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Discussion Starter #1
Potter is usually very sweet and gentle, though he, of course, has the typical hyperactivity for an almost 6 month old pup. However, when he's given certain (and sometimes random) things, he becomes possessive and snarls and snaps at anyone he perceives as trying to take whatever the thing is from him. He first did this with a Nylabone at 4 months (he has two other nylabones that he's never done this with). He most commonly does this with raw hides. Of all of his behaviors, this is the one I HATE the most, but I really am at a loss as to how to correct it? Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Forgive my lack of knowledge, but what does NILIF stand for? I did a search in the Best Advice and didn't see it.
 

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NILIF - Nothing In Life Is Free. The dog must earn EVERY benefit: Every meal is preceded by patient sits and downs. Every play session comes after successful recalls. Every treat must have a give-me-a-paw. Or something. The dog learns that you are the giver of all good things in life, and that he/she must earn everything. It even extends to making the dog sit and wait while YOU go through a door first.

I'm pretty sure NILIF is covered in OUR BEST ADVICE...... ???
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We're working on leave it (we've actually just started our training classes) and the raw hides are out. I don't think NILIF will work for us, though, because Potter is not an agressive eater at all. It can take him 30-45 minutes to decide to start eating after I put the food down. But, he's doing well with "leave it" and hopefully that will be a big help. Thanks for the advice.
 

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Find a treat that he will like, be anxious for. Hershey Kisses really likes the sauage like concoctions made in Beef, Chicken, Liver and other flavors. I cut them up into pieces about the size of a pea. They are used as training rewards only. For an outside unleashed recall, I have been using hot dogs cut into pieces about twice the size of a pea. It has been working for Hershey Kisses.
 

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I would be hardnosed, and set a time limit for eating. (An otherwise healthy dog will not starve himself). If Potter doesn't start eating within 10 minutes, then the foodbowl goes away till the next meal.

Free feeding is not a good idea, for a number of reasons.
 

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kaytris said:
I would be hardnosed, and set a time limit for eating. (An otherwise healthy dog will not starve himself). If Potter doesn't start eating within 10 minutes, then the foodbowl goes away till the next meal.

Free feeding is not a good idea, for a number of reasons.
Me too. There's no way in our home that a food bowl would stay down on the floor for 45 minutes.
 

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NILIF will work...and you need to give Potter 15 minutes...not 35 to eat. You have to control the house...not him...that is where this is leading to. If you put down the bowl and he eats only 2 mouth fulls in 15 minutes...so be it. That is all he gets until his next feeding. You add nothing to his dish for the next feeding and no treats. If he eats all but two mouth fulls in that time, you pick it up, put it away and that is exactly what he gets at his next feeding...two mouth fulls. Nothing added and no treats.

Don't set him up for being a picky or finicky eater, or to control you or your household. He's already shown you that he controls high prized treats. Stop this now.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Though I understand your reasons for recommending NILIF, for it to work, Potter would have to be anxious for food, which he never ever is. He eats because he's supposed to, but he never seems ravenous for it (as I know Labs often are). He's not a picky or finicky eater (he's happy to eat other brands of food when we're visiting friends or family, for instance).

He's also very good about training practices at anytime and well-trained (always sits when told, listens, has even stopped chasing our cat, etc). I think to imply that he has control over our house is an unwarranted over-exaggeration. Thank you, however, for the advice.
 

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This sounds like a symptom of a problem, instead of it being the problem.  :-\

I would look at strategies to become your dogs "pack leader", many many trainers out there can help you with it, for starters, I know that Cesar Millan has many methods (obviously) as well as Stanley Coren.

I would address this ASAP, as problems like this can manifest into something more serious quickly.

ETA: I know you mentioned that he is "well trained", but if he saw you as leader, he wouldn't think that he could guard things from you. Leaders "own" everything, dogs should give up anything if their leader decides that they want it. If he won't do that, he doesn't see you as leader.

Also, I would start with NILIF, he doesn't have to be "ravenous" about food for it to work.
 

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NILIF has nothing to do with being anxious for food. It has everything to do with working to earn his place in your pack...not you working to earn a place in his...which is what is happening whether you want to see that or not.

So, you can choose to allow him to rule the roost, or nip it in the bud....the choice is yours.
 

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Neither of my girls were ravenous eaters at that age. They could take food or leave it. With three dogs in the house it wasn't possible to leave food down because someone else would eat it. A time limit was set and food was taken up after 15 minutes and the remainder given at the next meal. Now all three finish their food in under 5 minutes(probably more like 3.)
 

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Nothing wrong with making him work for his food, enthusiastic or not.

I'd also highly recommend Jean Donaldson's "MINE", which outlines in great detail protocols to resolve resource guarding.
 
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