I’ve had a lot of questions lately about resource guarding. I’m not sure why–dogs stuck together inside because of the weather? A butterfly flapping its wings in China? Who knows. But I thought it was a good time to revisit a post I wrote in 2014 about dogs who guard resources from other dogs. Here are some thoughts and ideas:
There’s no doubt that RG between dogs is a bit trickier than when it occurs toward a person, perhaps because it is simply easier to control the behavior of a member of our species than it is a dog. But there is a lot one can do to prevent or treat RG between dogs. Can it solve all problems between all dogs? Do I have a bridge to sell you? No, but here are some ideas that I’ve found helpful in the past.
PREVENTION I know this isn’t helpful once the problem has begun, but don’t miss the chance to prevent RG before it rears its jealous head. Say you have a new dog, we’ll call her Dog A, and a resident male dog, Dog B. You can teach Dog A that a treat to Dog B leads to a treat to her, Dog A. How fun is that, hey? (Hey? Wait, am I barking now? Only if you read last week’s blog post!)
It’s easy to do: Just pop a treat in one dog’s mouth and immediately give the other dog a treat, too. Then reverse the order. I’m doing this right now with new dog Maggie. Every night after dinner all the dogs get a snack, often something off of our plate or licked off of a spoon. I’ll walk into the kitchen and the dogs will cluster around. First, I’ll say “What do good dogs do?” They all know that they are supposed to sit when I say that. Then I’ll say the name of one dog, perhaps “Tootsie” and let her lick gravy off a spoon. Willie knows to wait his turn, but if Maggie moves forward I merely move forward a step to block her. I might quietly say “Ah ah” to her, too. Assuming she backs off, I’ll then say her name and let her lick the spoon, then quickly say Willie’s name and let him do the same. Then back to Tootsie, and all around about 3 or 4 times so that all the dogs learn that being patient and polite pays off.
Here’s a selfie of me feeding the dogs one at a time. I don’t put them on a sit/stay, they just learn that if they wait for the other dog to get a treat, they’ll get theirs soon enough. Well, soon, anyway.
I would never suggest doing this if you already have tension between your dogs. This is prevention, not treatment. Think of this exercise as either the first steps to prevent trouble when none yet exists, or the end game if you already have problems. Another caveat: Pay attention to the level of arousal. If the dogs begin to get excited and pushy, ask them to sit and calm down. You want the dog to learn that being polite and patient gets the treat, not pushy and demanding. I also teach all new dogs “Leave It” so that I can eventually say “Dogs, Leave It” and then call out each dog by name for a treat. The bottom line here is that the dogs learn that being calm and controlled gets them wonderful things, and that it’s great news when the other dog gets something, because then they will too. You can see some examples of this in the DVD Feeling Outnumbered.
What if you have a full-blown problem already? Here are some steps that can help:
WRITE IT OUT First, I would sit down and write out exactly what’s going on. What is being guarded? Toys? Food that falls on the floor? Mom’s lap? Second, what context? Outside in the yard over the wading pool? Inside in the living room over the chew toy, or in the kitchen over the dinner bowl? State exactly what the guarder does, being as detailed as you can. Does she go stiff and close her mouth before beginning to growl? Or bark and lunge with little warning? What does the other dog do? What do YOU do? This process can be tedious, but I can’t emphasize enough the importance of writing out as many details as you can. I don’t know how many times I’ve written out an issue with one of my own dogs and learned something important in the process.
MANAGE MANAGE MANAGE Every time a dog growls or lunges at another dog it learns something. She might learn to be more nervous the next time, or conversely, that the behavior worked. Or that their owner is going to be really, really mad so that every time another dog walks into the room when they have their chew toy they are even more upset than before. That is why, if you want to turn things around, you need to prevent as many incidents as you can. (And another reason why “Write it Out” is so important.) It’s hard to prevent something if you don’t know that it is going to happen. If one dog growls over the dinner bowl, feed them in separate rooms. Hide the chew toys. Don’t let either dog on your lap. I know… this isn’t always possible, but think long and hard about how you can prevent the reactions you are trying to change while you work on treatment.
