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Managing Resource Guarding

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Cleo38, Apr 4, 2011.


  1. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    After several months of Roxy living with us I think that she is displaying signs of resource guarding but in really subtle (to me) ways. It's never with food but mainly regarding me & my OH with occassionally toys.

    I think, to a certain degree, she even does this with Toby so just wanted some advice regarding how best to manage this. She initially went through a period where she was attacking Toby in the evenings (nothing major & we managed to to stop this) & we sort of realised that it was related to her being on the sofa (these are when the attacks took place).

    Since then the dogs are not allowed on the sofa or bed to stop any conflict however, we have been a bit lapse recently & have been letting them jump up on the bed in the mornings for a cuddle.

    Today, when they both jumped on to the bed, I noticed Roxy's body language stiffen when Toby jumped up (Roxy was forst - she walways is!) & Toby did so he jumped down. Immdeciately I knew this was indicating she was going to 'go' for him so told her off as well - no escalation.

    By watching both of them carefully I have noticed:
    • Roxy always has to be ahead when we are out walking, she is fine lead walking on her won but has to be ahead when out with Toby
    • She has to have his attention & will cajole him in to playing with her
    • If she decides she wants his toy she will take it - he often lets her do this although at times will not & occasionally has 'put her in her place'
    • She doesn't like me or my OH playing with Toby & will try & get in between us & get Toby's attention back on to her

    It's not as if they don't get on, they do & play well together. They very rarely fight now but I have noticed old tensions coming back since we started to allow them back on the bed - we will stop this immediately.

    Just wondered if it is 'normal' behaviour for some dogs & not too worry too much. Toby did seem slightly warier of Roxy yesterday & I could tell that she was a bit 'iffy' with him so kept an eye on them both.

    We are always aware not to favour one over the other but don't want Roxy's more demanding actions to mean Toby has less focus but at the same time don;t want to 'baby' Toby & make things worse

    Sorry for the long post - there is always something I need advice opn lately! :D
     
    #1 Cleo38, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  2. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    I'm not sure that this is an example of resource guarding, personally. It seems to be an attention-seeking behaviour, perhaps brought about by Roxy's general insecurity around other dogs (I know you've had some issues with dog reactivity).

    Well done for keeping an eye out and noticing these signs though. As you said, I would not allow them to jump up on the bed/sofa at all, just to maintain a calm environment.

    With the toy issues, as has been noted on another thread by Tripod, females have a natural advantage over males when it comes to possessions, quite simply because bitches have the ability to reproduce and, thus, dogs show deference a lot of the time.

    With the other behaviours, I would set a routine in place whereby as soon as one dog gets attention, the other dog does too. For example, you could take one dog and your OH the other in the same room. You will each interact with the dog you're with and keep their attention doing training, using food/toys as rewards. This can be branched out to allowing one on the sofa for 10 seconds, whilst the other receives some lovely treats, then the roles can be reversed. For Roxy, this may help in teaching her that good things happen to her when attention is focused on Toby. Another example could be to give Toby a toy, then reward Roxy immediately with something even higher-value.

    These sessions should be kept short but frequent.

    Hope this helps some. :)
     
  3. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    The Sofa issue sounds very similar to a case featured in one of VS's shows. The solution used there was to train and practice an On! & Off! with both dogs, any "jealousy" and both dogs were off (not just the bitch the culprit), so they learned that harmony paid, whilst controlling behaviour was punished by immediate withdrawal of the cushy privileged snuggling up. In this case, the bitch seemed to accept it was the owner's decision not her perogative.
     
  4. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for the advice - I was reading Tripods thread shrotly after posting this.

    This sounds sort of what we are trying. We now know that allowing the dogs on the sofas or the beds causes problems as has demonstrated again recently so will not be allowing this again.

    We started encourgaing the dogs to play together by throwing balls so they were playing but not having too much indivisual attention from me. w ehave now progressed to short play sessions with their kong toys. Sometime me & my OH will play with both dogs at the same time - intially Roxy still did not like the fact that Toby was not focussing on her despite the fact that she was still getting attention from my OH.

    We have now been able to progress with me playing with each dog individually but for very short sessioins so Roxy knows that her turn will come very soon & poor Toby doesn't get sidelined.

    Hopefully the more stable she becomes the less attention seeking behaviour & resource guarding she will display. I do keep an eye on it but just hope I wasn't making it worse by 'babying' Toby because Roxy seemed to be the more 'pushy' one.
     
  5. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I remember that one. Roxy is fine with being told by us to get off, she will no problem, she always 'asks' if she can - places a paw on, looks to up for the nod & will jump up once given the ok.

    It just seems that since we have allowed them both on the bed (mainly) that this has triggered her to be 'funny' with him - it's difficult to explain how she wasthe other day, there was no aggression, no growling but she was just not right with toby. Toby obviously sensed this & whilst was in no way showing fear to her was making more appeasement gestures to her.

    They seem fine again today & back to normal again so maybe it's something we need to practice more but be aware of how this can trigger certain responses in Roxy
     
  6. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Cute! But may be making "On!" a duty can have benefficial side effects.

