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Resource Guarding - rehoming necessary? ASAP

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by HJKettle, Oct 17, 2019.


  1. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    Hey guys,

    I've posted on here before about our French bulldog Louie and his issues with resource guarding. Unfortunately the issue is still there, and in many ways has gotten worse. He has not bitten us, but whenever any of the following things happen, he goes into a mode we call "gremlin mode" where he sits hunchback, starts to tremble, widens his eyes and his ears go back - which signals that if you go near him, he'll snap and try to warn you away.

    - If you take too long to either put the lead on him or take it off
    - When an item has been dropped that he wants to guard or he just decides to guard something small that is already on the floor or in the room
    - When he sees his bowl of food coming towards him (this has happened in the last few days and means he has now gone nearly two days without a meal)

    These issues have been going on for over a year and we have tried a variety of methods. We looked into dog boot camp with Dog Trouble, but we can't afford it. We brought in a behaviourist yesterday but this issue was clearly way, way above his pay grade as he looked like a deer in the headlights.

    Due to him never biting us I've started to realise I can pick him up at certain times and he'll just make a series of horrible growling noises without actually biting me, but I worry that'll eventually lead to him saying "sod this" and biting.

    Any and all help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Harry
     
  2. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    So you're withholding his food? How is that going to make him trust you?
    Shut him out of the kitchen or wherever it is you feed him, put the bowl on the floor then let him in. Then leave the room yourself until he's eaten.
    Edited to add; I'm appalled by this. Not only not letting the dog have his food, but the lack of imagination in dealing with it. Poor dog. No wonder he's so stressed.
     
  3. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

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    The body language you describe is of a very anxious dog, I’d say. I’ve had a quick look through your previous posts and see the problem with resource guarding goes back to March (I think - when he decided no one else could have his vomit!)
    First, I would say that if he’s exhibiting any signs of anxiety such as growling (indicating he’s unhappy about the situation he’s in) picking him up is not a good idea - from growling, he could easily go for a bite if he feels he has no alternative or his warnings are not being ‘heard’. Plus, picking him up obviously puts you VERY close to his jaws.
    What, if anything, have you tried to get him over the resource guarding? (Please don’t read any implicit criticism into my question - it just helps if we know what you’ve tried). I believe it is a bit of a trait with French Bulldogs, but that’s not to suggest it cannot be fixed.
    I wouldn’t let that experience with the behaviourist put you off - there are some out there who know what they’re doing!

    Regarding the specific examples you give:
    1. Is putting on / taking off the lead a problem? If you’re using lead and collar, might a harness work better, I wonder?
    2. It might be too problematic, but is it? Can you ignore his guarding if such small objects? Is it possible to entice him away with VERY tasty treats (chicken, liver, eg) or with a favourite toy?
    3. I don’t imagine starving for two days will help his reaction to food. I’m guessing he is reacting in some way when he sees the food bowl? How is he reacting? Why can’t you put the food bowl down and walk away? EDIT: Burrowzig’s advice is spot on.
    Is he in dry food? If so, can you scatter it around the floor for him to eat? If so, do it in stages, if possible, not all in one go. He’ll find it hard to guard bits of kibble scattered all over the place.
    Is his food put down and then taken away after a reasonable period, or is the bowl left all day?

    A lot of questions there - sorry! They might help us to try and work out what might be going on here.
     
  4. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    He's not eating the food. It doesn't matter where the food is, and then when he does eat it, he will protect the bowl. He likes being fed outside but when he sees the bowl, he simply will not go outside. We have to hold the bowl whilst he eats it because otherwise, like the other items, he will protect the bowl. We're not withholding his food whatsoever and if you actually took the time to listen as opposed to jumping to conclusions, maybe you'd understand that.
     
  5. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Have you tried putting the food down, and leaving the dog alone?
    If he prefers to eat outside, keep the dog in a separate room, prepare his food, then put the food outside. Then go retrieve the dog, let him outside and leave him alone. He's hugely stressed by your presence clearly :(
     
  6. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    Thanks for the reply, Ian.

    Regarding the resource guarding we have tried toys, treats, whistles and a variety of distractions to get him away from the situation, but if it works a few times, he soon wises up and realises what is happening and no longer reacts to it. We have seen three behaviourists and while we enjoyed Dog Trouble's help, the boot camp was too expensive.

