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  #41  
Old 05-15-2012, 02:18 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
Sean Smith
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Brooklyn
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Teal:
-Okay, thanks for responding. Yes I agree that the important question here is "How do I make him stop growling," it's just that up to then I had received various advice on that except for what I should do when the growling is actually happening. Many said it is wrong to back away because it confirms to the dog that the growling worked. Many say not to interfere with what he's growling over because it will confirm to him that his fears which caused the growling have a basis. Most advice seemed dominated by a fear of getting bit, but up to now I didn't get anything concrete. So I appreciate your taking the time to read what I said even though I was kind of pissed off, and share your thoughts on the matter.
-I know what you mean about morons who treat their dogs like children; I can understand how if you're in the dog-training business you might have seen enough people like that to have a hair-trigger on the matter. The idea of putting a 1 year old pitbull who can outrun me in a stroller would be pretty retarded if it were for any reason other than what I described. But yeah, it's actually a little-known fact that you can LEGALLY bring your dog on the subway or the metro (in NYC anyway, I expect elsewhere in the US too) if he's in a crate, and a dog stroller counts as a crate (on wheels) - so folks should take note of that.
-The sort of toys you leave your dogs with are the same sort of toys I leave Sam with. He gets this indestructible big blue rubber bone that he entertains himself with for hours, and one of those Kong rocker things you put treats in and the dog knocks it around trying to get them out - seems to keep him entertained and out of trouble (usually).
-As for the exercise, no I don't bring him to a dog park. The main reason is just that the dog parks I've seen are so small and crappy, and also Sam is so young and excitable he usually only has a couple minutes when socializing with another dog before the other dog gets sick of his crap. He is very friendly with dogs and even cats and swans (even though they despise him), as well as random people outside. I've never seen him get aggressive unless the other dog did first. But I am curious about what your objection is to the dog parks. What I do is, I got this really expensive crazy-durable retractable leash (the Flexi Giant XL), and taught him some commands so that he could run around with it without causing trouble. At any given moment if I say "come here" and he doesn't, he loses his freedom and has to walk next to me for a while. Before getting the full leash back he has to not pull for a while, then respond to "come here," "sit," and "lie down," then stay down until the command "you're free." He also knows "this way" which means to just go the same way I'm going, and stay on the same side of obstacles so they don't intercept the leash. He learned all this stuff in like a week, I was kind of impressed, and now he's totally safe running around in the park. He does like about an hour every day. It's a huge park (Prospect park in Brooklyn) with a lake, and I usually take him at night so I don't have to worry about too many people/dogs. He runs around, plays fetch with me, jumps to grab a stick out of my hand, and sometimes jumps in the lake and attempts to swim (not good at swimming yet). That's his main daily exercise, besides a few 15-minute walks, but I honestly don't know if that's considered enough.

Maxy24:
Good to hear from you again. As usual your advice is a little different from others, but so far it has been the most effective with Sam. He's getting good with that "drop it" command. He'll do it for me almost instantly, takes a little longer with other people, but he does it. He's definitely learned it's a positive, play-associated command, as opposed to "leave it" which means he's into something he's not allowed to have. The "bring it" one is harder. He usually comes toward me, then stops and lies down with the object and I have to come to him to get the toy/stick/whatever. But sometimes it works fully. Since working on those commands his possessiveness has almost disappeared with all but certain types of toys. When he has anything made of animal parts (rawhide, bones, bully-sticks, pig ears), he gets weird. These are the things I only give him when I'm alone with him and planning to try to work with him about it. What's weird is that he will not chew them. He will just lie down near them looking nervous and sad, and go pick them up and hold them whenever I approach. Those times, I've been dropping treats whenever I pass by, so now he hardly ever growls at me, but still acts weird. He will even let me take the thing from him and toss it, and go get it like he would his other toys, but once he gets the thing he goes back to his weirdness, will not bring it to me. Best thing I accomplished so far was I came up and sat next to him gently, pet him and took his rawhide knot, then stuffed treats into the crevices of it and gave it back to him, then went in the other room. For about 20 minutes he actually chewed on it and enjoyed himself, looking happy, then stopped even though there were still treats in it, and went back to being weird. The treats are still in the thing, he won't chew it anymore.


