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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm dog sitting a friends dog for a couple of days, we've looked after him before (and other friends dogs) and we know the dog well. I have always fed them together because I've never had a problem in the past and putting down a food bowl tonight I went to pick up the other one to put down and the dog I'm looking after went towards the bowl and mine gave a pretty aggressive bark/growl (well sounded aggressive to me). Sounded like a major warning that this was HIS food! Was I daft even feeding them together in the first place?

Do you think this could be down to him becoming an adolescent (just turned 1)? Is there anything I should do about this other than feed separately? Also when they are playing duke obviously wants to be the boss and if he has a toy in his mouth and the other dog comes anywhere near he gives a series of low growls but at the same time is only interested in the toy if the other dog wants it! (And people say women are complicated!!!)

The other dog was understandably wary for about 5 mins but all seems to be well now! If I can I would like to encourage him to be less of a bully but I'm not sure how to go about it and if I even should - the other dog could certainly hold its own if it wanted.

I'm still a beginner at all this and any advice is welcome as it turns out dogs are more of a mystery to me than I ever realised!
 

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It sounds like this visiting dog has some resource guarding issues centred on food and toys, which isn't uncommon. I walk with some toy guarding dogs and we just don't bring toys into the mix at all because it causes problems. I would also not feed together or in the same room, wait til they're done and the bowls are away before they can interact again.

This isn't really your problem as you're not the owner, and depending on how well you know this dogs owner you might want to recommend Jean Donaldson's book 'Mine! A practical guide to resource guarding' if they would like to try and work on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry for the confusion in my post Phoolf, the bully is actually my dog lol! I will definitely give that book a read, I really want to work on this because he used to be fine and only recently started the toy guarding and this is the very first time he has been like that with food. I'm worried it will escalate if I don't get on top of it now.

Thanks for the advice :)
 

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Oh I see, sorry! I did try to recheck but must have gotten the wrong end of the stick. In that case what is he like outdoors? It might just be guarding in his own home as he's used to being a lone dog so it's all 'his property' so to speak. If he can happily share a ball with a dog on a park then I think this scenario of just being guarding in your house might be the one. But the book is definitely worth a try. A friend of mine took on a bad resource guarder many years ago and he was so bad he would bite them to guard things, they've worked on him over the years and he is 99% there now. Obviously if you nip this in the bud early on it should hopefully not need to be a major effort. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not sure about outdoors, I haven't walked him with another dog when I've got a toy for ages but with sticks etc if the other dog has it - duke wants it. I can't say I've noticed him being quite so aggressive outdoors but I've been walking him alone this past week so I'm not sure. In other dogs houses he is the same as he is in our home - whichever toy he wants is his and the other dog gets growled at. He will quite often wait for his chance and then take the toy right out the other dog's mouth!

I should say he's not like that with me or any other humans at all, I could put my hand in his mouth to take something out if I wanted to and he would give it up easily.

I think he wants to rule every roost! :)
 

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I have a little cute dog that likes to food guard against the big dog. I feed them separately. There fine with toys.

The book mine is good however, it mainly focuses on resource guarding towards people. Resource guarding food and toys between dogs is common.
 

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I'm dog sitting a friends dog for a couple of days, we've looked after him before (and other friends dogs) and we know the dog well. I have always fed them together because I've never had a problem in the past and putting down a food bowl tonight I went to pick up the other one to put down and the dog I'm looking after went towards the bowl and mine gave a pretty aggressive bark/growl (well sounded aggressive to me). Sounded like a major warning that this was HIS food! Was I daft even feeding them together in the first place?

Do you think this could be down to him becoming an adolescent (just turned 1)? Is there anything I should do about this other than feed separately? Also when they are playing duke obviously wants to be the boss and if he has a toy in his mouth and the other dog comes anywhere near he gives a series of low growls but at the same time is only interested in the toy if the other dog wants it! (And people say women are complicated!!!)

The other dog was understandably wary for about 5 mins but all seems to be well now! If I can I would like to encourage him to be less of a bully but I'm not sure how to go about it and if I even should - the other dog could certainly hold its own if it wanted.

I'm still a beginner at all this and any advice is welcome as it turns out dogs are more of a mystery to me than I ever realised!
I take it they are both males? If they were Ok in the past its probably because the other dog is now an adolsecent/young adult and been brought onto his terriotory.

They are probably competing, if dogs are going to kick off and start then the main triggers are usually food, toys, treats, attention, confined spaces and times of hyper excitement. He is warning him off by ther sounds of it, one thing you do need to watch is if he decides to take it further, or the other dog doesnt back down.

