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Old 07-15-2010, 04:59 PM
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Default Food aggression - VENT and advice pls?

So FOHA has this dog. His name is Quins. I think he may have some GSD in him, but other that that, who knows. Quins was an owner surrender, and was brought in by a person who handles the owner surrender stuff, wearing a muzzle, because it seems he was quite unhappy about being taken from his family. Quins lives in a run in iso, which has a door separating it from the rest of the runs in that building. Nobody can touch Quins because if you come near the cage he barks, bares his teeth, growls, and acts like a vicious beastie. He's ok when we are just walking by doing our regular stuff, but if you come up to the cage, he lashes out. Quins doesn't get time in the yard like the other dogs, because it isn't safe for us to be around him right now. This dog will have been at FOHA a week this Saturday. I know that's not that much time. I always talk to him and tell him he's being silly and that if he keeps acting like this he won't get out of that cage, and that's not any fun!

Quins also has a nasty food aggression problem. He tries to attack when you give him his food, and when you attempt to take the empty bowl away. He is in your typical kennel run made of chain link with a slot to slide food in and out, and a guillotine door you pull down to block him either in the inside or the outside (this is how we clean his kennel). Today, I tried to make friends with Quins by putting a gob of peanut butter on a spoon and feeding it to him through the door. He licked it, then bared his teeth, growled, jumped, snarled, the whole shebang (kinda comical with peanut butter on his front teeth). But I sat there on the floor, waited out his little temper tantrum, and continued feeding him peanut butter when he calmed down. I actually had him calmly eating peanut butter, and he didn't react again until I stood up.

And THEN (here is where my vent comes in), the kennel manager, who's training is very much correction based, tried to work with Quins about 30 minutes after this, and yells NO! at him repeatedly as he's gnashing his teeth at her, and I think banging his dish at him (I heard the yelling and banging, but I couldn't really tell exactly what was going on, I was in the kitchen, I can't stand to watch her "training"). You can imagine how much this helped. I think it pretty much undid anything I may have accomplished with my peanut butter. It makes me sick the way she thinks she needs to "fight fire with fire" when it comes to aggression. Later on I had to give Quins his second feedings, so I brought another gob of peanut butter on a spoon along, thinking maybe I could distract him while I put his food in but nope, his behavior was actually worse this time. He really has some nice looking teeth. lol I did get him to calm down a bit though, although I had to use the spoon to push his dish in the slot, and then pull it back out again when he was done (he's a real foodie, loves to eat).

But can anybody offer any advice for working with this dog? Maybe I should continue with the peanut butter? I don't want to see him condemned to life in a kennel run forever, he's a young dog. I do see a good dog in there somewhere. And he's a smart dog, you can see it in his eyes. He watches me when I walk past, looking like he's thinking, perhaps going "This one isn't like the others, she never screams at me or anything." Quins will wag his tail and look happy when I talk happy to him.

Help me help him to stop being a goon!
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Old 07-15-2010, 06:24 PM
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I think you're doin' it right.

If you could keep Cesarina away from him I think you'd have him literally eating out of your hand in a couple of weeks. Maybe there's some way you could ask to work with him without anyone else bothering him? Maybe call it an isolation training/therapy? I know you have to walk gently since you're the Noob, but maybe if someone remembers what a different dog Opie was after you worked with him

And there are always animal crackers
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Old 07-15-2010, 06:29 PM
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How much time do you realistically have to work with this one? I don't know much about FOHA but serious resource guarding takes quite a bit of time to work through and isn't something to solve with dominance but rather a combination of anxiety reduction, repetition and management skills. This would be best handled in foster care.
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:56 PM
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noludoru noludoru is offline
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Originally Posted by Renee750il View Post
If you could keep Cesarina away from him I think you'd have him literally eating out of your hand in a couple of weeks. Maybe there's some way you could ask to work with him without anyone else bothering him? Maybe call it an isolation training/therapy?
This.