Okay, now about the growling... My fiance always disengages from him the moment he starts growling, even if it's during play. She can't see a clear difference between that growl and the possessive growl, though to me they're very different. I've noticed that he tries to growl less with her when playing, because he doesn't want her to stop playing with him. With me, the possessive growling is the only kind I care about. By now when it happens I feel confident that he's not really about to bite. He hasn't snapped at me since the incidents I described back at the beginning of his being here. Usually what happens on the rare occasion that he growls over a toy/bone is I back away and call him to me. He hesitates, then comes over and acts submissive. This is his queue to pee on the floor, but that doesn't always happen. So I guess in a way I have been respecting his growl, but I always demand he change the attitude and approach me instead of me approaching him. If he's eating and growling, he will not come to me, ever, he keeps eating. I've also added to his mealtime routine that he has to lie down and stay while I put the bowl down, and wait for me to say "okay" before he can eat. He learned this in a day, no problem. But the growling is completely unchanged.

I tried what you said Maxi24, yesterday. During his breakfast I stood next to the bowl, without touching him, and dropped a couple little pieces of pork sausage on the floor. He gobbled them up. I bent down and tossed a few right into the bowl, no issue. During his dinner I had another idea. His meals are a mix of mostly dry food with half a can of wet food. I know he likes the wet food better. So what I did was I gave him a bowl of just the dry food. Then as he was eating, I added the half-can of wet food to the bowl one spoonful at a time, and mixed it up a little. He let me do this, did not growl. Once I had mixed all the wet food in I went in the other room. When he finished eating he ran in to me with his tail wagging wanting to lick my face and cuddle. Don't know what that meant but it seemed like a good sign.

Teal:
I'm going to try the routine you described as well. I'll let you know what happens, in particular whether he keeps growling into an empty bowl.

One little obstacle here is that next week I am leaving the country for a math conference, and Sam is going to be staying with a friend of mine. Sam's been to the friend's place twice and stayed over, gets along with him, and listens to him pretty good. But I can't really expect my friend to follow every little detail of how to treat Sam. I'm a little nervous about it but it's my only option. If you don't hear from me for a little while it's because I'm in France without a computer.
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  #42  
Old 05-15-2012, 10:17 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
Sean Smith
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Teal:
Just dropping a line that I just tried the method you suggested tonight. The whole meal I was right with him petting his back. He only growled twice, once really softly while eating, and once when I had him lie down and stay while I put the bowl down. Both were pretty brief. He was nervous and kept tensing up but would continue eat when I talked to him. About half the meal he was eating out of the bowl while I pet his back, and not growling at all, so that seems like good news. Definitely no growling into an empty bowl. He was reluctant to look up at me each time the food was gone though. He also had his tail tucked the whole time and generally submissive. I was surprised he didn't pee.

