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  #1  
Old 08-25-2006, 05:27 PM
Aeternal Aeternal is offline
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Hi, I'm new here and I'm in desparate need of some help.

I have a 4 or 5 year old beagle who's been getting aggressive for the past year or so. I know that he has a problem with barking at strangers, but my biggest problem with him is if I give him a bone, he will growl and try to bite me if I get it.

If he doesn't get a bone, he's pretty much a normal dog who obeys me most of the time. He still needs some work on "come" but otherwise he's fine. I don't know if I should get a trainer like Bark Busters to come and help since I only have this problem when he eats bones. If he eats his kibble, my dog has no problem sharing.
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Old 08-25-2006, 05:45 PM
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have you trid to hold the bone while he is eating it??? Just have your hand on one side of it and let him eat of the other end. I did this with Lizzie my border collie mix the other day and she loved it she just sat there with her eyes half closed and eat knawed on her bone. What is Bark Busters??
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  #3  
Old 08-25-2006, 05:58 PM
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You should teach him the "drop it" or "leave it" command. Start by trading him something lower value (like a chew, or a toy) for a treat, and telling him to "drop/leave it", take the chew away, then reward. You can work your way up to higher value items (like bones) and use higher value treats (like hotdogs).

Fozzie will "drop" anything that is in his mouth on command, because he knows that he gets rewarded when he obeys, and he's only 6 months old.
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Old 08-25-2006, 08:03 PM
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1) stop giving him bones
2) play the trade game as ihartgonzo described
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Old 08-25-2006, 08:10 PM
Aeternal Aeternal is offline
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My dog will only trade off items if he actually sees the treat...and if I don't have a treat he will growl...

Sometimes if he will ignore the treat...
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Old 08-25-2006, 08:21 PM
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Although you say he's fine with everything else. I wonder.

If you are the true leader you shouldn't have a problem taking a bone from him.

NILIF is a great way to help enforce your role as leader.

Make him work for everything he gets.

And as mentioned, to start, trading him a treat or toy for the bone would be a way to start.

This may not be "right" but this is what I would do... I just thought of it now. Sounds really weird and Im sure someone will have something wrong with it, but I can't imagine every being afraid of my own dog biting me.

I'd tie a string to the bone. Give the dog bone. When I went to take it, I'd say "give it". I assume that your afraid he's going to bite you because he snarls, growls whatever. Well when he'd look up at me to snarl or growl, I'd pull the string and get the bone far out of his reach. Pick it up. And say "Good give it!" and give him a treat.

It may sound weird, but I really can't imagine worrying about my own dog biting me. If the trading doesn't work, I'd do this, until I could take the bone. And if that didn't work. I just wouldn't give him bones at all and seriously start implementing NILIF into his everyday life.
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeternal
My dog will only trade off items if he actually sees the treat...and if I don't have a treat he will growl...

Sometimes if he will ignore the treat...
ok, if he's ignoring the treat, you need to either be trading for something of less value, or you need a better treat.

you need to use the treat not as a bribe, but as a REWARD. don't show the treat and then take the low-value object that you're playing the trade game with. ask him to give, take the object, and then give him the awesome reward.

this would be a good thing to work with a professional trainer in person on.

roxy- sorry, but that seems like an awfully good way to get bitten.
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Old 08-25-2006, 10:04 PM
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How would you get bit?

That's the whole point of the string. Your not close to the dog at all. But he gets the idea that "give it" means, no more bone, and I get a treat.
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Old 08-25-2006, 11:36 PM
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um, dog follows bone on string to you?

it just makes like a billion times more sense to me to work on a give command with an item that's not going to cause the dog to get guardy and defensive. every time the dog growls, imo, you lose. you've pushed too far. you've gone beyond what the dog is capable of doing.

why set your dog up to fail?
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Old 08-26-2006, 01:12 AM
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You have inadvertantly taught your dog this behavior. When you take a high value thing away from a dog often without giving a higher value (in the dog's mind) in trade, you teach the dog that when you say, "drop" something bad happens. He does what you ask, gives you the bone and you take it away. Soon, the cue, "drop it" loses it's former meaning and now means that something he doesn't like is going to happen. This growling is his communication to you to not take his bone. This is a strong instinct for a dog... any dog anywhere in a hierarchy to defend his stuff. It doesn't have anything to do with leadership. Leaders don't take food already in possession of another dog...very rare. This needs some thorough counter conditioning.

