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This was a first today. My 4 1/2 month growled and showed his teeth when I tried to take his bone away. He has never done anything like this and it was very upsetting. I stopped and took a few minutes to try to figure out what to do about it. Then I was ready (with a can of coins) I tried again to put my hand near his mouth and he did the same. I immediately shook the can as loud as I could and screamed NO at him. He dropped the bone and looked at me in total shock. After we calmed down I gave the bone back to him. I then petted his back and moving closer to his face finally touching him around the mouth (with the bone in it) I had a treat in the other hand and told him to "give" . He dropped the bone and I gave him the treat..... I don't know if I'm going about this the right way but Ill tell you, This was a first and I will not let this go on. Any others who have dealt with this at such an early age and what did you do.... I will probably try my method again tomorrow.... unless someone gives me some better advice.
 

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I would teach him to "out" or drop things when asked. I would do that motivationally with 2 toys. He drops a toy and gets the second. He gets praised for dropping the toy and rewarded with the second one. I also keep a leash on a puppy at that age. I use shake cans for toys, not for corrections. I also would not "scream" at your dog when he growls or shows his teeth. I remain very calm and give a quick, firm leash correction and calmly but firmly say "fooyey", "wrong" or no. I prefer to stay and in control, yelling or screaming does not allow me to do that, in the dog's mind. I teach my puppies to pay attention to my breathing, I say "Yessssssssssss" when rewarding and when the dog is correct. I also laugh a little when praising my dog and make the "sssssssss" sound or the laughing tone is associated with praise and a positive marker. Conversely, I take a deep inhalation before any negative marker or when I am displeased. I may exhale in a long breath then follow that with a "no", "fooyey" and a corrective action. My dogs quickly learn the difference in breathing and know when they are being praised or chastised. Often, it only takes a change of breathing to express to my dog that the current behavior is not acceptable. I am very consistent and always follow up with the appropriate praise or correction.

The main thing is to remain calm if you want to remain in control. What you do now sets the tone for the adult dog that you will have. It is easier to set a good example now, rather than deal with an 80 lb dog that knows exactly what he can get away with.
 

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Taking his bone to ensure that you can take something from him down the line, is most likely going to cause resource guarding. You have given him the bone, let him have it, and do not try to take it away. If he is chewing on something he should not have, tell him, "No." and take it from him. Teaching him the drop command is a good idea.

If you have a resource guarder, than put a leash on him, teach him to drop whatever, and tell him to do so, and then lead him away from the object, crate him. And then go and retrieve the object.

I really hope you were exaggerating when you said you screamed at him. I am not a fan of the a jar of pennies, but whatever. The screaming, loud yelling, will not make your puppy obey you, it makes the dog fear that you are unpredictable and he loses respect for you as a leader. Of course, the puppy is not working that out that way. But canine leadership is funny. Sometimes we talk about being the pack leader and all the alpha dominance crap as though we are going to rule this pup like the leader of a feral dog pack would. And the rest of the time we think that is all nonsense, and I am usually in that camp. My dogs know that I am not a dog.

Evenso, dogs gravitate toward stable people and situations and structure. Creatures of habit. They do better with consistency. A wolf-pack leader is not the idiot wolf that is fighting with other wolves. fighting usually happens when two packs collide, or when a young male is driven out for whatever reason. Mostly, the pack leader, the true alpha walks around like his poop doesn't stink and everyone just knows he's the top dog. He uses his body language and his eyes.

Lower pack members squabble on occasion. Those close in power will growl at others close in power over resources, usually. You don't want to be close in power with your puppy. But even the low dog on the totem pole, once he retrieves what he can from a kill, the leader and the other dogs/wolves let him alone to eat it. And if one tries to take it he will growl and try to protect it. So what you did, was you gave your dog a high value item, and then you came by and are taking it back. Your pup is growling because you shouldn't do that. Actually, you shouldn't.

And screaming at him and shaking a can of pennies (making a ridiculous noise) is shocking to the puppy because you are not acting like a leader. You are acting like a critter close in power with the puppy.