    1) It's the reaction time, mainly. If we take too long, he goes into the aforementioned gremlin mode that we mentioned. We tried a harness but due to his pulling (which we're also trying to stop), he will react the same way to a harness being put on him.
    2) Usually we will try and take the item away via a hoover or by using a broom to get in between him and the object. Even after we have retrieved it, he remains in a worked up state for a while whilst calming down - at which point we ignore him.
    3) It's not intentional, we are attempting to feed him a few times a day but he's just being incredibly stubborn. If we put the food bowl down and walk away he will then protect the food bowl. We also have another dog, Barney, and Louie will react badly to Barney approaching his food.
    4) Yes we feed him dry food, we will try scattering, thank you.
    5) We always keep an eye on the food and hold it whilst he's eating because he will protect it.
     
  7. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I don't have time for a thorough reply now, but this is your issue right here. Stop doing this. I'll try to find a moment to explain more later today.
     
  8. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    The issue is that it always loops back round to the protection. When he gets into that guarding mode, it's virtually impossible to swing him out of it which is why we've had to feed him in such a manner.

    Just to reiterate for all we did not and have not been 'withholding food' from Louie, and we've been trying to resolve the issue. The insinuation of such is a little bit ridiculous, especially as the time wasn't taken to find out more about the circumstances.
     
  9. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Perhaps you should read what you wrote again before getting all indignant. I think a few readers at least took that to mean you hadn't fed him in two days:

    Be glad of that. Some kind of "camp" where he has the spirit crushed out of him is not the answer.
     
  10. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    I don't think removing items with a hoover or broom are helping.. They must be utterly scary for him too and be a massive vicious circle of when is that going to happen.

    I wouldn't say boot camp for dogs sounds a good place to go for any dog. Not seeing the credentials but it just doesn't sit well with me, neither does Dog Trouble both these trainers, as I can't think they are behaviourists with good credentials are selling a service to what people want. Most good behaviourists go by their name, they don't need a fancy name to sell a service that they are accredited by. That speaks for itself and often go through vets recommendations, working with practices.

    Can I ask, you asked a while ago about your dogs leg. Did you ever get it checked out? Pain can make resource guarding worse and if he has got something like LP common in Frenchie then his reaction to being handled after a walk would be because he's sore.
     
  11. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    Quite clearly from the tone of my post it should've been clear that we did not voluntarily go without feeding him for two days. If people want to make assumptions and respond passive-aggressively, I'll respond and defend myself, as it's unacceptable, especially when I'm coming here looking for help.

    We weren't convinced it was the best route for him either, but the reviews seemed positive, and none of the behaviourists we've tried have had an answer.
     
  12. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    Understood regarding the broom/hoover, but if we didn't get the items somehow, he quite literally will not stop guarding it as long as he possibly can.

    Jo Cottrell is her name I believe (the woman that runs Dog Trouble). We've tried the vets but they never seem to have a definitive answer.

    We got his leg checked and a general check-up done and the vets seem to think he's fine physically.
     
  13. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    You didn't say that though, did you.
     
    lorilu likes this.
  14. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    o Cottrell follows the natural instinctual principles that have governed dog behaviour for many years. Jo is certified in Canine Psychology and has completed the ‘Training Cesar’s Way’ certified course with Internationally recognised Cesar Millan, and ‘The Missing Link’ certified course with Cheri Lucas, and Brian Agnew.

    https://www.dogtrouble.co.uk/about/

    Yeah, be very very very glad you didn't send your dog there. Good grief, that's the last thing this poor dog needs.
     
  15. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    I'd just appreciate not being called out on something before I get the chance to defend myself. It's pointless going on about it now, my apologies if I seemed aggressive in my response.
     
  16. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    What's the story behind them?
     
  17. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Vets can refer to good behaviourists, often covered by insurance.

    Dogs Trust have behaviourists on board who offer 1-2-1 sessions, using positive, reward based methods.

    TBH rehoming a dog with such issues would be difficult and if based on anxiety, would probably make him worse.

    Look at positively.com, kikopup and thecanineconsultants.co.uk for tips and insight.
     
  18. HJKettle

    HJKettle PetForums Junior

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    Thanks Lurcher.
     
  19. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Caesar Milan isn't the way to train dogs... Absolutely not, no no no no.. Especially ones who resource guard.

    3 or 4 times you came her asking for advice, in each time you posted you were given brilliant advice, brilliant advice what to look for in a behaviourist including qualifications...

    Each time told training is never a quick fix, read the sticky, use swap system and rewards or things will escalate.

    It's no wonder people have presumed on this thread...
     
  20. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    But it wasn't.
    Have you tried putting the food out on the ground, so there's no bowl to protect or stress over?
     
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