They rescued a Shih Tzu approx. 2yrs ago, the vet put his age at approx. 3yrs old now. This poor dog was found wandering the streets and put into a shelter where he was chained up in an empty wall to wall concrete room for weeks. When they rescued him, he was a ball of matted fur and very timid. I just met this dog on the weekend, all I knew before hand was this much plus it took them the first year to "figure out" how to feed him. They tried every type of kibble on the market, the dog would not eat. So now she gives him mostly home cooked things like lamb or chicken and he may eat kibble once in awhile.
Anyways, this weekend I realized what they truly meant by figuring out how to feed him. They hand feed him something like a piece of chicken, he takes it, drops it and looks up waiting for them to do their part. They then pretend they are going to steal it from him and he growls and snarls, but then he eats it. This dog will sit in front of the food forever and a day until someone does this - pretends to steal his food. I held my tongue for awhile, and basically steered clear of this poor dog because personally, I don't like risking my hand getting nipped and this was not the only time he snarled or snapped -- I had brought Diesel and what a mistake that was. Poor "welcome wagon" Diesel couldn't get a hello in edge wise without being snapped at. I get it was the Shih Tzu's house, but this was beyond just being territorial. So I separated Diesel from him while we were there. Although she claims that her dog has played so well with other dogs before, including medium to large breeds.
Deez & I were there for awhile since it was a planned afternoon BBQ, so eventually I got enough courage to gently suggest that her dog was resource guarding - I had to explain what that meant. She seemed to take that pretty well and even agreed omg, that could totally be why he snaps and eats that way. But that is the most I felt comfortable sticking my nose in. Is a behaviourist really the only method to fix this dog at this point? Any books you can recommend that covers this topic, and anything geared towards rescue dogs - as not knowing their full background you would approach some matters differently I would assume.... Tanya?? You always have a great book to recommend!
And in terms of her dog being so snappy at Diesel, she would not intervene or correct him at all & got mad at her hubby when he tried to correct their dog, and just kept saying that dogs need to sort things out themselves. I agree with that to an extent, but I would never let my 70lb dog snap and growl at another dog constantly without correcting him to a point where someone else's dog is afraid to sit near him. And being Diesel's mama, I wasn't about to risk him getting bitten. I feel some small dog owners let this slide - JMO. Please keep in mind she doesn't think any of this is a problem so I'd be offering advice that wasn't asked for. How to do so without being offensive or speaking out of turn? I was thinking book recommendation may be the way to go. TIA
That's crazy! They participate in a little drama to get him to eat and have no doubt exacerbated his guarding tendencies in the process.
He won't starve himself. I would stop the pretend immediately and just put food down, lift it if he does not eat in 15 minutes and then offer the same stuff again at the next meal. He will eventually eat it and stop the mealtime games.
The snappiness does need to be addressed. I understand that people let little dogs get away with things that larger dogs would probably be dumped in a shelter for. Does not make it OK or right. That dog is a bite risk. He needs correction and should be rewarded when he behaves well. Just like a big dog.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
wow. just wow.
there is a book that may help but if they are THAT clueless I would say they nee to work with a behaviourist....
Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs: Amazon.ca: Jean Donaldson: Books
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I think a professional intervention is probably needed based on her reactions to like not letting the husband correct the dog. Having an outside party give them instructions would probably be best.
Ugh, and basically reinforcing resource guarding daily at every meal like that, oh jeez. They are going to have their hands full. I would agree that has to stop immediately. They need to exercise the dog very well, after the dog recovers (about 30 mins), put food down for 10-15 mins, and then pull it up until the next meal, repeat. Eventually they might need to work up eating from the hand, but at this point, just getting the dog eating on a regular schedule in a regular manner would be the focus.
I think some obedience work would be awesome for a dog like this as well. So many times folks enter a rescue situation feeling sorry for a dog, so they let them get away with everything thinking that will make him feel better, but instead that just creates a spoiled monster. So putting in some rules and teaching some manners would be good for the dog mentally, and might also help with the appetite.
Reece DOB 5/1/2013
LOL I hadn't even noticed you asked me for a book recommendation haha
I don't think it really matters that he was a rescue. as it is they are responsible for the increase in the behavioru by allowing and ENCOURAGING it.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
My concern with correcting the growling, would be that the dog no longer growls to warn others away--he would just bite. With no warning. I have read many times that this can/will happen if you do not let your dog growl.
IMO they do need to see a behaviorist to learn how to defuse this situation. And socialize the dog. Many trainers have classes for reactive dogs. Our local Humane Society has classes they call "Feisty Fido" just for dogs that need to learn to get along with others better.