Now, if you have kids, and you do not want them to be growled at or bitten if they are in the dog's food dish, well, yes, you can train your dog to stop growling. But will that prevent a bite, if the toddler is in his food? It will prevent the warning, but it is unlikely to stop a bite, and then you have a truly dangerous dog. It would be better to feed your dog in his crate and train your children to leave him be when he is eating or chewing on his bone. It is not a bad idea to train the puppy to take treats from them gently as well. Lots of people prevent food aggression or treat food aggression by walking by and dropping goodies in the bowl. So the dog gets the idea that when you are near his food dish, good things happen. But not by taking the bowl away while he is busy eating -- that gives him the idea that he must eat fast and protect his bowl or you will take his food away.

If you give him the bone, let him have it. If for some reason, you think it is chewed down to a dangerous level and want to discard the remainder, than call him to you and crate him, and then remove the rest of the bone. If he has a bottle of pills in his mouth, it is not the same as taking something you gave him and is his. You can go and take that from him, and make no bones about, just Eh-eh! That's not yours. And take it, and say Mine. And put it up. Then go find a toy or bone, and tell him, "Yours."
 

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Balanced dogs don't steal food out of another dog's mouth - that is basically what you were trying to do. When I had two dogs, they were always trying to grab the other dog's bones, but not outright - they would be sneaky about it. Pretending that they were stalking a squirrel, or playing with a piece of paper like it was the best toy in the world to distract the other dog so the other dog would leave his/her bone to go investigate, then the sneaky one would swoop in and grab the bone.

This has never caused resource guarding among the two dogs, because they felt secure that their high-value items will not be taken away by either their pack-mate, or by myself. If I wanted to take the bone or whatever my dogs had, they knew drop-it (teach with a two toys, or with treats and a toy). You can play trade games. You can throw a treat away from the dog and make it a game that they need to get it, then when they get up to get it you can take the bone.

What this does is it give them confidence that you are not a bone thief, and they can trust you to be fair. Once they are confident that stuff will not be stolen out of their mouth, or from underneath their paws, in an emergency, you'll be able to take things out of their mouth without any issue. If it only happens once or twice, they won't care. Just be calm about it. Taking the dog's bone away is not an emergency, it is something you can work on in a non-confrontational manner.

A word of caution about the aversive training with the coins (or any other type of noise aversives). I know a person who trained their Border Terrier Puppies with the "Can full of Pennies" method (and I use the term "trained" loosely). What they achieved is the two dogs grew up to be terrified of any metallic noise: the clatter of cutlery, loose change jangling in a pocket, tools being handled, Keys being picked up, soda cans being popped open, etc. Dogs would cower, shake, piddle, run away. They had to be very, very careful to avoid these normal house-hold background noises to keep from further traumatizing their pups.

What gives good results is to set up daily games that gets your pup to pay attention to you and react to you calling them because you are fun! Think ahead of behaviours you want to prevent, and avoid, or stop, and come up with a plan on how to get your puppy to pay attention to you instead. Get the trade game going for some excellent treats - set your dog up for success, reward what you want! Don't let them practice behaviours that you don't want. Set up situations so that your pup does what you want, and reward for being a good pup!!! Pup doesn't even have a chance to get into bad habits.
 

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Besides Recall I think leave it is the most important command we can teach our dogs. Doesn't matter if it is a bone, food, water, whatever. If you say leave it, they better leave it. They're going to find some pretty high value treats in their life not always safe for them. Best be able to take them without the dog thinking they have a say in it.
As far as a dog growling at me for reaching for a bone. I don't think I would have been the fair balanced leader that others say I should be in that instance. The dog would have found out pretty quick that growling at me or giving me a warning before a correction isn't gonna turn out good for them. Sometimes as dog owners we have to be willing to take it where the dog isn't gonna like. I know others aren't gonna agree with me and will say that I would be encouraging resource guarding but I just don't think so.
 

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Yeah....a good "aus" is always appreciated......but letting a dog gnaw on a bone....or other items while I hold them in my hand seems to make this situation nonexistent......

