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Old 07-10-2008, 01:08 AM
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Linds Linds is offline
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I have recently dealt with this problem kinda with my pit mix and this is how I went about working it out.

I first noticed a tensing when chewing on a bone for a long period of time and really going at it. When another dog would walk by she would stop chewing and hold her head stiffly over it. Now she came from a litter that was all fed with one big bowl in a small area. Problems are bound to come from that.

It finally came to a head one day while she had gotten something to chew on and my other female walked by and Kaylee snapped and went after her. It was all noise and warning but in a small enough space that it could escalate. I grabbed her collar and she swung around and could have bitten me. She didn't and didn't intend to or she would have, but it was a warning for me.

So the next day when she was going to be fed I took her piece of chicken and sat it on the floor and then stood in front of it, not letting her get it. Well I didn't see behind me but one of the cats had decided to come upstairs and behind me at that moment. I just saw her ears go from back to forward, her eyes focus more and then tensing. I reacted fast enough to grab the leash I had on her and stooped her from moving the cat away from "her" food.

So the next day she got her collar put on and a leash. I went into the back yard to see what would set her off and if she would ever go after a human. I couldn't deal with the problem till I saw it in full.

I took some chicken and set it on the ground and stood over it. I picked it up, I pretended to eat it. I looked her in the eye the whole time. I repeated this a few times until I saw her tense up and ears go up. Then she snarled and tried to move me out of the way and get her "chicken" mostly warning but if I pushed the issue I would have gotten bitten.

So then started her feeding regimen. She only got fed by me and by hand. Every bite of meat had to be earned. She had to sit, stay, lay down, focus etc. for every bite. She wasn't allowed under the table that she had made into her den. Bones were off limits. Couches, beds off limits. She had to walk behind me before going threw the door and it had to be polite. She would get corrected if she didn't do what she knew she was supposed to do immediately. She had to sit before every game and many times during games.

She wasn't fed with another animal in the room. I would feed her in her crate if I needed to because of a time problem, but I used that only once or twice.

Now, a few months later she can sit and wait politely while another dog is eating "her" meat with a cat and two other dogs in our small kitchen. She doesn't inhale the food or tense up when other animals or humans come near. She can be trusted with bones for the most part but so far I've only done that when I was around and no other animal.

I would NEVER use the crate as a solution for this problem unless I was unable to work it out. Thats a bandage on the issue and not a solution. If you don't want to bother to try and work it out then do feed in a crate because it's safer for all. But it's not going to solve the problem.

I hope I might have given you some useful information. I always do better when someone tells me how they went about dealing with something instead of just a step by step process to follow.

I'm curious how you would use an e-collar to work with this. Not AT ALL trying to start an argument, I'm a fan of e collar training. I just want to know how you would use one to work with the food aggression
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:23 AM
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Ok, in this situation, given that Athena is bigger and stronger than the pug and has already caused injury, I think it would be unwise to NOT feed in a crate. I know this is how many multiple dog families do meal time, just to remove the potential of food-related fights breaking out. Is it a bandaid? Maybe. But in this case, you are dealing with a dog that is of a breed known for dog-aggression and that might be part of the problem as well. Some dogs mature later than others in this respect, some not at all, but to me it sounds as if Athena is starting to come into hers. The food is a trigger. Athena is also bigger than the other dog and has shown no compunction in going after it when around food. The NILIF you described is an excellent way to begin dealing with it, but I still would not take the chance of letting Athena, the pug and food together all at the same time.

You are also dealing with a breed that is expected to have at least some varience of dog-aggresion and Athena is at the prime age for it to begin developing. Dog aggression does not equal human aggression, keep this in mind. But I'm pointing this out so you understand that you might not be able to "fix" this problem completely. You can reduce some hazards but there is always going to be the risk of her going after another dog.

I'll see if I can't get some of our more experienced ABPT people on this thread...
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:44 AM
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Linds Linds is offline
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If they do not want to deal with the issue then they should feed in the crate without a doubt. They should also, until this problem is dealt with never feed them together.

But why not try and work out the problem, why immediately try and avoid it and put her in a crate when feeding. When all the issues have been worked out to the best of their abilities then why not start crate feeding so they don't have to worry about an accidents. But only after it's been dealt with.

I only feed one dog at a time, though many times they are all in the same room. If I hadn't been able to work out Kaylee's issues I would have fed her in her crate and kept her separated at all times. But you know what, her problems were getting worse and I wasn't going to deal with the day that it wasn't just that raw meat she needed to guard, or that bone. When it turned into the toy that she wanted, or the food dish, or her crate etc.

I didn't want to have to live in fear that one day she was going to find something that she shouldn't have and start chewing on it and my little sister would walk buy or try and pet her and would get bitten. Or when a fight started between all the dogs because I just found it easier to avoid the problem instead of facing it head on.

I never said they should let them all together until the issue was dealt with. But nothing can be solved if it shoved in a corner and ignored.

They may not be able to "fix" the problem, but they might be able to reduce the risk. And shoving her in her crate every time she has food isn't going to do that.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:58 AM
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Deedlit Deedlit is offline
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I think you are right about Athena finally now maturing. For the longest time, she was the pup and the baby and it hasn't been till the past few months, since Cheyenne has been gone, that she has been without a "mama" figure. I could easily see where her finally maturing, albeit late, would cause some of the tension. Pug doesnt back down either. She always puts up a fight, which doesn't help. Pooh (the Pug) is an instigator sometimes, so you have to be on top of the situation at all times and catch her before she goads Athena into a play-brawl. There are just too many variables at present to make sure its consistent. She already eats seperate from the other animals and does well with that. She has to earn her food.

One problem with Athena, I noticed is, her listening is very selective. When she thinks or KNOWS you have something she wants, then she will do what you ask, but other wise, she is deaf. I am not sure how to better this either. This is a more simple problem that might ultimately aide the greater cause.

