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Is this normal ???

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by JennieJet, Aug 17, 2009.


  1. JennieJet

    JennieJet PetForums Member

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    My 22 week ok lab puppy is always on the scrounge for food 24/7....is this what they do ??? She is constantly looking for food even on walks and will literally eat anything.... my hubby says this is what puppys / dogs do and will eat themselves til they are sick . I am new to dogs so dont really have a clue. She will bolt her own food down so quick but has no problems if I touch it, take it away etc but god help me if she manages to steal some of our food...she will turn proper nasty until she has completely swallowed it and then she is back to her normal happy self. Her full on nastyiness scares me as I do generally fear that she will proper bite me as she goes into full snarl, hair up etc......please help ???
     
  2. rona

    rona Guest

    A lot of Labs are totally over the top when it comes to food.
    Do you make her wait before she eats?
    Puppies often behave like this as they have had to fight for their food with their litter mates.
    The aggression is a little worrying, how do you react when she steals something, do you try and get it off her calmly or do you make it an issue?
     
  3. Spaniel mad

    Spaniel mad PetForums VIP

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    Our labby was the same when she was little

    She grew out of it
     
  4. Dundee

    Dundee Banned

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    It's perfectly normal - labradors are well known for it.

    She's still a puppy and needs teaching how to behave in a human household, it's not nastiness.

    I don't like the method of taking food away from dogs as I think it only teaches them that the human coming to their food bowl will take it away and they need to be on their guard. In dog terms, a dog in possession of food will be left alone, there is no rank, even the lowliest dogs will guard their food.
    I prefer to teach them that humans being around food is a good thing - so I will approach and add food to the bowl while they are eating. They then learn that humans around their food bowls are a good thing.

    If she's taking your food, then again, it's perfectly normal behaviour and not nasty, but I would simply not allow the situation to arise. How does she get your food? I would suggest putting her in her crate/kitchen/behind stairgate while you are eating. She will soon learn and also teach the leave command. This will come in useful in a variety of situations, but don't expect things to be learn overnight, she is still a puppy and it will take time, so it is important to ensure she is not in a position that she will 'practice' behaviours you don't want.
     
  5. JennieJet

    JennieJet PetForums Member

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    dundee...she only manages to get the odd thing by stealing......the first incident happened when my son opened the fridge to get something and he didnt realise jet was behind him and she snatched some tomato sauce. The second incident happened yesterday when my daughter was peeling her banana she jet just grabbed the skin. As soon as jet has the food I do go after her to get it and that when she will turn nasty, and when I finally corner her that when I get the full on snarl, teeth showing , hair up etc and it scares the life out of me ( I was never to keen on dags before as I was attacked by one when I was little but having our own from a puppy and knowing her was alright until now).. I love her to bits and I am not at all frightened or nervous of her , but if she manages to steal again I scares the life out of me as she then shows this horrible nasty streak !!!! When we have meal times she is always locked in the kitchen so she cannot get anything xx
     
  6. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    Completely agree with this post ^^^

    All dogs are what is known as "opportunistic scavengers". This means that they will eat anything and everything they get the chance to, since in the wild they would never know when the next meal was going to be. Unfortunately that trait remains, even though pet dogs are fed regularly and don't have to rely on bringing down a bison once a week ;)

    It is why sooooo many dogs are overweight - they come across as starving and many owners fall for it hook, line and sinker. Labs are especially prone to greed - I don't think I've seen a proper weight Lab for a good while :(

    There is a good book on resource guarding called "Mine" by Jean Donaldson which is well worth a read. It outlines how to make sure that people approaching the food bowl is a good thing to the dog. She talks a bit about it in "The Culture Clash" too.

    It's perfectly normal and sortable :)
     
  7. Dundee

    Dundee Banned

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    Colliepoodle has given some excellent advice, but just to reassure you, it is not nastiness, it is simply normal puppy canine behaviour. Obviously it's not something we want or should accept from a dog living as part of the family, but it is a training issue not an aggression one.

    Do you go to training classes? I get the impression you are new to dogs and slightly apprehensive and am sure that these would help you enormously. A good puppy class is not just about teaching your dog to sit, lay down etc, but should show you how to deal with these things which are very commonplace. It will also give you a lot more confidence with her.

    You should be able to find a good puppy class here.

    Local Dog Trainers - Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK

    The first thing to remember is this is completely normal - as colliepoodle says, opportunistic behaviour. The second is to ensure that she is not given the opportunity to 'practice' it. It's not easy, but bringing up a puppy to be a well behaved dog requires time, patience and eyes in the back of your head ;)

    She had something that she thought was hers (possession is everything to a dog) and you went after her and cornered her so she felt the need to protect what was hers. Sure, a more submissive dog may well give up but what she did was normal - not what you want, but normal canine behaviour.

    Again, it's not a nasty streak, just part of normal canine behaviour, but something that is not acceptable in a household.

    Have you taught a 'leave' command or a 'give' command?
     
    #7 Dundee, Aug 17, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  8. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    Again, I'm nodding along.
     
  9. JennieJet

    JennieJet PetForums Member

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    thanks guys.. i was beginning to worry I had a nasty puppy / dog and as i have 3 children I was concerned. We are trying to teach her to leave / drop but at the moment she is having none of it.....still going with it. Just really glad you have all said its normal behaviour though :eek: makes me feel a whole lot better xxx
     
  10. Dundee

    Dundee Banned

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    How are you teaching it?

    Are you exchanging the item for something else. I teach two seperate commands - 'leave' and 'give' (I don't teach drop because mine end up as gundogs and don't want them to drop anything), but give is the equivalent to drop.
     
  11. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    Try "swapsies":

    Make sure she hasn't got a high value object - maybe get her playing with a toy she isn't MAD keen on.

    Get a HIGH value treat (chicken, cooked liver or whatever REALLY makes him dribble) and let him know you've got it. Chances are he'll drop his toy - as he does so, say "give" or "drop" and give the treat and take the toy.

    Practise, gradually working up to swapping higher value items but ALWAYS give it back. Dog learns that giving you things is good because he gets the original item back AND earns a treat. It has to be done gradually though; if you try to run before you can walk, it won't work.

    When he's got the hang of it, say "give", take the toy THEN give the treat - so he isn't relying on seeing the treat first, iyswim. Sometimes take the toy and get the treat off the worktop so he has to wait a couple of seconds.

    By the time you've got it sussed, you should be able to just practise once a week or so.
     
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