SuperG
 

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Besides Recall I think leave it is the most important command we can teach our dogs. Doesn't matter if it is a bone, food, water, whatever. If you say leave it, they better leave it. They're going to find some pretty high value treats in their life not always safe for them. Best be able to take them without the dog thinking they have a say in it.
As far as a dog growling at me for reaching for a bone. I don't think I would have been the fair balanced leader that others say I should be in that instance. The dog would have found out pretty quick that growling at me or giving me a warning before a correction isn't gonna turn out good for them. Sometimes as dog owners we have to be willing to take it where the dog isn't gonna like. I know others aren't gonna agree with me and will say that I would be encouraging resource guarding but I just don't think so.
Well, you would have created the situation. I know I can take a bone from any one of my dog's mouths. I just know it. I have had to do it for one reason or another, like Joy comes tripping out of Babs and Quinnie's area with a bone that belongs in the house. I can stop her and remove the stolen bone. No problem.

But if you give a high value item, and then start messing with it, you reach to take it back, well then you have caused the issue. You gave the dog something that he really wanted, maybe even raised its value by telling him what a good boy he was, and making it all exciting, and then you are taking it away??? Why?

Trust me, I have never not been able to take something a dog shouldn't have away from him. Do I give a puppy a bottle of pills, and then take it away from him, so he knows I can take bottles of pills away from him if I need to? No. If I need to, I do it. And because I haven't set the puppy up to believe I am going to take goodies from him, he has no problem with me taking something he isn't supposed to have.

And then, I am not setting him up to fail and then punishing him for failing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm reading everyone's advice here and it is wonderful. such knowledge, Thanks ... I hardly ever use the can of coins except in extreme instances... I did feel this was extreme as I wanted him to know that that growling at me would never "NEVER" be tolerated. As far as the screaming, Yes, I screamed a very loud NO! Now, on to how things eventually worked out yesterday. I started substituting a "H V" (high value) treat and asked him to give (his toy) and he did . We worked on the toy "give" for awhile and eventually gave him the "same" bone. asked him to give and he did "HV" treat given. We did this a few times and all is fine.


What I learned from your comments and also from another thread about growling and biting.

1. Its not fair to give and take away... (having said that, My dog will not growl at me) He is going to be a big dog 100 plus and that would just scare the crap out of me if he did that as an adult.

2. In another thread someone said her dog did most of his bad behavior (biting growling) after he got up in the morning or after waking from a nap. I find that to be true also.. and the bone situation happened in the morning about an hour after waking and while still fairly excited and playful. Lesson learned? be mindful of his mood and frame of mind before training . It will help foster a positive outcome .

3. The "give " command is very important and we will work on that daily . All in all He is a very smart boy and learns fast, Now we just need to practice and reinforce all these wonderful commands.

4. For me to learn to not be so fearful that my dog is going to grow up to be an aggressive nutcase at every adverse move he makes.... That he "IS" a canine with certain behaviors coming natural to him. (not that they are always good behaviors , and they may have to be corrected) (That is the biggest lesson I think , and will help me in all aspects of his growing up and training) A HUGE Thank You for that. :x
 

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My wife and I have owned 5 Shepherds and we can absolutely enforce other posts advising to get on top of this ownership problem right away! There are several different ways we have handled it over the years, but what works best is while they were puppies we would pickup their food while they were eating and get right in their face and soothingly talk to them while we put the food back down and then control their access to the food. Control, Control, Control that is the key. Growling is usually one step away from biting, and must be corrected immediately! They have to know who the Pack Leader is! Take the bone away and hide it for a short length of time and NO REWARD! He must learn that you control this treat, not him. You give a reward, and he will think its a game. This is an amazingly intelligent breed and we love them to death, but never forget they are also very powerful animals that were genetically imprinted to herd other animals, which is a very dominating trait. Sometimes you just have to take a hard line with them. Believe me we know how hard it is to look into those beautiful loving eyes and say NO.

We live at the beach and walk our guy a lot around small children, who sometimes out of no where run at us and place their arms around his neck and kiss him on the nose. It still makes me nervous, but we have never had any negative reaction other than a big sloppy lick.

