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Old 09-26-2010, 04:24 PM
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Default How concerning is resource guarding...

in a puppy? Do you think it is unusual for a puppy to resource guard?
Tucker has done it since the day we got him. He wouldn't be too bad when he had a forbidden object, he just wouldn't let go (he's surprisingly strong). Then he started growling as well so I taught him drop it and he listens SUPER well to it. I find my parents forget they need to use the exact command word (they'll try saying let go instead of drop it and don't understand why it doesn't work). Mom's figuring it out though. They also weren't carrying treats, but they do now, or at least mom does.

Anyway he would flip out when you physically prevented him from doing something. For example one day He and Phoebe had a meeting (Phoebe continues hating him) and Phoebe wanted to leave so they started walking away. He was flipping out on the end of the leash because he wanted to get to her, I started pulling him back to the stairs to go inside but was worried about him hurting himself (he would do full flips) so I picked him up and he went crazy with biting me, not normal puppy biting, serious "you let go of me now" biting.

And I guess he bit mom pretty bad the other day. After dinner they left some of the pork on the table and Willie stole it (which he always does, I don't know why they haven't figured it out) and then Tucker took it from him (mostly assumtion, Willie probably didn't like it) and they saw him with it and mom went to take it and he bit her. I wasn't there so I don't know how intense he was and I don't know if mom tried asking for a drop it, I doubt it though. Cause I know what I would have done, I'd likely have asked for a drop it (as he is really good at it), picked up the pork, and gave it (or some of it) back as it's already been all over the floor, we don't want it and it'd have been a good training opportunity.

They're still having a really hard time housebreaking him too, he hasn't gone a day without an accident.

They probably should have gotten an adult, but low an behold they have a puppy and there's nothing they can do about that. A terrier like puppy to boot.

Anyway, do you think resource guarding in a pup is a very bad sign (like he just has a terrible temperament), or is it just a normal dog thing? I know it's normal for adult dogs, but I don't know with pups. I really wish I was there so I could work with him and really make them do certain things with him. I know they are not watching him well enough as he's chewed through a wire and a chunk of the coffee table, obviously eyes were not on him like they were when I was there. I'm going home on the 8th so I think it'll be training boot camp for my parents. Not that they'll necassarily stick to it but I got to try.

So how worried should I be about this?
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Old 09-26-2010, 04:52 PM
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He sounds like my kind of dog.

Resource guarding, IMO, is completely normal at any age. It's when it's not handled properly while they're a pup and is instead allowed to escalate or worse, provoked, that it becomes a serious issue.

Lots of trade games and I'd start him on an NILIF program. He sounds a bit headstrong.
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Old 09-26-2010, 05:36 PM
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It doesn't mean that you have a dog with a bad temperament. You have a dog who is likely a little insecure. He also sounds like he has a low frustration tolerance. I would use the NILIF, and I would work on his self-control and some confidence building. But make no mistake, he's gonna be a challenge. I kinda like 'em like that too.
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Old 09-26-2010, 05:39 PM
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While resource guarding is normal survival behavior, it can become very dangerous if not counter conditioned.... and isn't likely to go away all by itself in a puppy that's showing this much crankiness. I don't like the sound of his biting hard when picked up. I would definitely do those trading game exercises every day and try to get him to "see the light." LOL. The light being...that it is great fun to give things to the person asking....that he gets a higher value reward, plus often times gets the thing he had back right away. Same with picking him up or handling him in any way that he might object to...in contexts that he might not be thrilled with. (More PR in handling him in circumstances he may not be that keen on.) It sounds like he has a rather pissy, spit and vinegar kind of temperament so the more you can do to compensate, the better chances of him chilling out a little better later on.
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:47 PM
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oh yeah, I know the guarding can become a huge problem, I just wanted to be sure we don't have a little time bomb pup or something, so long as it's not a terrible sign in a pup it's okay, we can work with that. SO not the sort of dog they should have gotten, but oh well it's the risk you run when you get a puppy from a shelter.