Thank you all for your support. I have the day off tomorrow and will most likely be spending the majority of my time on here to try and rig something up before my father calls tomorrow.

Thanks Again.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:12 AM
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elegy elegy is offline
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Originally Posted by Deedlit View Post
One problem with Athena, I noticed is, her listening is very selective. When she thinks or KNOWS you have something she wants, then she will do what you ask, but other wise, she is deaf. I am not sure how to better this either. This is a more simple problem that might ultimately aide the greater cause.
that's undertraining pure and simple. she needs more work on basic obedience with a varied reward schedule. it doesn't need to be anything hardcore- five or ten minutes a couple times a day will do a lot of good. make sure you're using the reward as a reward, not as a bribe. if she's not been to an obedience class, now would be an excellent time to take her.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:13 AM
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I haven't read all the responses, but just wanted to say that food aggression is probably one of the most common types of aggression. I have three APBTs, and they all eat in their crates. No muss, no fuss. If the problem isn't with food aggression towards people, and is only towards the other dog, I honestly wouldn't push it. Pit Bulls are dog-aggressive, so prevention is far more important, IMO, than teaching acceptance. If the source is as easily contained as simply putting her in her crate during mealtimes, that's what I would do, personally.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:44 AM
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corgipower corgipower is offline
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OK, first off, you would be better off to stop thinking in terms of "alpha". Also, sitting on your dog is at best ineffective and at worst detrimental and dangerous. It can put you in a position to get hurt, the dog can easily redirect aggression to you, and it scares and confuses the dog. We don't make very good dogs - a lot of body language and subtle behaviors go on when dogs communicate with each other - and we shouldn't try to mimic canine behaviors with things like pinning our dogs on the ground.

Also, every case of resource guarding I've seen stems from an insecurity. The best approach is to either remove all chances of triggers or to teach the dog that he doesn't need to be insecure with his resources.

I agree with elegy that you need to work on basic obedience more and be sure you are rewarding and not bribing.

For the resource guarding, I would do a lot of hand feeding. While she's eating, add more food to her bowl by hand. Also feeding when the pug is in her line of sight - I'll try to outline this in a post later.

The book Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs has been recommended by a number of people, although I've never read it.

Train an out command and a leave it command -

Training the out ~
To train the out, you need to have something he will take hold of, such as a ball or a rope toy. You also to have some super yummy treats. Give him the toy, play with him, let him enjoy it for a minute or two. When you are ready, tell him "out" as you show him a treat.

When he lets go of the toy to take the treat, praise him. As soon as he finishes the treat, give him the toy again, so that he doesn't think that "out" means the end of play time.

If your dog plays keep away with his toys, where he runs off, keep long line on him so that you can reel him in to you. When he learns that you have yummy treats for him, he will be less inclined to play his keep away game. Also if coming to you with his toys doesn't always mean the end of play time, he will soon be happy to come to you with them.

You should practice the "out" with your dog three times a day, having him give you his toy in exchange for the treat three to five times each session. Soon he will release the toy quickly. At this time, you can begin to fade out the treats, and use the toy itself as his reward.
Training leave it ~
To begin training "leave it", take a treat that your dog likes. Hold your right hand out flat, palm up, fingers together, with the treat on your hand and let the dog see it.

As he reaches for it, close your hand into a fist so he can't take the treat, move your arm away, and say, "leave it". Repeat three to five times, always using the same hand. Now put the treat in your left hand, and tell him your release word. If you don't already have a release word, I recommend the word "free". Allow him to have the treat. Practice this session three times a day, until you see that he is not looking for the treat in your right hand.

Now you can place the treat on the floor in front of the dog. Put the treat about a foot or two away from him. A treat directly under the nose is far too tempting at this stage. Have another treat in your left hand. If the dog attempts to eat the treat off the floor, quickly pick up the treat in your right hand, as you say "leave it". Again, repeat this three to five times and then give him the treat that you have in your left hand.

Once you see that the dog is not looking at the treat on the floor, you can begin to add a second treat on the floor, and you can begin to move the treat so it is in front of him, next to him, behind him. Gradually you can move the treat closer to the dog. Be sure not to rush, though. If he happens to get a treat he wasn't supposed to have, don't make a big deal about it, and back up a step in the training. When the dog is consistently not going for the treats on the floor, you can begin to fade out the treats from your hand.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:04 AM
yilduz yilduz is offline
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I'll see if I can find that book. She already knows out, so I'll try to teach her leave it.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:35 AM
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Deedlit Deedlit is offline
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Shortly after we got Athena (A few months or so) We took her to a Dog training class, for pups and finished it through. She is a VERY active and high energy, and it makes training very easy, seemingly. I will work more on this with her.

I have decided to eliminate cookies entirely from the equation and there will be no more bed time treats or anything of the such. When training, we can just use kibble, is that ok?

I have been raised with Pits so, I am a huge advocate for the breed and the last thing I want to see is this happy dog put down.

Would something like agility or weight training help her release more energy? is there a way I can do it at home instead of spending a ton of money at some place? We have been tight on money since my parents left the house to us. Its kinda of expensive taking care of a 3500 sq ft house. :P

We picked up 3 new books today. "Dog Training for Dummies", "The Everything Dog Training and Tricks Book", and "Hound Health Handbook".

Today after yilduz is off work we are going to go get her a harness for more control. We DO NOT want to use E-collars. My older brothers Pit is far more aggressive than our dog, and I know if he can have a good control over her, than we can get control of Athena and just put her mind at rest. She needs to know her place and thats what we need to work on.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:51 AM
DanL DanL is offline
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If she is very active and high energy then you are doing her a disservice by not giving her an activity!
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