I'll probably check for a reply in about 2 weeks after my trip. Thanks again for the ideas.
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  #43  
Old 05-16-2012, 04:27 AM
Teal Teal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j0equ1nn View Post
Teal:
-Okay, thanks for responding. Yes I agree that the important question here is "How do I make him stop growling," it's just that up to then I had received various advice on that except for what I should do when the growling is actually happening. Many said it is wrong to back away because it confirms to the dog that the growling worked. Many say not to interfere with what he's growling over because it will confirm to him that his fears which caused the growling have a basis. Most advice seemed dominated by a fear of getting bit, but up to now I didn't get anything concrete. So I appreciate your taking the time to read what I said even though I was kind of pissed off, and share your thoughts on the matter.
-I know what you mean about morons who treat their dogs like children; I can understand how if you're in the dog-training business you might have seen enough people like that to have a hair-trigger on the matter. The idea of putting a 1 year old pitbull who can outrun me in a stroller would be pretty retarded if it were for any reason other than what I described. But yeah, it's actually a little-known fact that you can LEGALLY bring your dog on the subway or the metro (in NYC anyway, I expect elsewhere in the US too) if he's in a crate, and a dog stroller counts as a crate (on wheels) - so folks should take note of that.
-The sort of toys you leave your dogs with are the same sort of toys I leave Sam with. He gets this indestructible big blue rubber bone that he entertains himself with for hours, and one of those Kong rocker things you put treats in and the dog knocks it around trying to get them out - seems to keep him entertained and out of trouble (usually).
-As for the exercise, no I don't bring him to a dog park. The main reason is just that the dog parks I've seen are so small and crappy, and also Sam is so young and excitable he usually only has a couple minutes when socializing with another dog before the other dog gets sick of his crap. He is very friendly with dogs and even cats and swans (even though they despise him), as well as random people outside. I've never seen him get aggressive unless the other dog did first. But I am curious about what your objection is to the dog parks. What I do is, I got this really expensive crazy-durable retractable leash (the Flexi Giant XL), and taught him some commands so that he could run around with it without causing trouble. At any given moment if I say "come here" and he doesn't, he loses his freedom and has to walk next to me for a while. Before getting the full leash back he has to not pull for a while, then respond to "come here," "sit," and "lie down," then stay down until the command "you're free." He also knows "this way" which means to just go the same way I'm going, and stay on the same side of obstacles so they don't intercept the leash. He learned all this stuff in like a week, I was kind of impressed, and now he's totally safe running around in the park. He does like about an hour every day. It's a huge park (Prospect park in Brooklyn) with a lake, and I usually take him at night so I don't have to worry about too many people/dogs. He runs around, plays fetch with me, jumps to grab a stick out of my hand, and sometimes jumps in the lake and attempts to swim (not good at swimming yet). That's his main daily exercise, besides a few 15-minute walks, but I honestly don't know if that's considered enough.


I did know about being able to take them on in crates - only because one time in Portland, OR I got into a lovely argument with a bus driver about my Service Dog not being in a crate. Hello, Service Dog? But anyways... where I grew up/where I live, we don't even have buses/taxis or anything like that lol

While I think dog parks are horrendous in general for several reasons - parasites/disease being the main one, but seriously HOW do people think it's a good idea to throw random dogs together when they're hyper and have probably been locked up all day while their owner was at work!? - for ANY breed... It is a RULE of Pit Bull/bull breed ownership that you absolutely DO NOT take them to areas where off leash dogs are allowed, even if your dog is currently dog-friendly. In Sam's case, he is still young and may develop dog aggression. In general, Pit Bulls were selectively bred for dog aggression for generations... they don't need doggie friends as adults, and some don't want them when they're puppies. IF something were to happen - Sam would be blamed no matter WHAT, and most likely taken from you. Then there would be the headlines, which fuel BSL.

That amount of exercise, I wouldn't consider enough. To help maximum the time, if you can't provide more, you might look into making a flirt pole. It really wears them out!


Quote:
One little obstacle here is that next week I am leaving the country for a math conference, and Sam is going to be staying with a friend of mine. Sam's been to the friend's place twice and stayed over, gets along with him, and listens to him pretty good. But I can't really expect my friend to follow every little detail of how to treat Sam. I'm a little nervous about it but it's my only option. If you don't hear from me for a little while it's because I'm in France without a computer.


This scares the crap out of me. You need to tell your friend to NOT ATTEMPT anything with the dog. He needs to feed him and leave him alone, and not try to take toys from him. ANY mistakes your friend makes will, at best, put Same behind in the progress you've made and, at worst, get your friend badly bitten and your dog euthanized. This is a dog who needs proper handling, or he's going to cause a headline.