Good Luck!

We also whole heartily endorse teaching the Drop It command, or some variation of that.
 

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I suggest you not mess with your dog' valued items too much for training or otherwise. This teaches the dog to anticipate being messed with and can make resource guarding worse.

My experience has been that with many dogs, approaching them in a confrontational manner "to prove a point" that this behavior will not be tolerated ect. can be counter productive. Some dogs will get defensive.

I think less can definitely be more when it comes to conditioning for allowing a human to take or touch very high value items for a dog who cares. I'm all about manipulating the dog the other % of the time when I don't think it's productive to work on it. Need to get the dog away from the bone? Call them into the kitchen in a tone of voice as if you have just found the most amazing thing in the world (and be prepared with some amazing leftovers from the fridge)

I think it's worth hiring a trainer to make sure you are doing the trading work right
 

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Here's a post I wrote a few years ago about the trading games I did with Halo: http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...ssive-aggressive-towards-men.html#post2656206

I believe that the absolute BEST way to prevent guarding issues from occurring in the first place is to establish a relationship of trust from the very beginning. I want to be proactive about potentially serious problems such as this rather than having to figure out how to fix them after the fact. By making a game out it, I taught her to voluntarily give things up for a reward. Depending on what the thing was, she either got it back or she got something else. She trusts me around her food bowl while she's eating because she knows I'm not going to just take it away for no reason. She trusts me when she's got a bully stick because she knows I'm not going to just yank it out of her mouth for no reason. I also teach impulse control, so if I have the food bowl, my dogs need to sit while I set it on the floor and wait with eye contact until released to eat. If I have a toy or a bully stick the same - it's mine until I give it to you, and you can't take it until I say so. But once I do, it's yours and I'm not taking it back.

I did brief play/training sessions on these things at least once a day when she was a puppy, sometimes more. She eventually turned it into a game of her own, that she initiates. There's a link to some video on that post above. Halo is 8 years old, and will still bring me an Orbee ball to take away from her and give back, before she goes to lay down and chew on it. I don't know why, but she enjoys this interaction. She's not even asking me to throw it for her. She'll just come sit in front of me with her ball in her mouth and stare at me. I ask if I can have it, take it out of her mouth, hold it off to the side while she continues to sit with eye contact, then I release her ("okay") and give it back. I also encouraged her to bring me things around the house. Sometimes it was a toy of hers, sometimes it was the TV remote or a pair of eyeglasses, lol. Some she got back, some I thanked her for bringing it to me and put it away. The amount of times I had to chase her to get something away is maybe a handful in all those years, because at the very least she always got praise for bringing it to me.
 

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We practice random acts of food love with meals. 98% of the time the dogs eat without being bothered. I stand there to be sure no one goes trying to harass or take anyone else's food, so my presence to them means I am making it possible for you to eat in peace and they know it.

But then i will randomly get some really tasty thing and drop it in their bowl while they eat. Whatever it is will be way better than what they were eating. If I think they feel weird I might offer it to them a little to the side and let them come take it from me, or toss it a foot in next to the bowl, before I reach all the way in to deliver it. Then the one time out of a thousand that I put down a food bowl and realize I have to take it back away---maybe I am tired and put the wrong bowl down for the wrong dog and mixed up limited ingredient diets or meds or something, when I reach for the bowl they just look for their treat. Maybe there is no time to grab a treat trade if someone is about to eat something they shouldn't but they are forgiving and if you have been a good person all this time and once steal their bowl out from under them, say sorry and replace it with the right one in a timely fashion, most dogs will shrug and say whatever.

Now you can't just go straight to dropping food in the bowl with a resource guarder because you may wind up going too far and getting growled at and being stuck in a bad situation to either stand your ground or back off after being growled at, neither super appealing.

But random acts of food love plus trading and rewarding for relinquishing all loot is how I raised my pup. He's never resource guarded anything to me, but he may never have anyway if I had never done any of those things, some dogs just never will. But it is one of those things that can only help, if your dog was never going to guard anyway you still haven't hurt anything by doing it

I've been known to run from the yard to the kitchen and grab leftovers out of the fridge if my puppy let me take something he thinks is delightful and I think is horrible, or if I told him to leave it for poop when he was young, or whatever, if I didn't have a reward I'll be like "come on! let's go get something great!" and we run in and get something great. They are smart enough to connect the dots..

