I need a second opinion - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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I need a second opinion

some background info-wolf is an 8month old working line gsd; he's in basic obedience; just started him on a raw food diet that he loves lol

ok well lately wolf has been growling alot lately at me and my husband, i guess this is typical adolescence?? food guarding (which he never did before), toy guarding, just everything. if i'm on the couch and he's laying down and i put my arm on him he'll give a nasty growl. if i hug him and he doesnt want to be bothered he gives a nasty growl. if i touch his food he gives a nasty growl, gets low, and is very aggressive. hes snapped a couple times. if wolf is chewing a bone and i go to take it, he gets a nasty growl. i've told my trainer about this and he told me to give a HARSH correction with the prong collar, even if it means lifting him off the ground with it a couple times...now i totally trust my trainer, he's done great by us and wolf so far with obedience...but i don't know, i've had people tell me that if you do that, you're only teaching the dog to NOT growl and just go for a bite. what do you think i should do? how would you correct the situation?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 11:32 PM
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DO NOT!!!!! Give a harsh correction with ANYTHING!!! That will actually encourage him not to even give a warning. You need to go back to NILIF on a VERY LARGE scale. He gets nothing without earning it first. No longer allowed on the furniture. Thats a priviledge, not a right and his growling and behaving like a butthead has led to that being revoked. You need to remind him that you control the resources, not him. As far as toys and treats, you should probably start teaching him how to play the trading game. If you want what he has like a bone, you need to trade him something of equal or higher value. and continue practicing this throughout his life.

As far the food aggression, that can be handled in a number of ways. First off, he has to work pretty hard for that bowl of food. He gets nothing without following a few commands politely and then sitting and waiting until he is released to eat. if he moves even a little bit towards that bowl before he is released, you can either remove the bowl from him and ask him for a sit/wait again or you can remove him from the room. This means he is on a leash at meal times so you can easy remove him by just taking him out by the leash. Once he is polite and remembers his manners again, he gets to try the sit/wait again. Another method you can try, and i very much prefer this one, is while he's eating, add things around him of high value like chicken, hamburger, turkey. Though with feeding a RAW diet, it makes this method tricky because you can get much more high value than what he's already getting. With this method, they soon learn that when you're near them while they're eating, good things happen.

Question: did the growling start before or after you started feeding a RAW diet?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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after the raw food diet. the trainer said that's because it's a "super high level item"
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 11:39 PM
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Find a different trainer for this. I would not give a correction without understanding exactly why he's growling and it sounds like you have a couple different things going on.

Resource guarding - food/bones/toys

Is he on the couch when he growls at you? That's an automatic one way ticket to the floor. No more couch time for him.

If you give him something, then it is HIS. Why are you trying to take it away from him? You are creating the situation and then making it worse by continuing to mess with his food and bones.

I would hand feed him for now. No toys on the floor, no bones. If you give him a bone, put him in the crate and leave him in peace. If you give him his bowl of food, it is his. But, as Kzoppa said, make him work for it.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2012, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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i was told to try to take things from him then give it back in case he ever picks up something harmful then i can take it with no issue.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2012, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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and i was told in puppy preschool that when my dog eats i should pet him, touch him, stick my hand in the bowl just so he gets used to it and doesnt have food aggression. so i did that and everything was fine...but ever since i started him on the raw food, i can't even go near him when he eats or he'll growl aggressively
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2012, 12:16 AM
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Have you tried hand feeding since switch to raw?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2012, 02:41 AM
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My boy only ate out of my hand when i got him, so he knows with out a doubt that that is where the food comes from! I pet him all the time and on ocation he will eat out of my hands just to remind him. but when I give him food or a toy or whatever it is his! I do not bully. but I will always be the alfa male! If im not pestering him and they growl you will get a correction just like in the wild no challages of alfa, needs pack maners.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2012, 10:32 AM
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First day I got my pup home and he got his first raw meal, he growled at me for just being near him. He didnt know me and raw is high value so i sort of expected it.
So I started cutting his meals smaller and basically hand fed him for 2 days, then started trading. Within 4 days i could put my hand in his mouth and grab any piece of meat he has, no growling cause he knows i will either give it back right away or give him something better.
Better yet, teach him "leave it". I stopped taking food from my pup a while ago and now every once in a while i just give the leave it command and when he does give him another piece of meat or better yet tripe (higher value in this house yuck) then let him continue eating.

Also wanted to add that I disagree with what you give the dog is his. This does not fly in my house not even with my own kid. I decided when where and what to eat, when where and what to play with. I am alpha/leader in this house and all fur and skin kids follow me. if I don't do it that way I would have a circus not a household.


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Last edited by nitemares; 01-22-2012 at 10:39 AM.
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