Quote:
Originally Posted by j0equ1nn View Post
Teal:
Just dropping a line that I just tried the method you suggested tonight. The whole meal I was right with him petting his back. He only growled twice, once really softly while eating, and once when I had him lie down and stay while I put the bowl down. Both were pretty brief. He was nervous and kept tensing up but would continue eat when I talked to him. About half the meal he was eating out of the bowl while I pet his back, and not growling at all, so that seems like good news. Definitely no growling into an empty bowl. He was reluctant to look up at me each time the food was gone though. He also had his tail tucked the whole time and generally submissive. I was surprised he didn't pee.

I'll probably check for a reply in about 2 weeks after my trip. Thanks again for the ideas.


I don't know the specifics of when you would talk to him, obviously, but don't try to "comfort" him while you stroke him... you would only be encouraging his wariness. Silence would be best.

I'm curious about the growling when you put the bowl down. Did he growl while you were asking him for the obedience commands, or once the bowl was down? Were you making eye contact?

Also, I did mean for you to just have your hand stationary on his back... petting him skipped a step, and while it sounds like he is making progress because he didn't growl the whole time, if you want him to continue progressing you need to make sure to take things slowly and not jump too far ahead.

Having a tucked tail while eating is not a submissive display - It's a display by dogs who are guarding their food.
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  #44  
Old 05-16-2012, 04:24 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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So I'm still here for the time being...

As far as I know even questioning you about bringing a service dog on a bus is illegal. If you wanted to you probably could have got that bus driver in trouble ... after a bunch of hassle and nonsense. Of course just cuz something's legal doesn't mean some ignorant cop or MTA worker isn't going to harass you. But yeah, it seems pretty universally understood with MTA folk that dog-in-create=okay.

I looked up the flirt pole thing, seems easy enough to make, I'll probably mess with that after my trip. (Up to then I'm busy as hell.)

The friend he's staying with is the only person I'd really consider leaving him with. He's been around the dog a lot. I've let him walk the dog with me walking alongside, taught him the commands he knows, taught him about making the dog sit before crossing the street (don't know bout where you are but that's REALLY important in the city - it takes them forever to learn not to suddenly run into the road without permission). I'm not giving him the retractable leash. I talked to my friend a lot about not trying to teach the dog anything, not giving him new toys, etc. I am still nervous but it's the best I could do. I think it will be okay.

So.. This morning I tried your advice again, paying closer attention to the instructions. But to answer your questions about yesterday: Yes I was sort of comforting him last time, it seemed to work with making him not be nervous. I don't really get how he would interpret it as me saying "Good boy for being nervous" or something... but I can see that it's better if I'm not doing it. This time I kept quiet. Also, to answer the question about the second growl. I had him lying down and staying, then he jerked a little as if to go for the food and I lifted the bowl back up like I normally would when I was training him to stay. I still had my other hand on his back. That's when he growled. He kept staying in the lie down position, just complained about it. I waited until he stopped, then waited a while longer, then told him "okay," hand on back the whole time. He finished the rest of the meal with no issues.

THIS time, I did not pet him, just kept my hand resting on his back. He did not growl at all. He seemed more comfortable eating out of my hand than out of the bowl. The food in the bowl he hardly even chewed, and acted more tense with. I also hand fed him with my hand in the bowl, which he was fine with. Each time the portion I'd given him was gone, it took a long time for him to look at me (longer than when I was talking to him). He would look up, but not at me. Toward the end of the meal I made him lie down and stay again. He didn't complain this time. Then I put his portion of wet food in the bowl while he waited. Then I waited a bit longer, then let him have it. I kept my hand on his back constantly through this whole session, and not a hint of a growl. Good news eh? He is still very nervous about the arrangement though.
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  #45  
Old 05-16-2012, 05:51 PM
Teal Teal is offline
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Legally, they can ask if the dog is a service dog and if I require the dog's use. They cannot ask what services the dog performs. I try to handle the situation myself and educate public service workers about service dogs instead of calling the authorities, if at all possible because I know what a brutally honest bitch I am and I won't be bullied... not everyone with a service dog is the same way, so I try to prevent them from getting picked on by teaching people a thing or two. Eventually, that bus driver gave it up and let me ride on peace... the next time I was on her bus, I gave her a copy of the ADA's Service Dog guidelines, and she apologized for being rude... so, it worked out