    In our routine, when I arrive at exercise tiime, my guy is naturally happy and excited; all that advice about "calm greetings" frankly goes out the window, despite me avoiding stoking things up; and there's noone inside to police the situation. Now recently, I taught him an "Up!" with intention to use as reward, so after a few "Sits!" followed by "Up!" in this greeting context, he quickly started offering the behaviour by auto-sitting (think it's operant conditioning in operation), telling me of his wish to jump up by sitting instead. :)

    Now I tried for ages to have him sit calmly and not jump when he was so excited, and now by making the jump up official, I have the auto-sit in a week and can stroke him and gradually extend the sit, without being "ambushed". The jump is now calmer to, as it's not conflicted.
     
    #6 RobD-BCactive, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  7. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    That's an interesting way actually & may be something we can use. Roxy is manic when we come home/wake up in the morning - not nearly as much as when she first arrived but still very exciteable.

    As she is a big dog jumping up at people can be quite painful (especially when my Mum is round - she is under 7 stone so Roxy would floor her!).

    She doesn't do this now, although you can see she finds it hard to restrain herself & whimpers, whines, wraps herself round you. This is another time when conflict can occur as she tries to keep Toby away from the person by using her body to push him away or block him from getting physical contact. Toby then gets annoyed with her so we end up walking away from them & no one gets any attnetyion until they have calmed down.

    We've never had anything kick off during this time but you can see the signs that if one were to tip the balance then it could escalate.
     
  8. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Think t's post you read was this one - Re: Husky with attitude...
     
  9. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    That's the one! Have also ordered MINE! by Jean Donaldson - another dog related purchase :rolleyes:

    I seem to spend my time talking about my dogs, reading about dogs, walking/playing with dogs, posting on here about them, shopping for them, cooking them cakes (I've not done this for a person in years!) - I don't know how I filled my time before now!!! :blink:
     
  10. Emmastace

    Emmastace PetForums VIP

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    I used to do washing, cooking, ironing, ..............all in the dim and distant past since getting Mia :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  11. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    This is a photo of Tremor resource guarding; its entitled 'They're all MINE'
     

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  12. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    LOL, I should put a pic of Toby up when he 'guards' his raw hide chew or tennis ball. He will literally sleep with his head on it - it doesn't look very comfortable at all! He will then wake up, give it a small lick just to check it the go back to sleep. The signs though are very obvious & we have worked with him to try & minimise this - he is fine with the cats being around his chews & tennis ball as he learnt they will not take them. With Roxy though she will take them so he is justified in being worried in that respect.

    It was after watching a clip on Tutube with a GSD who was 'resource guarding' his owner from another dog that made me start to watch Roxy more closely & recognise almost identical behaviours from her.

    I can't remember how I found the link but it was regarding a GSD who did not want a black Akita near his owner. There was no overt aggression, growling or anything obviously (to me) intimidating about the GSD but the signs were obvious to the Akita who kept his distance from the owner.

    I noticed the same thing happening the other day when my OH was in the garden getting on with some jobs & the dogs were following him around. It was only by observing them all together that I noticed this, I hadn't been aware previously.
     
  13. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    In all seriousness I did have a problem with Tremor about 2 yrs ago snatching toys off my other dogs. To be fair it was very difficult at the time as my oldest dog was 15 yrs old and frail with failing eyesight and hearing. Not the ideal time to have a puppy but as the litter had been bred for me I was committed to having her. I was frightened the pup would knock the old girl over and up to a point I kept them separated unless I was able to supervise. The consequences were the youngster had far more free rein than was ideal with unrestrained access to the toy-box and fed on her own away from the other dogs.

    After we lost the old girl (and I had pulled myself together) by which time Tremor was about 11 months old, I knew I had to sort the problem out before it got totally out of hand.

    When we sat in the lounge in the evenings I placed the toy box next to me and they were allowed whichever toy they wanted but if the youngster snatched a toy off either of the other two, I would take it from her and say something like "that's not yours", give her something else instead and hand the toy back to whichever dog she'd grabbed it from. She would also collect a pile of toys and then lay and guard them so I would pick them all up, offer her one and put the rest back into the box. It was a tad wearing for several evenings and I was up and down like a yo-yo but she got the message fairly quickly.

    Tremor also growled and bit my husband on the leg when he walked by her as she was eating so I moved her bowl into the kitchen with the other two dogs and sat with her. She was not allowed to go to either of the other dog's bowls until they had finished eating.

    I'm happy to say that its all peace and tranquility here now and they all share toys quite happily. The only down side is that the new lounge carpet is in a sorry state where they've worn a track chasing round the sofa and chairs with toys in their mouths.
     
  14. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Now we want a Home Vid!!

    I tried to get a snap of Freddie, watching over his flock of toys on a hill, he loves them rolling off and getting them back; but when I got the camera angle right, he kept picking one up and approaching me, spoiling the shot. No matter how I moved then I couldn't get the angle I hoped for, so it looked like he was ignoring and had no interest in the others.
     
  15. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Toby probably displays the most obvious signs of resource guarding but we can minimise these incidents & only let him have high value things when we are there to supervise.

    As I say with Roxy, it is much more subtle & doesn't guard things as Toby does with his chews or tennis balls. she does thins a bit with toys but it is more toward either us or the bed/sofa.

    If anyone can have a look at the clip (I can't add a link at the moment) type in GSD Resource guarding his owner at the dog park (by KCDogguy) - what do you think of this clip? Why the Akita? How would you minimise the GSD acting like that?
     
  16. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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