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Stealing other dogs toys and guarding them

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


  1. Lavenderb

    Lavenderb PetForums VIP

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    My 6 1/2 month old GSD Eva has a couple times now stolen another dogs toy and when the dog tries to get it back from her she growls and snaps a little.
    She's also done it with a stick she will have found on the ground.

    She doesnt do it with every dog in the park. Some she will completely ignore or submit to. If there is no toy or stick to guard then she plays happily with any dog .

    She took a toy off a JRT this morning and the dog was chasing her trying to get it back, Eva was growling and snapping. I told Eva to drop the toy, which she did and I then gave it back to the owner. She did this a couple of times and again I did the same. Then the owner put the toy away and Eva and the JRT happily played together again.
    Eva has no issues with dropping a toy for me or my kids. Shes not food aggressive. I'm going to speak to the trainers at dog classes tonight but I thought I would ask here aswell for advice on stopping this dominance over toys/possessions in the dog park.
     
  2. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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  3. Lavenderb

    Lavenderb PetForums VIP

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    That is interesting reading, thankyou. I didn't really see it as how Leashed4life had put it. I mean wouldn't we be seriously hacked off if everytime we left our houses someone else moved in and this is the dogs way of saying 'its mine until I have dropped it'.

    I'm thinking its a 'phase or stage' she is going through. She has been acting slightly different in the last 10 days. She knows which dogs she can take toys from and leaves the ones alone that the other dogs themselves guard. She's still learning and so am I.
     
  4. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Yes but we're a Human not Dog, and living in a modern culture. In past, non-settled hunter-gatherer peoples have not understood the concept of "owning land" for example. In the mountains & wilderness areas, there's shelters which are open usage, but leave as you find them; I'm not sure if stable property rights for unused items, which are horded, have made Human's happier.

    I would like me, take special care around puppies which may not respect a warning growl but persist in requesting the object. Try and avoid play around dogs with toys out, as eventually sometime your Eva may push the wrong dog too far, and get into a battle. Again, she may as she gets older, be less willing to surrender the object to you, in prescence of other dogs, once she learns doing so means she loses them without compensation. So reinforce the dropping to you!

    A GSD should be similarly easy to attract with a good toy like a Collie.
     
    #4 RobD-BCactive, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  5. Lavenderb

    Lavenderb PetForums VIP

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    She's certainly more attracted to the rope toys with balls attached. She likes to run with them and dangle them as if 'teasing' the other dog.

    So if I am reading this right, I need to get her so interested in her own toy ,that 'if' the need arises , I pull this toy out of my pocket and she is so interested in that , that she drops the other toy and I reward her with a bit of a play with the 'special' toy.

    Its easy enough to avoid other dogs with toys as I'm not afraid to tell other owners that she has toy issues if they aproach me with their dogs with toys. I can recall her easily and leash her if I spot someone approaching with toys.

    Is this something that she may grow out of or likely to be a long term issue with her?
     
  6. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I would be fun to, so it's not just the toy, but your excited invitation to play with her, that makes her come and play with you, rather than hang on to the object. Then you can manoevre away from it if it's brought near you, so she doesn't see the stolen toy retrieved by owner or dog, but forgets it.
    I have an educated hunch on that only, so best if I leave that question for now in hope others can answer it.
     
  7. cinnamontoast

    cinnamontoast Sois pas chiant, chéri.

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    I would do some serious training at home with her. One of my pups is very possessive and howls if his brother has something and he doesn't, even if the same toy in duplicate is three feet away. In order to ensure no food/possession aggression, both dogs were taught early on that we coudl take their food, put our hands in the bowls and that they had to surrender objects if required. (A simple 'leave' command) I don't annoy them while eating but I do know that I coudl take anything off them if need be. Zak had a pig's trotter in the garden yesterday, he wouldn't come in and it started to rain heavily. I took it off him without any problems and got him indoors.

    I really like RobD's suggestion of 'her' toy-it's how scent dogs are rewarded-they get their toy. Substitution is also good-take but give something else as RobD suggests.
     
  8. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Please leashedForLife did the real lifting on this!
     
  9. Lavenderb

    Lavenderb PetForums VIP

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    At home she is fine. I can take whatever I want from her by using the 'drop' command and so can my children. I've had control of her dog bowl from day one. She has to sit and wait til I tell her she can eat at meal times. I can take the bowl away and put my hands in the bowl, I can add treats to it no problem.
    The trainers at dog classes have witnessed her 'drop' a toy for me on command too.

    The issue is with her outside, guarding toys and sticks. I can keep her away from other dogs with toys and if neccessary I will leash her as you can't always guarantee you wont have a dog come running up to yours with a toy in its mouth.
    I've gone out and bought her a new toy this afternoon, a ball on a rope and thats going to be her special toy. She's very treat orientated too so I guess I can use that to retrieve toys from her and reward.
     
  10. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    It's still good advice though to practice (best in park to proof it there) in order to reinforce the giving up to people on command when out. Adolescence might mean the possessiveness extends towards avoiding the drop for a person, so you could end up following the dog trying to recover something when it gets more independant. You could inadvertently "punish" that is reduce the liklihood of the object being dropped in future in prescence of other dogs, if you're not careful.

    My dog wasn't "stealing" toys, and was happy to share at 6 months, so his "training" on this seemed a done thing, only for it to become an issue later on, likely partly due to a complacency on my part.
     
  11. Lavenderb

    Lavenderb PetForums VIP

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    Well been to the park twice since my original post and she's behaved lol. So maybe she was having an off day or maybe as suggested by the trainers at dog classes she is entering teenagedom....:eek:

    Either way she loves her new rope toy.
     
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