Flirt poles are super easy to make! I make them using horse lunge whips, and then just attach any manner of object the dog likes on the end - currently, mine has a water
bottle and Skinneez toy on it You can also buy cowhide cured specifically for dog use, which lasts longer!

That's good that you're really instilling in the friend how to care for the dog. We don't have roads/sidewalks/intersections where I live, but when I was training my SD I drove to the city to teach him proper crossing behaviour so he'd know in case we traveled. And sure enough, it wasn't even a year later that we went to Portland... so it was handy for him to know.

I'm happy to hear the dog is making progress! It's a slow process... I would expect him to still be nervous about it for months, considering you'll be gone for a few weeks. Don't be surprised if you need to start all over when you get back, depending on how stressed he gets over your absence.
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  #46  
Old 06-12-2012, 08:58 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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Hey there, so I'm back from my trip. My friend gave Sam very good reports about when I was gone. He took my advice about not messing with certain things, he said there was no growling at all. He did enforce a stay command when giving meals, and I noticed his response to that had improved. However he lives in a more congested place, less room to play, & my friend said the walks were difficult sometimes but that makes sense. The main issue is that Sam got sick while I was gone. I took him to the vet a couple days after I got back and he had giardia. He went through the usual treatment for that and after a week he was all better. He was on a special diet when he was sick, from the vet, and was also very very lethargic. So I did not mess with getting him back into training right away, I waited until he was better. He was not too happy at the vet's office. We had to wait a long time with lots of other animals around, he was crying a lot. He barked/snarled and snapped at the vet when she touched him in a certain area, though the vet and I agreed it seemed like a sensitive/painful spot. The vet asked me to put a muzzle on him for the rest of the examination, which I did, but she also commented that he didn't really strike her as aggressive, it was just a precaution. Then on the way out the door he snapped at a little dog in the waiting room and got his foot in his mouth. He wouldn't let go of the foot though was not biting it hard, the other dog wasn't crying. A lady started giving me all her opinions about what I should be doing with my dog as I was just trying to get us out of there and kept saying "If you don't mind my saying," so eventually I just said "I do," and paid my bill and left.

When I did restart the training, yeah it was definitely a step backward from where I left off. His growling is worse than before if you approach him. He's even back to mild growling about toys very occasionally, but not that bad. What is bad is he snapped at me one time to try to get food from me. This happened as I was rushing out to work. I was really angry at him and when I did the no-bite command he did not seem to get it. Still just fixed on the food. So in spur-of-the-moment thinking I stuck the food in the fridge and left him there by himself without breakfast until I got back 4 hours later. Then I started over and he did fine.

Another incident: he had gotten himself really filthy jumping into a mud pit in the park, so I gave him a bath. When drying him, he snarled and snapped at me. He did it viciously enough that it really scared me. I held his snout closed and pinned him down by the scruff of his neck, not even thinking about training as much as self defense. Though in hind site if he were really trying to bite me I'd be finding it harder to type right now. These couple of occasions I felt his teeth on my skin but very little pressure, it's mostly the sound that's scarey, and what bothers me most is how angry it makes me that he's trying to intimidate me like this. I get angry with him and feel like I lose control of what I should be doing exactly, lose touch of how to communicate to him that this is just inappropriate.

For the most part otherwise he has been very good. Has not been chewing anything up, occasionally takes the kitchen sponge and just leaves it on the floor acting guilty, otherwise has very good household manners. No peeing on the floor anymore ever. Has gotten better at walks too. It was bothering me how hard it is for my fiancee to walk him sometimes so I got stricter with him about not even hanging out near the end of the leash, and about walking past dogs of I say so, and he's learning these new policies fast. He's been great to walk usually.

