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Puppy's first incident resource guarding

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Mum2Ozzy, Dec 28, 2020.


  1. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Hello,
    The other day I let out my 15 week old puppy outside first thing in the morning for toilet whilst I got his breakfast ready. He came back with filthy old bone that I assume our neighbours must have chucked over the fence in the summer after barbecue; it certainly wasn't ours. He's terrible for trying to eat anything, pieces of bark, sticks, stones etc but he never objected to me removing unsuitable objects from his mouth. That morning though he was literally "like dog with the bone", as soon as I approached him he growled and snapped my hand and actually managed to draw blood. To say I was upset is an understatement; I wasn't that upset when my 8 year old told me she hates me! I shrieked as I always do when he's too rough and walked away for a minute. I then gave him breakfast but he kept walking back to bin and sniffing for stinking bone. So my question is - is it something to be worried about? Is it because he was ravenous after all night and never actually had a proper bone before? I make sure no one disturbs him when he eats, I drop few extra biscuits when he eats so he's not threatened with me while eating. He never snapped when I prise kids toys from his mouth and we often play swapsies. Am I over thinking this incident (as I often do!)?
     
  2. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    I'm afraid you have answered your own question.
    By removing items from his mouth (instead of managing his environment or ALWAYS swapping an item) your pup has escalated from wondering why on earth he is losing a possession that he found to now vocalising his uncomfortableness. Honestly, if I found something that I thought was awesome and then someone decided to take it away from me then that person would most likely end up with a fork in their hand...however, if someone was to offer my a tasty replacement so that the item could be removed without me noticing then I would cope much better.
    As your pup hadn't had breakfast you could have used that to swap for the bone!

    Make sure that you manage his environment so that he isn't likely to get hold of things that you don't want him to have OR swap items so that you aren't taking them from your pups mouth.
    Most toddlers don't handle things that they like being taken off of them so I don't see why a 15 week pup should be any different.
     
  3. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to reply. We're trying to manage his environment and removed kids toys from living room in preparation for his arrival but it's a bit difficult in the garden; there's always something! Good idea about swapping bone for his breakfast but honestly with how fixated he's been I doubt he'd gone for it. Thank you for useful ideas, I'll take them on board x
     
  4. Nicola234

    Nicola234 PetForums Senior

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    Hi bones are very high value to dogs, so if you are thinking you now have an aggressive pup then don’t worry about that, it’s natural for them when they are still learning you just need to control it more, as said above try to swap it out, go for something your pup loves, maybe cheese, liver, chicken etc something that smells and will distract them while you take it and dispose of it. There’s lots of things online about resource guarding, if it becomes an issue with his food etc which I’m sure it won’t but hand feeding is a good way to go.
     
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  5. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Thank you! I have managed to successfully swap my slipper for puppy treati have ordered some higher value treats and chews for him, but was wondering if there's a safe way to feed bones to puppy his age? He's not on raw food and there's a lot of conflicting info online. My doggy cookbook suggests blanching raw bone in boiling water to kill off bacteria?
     
  6. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Tbh if he’s being “guardy” over bones, I’d avoid them for now.
     
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  7. Nicola234

    Nicola234 PetForums Senior

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    I don’t feed raw but as far as I’m aware as I have looked into raw feeding, bones need to be frozen for a week to kill off parasites but it’s not advised to give raw bones to a dog that isn’t fed raw as the ph in the stomach is meant to be different and they don’t digest it as well. That said I have given my dog the odd chicken wing or lamb ribs, you just need to be careful. I would never blanche a bone and never give any cooked bones.
     
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  8. Nicola234

    Nicola234 PetForums Senior

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    I agree with lurcherlad I’d avoid them for now aswell, you’d only be causing more issues
     
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  9. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    Firstly don't cook or blanch bones before feeding them because the process actually changes the structure of the bone meaning it is more likely to splinter, and those splinters could cause damage as they are eaten.
    Bones should always be fed raw, chicken bones are normally the best for small puppies as they are softer than other animals.

    If he has a crate or a puppy pen then I would feed high value bones and treats in them so that your pup is left completely alone while he is eating.
    Get yourself the book Mine by Jean Donaldson, it's a really good practical guide in how to deal with resource guarding.
     
  10. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Thank you everyone x
     
  11. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel Banned

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    I agree with stormy. Both my dogs are pretty good about giving things up but i leave them in peace with bones - and if there are children about i dont give them or put the dog in a crate with strict instructions for my daughter (and she is 13, hardly a small child) not to stick her head in the crate!!! They are just such high value items to dogs. If i wanted a bone from my dog, i would call my dog away from the bone and then pick it up once my dog was away. I would never ever try to take it from my dog's mouth.


    If my daughter did stick her head in the crate and got a bad bite, id be blaming my daughter and not my dog. (I have to pass some responsibility as she is older!)


    I did feed mine bones from young (raw knucke bones) but i left them in peace and safely crated.


    I dont know if it is true but i have heard (or maybe read) that if dogs dont get used to bones when young, they are more likely to choke if they are given them as an inexperienced chewer later on.

    I liked the knuckle bones as they couldnt bite bits off as pups (i used the ones from natures menu)

    Later though, one of mine did learn to bite and consume large bits which caused an issue passing through!
     
