Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster) - Updated - Alpha Female
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Thread: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster) - Updated - Alpha Female

  1. #1
    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRessources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster) - Updated - Alpha Female

    So I got a new foster a few days ago. 6 year old stray that has been in the shelter for about two months before coming to me.

    She has ressource guarding issues when it comes to food (or anything edible in her mouth). I hand fed her the first 4 meals, now I hand feed MOST, but leave abit in her bowl to eat there. The final steps are to give all in her bowl (or most) then stand near her. When that is ok, touch her back end. Eventually moving (slowly) to touch up her body.

    When being hand fed she is perfect. UBBER gentle. Rocky has come around us and she's still good.

    On two occasions she has gotten garbage and if I went near her she growled in warning. So basicly, even if I know she is eating something dangerous my only shot is to run and find kibble (or safe food) to trade. She is great on trades for kibble.

    So my question is more about toys. She knows drop it (for toys, won't do it for food) quite well. She'll fetch happily and come right up to you, even rubbing the ball on your arm/hand to play again. But if you move your hand there is a little growl. Not the same one as above. I don't mess with this, so I have her drop it then pick it up. BUT I have noticed that when she picks up a toy to play by herself, the growl appears. Neither Rocky or I are near her, and she appears happy and relaxed.

    I'm guessing it's best to stay safe and never take anythign directly from her mouth, but I'm wondering if she could resource guards food but is just playing when it comes to the toys (growling in play)?
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    henrysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster)

    Tanya, what is her body language like when she's growling?

    We just did our resource guarding class in Kinderpuppy. Pups given pigs ears to chew on, and then instructor came around with an Assess-a-Hand to take the pigs ears away. There were 3 pups in class who could become serious resource guarders if not worked with. One just stiffened and stared at the pigs ear, one was stiff and mildly vocal, and the other one just went nutso.

    Could you do food bowl exercises with her? Not just handfeeding, but putting food down in a bowl, then putting your hand in (if you're comfortable doing so) or taking the bowl away, dropping some really good tidbits in (like hotdogs or cheese) and then giving it back to her?

    Hope Nancy comes along this thread, she's much more knowledgeable than I. Just thinking off the top of my head.
    Gorsebrook Jackson Triggs, CD, RN, WC, CGN<br />Kelrobin A Twist of Fate<br /><br />

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    blackandyellow is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster)

    With the food it clearly looks like she´s guarding. with the toy it doesn´t seem so clear, if she releases the toy without any problem it might be just playing. Some dogs growl when they play. Our newest addition to the mountain bike group (Sam, a gorgeous yellow lab) growls at Homer but after observing both for awhile we realized it was his invitation to play, no aggresion at all.

    Hand feeding works wonders, I´ve always done that with my dogs. My great dane became so used to it that she wouldn´t eat unless you were standing besides her pattin her big head while she munched dinner...


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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster)

    Thanks guys

    I was working up to touching her while she ate, first step was hand feeding, then hand feeding with some in a bowl.

    Today I was able to touch all the way up her back to her shoulders (I did hand feed most of her food beforehand) while she ate from her bowl. She could care less.

    Though I continue to slowly take steps there, the issue isn't GIVING her something. But she gets aggressive if she HAS something she found (that she can eat) and you want it. The body language then is all "get the F*** away from me NOW" with the lips over the teeth and growl.

    I'll have to double check her body language on fetch, we've only managed to play in the dark so far (days are short!). But it's much different then when it's food so I MIGHT just be play, but I'll definately go slow and watch her.

    She freaked out yesterday though. She had a ball, which I have allowed her to play with for a few days now, and I don't remember ever just taking it away from her, on the couch and I asked her to get off the couch and go to her crate (with a handful of kibble) and she did the growl thing again (teeth bared, growl). It took a little while to get her off and relaxed (I made a trail of kibble away from the couch then threw a few so I could backtrack and take the ball in case that was the issue). I eventually lured her in her fcrate with food. Upon my return she was much better. That's been the worse scene, and i do not know if it's about not wanting to go to the crate (it's clear that is where she was going), guarding the couch or guarding the toy??
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    blackandyellow is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster)

    I wouldn´t allow her on the furniture at all, that behaviour is typical "i´m the boss here", and the problem is that you actually bribed her to get off the couch (you rewarded her growling at you). Dogs with that type of behavior need to "earn" everything they do and have strict discipline. You mentioned you are fostering her. Can the organization that gave you the dog help you out?