BUT.. he has these very sparse unpredictable incidents where he attacks other dogs! I've been letting him and other dogs sniff each other and interact when the other owner is okay with it all this time, and have not had a problem. But suddenly there have been 2 times that he just switched and bit at the other dog making some really ugly sounds. What upsets me most about this is that there seems nothing I can do to get across to him that this is bad. I can yell "No," I can hold his muzzle closed, I can pull him off the dog by the back of his neck, obviously angry as far as I can tell, and he still is either fixated on the dog, or acts like "That was fun! What are we doin next?" At that point I generally just put him on an extremely short leash and take him straight home. He did this today when I was getting ready to go out, so I with-held breakfast until I got back - did not know what else to do. But I really feel like he doesn't get it.

I'm still working on those feeding sessions as you described. But there's a part of me (and this is just me voicing my musings - not saying this is totally my opinion on it) that feels like I may just be making him worse. One way of looking at it is that there is this one thing that he dislikes so much (being touched while eating) that he will growl, so what do we do? we go in and make him be touched while eating, and it makes him all weird and seemingly more violent. I mean, I don't want to be pet while I'm eating either. Like I said, I'm not adopting this philosophy but just wanted to share some thoughts going through my head. Reading what you said recently about how it could take months before he turns around, I'm remembering how gradual of a process it's meant to me. Also, it is definitely not cool if we have to always worry about aggressiveness with food. But lately he is showing new aggressive behavior.
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  #47  
Old 06-12-2012, 09:43 PM
Kaydee
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IMHO from all I've read it sounds like you've got yourself a nice well-mannered pitty...not telling you what to do but perhaps you might want to consider keeping him as your guy??? It sounds like you have the personality to understand him and the physical strngth to work with him...you could be perfect together!!!

The bath part is encouraging and he wants to please you. I remember how nervous I was when I brought Sophie home the first day. After being in a city shelter for 3 months she was clay covered and smelled sooooo bad. I looked at her and said I don't know how you feel about baths but here goes...and she was fine, a bit puzzled but fine...but no blow dryer.

I am not a dog trainer but my opinion about resource guarding is that if I have a pint of Ben and Jerrys in front of me, nobody better try to take it away from me...and that's okay

If you really feel you have to find him another home, I would suggest someone physically fit who knows what they're getting into. Bullies need a special someone who knows they don't think like the average dog. Someone willing to give them a good daily workout and then some. A senior or a house with wee little kids might not be the best for a big strong doggie. You want someone who knows under those broad shoulders and muscled neck is a happy marshmallow. Sophie clears the sidewalk with her appearance but at home she's a 60lb lapdog. I bet your guy is a velcro doggie too!!!
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  #48  
Old 06-20-2012, 04:38 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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Yeah Sam is basically my dog now. He's not going anywhere. Me and my fiancee both love him even though he has some issues. Lately I've been teaching a really intensive summer class at the college I work at and been working so hard I haven't had much time to think about dog training, so my fiancee has taken over the role, for the time being, of dog-training researcher. She's been reading books about clicker training and food aggression and stuff, and got a clicker. She impressed me with what she learned the other day because she taught him to look at you on command, in one night. And he does it outside with distractions. This was a main problem with him on walks, like if you call him or give him commands, he would do them but would be resolutely fixed on whatever he was obsessed with at the moment. Now I can say "Sam look!" and he looks at me and holds it.

This food aggressiveness thing is a problem though. I've been following the advice of various people online but it doesn't seem to be making any difference. In fact it's getting worse. If I feed him in certain ways he doesn't growl, just gets nervous. And I can do that, it seems, for as many days as I want, but as soon as I feed him normally once (which is necessary sometimes, say if I'm late for work and rushing out), he will still growl at anyone who touches him. And if you interfere with his eating, or even if thinks you are, he will snap at you, and put his teeth on you. He doesn't apply pressure with his teeth but I'm not about to wait for that to start happening. Today I was getting ready to hand-feed him and he snapped at me to try to get the food. That was a first - like he's getting more comfortable with snapping at me over food. It infuriates me, which probably doesn't help either.

