my work. If that's the kind of relationship you have with your dogs then I'm sorry.
     
  8. Redyre Rotties

    Redyre Rotties Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 8, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    Frankly, no, I have never seen a b.itch grab or scruff a puppy. In particular not over food. Only have had b.itches correct puppies for insubordination after 3-4 months old, and then it is not a scruffing.

    You can do whatever you like with your own dogs, and you can justify it anyway you choose.

    What I am saying is it simply is NOT necessary. And I assure you that although you may STOP the behavior with your methods, you have certainly not defused and eliminated it as happens with the positive reward based training. What you have likely done is eliminated the WARNINGS. This is how people get bitten by dogs who give no warning. The warning has been snuffed out by aversive training, so all you get is the bite.

    I feel that I don't have anything more to offer to this discussion, so, I'll bow out. Best of luck to the OP with your pup.
     
  9. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Southeast NH
    I've never seen a mom scruff a puppy either. I've never seen most of the things that "everybody knows." Like teeth over the top of the muzzle = I'm dominant to you. In all the years I've had dogs I've NEVER seen that. Dogs do punch each other in the side of the face with an open mouth but it's not a status thing. And status changes, by role, and sometimes by the second. In a pack there's maybe one dog who's in charge of how the pack responds to threats, but another one is often in charge of food, another one might be in charge of doors, another may feel very strongly about beds, stuff like that. It isn't a strict line, and even the Big Boss B.itch will back off when the one who is in charge of some particular thing decides to make a statement.

    Moms tend to tolerate everything, the worst of everything, until they decide the puppy has reached the age of accountability and the kibosh falls. But at that point they discipline them the way they would any rude dog. There's not a baby-specific movement or posture.

    I DO roll dogs, in an emergency, because I can get them calmer faster that way than any other. It's for injuries or major freakouts, not for every day and not for punishment. I might do it twice a year. But I do it the way they do it, by pushing them over right behind the shoulder. The only time I've EVER seen a dog grab another dog by the scruff was when they were trying to play (they sometimes grab the loose skin on the neck and pull when they're playing) and did it wrong. And there's no automatic response to scruffing; it doesn't push buttons that make the dog react the right way. It just feels to them like you're shaking their skin around and must be some skin-shaking weirdo.

    Dogs are SO forgiving, and so incredibly oriented to pleasing humans, that you can do a lot of things "wrong" and the dog will respond the right way. That's the miracle of dogs. And it's why I don't usually get into the mean training fights. But for resource guarding, which is so often completely misunderstood and must be almost incomprehensible to the dog, I get a little more worried.
     
  10. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 4, 2009
    Oxford, AR
    Sigh
    Since it seems I am not being understood here, let me attempt to clarify a little more.

    Think of dog training like a conversation. In my household the food one goes like this;
    Whatcha got there?
    Food
    <poke finger in dish and examine> Looks good, want some gravy?
    Okay wagwagwag
    Is that food in your mouth too?
    Yes
    Here, it's better with cheese.

    This is the scenario I strive for. Because when this scenario is firmly set as the only possible one, should my visiting nephew escape his parents and crawl in the dog's crate my dogs are trained to come to me and say Hey, when someone's in my dish or takes food from me you always give me something really good so where is it?

    But sometimes the conversation goes like this;
    Whatcha got there?
    MINE! Back Off!
    Excuse me, we do NOT use that tone! (This is the grab and slide)
    But it's MINE!
    No, it is yours if I give it to you and I will not give you anything while you are acting that way. (This is the hard stare and body language that will not let the pup near the dish)
    But I want it! <pup tries to make a dive around me for the dish and I step in front and make a noise that brings his attention back to me >
    Can you use your manners? (I will allow the pup to approach once his focus is back on me and he is being respectful, not growling or diving)
    Yes <pup approaches respectfully>
    Well then you can have it but I want you to think about where it comes from. You don't have to steal it if I'm giving it to you (feed puppy by hand - if someone is handing you 20 dollar bills, do you feel a need to guard the change in your piggy bank from them?)

    And yes, I do in fact find that this defuses and eliminates food aggression. I assure you I have never in the 15 years I've been being paid to help people and dogs had any dog I've worked with suddenly bite someone - though I've had more dogs then I care to count relax and STOP biting.


    Perhaps the very defensive responses to my post are over a misunderstanding of the term Alpha, jokingly referred to as She Who Must be Obeyed. In a proper pack, the Alpha is not feared, but loved and respected. Their happiness brings everyone happiness, their displeasure causes regret.
    -Think of that very special adult when you were a kid. Probably someone who was a little strict and if they were happy with you you felt like you really earned it. Doing something with them was a privilege that you cherished and a disappointed word from them made you feel horrible.
    That is what a proper Alpha is to a dog. My Grandma was that for me and no, not because I got nothing but cookies and positive reinforcement from her all day every day. She gave me clear boundaries and clear rules and 100% knowledge of just what to expect and what was and wasn't allowed. I am bigger and stronger but I would cut off my own lips before I would say one disrespectful thing to her.
    I am that to my dogs.
    And they would no more growl at my cats then I would curse out my Grandma's bible study group. Though I'm sure we each find the respective parties equally annoying [​IMG]

    Easier to understand now?
     

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