TEACH IMPULSE CONTROL This is yet another indirect way of handling the problem, but it’s important. RG in dogs is often exacerbated by dogs who simply are unable to handle not getting what they want when they want it. We all can relate, but we all have to learn to wait our turn, right? Next I’ll talk about teaching patience specifically around the objects being guarded, but it is a good idea to help dogs learn to self regulate in many different contexts. I’d suggest teaching Wait (at the door, or pause on a walk), Lie Down and Stay, and Leave It. You can read about all of these exercises in my book Family Friendly Dog Training, although lots of other trainers have good descriptions of how to teach them, too. You can’t ever lose by teaching dogs that it is to their advantage to be patient and polite.
COUNTER CONDITIONING is the exercise that focuses on changing your dog’s emotional response to another dog approaching her “treasure.” I’ll use the example of food, but you can substitute anything that one dog guards from another. The basics are simple: You simply teach Problem Dog A to love it when Dog B gets the food, so that instead of feeling protective, Dog A is hoping against all hope that Dog B will come over closer to his bone or dinner bowl. You’ll note this is what I described in the Prevention section, but in this case you’ll have to start differently. Your job is to prevent Dog A from stiffening or growling as the other dog approaches by managing the distance between them. If two people can work on this at a time, both dogs could be on leash, and a good fifteen feet apart. Dog B gets a treat, and Dog A gets one immediately after. Rinse and repeat, until you notice that Dog A is anticipating a treat when Dog B gets one. That’s the response you want.
If you don’t see that in the first session, don’t worry. Just keep it up, being sure that the dogs are far enough apart to not elicit RG in Dog A. Once you do get a look of happy anticipation, you can begin to move the dogs closer together. You can do this without a helper if the dogs have a good sit-stay, you can keep gates between them, or you can tether one dog.
Exactly how you handle this next depends on many factors–from how serious the RG is, to how many different types of things the dog guards, to the personality of the dogs, etc etc. In general, your job is to create situations in which the RG’g dog learns that the appearance or approach of the other dog always leads to something wonderful for him. Rather than “Oh no! I might lose my bone, go away!”, you want a dog who is thinking “Yo! Come a little closer, would you? I just love it when you do because then I get CHICKEN!!!” I highly recommend two resources on the subject. My favorite is a great article in Whole Dog Journal by Pat Miller that is clear and well organized. Jean Donaldson wrote an extremely thorough book on RG, Mine! It is not specific to dog-dog RG, but it describes, in great detail, how to use classical conditioning to change a dog’s emotional response from “Oh No!” to “Oh Boy!”
RESPONDING TO RG Life being what it is, no matter how hard you try it is often impossible to eliminate all instances of RG while you are treating it. Here’s how I suggest responding (once you have decided that the behavior was inappropriate, which is of course, a complicated issue all by itself): Look at the RG’er, and say something like “What was that?” in a low voice. I’d avoid raising your voice if you can, stay quiet and low-voiced and focused. Move forward toward the dog and back him or her up in space or step or two. Try to stay calm and quiet yourself but make it clear that you are directing your attention toward the RG’er. Tell him to sit and stay, again in a low, flat voice. I like to indulge myself here, and talk for a moment about how “we don’t do that here” or “what did you think you were doing?” or “your mother eats kitty litter.” It well might have no effect on the dog, but it’s quite satisfying. Keeping the offender on a stay, I’ll then go over and pet or feed the other dog for a moment. If the RG’er stays in place and is polite, I’ll go back and treat or pet him, again teaching him that good things happen to him if the other dog gets food/attention/toys etc. Exactly how this is done depends very much on you, the dog and exactly what the dog did.