Whenever I tell anyone what I did about it I get bombarded by opinions and everyone's an expert. But to me, if my dog is going to bite me to try to get the food I'm about to give him anyway, even if it's not a serious bite, but still an intent to intimidate me, I'm going to let him know who's boss. I firmly held his muzzle closed and forced him onto his back (which was hard, he is really strong), straddled him, looked in in the eyes and said "NO BITE." After telling the story about how I stopped my parents' old dog from habitually biting people (seriously biting - like bites requiring stitches) by doing this, I was criticized for doing "alpha rolling" so I had to look it up to see what that was. Whatever the hell it's called it's what made sense to me at that time and place.

I'm not basing my training of Sam on acronyms and days on wikipedia but on trying to communicate with my dog. As of late I've been feeling like going on a dog forum to solve problems with your dog is sort of like getting advice about women to solve problems with your wife. In fact dogs are a much more varied group than women are: they encompass both sexes of a species that is much more diverse than humans are. (I don't mean this as a sexist comment, the analogy works just as well if you replace women with men and wife with husband.)

I've noticed that the best discipline for Sam is to ignore him. He desperately wants attention, constantly. But you can't really ignore someone who is attacking you, so that one's kind of a problem.
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  #49  
Old 06-20-2012, 05:05 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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Why are you getting close enough to him to make him growl and snap (with the exception of this hand feeding episode)? While a dog is in training for resource guarding it is imperative that you do everything in your power not to push him to the point of guarding. He must be kept comfortable around resources for all of the months this takes. You should be adding food from whatever distance he is comfortable with you from, and not a step closer. You are rushing. If you don't have time to practice one day then feed him in peace so you don't make things worse.

Dogs who resource guard don't trust the person, they think they want to steal from them. A dog will escalate his aggression if the person fails to listen to his warnings. By continually pushing the dog into discomfort and by punishing him for guarding you are telling him that what he is doing is failing and he must escalate. I would not be surprised if he decides to escalate to a hard bite now that you're attacking him, obviously he needs to be more aggressive to keep you away from his food. And yes, eventually you'll hurt him or terrify him bad enough that he may become too afraid of you to guard, or he'll attack you. but it's not necessary that you do that to solve this. You need to slow down.

It seems to me like you are too attached to punishment to stop yourself. Punishing a dog makes people feel strong and powerful, especially if the dog cowers or acts fearful ("submissive") afterwards. It releases your own anger and frustration. It is very rewarding to people. I think you are alpha rolling because you like how it feels and nothing else.

I do hope things turn out well for both of you, sorry to be so snappy but treating aggression with aggression is very dangerous and very upsetting to me.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:31 PM
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Emily Emily is offline
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Will you AT LEAST consider buying a book called "Mine!"? It's written by an actual expert (Jean Donaldson) and gives step-by-step instructions on this issue. You can find it easily on Amazon - I'd link to it but my browser is acting up.

What you are doing now is dangerous. Your dog believes you are going to steal his food. He express discomfort with your proximity to his food. You punish him, severely and physically. The dog learns that he must not express his discomfort but he still has the same urge to protect his food. Do you see where this is going? "I must protect my food, but I must not growl or snap..." This dog is going to bite you, and hard. You have NOT made him more comfortable, you've just taught him that you're going to force yourself on his food and if he expresses concern you're going to literally jump on him. This a recipe for escalating aggression, and I have seen it happen in dogs trained this way.

You can be as quippy as you'd like about internet experts, but plenty of us here train dogs professionally in real life, and we're telling you, straight up, that this is a recipe for disaster.


I sincerely hope you think about what we're saying.
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