    This is a problem that won´t allow to place the dog in a permanent home, because it will end up escalating into a bite if you challenge her dominant position she will become more aggressive.

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    YellowJakesMom's Avatar
    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster)

    Tanya have you read the book "Mine" by Jean Donaldson? It had extensive training ideas on resource, food, toy, and location guarding. I think it would be really good for you to take a look at if you are planning on having this dog for any length of time

    Jake is very vocal when he plays, he grunts, growls, moans, but his body is very relaxed, his eyes aren't "hard," and his tail is level with his body and wagging. Is she like that?

    One of the things the behaviorists I've talked to (veterinary behaviorists) all said is that with resource guarders they have to learn that humans coming near them and "their stuff" means good things happen. With Jake, if I was there when he started eating it was no big deal, he would let me do whatever, however - if I approached partway through he'd gulp that food with his tail straight up in the air and bristled hair. What we did (as outlined in Mine) was leave food, approach and stop 3-5' away, toss yummy treat (hotdog), walk away. Repeat.

    We did this for ... a month? He's good now, I still do it occasionally if he seems not at ease when he's eating. And I am careful not to startle him (he has bad vision too) when he has a high-value treat or food.

    Dogwise had "Mine" when I ordered it a few years ago I think for $12.00 - I highly recommend it as it was a quick read too and clearly outlines steps to take to help the dogs relax. Good luck!

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster)

    Update

    So we had a big weekend in a hotel room and at a flyball tournament!

    I haven't had any issues with food. I can touch her all over (throat/face/head included) while she eats and she doesn't blink. I give her 1/4 by hand, 1/4 is put in her bowl, she must do a sit/stay and wait for release to go eat, then the last 1/2 I sporadicaly put in her bowl by hand. So basically she seems to fully understand that me and my hands being very close to her bowl is a GOOD thing. Rocky roams around the house (though hasn't gotten super close to us which is good).

    With toys in her mouth I also have no more issues. She growls but no bared teeth and a relaxed body position. I sometimes have her drop it on her own, sometimes I push her gum into her tooth (gently!) and pull the toy out of her mouth. No issue. Other dogs can take her ball with no problem.

    THe last issue is the couch/bed thing. Though I do not ALLOW her on anymore, she ocassionaly gets up there, and in fact, i'd rather work thru this rather than ignore the problem. Yesterday she growled at me twice and wouldn't move off. I put the leash on her and pulled her off (I was quiet, relaxed but self assured). One of the two times she growled once off the couch. Today she was up on the couch again, i quietly got the leash, put it on her, and I barely started pulling (leash still slack) when she just walked off. I told her good girl.

    So - is that the best way to continue dealing with the bed/couch issue? Use the leash, quietly pull her off? should I not reward at all? Do I start incorporating the command?

    I will try to get that book ASAP and I have e-mailed the rescue for their insight.

    THANK YOU!
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

  10. #8
    imported_BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster) - Updated - Alpha Female



    You might want to keep the bedroom door closed and use a scat mat on the couch to keep her from inviting herself up there.
    Sharon

  11. #9
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    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster) - Updated - Alpha Female

    Jake had an issue with being pulled out of his crate by my roommate :surprise: She was shocked that he objected. So I taught him a command to come out of the crate to avoid the issue.

    What I would do is get a sturdy box, anything that will hold her weight. Lure her up with treats. Cue "On" or "Up" or whatever, and treat. (Jake and did this with park benches) Tell her to stay. Then command "Off" in a happy voice, and lure her off, treat. Once she's solid on that command, you can use it for the couch. I'd just be weary of having to put a leash and collar on her if she's guarding the couch. Teaching a command to mimic your desired behavior just seems easier to me

    Once you tell her off the couch (when she understand the command), I'd have her do something else, sit, down, etc. Then treat her.

    Glad to hear things are going well with the food and toys!!

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    blackandyellow is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Ressources Guarding or Play Growl? (new foster) - Updated - Alpha Female

    Great news! Good she´s doing much better. I think eventually you can keep working with her to teach to NOT get on the bed rather than "kicking" her off once she does it. Sometimes it´s better to set clear limits for them and estabilishing that the bed is yours and is off-limits will be good for her.


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