CALL IN THE VILLAGE It’s often a good idea to have someone else act as either a coach or a support group. Make sure that person 1) reads dogs well and 2) understands how to use positive reinforcement and classical conditioning to influence behavior. Granted, that’s not going to be just anyone off the street, but then, you wouldn’t get medical advice from a guy selling gum on the corner, would you?
TWO MORE RESOURCES for you are the booklet that Karen London and I co-authored, called Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household, which emphasizes teaching dogs in a multi-dog home to be patient and polite, and the DVD Feeling Outnumbered that illustrates many of the exercises.
A new resource, which I also recommend, is Pat Miller’s new book Beware of the Dog: Positive Solutions for Aggressive Behavior in Dogs. She has a good section on dog-dog resource guarding that is excellent.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you had to deal with a dog who is a dog-dog resource guarder? If so, how have you handled it? What has worked, what hasn’t? Any more great resources out there that I’ve missed?
MEANWHILE, back on the ice skating rink, uh, farm: I can’t pretend that it’s been fun here. The weather was awful on Monday, rain/sleet/snow, and by Tuesday morning we were completely iced in. Jim couldn’t get back to the farm. I couldn’t leave. The ice around the house was so thick and slick that it was smoother than the commercial ice skating rinks I used to practice my lame little jumps on. (You know that joke: Want to see my quick draw? Want to see it again? That was my jump, except in this case I actually tried to jump and people would say uh. . . , was that it?). The dogs went outside, one at a time, on leash, to potty and nothing else. They looked miserable and confused–I swear if they could talk they’d have been asking “What’s wrong? Did I do something?” We played games inside, but it clearly didn’t make up for my strange behavior when we went outside.
Tuesday afternoon I looked out the kitchen window to see the sheep huddled in a bunch in a small pasture up the hill. They often graze in that general area, but at that time they were just standing together, bunched up against a fence, not moving. Hmmm, I thought. An hour later I noticed they still hadn’t moved. Or the hour after that. Finally I realized that they were stuck. They were at the bottom of a small bowl, and had nowhere to go in three directions except up steep inclines, which were skating rink-icy and virtually impassable. They were against a fence on the other side, and the gate close to them led to an equally icy and very steep trail down the hill. There was simply nothing I could do, except remind myself that sometimes it’s good to have sheep pudgy enough to live off their own fat for awhile. I was actually more worried about them getting water or slipping and breaking a leg.
The next morning I found them down the hill closer to the barn, but unable to cross another impassably slippery slope leading toward food, shelter and water. Thankfully, later that day Jim was able to get to the entrance to our driveway with 400 lbs of rough sand, and we hand sanded about 100 yards of driveway so that his car could get in and mine could get out. I sanded a trail for the sheep, and finally convinced one young ewe (interesting, not the older flock leader, or any of her young) to attempt stepping onto the sanded trail. She inched her way down and finally the entire flock followed. Whew.
I wish I’d taken photos, but I honestly was so afraid of falling when we were outside I didn’t even think about it. I admit to being a tad paranoid about slipping on the ice. Given that Willie’s endless shoulder problems all started by slipping on ice, and that last year at this same time I slipped on ice and broke my brain for 6 months, I guess it’s understandable. The good news is that currently it’s in the 40’s and the ice is melting. The bad news is that it is January and having temperatures in the 40’s is going to wreak havoc on plant and animal life.
Not to mention one’s shoes. Usually “mud season” is in March, when the ground is still frozen except the top few inches, and all the melting ice and snow has nowhere to go. That’s what we’ve got now, a couple of inches of mud over frozen ground. It’s like walking through chocolate icing. Here’s a selfie of my and Willie’s paws after taking a walk.
Here’s a shot of my boots, excluding the “good” boots that I wear to movies, or out to dinner. Take this as a cautionary note: Do not move up north without being ready to invest in footwear. And coats. Lots and lots of coats.
I couldn’t leave it at that, so here is a shot of the amaryllis that are still blooming. The only color in an otherwise drab landscape!