It definately seems like a frustration thing with handling, he has no self control. I'm having them have him sit before a meal but letting him up to eat as soon as he sits, I think they can start making him wait for a release now. He feels teeth are how he can get his way so if he wants you to stop something he's gonna bite you. Like he's done it if mom's holding him and he wants to get down, but that's not as hard as he did it the day I took him away from Phoebe, he was probably just more upset about it. He is really food motivated and started listening to the drop it 100% of the time within one training session of it (and I gave him some shoes, paper, random objects, etc. to practice with once he started dropping his toys instantly). He has never not dropped something I asked him to. but try to grab something and he will not let go, you could never imagine the jaw strength of an 8 pound puppy. I actually started teaching him to drop it after I ripped my shirt by trying to stand up quickly while he held on, he just hung off of me and ripped a huge hole in my shirt lol. He's a fast learned, he started sitting by command within 1 session and downing within two (he gets really pumped about downing, he like leaps up first and slams onto the ground lol).

NILIF sounds like a good idea with helping his frustration tolerance, I should probably have them ask for a sit before going up to other dogs since he really likes to do that. Thanks for the advice guys, it makes me feels better as his temperament has worried me, from the fear of children to this, he's just different from any dogs I've had experience with. I REALLY wish I was home though, he would be a good training experience for me.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:53 PM
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Stop holding the puppy. I wouldn't allow this puppy on the furniture, the beds, or lap. This escalates resource guarding in dogs that are prone to it. Perhaps in the future, when they have 100% compliance, they can start letting the dog in their lap, but not now. I don't allow the foster dogs on the furniture until they've shown they are compliant. Most of them I allow on furniture, but a couple I have not, and this is the same breed (Boston terriers).

When he is with another dog, always keep a loose leash. I'd also put a harness on him- better for controlling him and makes a nice handle.
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maura View Post
Stop holding the puppy. I wouldn't allow this puppy on the furniture, the beds, or lap. This escalates resource guarding in dogs that are prone to it. Perhaps in the future, when they have 100% compliance, they can start letting the dog in their lap, but not now. I don't allow the foster dogs on the furniture until they've shown they are compliant. Most of them I allow on furniture, but a couple I have not, and this is the same breed (Boston terriers).
*sigh*
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:07 PM
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I actually agree with Maura...to an extent. I don't think never letting him on your lap or furniture is necessary, but I would be sure to only allow him when invited and ask for a sit first, or something. If he just jumps into your lap, pop him back down, ask for a sit, and then say "lap" or something that's permission to come up.

He sounds like a puppy who needs boundaries and also very much needs to feel secure and have a routine. I don't think it's a sign he's got a bad temperament, but he's not going to be an "easy" dog and if it's not handled properly, it could become a much bigger problem.
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Old 09-27-2010, 04:13 PM
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lol he never jumps on the couch himself, he's not big enough.
And if we stop holding him how is he supposed to get used to being held?
Having him do something before being allowed up is a good idea though, I'll certaintly pass that along, it goes along with NILIF/self control training.
He doesn't show any signs of wanting to guard furniture, he gets very happy when we come to sit with him on the couch, not that he's often on the couch alone anyways, when he is big enough to repeatedly jump off of the couch I'm sure he'll be taught an off command. I think that would be similar to the drop it, as long as he' taught something and it's non-confrontational he'll be more than happy to listen. But he does need to learn to be okay with being physically moved too so I think I'll do as doberluv said as well and pair that sort of thing (being held back against his will, being moved off of the couch) with treats so they are seen in a positive light.

Maura, what do you mean by "compliance".
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Old 09-27-2010, 04:38 PM
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Sigh, sigh. This method is gentle, easy, and it works. Of course, we aren't there to see what is really going on, but keeping puppies of furniture and laps is easy and won't hurt anything. Depending on how things work out, the family can try letting him on the couch once he is in compliance. By that, I mean he is respecting the people, listening well, not mouthing and not snapping or biting. Let him up, but if he backslides he gets relegated to the floor again. If you want him on the couch with you, you might consider getting him a little towel or blankie and have him sit on that, even if he is in your lap. That way, he is trained to the blankie and you can put the blankie anywhere and have him go to it. I'm doing this now with our foster, using a little seat cushion. The cushion will go with her when she is adopted.

If he's going to be small enough to pick up and carry when he's grown, then yes, he needs to be comfortable being picked up. But, it's very easy to get in the habit of carrying a puppy around like he's a human infant, and you don't want that. For now, I would not be picking him up because you and he need to learn that he really can go up and down stairs, etc. I guess your parents should sit down and decide when he needs to be picked up or carried. He will need to be comfortable being picked up and placed on a table (think of the vet's office).
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