Personally I would avoid the triggers, and feed separately or very closely supervised with a wide margin of space between them, and dont allow any eyeing up, or approaching bowls even when empty, and dont even allow access to each other until bowls up and gone and out the way. I would watch toys and treats and not leave them hanging about either, If you really need to give them closely supervised only and dont leave them with them and go away. Just in case watch them in confined areas too like narrow hallways or where one has to pass the other closely or have to jump over each other, door ways can be another thing too sometimes where they try to get throu and Barge each other then growling and snapping can start. Same can happen too in times of hyper excitement like leads coming out, visitors coming or door bells ringing, some if aroused in excitement can start to push and snap at each other too. it may just be confined to food, toys and treats, but watch the other common triggers too just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the post sled dog, it was very informative. Yes I should have said they are both males. Duke is 1 and the other dog is about 8 months old. Should I be trying to change the behaviour at all or just make sure they don't have access to toys when they're together?

Its easy enough to feed them separately so that's no problem. Funny enough he didn't do it when he was fed with his brother a few weeks ago although he was aggressive over toys with him. So I will need to watch him more carefully. And you are right about how it might escalate - I have only seen him do this with dogs who are submissive, I haven't seen any give him a run for his money and I'm a bit worried about that actually. I've been reading the body language thread which has made me realise how little I really know about it all!
 

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Thanks for the post sled dog, it was very informative. Yes I should have said they are both males. Duke is 1 and the other dog is about 8 months old. Should I be trying to change the behaviour at all or just make sure they don't have access to toys when they're together?

Its easy enough to feed them separately so that's no problem. Funny enough he didn't do it when he was fed with his brother a few weeks ago although he was aggressive over toys with him. So I will need to watch him more carefully. And you are right about how it might escalate - I have only seen him do this with dogs who are submissive, I haven't seen any give him a run for his money and I'm a bit worried about that actually. I've been reading the body language thread which has made me realise how little I really know about it all!
Not a lot in ages then, so it is probaly because they are both getting to be sexually mature males. Think the best method at the moment is to not leave them something to compete over especially when not supervised. If they have both got something and there is the odd growl here and there and they are just warning and telling each other to give space I dont usually worry tbh, its just a way of communicating. Its if it starts to get more then that you need to watch them and even give them a bit of time and space each to calm down, as once aroused they can carry it on if left together, especially if one warns and the other doesnt take heed of the warning and backs down and starts to push their luck or takes umbridge and starts to have a go back and it begins to escalate. Might be an idea to separate them when you do go out as well just in case, they start to squabble.

It may settle down with supervision, its probably because they are now both young males and the others come on his patch. So its a bit of being territorial and competing you often get it with same sexes, females can be as bad if not worse at times then two males. In the main opposite sexes are usually more tolerant of each other and dont mind liberty taking so much off each other, that doesnt usually go past a growl or face pulling, but two same sexes need more watching just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Took away all the toys and kept them separate when fed and that was fine, I think you're right that the other dog is challenging because today they were play fighting with each other and I don't know what the other dog did but out came a warning bark/growl from duke. I intervened without meaning to because I got a fright and made a noise and they both stopped and looked at me and the waggy tails came out!

In that situation would you say to separate them? Or let them decide the boundaries themselves? I always wondered how I would tell the difference between playful and serious warning but it was clear as day what he was saying because of the tone and it was more like a quick succession of barks and snarling from him rather than a playful growl!
 

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Took away all the toys and kept them separate when fed and that was fine, I think you're right that the other dog is challenging because today they were play fighting with each other and I don't know what the other dog did but out came a warning bark/growl from duke. I intervened without meaning to because I got a fright and made a noise and they both stopped and looked at me and the waggy tails came out!

In that situation would you say to separate them? Or let them decide the boundaries themselves? I always wondered how I would tell the difference between playful and serious warning but it was clear as day what he was saying because of the tone and it was more like a quick succession of barks and snarling from him rather than a playful growl!
Sounds like he must have done something he didnt like or went a bit to far. Could have just been a warning, but if you hadnt stopped them also possible that they could have taken it further impossible to say without seeing it of course thats often the problem with forums. If you have only got him for a couple of days, then I would just monitor them closely if they want to play, but when you see it begin to get a bit wild or you think it is getting to be a bit wild then I would do what you did today and stop it if you have doubts before it even gets to the stage it did today. Better for them to part as friends when his owner comes to pick him up, then as enemies.
 

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When I look after my sons dog or our neighbours dog I always feed them in different rooms I don't think Bracken would like another dog to eat on his mat in the kitchen. He is not fussed about the water dish. That way all dogs and me are stress free.:rolleyes5:
 
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