I think I’ve mentioned before that Finna came to us with so many serious issues that I didn’t realize resource guarding was one of them until after Ranger had cured her of it. Looking back I’m in awe of how skillfully and patiently he dealt with the problem. The rule was very simple if she guarded it from him he made it vanish at the first opportunity. If she didn’t guard it it could stay. In the beginning she did not have freedom even of the fenced yard so Ranger would take whatever she’d been guarding and bury it in the yard. He never buried it anywhere she was allowed so it was effectively gone. For a long time the only chew that she kept was an antler everything else vanished. Once she learned not to guard things from Ranger he upped the ante and would stand sniffing her precious whatever. If she didn’t do anything except hover he’d walk away and she could have it if she tried to steal it he’d take it outside and bury it and by that point I had enough clue to support him.
We play a lot of wait your turn with treats and petting. These days the only thing Finna seems to feel very strongly about is that she should go in and out of doors first. Ranger has indicated that he doesn’t care so going in and out of the house or out the gate for a walk Finna gets to go first. She can wait and let Ranger go first. We worked hard to make sure of that but aside from practicing once a month or so to make sure she doesn’t forget she is allowed to lead the way through doors and gates when they’re given permission to go out.
There are occasional episodes of Finna resource guarding from the cat and from my husband but they happen almost exclusively when she’s particularly spun up about things and once she has the object and retreats to a safe place she’s content. If she still growling or upset I’ll ask her for the object and then send her to her bin before shutting her in with the object. It seems to be more of a security blanket in those circumstances so knowing that I’ll respect that she needs it to feel OK works for us. About a third of the time she takes the object to her bin (what we call her crate) herself when she’s stressed. She’ll always be a work in progress but she’s come a tremendous way.
Resource guarding was never an issue until Olive. She is much better than she was, but we’ve managed it more than we’ve changed her mind about it. One thing that is still a high trigger — any toy that is floppy that you can shake and bite. She will not allow Phoebe near it or if she thinks Phoebe might walk by it, she’s on her. This has been impossible to work through, so we don’t have floppy toys out.
Love the boot photo. Here’s a link to my current winter (not-out-for-dinner) boot collection. We dedicated one old pair of Muck boots as the yaktrax boot so we don’t have to take them on and off. https://goo.gl/photos/kmHg1Bz14NzutDDp8
My sister was amazed at our collection of boots by the back door. Some people only have one pair!
Our three dogs are fantastic about sharing resources. They peacefully share beds, toys, spots on the couch, access to the humans, and they even sleep on top of each other. The Pug has first right to any food that falls on the floor, and all dogs agree on this.
We do have one mild but bizarre dog-dog resource guarding issue. The dog park is covered in mulch. For mysterious reasons Red Dog occasionally chooses one particular piece of mulch and protects her “treasure” from other dogs.
Sometimes another dog turn “steal the mulch” into a game. Red Dog is always up for a game and typically plays along.
Other times Red Dog gets a rather serious look if another dog gets too close to her “precious”. When I see the serious look I either say, “Leave it” or trade kibble for mulch, and then toss the valued piece of mulch somewhere inaccessible. This ends the problem.
I have no idea why this happens. It is like getting possessive about a particular blade of grass in a field of grass.
Anyway, sometimes other denizens of the dog park have their own resource guarding issues. Red Dog is not much of a retriever, but she loves to play “steal the tennis ball” if someone is throwing one for their dog. I usually ask the owner if their dog gets possessive about tennis balls. If so, it is time to put Red Dog on the leash. A couple of times Red Dog has been the recipient of significant displeasure after stealing another dog’s tennis ball.
Yes, Red Dog can be a bit of a stinker sometimes. On the other hand, she will put up with just about anything as long as she recognizes it as play. This includes getting knocked backside over teakettle while running full speed.
