Advice on new guarding issue
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Thread: Advice on new guarding issue

  1. #1
    Videodroner's Avatar
    Videodroner is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultAdvice on new guarding issue

    Hi everyone,

    I need some help/advice regarding one of my lab puppies. His name is Roger, and he is 7 months old.

    A quick history: He came into our home after being unwanted by 2 other families that didn't know how to take care of him and love him. At first, he was VERY hyperactive and dominant. If it had a pulse, he would try to dominate it. And he would pee all over the house usually while walking. After much love, training, and LOTS of patience, he became my little buddy. He is mostly obedient, submissive [but only to me], knows his tricks and commands, and just overall a great puppy with a few quirks here and there. We also have a second puppy [my avatar] that's now 4 months old, and they get along so well. No aggression whatsoever.

    The main problem that we still have is that he is a food guarder. Something that popped up when he became submissive to me. I've been working on it with NILIF, giving him treats when I walk near his food bowl, and all those recommended stuff to treat it. I NEVER reprimand him for growling. And he hasn't gotten to the point that he snaps. He also guards new toys, but it usually stops once he realizes there's no food in it.

    Now, the reason why I'm writing is because a new form of guarding popped up concerning a new doggy bed. He always sleeps in my bedroom on dog bed [not the one he guards] right next to my bed, and I allow him to get on my bed when I call him [and he gets off when I say so]. However, I recently had to pull an all-nighter working on my computer. That night, I let him sleep on a new doggy bed I got him next to me [he likes being in the same room as me]. In the morning, when he was sorta waking up, I went to pet him and he started growling. Not a harsh, tense growl like with his food, but it was more like a distant growl. His hair was also starting to rise up. I was SHOCKED. I didn't move away quick enough, so he got up, ran to his crate, and had that look that he gets when I catch him doing something wrong. I never yelled at him or anything.

    Is this a one time thing? He didn't sleep as much as he often does, so maybe he was tired? I'm really worried and scared, that this behavior might now pop up on his other bed, or on my bed.
    Please help .

    Thank you all!
    [Sorry for the length]
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    Samson is offline Senior Member
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    My first thought is that you scared him ( unintentionally ) when he was still half asleep ?

    I would monitor it to see if it happens again.

    If I had a food guarder, i would hand feed him and let other family members do the same.

    ETA that this could be caused by having two young dogs vying for your attention in some way !

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samson View Post
    My first thought is that you scared him ( unintentionally ) when he was still half asleep ?

    I would monitor it to see if it happens again.

    If I had a food guarder, i would hand feed him and let other family members do the same.

    ETA that this could be caused by having two young dogs vying for your attention in some way !
    ^^This
    Tammy
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    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    Videodroner's Avatar
    Videodroner is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for the replies!

    He was already up and kinda stretching. He was laying there looking at me, so I went to pet him and say good morning, and that's when he growled. But it was weird, because he didn't look stiff or anything. In fact, he had his "Puss in Boots" eyes. But his back hair was sticking up.

    As far as my other dog, she sleeps in her crate, so they were separated at the time.
    The food guarding is slowly getting better. I do hand feed him sometimes. And other times, I walk by him and throw little bits of cheese [his favorites] into his bowl. He doesn't growl when I do that, and at times I can even touch him quickly without a growl.

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    Samson is offline Senior Member
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    " I can even touch him quickly without a growl."

    This is really worrying ! You should be able to put your hand in the bowl while he is eating ! I think that you need some help here !

    Go back to the hand feeding before you need to pay a behaviourist to help you.

    It sounds as though he is training you ! Sorry !

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    Samson is offline Senior Member
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    " I can even touch him quickly without a growl."

    This is really worrying ! You should be able to put your hand in the bowl while he is eating ! I think that you need some help here !

    Go back to the hand feeding before you need to pay a behaviourist to help you.

    It sounds as though he is training you ! Sorry !

  9. #7
    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Videodroner View Post
    He doesn't growl when I do that, and at times I can even touch him quickly without a growl.
    Wow, it appears that you already have an issue! When you say it is getting better how bad was it? I can put my hand in my dogs bowls while they are eating, take the bowls away, pet them, brush them, whatever, they will allow people they are not often around to do this. I wholeheartedly agree that you need to go back to hand feeding your puppy every meal until you get this under control. If you don't feel comfortable doing this or you do not see improvement a call to a behaviorist is definitely in order. It is in everyones best interest to get this behavior under control while your puppy is still young. Poor baby, it makes you wonder exactly what happened to him while he was being bounced around, kinda makes you want to bounce a few people around...
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    Are you at all able to get a trainer come and evaluate him and develop a plan? When it comes to potential aggression (I say potential as without seeing it we can't make a firm judgement) it's best to go straight to the professionals (this isn't basic training issues, and doing things wrong can quickly make them worse).

    I would do NILF while I wait to talk to a professional. hand feeding only for a month, no couch, no treat no affection until he does something for you.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    Diesel_Dawg is offline Senior Member
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    Has he been to the vet recently? I wonder if he may need a checkup. You say he wasn't sleeping as much as he often does -- could he be in pain? Labs are very stoic so it is hard to read when they are in pain, but growling when you go to pet him could be him guarding his body because he is having some pain - could also be why he isn't sleeping?

    You definitely need to get this guarding under control, right now he is the boss of you. He guards his food, seems he guards even just his bowl from what you wrote whether there is food in it or not, he guards his toys, and now he is guarding his body.

    How exactly are you working the NILIF? Giving him treats when you are able to walk past his bowl without him growling? He won't really get the message if you treat when he let's you pass his bowl, it may confuse him and make him expect it everytime. NILIF is about him WORKING for his reward, simply not growling isn't work. Have you started hand feeding his full meal? Do not give him free access to his toys, and remove them when he acts up. Etc.

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    I forgot to mention that, thanks for for brining it up Diesel dawg! It does almost sound like he has pain or discomfort somewhere in some of the cases you mention.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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