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  12. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    I have usually given knuckle bones for teeth cleaning. Have to say I have always taken them off the dogs if I want to even if I have to physically open the mouth to do it. After all you never know when your dog might pick up something dangerous to them so you have to be able to instantly remove anything from their mouth.
     
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  13. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I think some of it is just the dog, some of it is the relationship, some of it is just plain luck.

    I've done zero work with Penny regarding resource guarding other than we leave her alone to eat and sometimes add stuff to her bowl. She has excellent manners with Bates and is respectful of doggy rules and signals. Early on when we got her she got a hold of something in the kitchen and I couldn't tell what it was. She ran up on the sofa with it at which point I saw it looked like a pill and I pried it out of her mouth. Turns out it was an ibuprofen pill that someone must have dropped and it rolled under the cabinet in to a corner that only little dog could get a hold of. Anyway, she was totally fine and I've taken things off her since then and she really doesn't mind at all. She likes grabbing things, running off with them, I come and take them and she thinks it's a great game. Doesn't bother her in the least when I take things from her. Her body language stays all wiggly and loose and she's clearly enjoying the interaction. Even food like uncooked pasta or a rather Go figure, for a street dog that's pretty unusual.

    Bates will guard high value things, but as long as we have a conversation about it, he'll consent to letting me have something. And I really do mean we have a conversation. I've often stood at the door saying "no, you're not bringing that disgusting deer leg you found in the woods inside, you can stay outside with it or give it to me, come inside and I'll give you a treat." I swear he understands me.
    Other times he will bring me something to hold for him while he chews it :rolleyes:

    But if the dog is already guarding, continuing human behavior that caused the guarding to begin with doesn't make sense, you have to do something different. In this case, *not* taking things off the pup will go a long way towards solving the issue.
     
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  14. Nicola234

    Nicola234 PetForums Senior

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    We had major resource guarding issues with Charlie when we first rescued him, while he was eating a treat in his crate he would dive out to attack my husband while he was just walking past, was ok with me so turned out he had issues with men too. We had to remove the crate aswell as he had issues with people going near that too. But a couple of weeks hand feeding him and him realising no one was going to hurt him here and he was a different dog, we can take anything off him now, straight from his mouth without any issues including bones but every dog is different and I’ve had dogs where I’ve used the swap for another high value treat, I think it’s just learning what works for each dog.
     
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  15. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Thank you everyone. He doesn't mind when I remove sticks or bark etc from his mouth, I was always able to literally open his mouth and take it and he never objected. He doesn't mind me inspecting his mouth, ears, paws etc, he's brushed daily. We're working on "drop" command as well. I shall try harder to make sure we avoid situations when I'm forced to remove items from his mouth, but so far he's out witting me little bugger
     
  16. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel Banned

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    Im not sure having to take things from your puppy's jaws on a regular basis is going to lead to any good outcome - the more often you have to do this, the more often he is going to associate your hands with bad things happening.

    Would it be possible for you to have a clean sweep of your garden, removing all the things you dont want him to have?

    What is he doing with the sticks and stones that is so bad? Is he eating the stones and chewing down on the sticks to the point they could injure him?

    Many pups just pick things up and pop them down again as they go without the object causing harm. The more you fuss, the more he will see this as a keep away game.

    If there truly are too many dangerous things in your garden, just make sure he is on lead when you take him there. Dont let him get to these things.

    Or could you panel a clear bit off for him that is safe.


    The exchange game is a good one to play in a training situation where you are calm and relaxed about the exchange but you shouldnt really be needing to employ this multiple times a day in order to get things off your pup in real life situations.

    If you have kids that are leaving things about, the simpler way is to build a puppy pen from puppy pen panels and pop your pup safely in there with things he can safely chew.

    I know some pups are worse than others for getting hold of things they shouldnt - a friend of mine had a working cocker pup that kept eating socks. She is a really tidy person; i couldnt understand how he kept getting these socks but he did.

    Then he ended up at the vet - 15 socks taken from his stomach!!!!! He turned out a super dog. She still has him and he is very settled, very obedient, great dog all round. And no more sock eating!

    Good luck!
     
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  17. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Not particularly dangerous, no just usual stuff you find in the garden but I'm terrified of him swallowing something and injuring himself. My friends pup swallowed a small stone which lead to blockage. Most of the time he just chews sticks and leaves them alone if I don't intervene, it happened once when I was working and didn't notice he brought piece of bark in his mouth, he just "murdered it" in the living room. I'm just terrified of him eating something, getting poisoned etc (we don't have poisonous plants atm it's just a general worry of mine). I'll try the lead, I was actually thinking about it anyway because he's running off to dig on toilet breaks rather than cracking on with the business x
     
  18. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Yep Sock, clothes, washing, tea trowels etc are his favourite. He literally pulls socks of my children's feet given a chance but he doesn't eat them but will make holes. I'm quickly running out of socks and tights! I normally distract him or keep himout of the way when sorting washing etc x
     
  19. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I'd definitely work on a drop cue because as others have said if you're 'constantly' prying his mouth open to remove things, even if he doesn't seem to object, you definitely run the risk of sensitizing him instead of desensitizing him to having his mouth handled and things removed.

    Check out this method of teaching drop. Watch it all the way, it will make sense the whole way through, and you'll see the genius of teaching the cue without anything in their mouth first.
     
  20. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Thank you, I started watching it last night but someone interrupted me (puppy do doubt)
     
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