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HI. I am having issues with my puppy Duece going balistic with his treats. The other day I gave him a pig ear and while he was chewing on it I reached down to pet him and he growled at me and snatched the treat away. I imediatly told him no not nice and took it away ( which he had a death grip on it ). I gave it back a couple minutes later and tried to pet him and he did it again so I repeated what I did before. The third try he did not growl at me but he did snatch it away, got the whole thing in his mouth and tried like crazy to eat it before I could pry his jaws apart and get it. I didnt give it back to him after that cause I didnt want him to choke on it rather than letting me have it. Later in the day I gave him a different kind of treat that crumbles when he bites it so I could try again and he did the same thing, he growled, snatched, and got the whole thing in his mouth and furiously started chewing it so I couldnt have it back. First off I was told on a different post that puppies were not aggressive so why is he growling and doing this all of a sudden? We have always petted him, put our hands in food while eating and things like that since we got him and he has never done this. And he never did it with treats before I gave him the pig ear so why now? How do I get him to understand that that is my treat and if I want it back he needs to give it and that he can never act that way with me? I am afraid to give him any more treats cause I think he is going to choke on them. HELP! I have no idea what to do.
 

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You may want to pretend you are munching on the treat before you give it to him. That'll show him that it's really your treat and you are sharing it with him.

One other thing you may want to work on is the drop command. Start it off with toys. Throw a ball and have him fetch it. When he brings it back, have him 'drop' it. Then, transfer the concept to food. When Elmo is chewing a bone and it is getting too small, I tell him to drop. Most of the time it works and he drops it. There are a few times where he gulps it down and looks at me like "what are you talking about, there is no bone here?"

One more thing, are you making him work for his treats? You may want to try that too. Make him do something (sit, stay, down, etc) and then give him a little treat. Maybe then he will see it as a reward as opposed to always his.

You're doing a good job by putting your hand in his food. We did that with Elmo when he was little and even though he loves his food, I can take it away at any time.
 

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I've heard that just taking it can cause food aggression but if you trade it for another treat and then praise you are teaching him it's ok to let go and building trust. How old is Duece? Radar is 12 weeks and has just started learning to run from me when he gets a tissue or something I don't want him to have. My first instict is to run after him even though I know better. I make myself stop and calmly get him a treat to trade with and it always works!
 

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I agree. You need to work on the idea of trading for a higher-value treat. A pig ear is pretty high value...so you'd need to have a piece of filet mignon to trade for that! LOL.

So start out with something that's only medium value to the pup (a tennis ball or old toy) give that to him, let him have it for a while, and then show him that you have a higher value treat in your hand (piece of hot dog?). Tell him "drop it" or "give" or whatever command word you want him to learn, and then when he does, reward him with the higher value item.

Do this enough and he'll come to believe that when you say the magic word, he's going to get something even better when he gives up what he has. Eventually, like all operant conditioning, you won't even have to trade him--he'll just give it up because that's what he's used to doing on the command.
 

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Originally Posted By: Luca_stlI agree. You need to work on the idea of trading for a higher-value treat. A pig ear is pretty high value...so you'd need to have a piece of filet mignon to trade for that! LOL.
That's pretty expensive training

I like that whole concept though, because you are not invoking a power struggle with the dog- it's all positive.
 

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While you absolutely want to stop the growling, yoiu do want to think about HOW to stop it.

If everytime I was chomping down on a piece of chocolate cake, you came along and 'stole' it from me, I may start growling too. But if instead of just taking it, you had a banana split to TRADE for it...........................

And I'm thinking while this training takes place, you may not want to use the pig ears at all. May just be too good for your puppy to have any thinking going on at all.
 

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Thanks, these are great tips. He already drops his toys when I tell him to and rocks ( cause he is constantly picking them up ) so I will move on with trading one treat for another but what kind of treats are there besides rawhide, which we dont give him, and pig ears that he wont consume in 5 seconds so that I can trade it for another? Because now he is at the point no matter what treat it is he eats it as if its his last meal. BTW he is almost 15 weeks old.
 

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i always played in my dogs food and water from day one. i also would pet him on the hind quarters, play with his tail and stand over him while he ate or drank. with the treats i would place them down on the floor and walk him over to them and let him have it. the next time i would walk him over to the treat and say "leave it". so once he got it i would walk him over to the treat and let him pick it up and then say "leave it". i think with your pup you should start by giving him a treat and then take it from. praise him when he doesn't growl and give him the treat again. now if he growls i would take the treat and hold him in the scruff of the neck and say "no growling". i would do this often. if this doesn't work in a few days you better ask a pro.
 

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Anything that sets up adversarial interaction between you and your puppy is bad, and can establish a foundation for trouble in the future if he is a strong dog (I mean mentally, almost all GSD's are strong dogs). Puppies do not show actual aggression. This situation is a perfect opportunity to shape behavior later. Just as Tracy and MRL suggest trading is the way to go. Teach him that when he lets go and gives it to you, he gets something better. Once that is established, you will not always have to trade him. He will be conditioned that outing a prized posession gives him a good feeling, and that is what you want a dog to grow up thinking. You do not want the dog to grow up thinking it's a fight and I just have to give in or else. Eventually, if the dog is strong he will try and see if he can "win".
 

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Bogart is 15 weeks, and we have been lucky, but we have worked with him since we got him at 7.5 weeks. He has to earn his treats. Either a sit stay, of a lay stay before he get his treats. I even put the treat in front of him and he waits for the OK command now to get the treat.
Beleive me he is very food driven. lol

I guess what i am saying, is you have to work...work and work some more with your pup.
JMO.

Bogarts Dad
 
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