Chris Wells says
Thank you for this repost of RG! Never had this issue with any dog until our rescue Golden Retriever, Molly. I saw the first sign of it the day we brought her home and she saw the toy bin and her eyes lite up like a kid in a candy store. Our elderly dog Sally walked over and I saw Molly stiffen and her eye go hard. Apparently I am doing all the right things. My first thought was to let Molly know that Sally is the senior dog here and is to be respected, so all treats are handed first to Sally and then to Molly who waits patiently. The incidents of RG are rare two years later, but I am always aware that they can happen. I don’t allow chew bones for that reason. I have worked hard with Molly to learn to wait and leave it. Thanks for all the other great ideas, and I will continue to work with Molly teaching her patience!
Thank you. This is very timely. Our dog doesn’t have any RG issues, but my brother-in-law’s new puppy does. He’s twice gone after our dog – a full on, had to be pulled off, attack. The first was when they were both playing tug together; he simply dropped his end and lunged at her. The second was an admittedly preventable brain blip on my part – my dog disappeared for a few seconds and re-appeared with a high-value toy that belonged to the puppy. Puppy lost his marbles and had to be pulled off my dog.
I know how I’d handle it if my own dog had RG issues (and indeed she had some very mild ones when she first came to us as a 6 month old rescue, and we worked through them with positive reinforcement) but it’s tough to me to manage these situations. Brother-in-law and his fiancee are both lovely, kind people who want to do well by their dog but I’m not sure have the commitment to appropriately address this high-energy pup’s challenges. He’s basically a good dog with a good brain, he just needs some focusing and direction.
I sent a copy of your Puppy Primer to them when they first got him, and I’ve tried to model operant training and positive reinforcement with my own dog (who they recognize as also high-energy and difficult at times, but constantly exclaim at how well she’s trained), but they have only ever had easy dogs in their lives. The whole family has. I feel like I have to be on 150% alert to remove toys from the environment, watch both dogs carefully, and no one else is committed to prevention and shaping a positive outcome.
I’m not sure there is a good solution. I have worked with pup on various games and focusing exercises when I can, and as I said, he’s basically a sweet dog who I have no doubt would response well to good training, but I’m not sure that’s the path he’s on – and I live 3 hours away, so I can’t do it for them!
Kathrine Christ says
Great post! Interestingly, the Pat Miller article is almost word-for-word from a section in Jean Donaldson’s book “Fight”. I don’t see it cited, but for more details, that’s the book that covers how to modify dog/dog RG instead of dog/human. Hope that’s helpful!
christina peters says
Dear Tricia, thank you for all the great information on how to make our lives with our best friends so much better. I’m a first time commenter but have been reading your books and online entries for years. I might be the only one who doesn’t know, but you wrote about potty training a while back and mentioned ” we all know that there’s a way to potty train puppy mill dogs”, but I don’t. I was told that there’s no way because they have been made to stay in their feces. Can you write on this really important subject for (maybe) those of us who don’t know we can help. Thank you, Christina
Ellen Jefferies says
I am sooooo glad to be in NC but how well I remember January thaw ice! Here’s a use for the manure pile (use it instead of sand) or sawdust stall bedding, (buy a truck load even if you don’t have stalls to bed ). It is Great soil amendment, altho depending on the kind of soil you have, the sand may actually be as good or better.
We have a “pack” , down to 7 from as many as 15. What you describe as resource guarding is to me normal pack behavior (it’s mine! And I’m the Queen!) and of course if it is not managed successfully, the results are catastrophic. With the breeds we have now, it is especially true because they will happily fight to the death before they concede a single rung down in the hierarchy. When we had a “queen” whose daughter decided it was her turn to be “queen” and recruited all her peers to participate in the assassination, the result was blood on the walls and ceiling (and these were 14″ tall dogs). We learned the hard way!