Also about what Cassidy's Mom said, my pup will still very rarely (pup---he is almost 2) offer me a piece of gravel to see if it might get him a cookie. He was a MAJOR gravel eater when he was a baby and I pulled out every trick I knew to stop him, including trading him a cookie if he would spit it out for me vs swallowing. So if he sees a piece of gravel tracked into the kitchen he will sometimes still pick it up and drop it at my feet and look at me like "Any chance this would still get me a cookie??" LOL

"Mine!" By Jean Donaldson is a good book about how to work through actual guarding
 

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1. Its not fair to give and take away... (having said that, My dog will not growl at me) He is going to be a big dog 100 plus and that would just scare the crap out of me if he did that as an adult.

the problem with this philosophy is simply: growling is simply communication. "Hey! Why are you doing that?" If you teach the dog not to growl at you, you haven't done anything but remove the warning. You haven't taught the dog to give up items. Or to allow certain behaviors or whatever caused the dog to growl. So, next time, you run the risk that the dog will simply lash out - a simple air snap if you're lucky, an actual bite if you're not. That is MUCH scarier than a dog that growls.
Removing the growl also makes it much more dangerous for anyone else who handles your dog in the future - groomer, vet, visitors in your home.
In the world of dogs, growling itself should be looked at as a good thing. The dog is telling you something; you simply need to figure out what and how to remedy the situation. Otherwise, all the dog learns is "I'll do whatever I want to you and if you complain about it, I'll punish you" that leaves the dog no option but to either put up with things that worry, scare, hurt etc until he reaches a point where he simply can't take it anymore and lashes out with a higher level of punishment against you.
A much better way to handle it is work on training to remedy the underlying cause. That way, all parties involved have their needs met. Then the dog will no longer growl because he knows what is expected of him and that his compliance will be rewarded.



4. For me to learn to not be so fearful that my dog is going to grow up to be an aggressive nutcase at every adverse move he makes.... That he "IS" a canine with certain behaviors coming natural to him. (not that they are always good behaviors , and they may have to be corrected) (That is the biggest lesson I think , and will help me in all aspects of his growing up and training) A HUGE Thank You for that. :x

yes! this! dogs are dogs. they think in a way that is different from humans and must be taught in ways they understand. Hence why making sure that you don't "train away the growl" is so important. It is a huge factor in how your dog is able to communicate with you
see highlighted parts, otherwise it won't let me post
 

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But random acts of food love plus trading and rewarding for relinquishing all loot is how I raised my pup. He's never resource guarded anything to me, but he may never have anyway if I had never done any of those things, some dogs just never will. But it is one of those things that can only help, if your dog was never going to guard anyway you still haven't hurt anything by doing it.
Exactly. By the time you DO know your that your pup has guarding tendencies you're already behind. That's why it's so important to be proactive and lay a good foundation. If it turns out you didn't really need to be so diligent, so what? I personally don't think any time spent training is a waste, especially early training with a young puppy. This is the dog you're (hopefully) going to be spending the next 10-12+ years with, so take the time to do it right.

Also about what Cassidy's Mom said, my pup will still very rarely (pup---he is almost 2) offer me a piece of gravel to see if it might get him a cookie. He was a MAJOR gravel eater when he was a baby and I pulled out every trick I knew to stop him, including trading him a cookie if he would spit it out for me vs swallowing. So if he sees a piece of gravel tracked into the kitchen he will sometimes still pick it up and drop it at my feet and look at me like "Any chance this would still get me a cookie??" LOL
Just sayin'.... :)

 
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The trading thing seems like an appeasement of sorts to me.......has a hint of lacking trust...an air of fearful respect almost.....I don't think one should ever have a second thought about removing anything from their own dog's jaws....something I always dealt with from day one....so much easier when they are but just wee pups.

SuperG
 
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