Dogs learn by being reinforced for responses they give you. If they fail to give you the correct response, the resonse you want, it is because they have not had an ample history of reinforcements for it. All behavior is dependent on reinforcement. It doesn't matter that someone want hims to do something just they're the "boss" because dogs are not obedient to our values, ideas or morals.

My recommendation to you is to take your pup back to kindergarten, "Give and Take 101."

Procedure: Give the dog a lower value item, (stop giving him bones for a while) something he likes but does not value too highly. Teach him "take" where he takes it from your hand on cue. Take a higher value treat (than his toy) (a little training treat, but not of the very highest value, from a near by table) and ask him to "give" you the item to your hand. (you can use "drop" instead of "give" but I'll use "give" here on, for the sake of this description) Give him the treat immediately when he does. If he does not give, show him the treat and then ask again. When he has eaten the treat give him back the toy. Repeat. Then toss the toy 2 or 3 feet away and encourage him to bring it to you. Trade for a treat and toss it back for him to retrieve. If he is not into retrieving and you don't want to teach him that yet, then continue "give" and "take," trading for the treat. Make it a game. Make it fun. Leave the toy with him and walk away and do something else. If you need to take the treat to put it away, come back and play with him for a few times first and trade him for a yummy treat. Find something else for him fun to do.

After 3 or 4 days of this, as long as he's fine with the previous, lower value things, move up to a higher value item, but not the highest you can imagine. And do the same thing. Increase the value of the treat somewhat (not the highest value)(tiny)Take this lesson/GAME on the "road" by trying it in different locations, contexts and at random times throughout the day. Vary the toys or items your dog has in his possession and vary the treats a little bit. Do this for a week or so before trying with a high value bone or special toy which he covets. Always reinforce him for "giving" to you. Give him back the item right away, every time for now.

A reinforcement is a reward which increases the probabililty of a correct response. In other words, a reward which he can't resist is a reinforcement. And believe me, he can resist praise unless it's of higher value than the toy or bone you want to take from him. (which I can almost guarantee it is not)

A piece of mozerella cheese, steak, chicken is difficult to resist, even for the most finicky eaters. What you think of as a reward is not necessarily a reinforcer. It must be something the dog loves and must be of higher value that the motivator which is reinforcing him at the time. Ie: Chewing on his bone, toy or other possession.

After you've practiced this in various locations, various treats, various possessions and you see that your dog has absolutely no trepidation about giving you things, that he is giving you things promptly and happily, as though he's playing a game....only then move up to a high value possession. "give" (to you) and give it right back to him... "take." Reward with a hunk or two of chicken or steak or something equally good. Do it two or three times and then let him chew on it or play with his possession by himself. Leave him alone for a while. When you want his session with it to end, again trade him. Don't harrass him with taking the bone away over and over. Just practice a couple of times and leave him enjoy it. Do this every time for weeks before you start varying the reward schedule. When he is giving you no sign or hint of aggression, a hard eye, stare, nervousness... and is giving you all kinds of items in all kinds of contexts/situations, you then can skip a reward when he gives. You can skip a couple of times, but vary the number of times you skip. Ie: skip one time, then 2, then 4, then 1, then 6, then 3, then 8. Gradually, you will phase out the reward by making larger intervals between reinforcers... however, still with no strict pattern for his giving you an item.... and you will no longer need to give it back to him. Once in a while, still.....do give him a treat for giving you something to keep him from regressing, especially when you're taking a high value item. All skills and behaviors will regress without a little practice. This is the way it is.

I take things from my Doberman, even a fresh, meaty bone with absolutely no objection from him. (I had to take a deer leg bone from him to make sure it had no worms. Gross! But it looked OK so I gave it back) LOL. I no longer have to give him anything in exchange every time. I just take it. But like I said, here and there I do continue to reward him with what HE likes for giving me something.
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