Or a foster home. I just don't see his resource guarding ever being 'fixed' in a kennel situation. It's too hard, there are too many people to undo your work, and just not enough time. IF you could get them to agree to let only you work with him and feed him and such, he might get a lot better, but there would have to be a sign on the door for everyone telling them not to feed him. (Especially Saturdays and Sundays with all the volunteers.)
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:56 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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Instead of feeding him peanut butter, feed him his kibble bit by bit. First drop it in (you can use the spoon to get it in and drop it on the floor). Soon, you should be able to have him take it from your hand. Just make sure you arrange your hand on the outside of the fencing so he can't take more than the kibble! I would also add a clicker and charge up the clicker while doing this, but even without using the clicker feeding him this way will help.
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Old 07-15-2010, 11:32 PM
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Instead of feeding him peanut butter, feed him his kibble bit by bit. First drop it in (you can use the spoon to get it in and drop it on the floor). Soon, you should be able to have him take it from your hand. Just make sure you arrange your hand on the outside of the fencing so he can't take more than the kibble! I would also add a clicker and charge up the clicker while doing this, but even without using the clicker feeding him this way will help.
I would not... absolutely would NOT do this. You are risking serious injury with this dog. If you've never seen a dog full on attempt an assault on someone through chain link and actually connect it's a fast way to lose a finger or a good deal of skin. This dog needs to be mentally reassured that nothing will happen to him or his food while he's eating. Put the dish in the run. Put the dog in the run. Leave him alone while he eats. Remove the dog from the run. Then pick up the dish.
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:12 AM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Does FOHA have any people who can work with this dog in addition to you? Specifically do they have a behavior professional on staff or available for tough cases? It seems like a pretty crappy way to live if he's just going to be stuck in iso and so obviously stressed.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:10 AM
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Does FOHA have any people who can work with this dog in addition to you? Specifically do they have a behavior professional on staff or available for tough cases? It seems like a pretty crappy way to live if he's just going to be stuck in iso and so obviously stressed.
Not on staff, but some dogs get sent to a trainer's kennel that FOHA has worked with forever, knows well, and trusts. But she isn't going to take a dog that nobody can touch.

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This.

Or a foster home. I just don't see his resource guarding ever being 'fixed' in a kennel situation. It's too hard, there are too many people to undo your work, and just not enough time. IF you could get them to agree to let only you work with him and feed him and such, he might get a lot better, but there would have to be a sign on the door for everyone telling them not to feed him. (Especially Saturdays and Sundays with all the volunteers.)
Its unlikely we will be able to find a foster home for a dog like this. We have enough trouble finding foster homes for normal dogs. I don't know why FOHA took this dog in, but I guess that's beside the point now.

My day at work goes like this: Arrive at 7am, at the tail end of am feedings. Wash morning dishes. Hang around a little bit, maybe for 10-15 minutes while the houstrained dogs use the yard and go potty. Then clean my line. Get done around 10am. Do more dishes that people have stuck in the sink from cleaning their lines, and play with dogs, switch dogs out in the yard, pick up poo, and wait for it to be 11am. At 11am, eat lunch.
Hang out with coworkers. Switch dogs, pick up poo, do whatever I can find to do until around 1:30 when we get second feedings ready. Feed at 2. Do more dishes. Around 2:15-2:30 we all gather our poop bags, the trash, dump the trash in the dumpster, and then hang out by lines 1 and 2 until the boss tells us to go home, or it becomes 3pm, whichever comes first.

So you see, if I don't have to do any vet runs, or help with moving dogs around to move dogs up from intake, or any weird project the boss decides to start, I have time I can set aside for this dog. But two days a week I'm not there, and Saturdays and Sundays I'm there, but not typically working in that building (although if I plan my time right I can still get up there work with him).
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Kat09Tails View Post
How much time do you realistically have to work with this one? I don't know much about FOHA but serious resource guarding takes quite a bit of time to work through...
^^^This.

Is this a no-kill shelter? What is their euth policy? What is your long-term goal for this dog, to be adopted into a home?

IME, resource guarding - especially at this level - is not something that can be solved quickly, and once it's solved it's not generalized to new people well. Which means, that even if you were to get this dog a whole lot better yourself, he will still revert back to that undesirable behavior when placed with a new person. And thinking long term, most resource-guarding dogs have good days and bad days, so even if you (people at the shelter) were to solve this problem, you'd have to have an adopter who can, and is willing to, handle a resource-guarding dog for the lifetime of the dog. I would never place this dog with children under the age of 12, even with extremely dog-savy parents it's just too huge of a risk. What is the liklihood you will find an adopter like this that will enjoy taking on a dog like this?
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:13 AM
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Its unlikely we will be able to find a foster home for a dog like this. We have enough trouble finding foster homes for normal dogs. I don't know why FOHA took this dog in, but I guess that's beside the point now.
Exactly.

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Is this a no-kill shelter? What is their euth policy? What is your long-term goal for this dog, to be adopted into a home?

What is the liklihood you will find an adopter like this that will enjoy taking on a dog like this?
Totally no-kill, unless there is a medical need for euthanasia. And even then they usually let it go to the point where the animal should have been PTS already.

Likelihood of an adopter for this dog? Zero. Nearly zero. Unless, by chance, we have someone walk in whose only requirement for a dog is severe resource guarding.
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