So for us, your guidelines are mandates! no ifs, ands or buts, there will be no intramural aggressive behavior. One of your books (Leader of the Pack, I think) is an awesome guidebook of does and don’ts if you are going to live with multiple dogs in the family. Each of our dogs has his or her own private place where he sleeps and eats undisturbed by others and where they can be when no adult is around to supervise. We introduce new dogs one on one until they have learned the rules then add the others one at a time so everyone gets to practice the basics before we add complexity. This is especially important when adding a puppy
30 years ago, when we had Rotties who were imported German bloodlines and bred for police and military work (long story, not important here), the no aggressive behavior, including playing with each other, rule was critical also for the safety of people, especially children. Dogs with a few exceptions do not intuitively know where people belong in their world; they absolutely must learn. The lessons are the same as you describe. Sadly, the prevailing view of dogs tends to view and treat them as 4 legged little people. Meanwhile, some breeds that really require significant skill to own safely become popular so reports of maulings still appear regularly.
I know you were addressing resource guarding. From my perspective, that is just one aspect of normal doggy behavior and is a training issue that all owners should be addressing as a matter of routine if they want to live happily with their dog(s)
CJ in Canada says
Such a great reminder post! My 7 year old dog has always had a bit of RG about food and other dogs coming from myself, but is patient when it is food coming from someone else. She’s been great about food and people and we still practice the “reaching for the foodbowl means SUPER cookies”.
Thankfully I got several of your books when she was a puppy, so she is vastly improved but I know it’s always lurking. I’m planning to add another young dog likely later this year, and this post is so timely so I can start on prevention right from the first meeting.
Mark Dozier says
I noticed you had no mention of snow or ice grips or spikes for your shoes or boots, They very tools that you need to walk on Ice. Tools that you as a responsible stock owner should have on hand to attend your animals. Granted they are not needed all the time but when they are needed you will give thanks to all mighty GOD you planned for it.
Check out the boot photo Mark. The boots in the back have Stabil-Icers on them. I have Yak trackers too, but they were wearing out.
Jenny H says
You CAN do what I call ‘serial feeding’ (taking turns) when there are problems between the animals, but you do need a safe divider.
I’ve not has any serious trouble between my dogs, but one cat always sat on top of the (tall) hot water system out of reach of the dogs, and Twinkle (my little star rat) stayed IN her cage.
In classes I do this with dogs on lead. Each person holds their dog’s lead so it cannot reach any other dog. I like to give handlers all turns at being the treat hander-outer for all dogs, but if this can mean we need to tether the dogs.
You make me realise how very, very lucky I am to live in a temperate, maritime climate where the icy, slippery days are few and far between, and the ice is usually gone by midday. I HATE walking on ice – too many bad falls over the years! We are even lucky enough to have a number of surfaced, off leash walks within an easy distance, so can avoid the worst of the mud, which can be nearly as slippery.
Poppy (toy poodle) joined us when Sophy (Papillon) was about 10 months old – earlier than I had originally planned, but Sophy was a sensible, mature pup, and was desperate for a playmate the right size. I introduced them at my sister’s house, where they immediately played happily. Then we came home. There was one toy on the floor – “Mine!” said Sophy. I put out a second toy. “Mine too!” A third “That’s my BEST one!” At five she lost count, and it was the same with chews – five was the magic number when abundance overcame any need to guard. We do have the occasional spat, but nothing that is not resolved at a word from me and usually because I have failed to clearly indicate who the treat or toy is for. Poppy, if guarding, puts her chin on the object and keeps up a sing song growl; Sophy can leave the thing in the middle of the room, and just use The Look.
Jann Becker says
You can handle anything (read stuck sheep) better when your feet are dry!
