3 month old puppy growling - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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3 month old puppy growling

Help!! I’ve had my puppy since he was 7 weeks old and he is now 12 weeks. He’s been doing great and can sit, come, stay, lay down, spin, and shake! I’ve been hand feeding him a lot and have a slow feeder for when I do not hand feed him. I wanted to make sure he was not good aggresive from day one and try to mess with him while he is eating. He has shown no sign of aggression until tonight. Tonight, I gave him a busy bone before bed. I went over to him after a while to pet him and he covered his bone and growled. It was clearly not a playful growl and he did it several more times. I continued to work with him but ended up taking the bone away for the night. Does anyone have any suggestions??
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 11:42 PM
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Yes, stop messing with his food or bones. Don't give him treats, bones, rawhide chew etc., and EVER take them away! He's resource gaurding because you've given him reason to...he's communicating his frustration with that! Dogs can't talk, but they clearly communicate their thoughts via body language and vocals, like growling. To get it to stop, just stop messing with him and his food or treats, and work on teaching him things like "leave it" and "drop it". If you ever need to see what he's chewing on, because you didn't give it to him, make him come to you.
When you approach a dog that has a high-value item, bone, chew, etc., you're threatening them.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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Last edited by tim_s_adams; 04-11-2018 at 11:57 PM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 12:06 AM
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What Tim said^^^.Also you can trade for something higher value.A piece of cheese,lunch meat,etc.Something he loves! Call him to you,let him get a sniff,then toss it away before you grab the bone or whatever object you need to secure.That avoids him grabbing the treat and pouncing back on the bone.Then just put the bone away,don't make a big deal out of it.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 10:13 AM
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Good leaders are benevolent leaders, not bullies that take away stuff because they can. Build your puppies trust in you by not giving him reason to fear or resent your presence. Let him relax and enjoy his bone without worry. The tips others gave you are bang-on. When you teach your dog to trade, start by using lesser-value toys and treats before moving up to super yummy stuff like a bone.

If you need to take the bone away, call him away from it, then pick up the bone. Or throw another treat away from the bone for him to go and get.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 12:08 PM
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Taking prized possessions away can create resentment and guarding. For example, I am eating cheesecake right now. It is pretty darn good. If you walked by, and I knew that you had repeatedly taken my cheesecake away from me other time, I would most certainly snarl and snap at you. I like my cheesecake and it is mine.

I have been able to prevent food aggression in my dogs by simply interacting with them in a positive way while they are eating, for very short durations. II have always been able to walk up and put my hands all over anything that my dogs have in their possession, and so have my children (I have them treat and praise as well). We don't compete for food in my home. I expect my dogs to graciously allow me to pick up a meaty bone and take it to a new location to give back to them. I should not have to worry about the dog snapping at my child because the child got too close to the prize. It takes time, but build that trust.

Here is what works for me. I want to give my dog a nice meaty bone. I allow dog to see the bone, I ask for a "sit" and "wait" then hand them the bone, expecting them to remove it from my hand gently. I will sit near the dog for the first few times, and if dog is comfy with that, then I will toss a treat to the dog as I walk by (a high value treat). Once that is going well, I will sit next to dog, and occasionally offer a treat while dog is eating. I make sure to allow plenty of time for dog to simply enjoy the treat without me pestering him. Just sitting next to your dog, once he is comfy with it, will go a long way.

It is my opinion that food/toy guarding is a symptom of a trust issue. The food guarding is not the issue, the lack of trust is. Work on that trust, and you will see improvement across the board with your dog. By the time Bella was 2 years old, I could give her a bone and tell her to drop it and leave it, and she would without hesitation. I could reach and take the bone from her mouth without any issue at all. The ONLY reason that I was able to do this is because I devoted a lot of time in earning her trust. Because she trusted me so much, she would obey instantly in nearly every situation. (She hated groundhogs. She really really resented it when I called her off a groundhog. )
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