“If I know every single phone call you’ve made, I’m able to determine every single person you’ve talked to; I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here, is what do they do with this information that they collect – that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And we’re gonna trust the president and the vice president that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.”
Joe Biden, 2006
It's easy for us to see what's wrong with their little "game " that got out of hand, but people, in general, do not take criticism of their dogs well....Insult me, OK, but don't dare insult my dog! If I were you, I would keep Diesel away from the nasty dog so he doesn't get bit, and just tell your friends how wonderful they are to rescue that poor dog.
if they have to pretend to steal it the dog is warped by perhaps being likewise abused in his past life. There's lots of research to show giving food and then messing with it by putting hands in dish or taking it away is a setup for kindling resource guarding. No matter if it is given back, the dog, proved by science, remembers the first thing the person did and that was take the food.Anyways, this weekend I realized what they truly meant by figuring out how to feed him. They hand feed him something like a piece of chicken, he takes it, drops it and looks up waiting for them to do their part. They then pretend they are going to steal it from him and he growls and snarls, but then he eats it
I can suggest your friends try this website designed to promote safe dog and child interactions: Doggone Safe - Home
And in particular the authors' writing on bite prevention and resource guarding: http://www.cappdt.ca/UserFiles/File/...20guarding.pdf
And I suggest professional help if the dog still refuses to eat if his food is made with yummy sounds, put down for him and left for him to eat in peace, then taken up 20 minutes later and not given again till the next meal when the same procedure should be followed.
You guys are awesome! I agree with everything offered here, and if my dog I would handle it as suggested by putting down food and lifting it until next meal time if not eaten. Totally agree they are making things worse.
Erin, you are spot on about them feeling sorry for this dog. Her in particular. She wouldn't just tell her hubby not to intervene, at one point she actually said to allow the dog to "use his words" aka bark, snarl, growl.
JnT - good point about the warning growl, it is important, but bottom line this dog should not be growling and snapping for no apparent reason other than the dog's misunderstanding that any approaching creature human, canine or other is a threat. But totally understandable given the state he was in at the time of rescue. He just needs better structure, reassurance, and proper training which he is clearly not getting.
To their defence, and in agreement also with what Barb said, this is their very first dog. They saw this poor little thing chained up and dirty and their hearts broke. So kudos to them for rescuing, I too am defensive should anyone offer advice about what I do with Diesel without me asking for it... that was where I got stuck.
Last thing she said to me before I left the BBQ was "hey, we should take the dogs to the dog park next time & let them play together..." not something I want to encourage - a potential biter going to the DP.
Btw - we introduced the dogs by me standing on the sidewalk with Diesel and she brought hers out on leash and we went for a walk. A few snarls and snaps, but otherwise not too bad. It was on his property where he got worse. I just don't know how someone can enjoy a furry companion like that.
I think at this point I'll email her a link to that book - perfect that the title has "resource guarding" in it so it will mesh nicely with the topic I brought up and I will leave it at that. I don't see Diesel spending time with her dog in the future, he was miserable having to be separated - so not fair to him - and I just don't like putting my dog in dangerous positions like that. Too bad because they just moved a bit further away so going for a BBQ kind of thing turns into half if not a whole day & that's mainly why I brought him.
Last edited by Diesel_Dawg; 08-20-2013 at 05:27 PM.
I made the mistake of giving my parents a Shih tzu as a gift... and I say mistake because when I researched the breed all I found and read about was that they were perfect for elder people but also good with children. This little fluff ball is quite a character, she´s very finicky with food, also snaps and growls when picked up, won´t obey commands, bite if moved around... the typical little yappy dog. I should have gotten them an adult Lab for sure. And believe me, my Mom knows how to be an "alpha" LOL
The truth is that nobody knows the past of the little fur ball, and the owners do what they can. I would tell them to look for professional help. As far as getting offended for the little dog trying to go after your dog, don´t take it personal, dogs are dogs, again you don´t know the past of the shih tzu (and a big clumsy happy Lab can definitely be too much for a sensitive little dog, even if the Lab means no harm), and don´t blame the owners for not knowing a thing. Just don´t take your dog there.
On the "leave the food 15 minutes and if he doesn´t eat it remove"... oh believe me, there are dogs that will starve and NOT eat... Mr. Vermont is an example of those dumb dogs that need you to "feed them", pet them, tell them the food is good and god knows what, or else he won´t eat (I´ve tried the 15 minute thing many times, once I left him for almost 5 days, he didn´t eat it til I came and telll him to eat... Jesus... The Labs take about 20 seconds each to go through their dishes). My parents shih tzu will also starve if you don´t "play the feeding time game" (i.e. hand feeding and convincing her to eat, definitely not playing resource guarding)