We’ve been working with dog to dog RG issues since our now two year old girl was 6 months old and her big brother decided she was a threat. Interestingly enough, he only has RG issues with his little sister, not with our older Pyr girl, whom he adores. Granted, she has the best calming behaviors of any dog I’ve ever met but it has been a curios thing to watch him assualt his little sister for breathing and let our other girl sit on him if she wants! Just in the last week, he has allowed his little sister to sleep on a bed near him with no reaction whatsoever, not even a look. It has taken an incredible amount of time and work but it has undoubtedly paid off. Our RG boy just turned three and I do think his increasing maturity has helped mellow him a bit. Greetings when mom comes home are now navigated with happy instructions to keep him focused on me and I can have all of them around me for special petting, cuddling, etc without an altercation. I am very grateful for your tips about positive training for dogs with RG. Has truly changed our life and brought peace, albeit with an incredible amount of patience mixed in. We’ve been working on this for a year and a half…
I once asked a local dog trainer who I very much respect and who I think is really really good at what she does about dog dog RG and her answer was “I don’t do anything to fix it, I just manage it” which always struck me as interesting because most resources online do talk about how to fix it. Another local trainer (one who I don’t think is as talented as the first, but still an experienced trainer) said “I used to help with dog-dog RG but it’s so challenging that I don’t take those cases anymore”
So in short, it seems that most professionals I have met IRL do not handle this stuff! And how are us mere mortals then expected to be able to handle it? 😛 Is this a common thing among dog trainers and only certain extremely talented professionals will get involved and actually take on clients like this?
My dog does guard toys, but luckily it’s not to a degree where she’s dangerous (I don’t think at least! I guess these things escalate over time but the last time I saw her guard a toy she has enough self control to not lose her head and do something harmful) , she’s an only dog, and it’s easy enough to avoid situations where she might guard toys out in public, but if I had a dog that, say, guarded _me_ out on walks, what a pain in the butt that would be if every local trainer wanted nothing to do with the case 😛 (actually I guess my dog does RG me a bit but more by licking the other dogs faces and body blocking, not teeth)
Uhm I’m having a bit of difficulty typing this since Shadow is lyong cuddled up against me. And that is my ‘problem’. Not that he is lying here, he is allowed upon the couch with permission (he is very polite about asking and I seldom say no). He Will get of reluctantly if I ask him. But he will not allow spot on the couch. Whenever Spot is on the couch he will either invite him to play or give him ‘the Stare’ and Spot will get of to make place for him.
Even if I direct Shadow to his place and trie to get Spot back up he will refuse.
Shadow and Spot had some serieus issues in the past. If I gave Spot and Shadow a bone, Shad would attack spot to claim both. We adressed that, they van have food, treats and share toys with no problem.
This is the only thing now. I feel like I’ld better leave this alone, since I am afraid to distirb the balance….
Annette Whelan says
I have your book “For The Love of a Dog”. You write of teaching your dog “bummer”. Head between paws .
I so want to do that with my Belgian Sheep Dog. He’s already a bit of an actor so this would be right up his alley. How do I start?
Mel Blacke says
Ok so this is something that I haven’t tried yet. My 2 year old ECS is a committed dog on dog resource guarder and it first evidenced itself when she was 0nly 9 weeks old. It has somewhat escalated at home but it is has really gotten bad at the kennel club where we train. I am ready to pull the plug on the obedience title attempt because unless I can find a way to manage or dial back this behavior I see it as irresponsible to continue. Move forward toward the dog and back him or her up in space or step or two. Try to stay calm and quiet yourself but make it clear that you are directing your attention toward the RG’er. Tell him to sit and stay, again in a low, flat voice. I like to indulge myself here, and talk for a moment about how “we don’t do that here” or “what did you think you were doing?” or “your mother eats kitty litter.” It well might have no effect on the dog, but it’s quite satisfying. Keeping the offender on a stay, I’ll then go over and pet or feed the other dog for a moment. If the RG’er stays in place and is polite, I’ll go back and treat or pet him, again teaching him that good things happen to him if the other dog gets food/attention/toys etc. Exactly how this is done depends very much on you, the dog and exactly what the dog did.
So you know, Mel, that you are using my words? “Your mother eats kitty litter…”. Right?