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Thread: SUDDENLY 6 month old BLM resource guarding...

  1. #21
    Senior Member wheelhorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labs R Us View Post
    I tried that with a piece of hot dog and he immediately dropped the object for the food. To me, tho, this would give him the impression that he can growl and then be rewarded for it. Not too sure about that solution.
    You need to think like a dog. He did not get rewarded for growling. He got rewarded for the last behavior he gave, which was giving up the object.

    I am little concerned about the route of some of these suggestions.... meet violence with more violence only if you are willing to deal with the escalation is all I've got to say.

    Personally, I would try to get help with people/trainers/behaviorists that actually know how to deal with the truely horrible resource guarding dogs.
    Kathleen

    "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you're not, in fact, just surrounded by a**holes" -William Gibson

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Labs R Us View Post
    Thank you all so much for your comments. I truly appreciate it. When this behavior first appeared a couple weeks ago, it was like a switch was flipped in his personality. My first thought was a surge in testosterone. I could understand (yet not allow) if he was trying to guard a bone or meat but he is guarding his silly toys which he has had forever. The minute it happened, I knew I had to correct it immediately so it didn't progress. Before this happened, when he would steal a slipper or such, I could go up to him and tell him “out” and he would do so without a problem. I really didn’t see any signs previously of this issue.

    Since the day he came home, I have had him work for everything he wanted...getting out of his crate, going outside, being fed, getting attention. He has also never been allowed on any furniture in the house. I thought I was doing things right.

    I've done research online regarding Patricia McConnell’s and Jean Donaldson’s thoughts on this subject. I will definitely have to look up the book Ruff Love, Susan, thank you so much. McConnell and Donaldson seem to go by the theory of counter-conditioning. I tried that with a piece of hot dog and he immediately dropped the object for the food. To me, tho, this would give him the impression that he can growl and then be rewarded for it. Not too sure about that solution. When I donned my gloves on Sunday, I was prepared to take Henry on if he showed aggression when I wanted to take one of his toys. I tried to hold him down while he continued to growl, snarl, and bite. The leather gloves helped but both of my hands are quite bruised. I should have also had a heavier shirt on because my arms were bit also. I want to get this issue done and over with ASAP.

    Just as side note, his playtime with my other lab (a 6 y/o blm neutered who is a mellow fellow) seems to be getting rougher. I think he is testing both of us. Maybe picking him up by his collar and taking his feet off the ground (i.e., come to Jesus meeting) will do the trick. Just need to make sure I am fully armed. I hope that his behavior can be corrected as I know what the only alternative would be. That would be a shame as he has shown to be an awesome dog to train.
    Becky,
    In response to the part of your post that I highlighted in bold, if you want to use classical conditioning, please study Patricia McConnell's blog post and the steps she outlines closely. You need to follow her instructions very carefully if you want to be successful with that approach. You begin at a point where you're far enough away from the dog that you don't induce a resource guarding response from him. The point of classical conditioning is to change the dog's emotional response to an event (you coming up to him when he's in possession of something he chooses to guard). The dog's emotional response changes because during the conditioning process he learns that your approach predicts that he's going to get something even better than what he already has.

    When you use food in classical conditioning, you aren't "rewarding" a behavior like when you use it in operant conditioning, where delivering the food is a consequence of the dog choosing to perform a specific behavior. The use of food in classical conditioning is intended to help the dog learn a new set of associations and to change its emotional response to some event or stimulus. There's a good short summary of desensitization and counterconditioning here...it may or may not add anything to what you've already learned: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtua...erconditioning

    Since Susan Garrett and her book "Ruff Love" have been brought up in this thread, it's probably worth mentioning a couple of things. When her youngest dog Swagger displayed some resource guarding tendencies as a very young pup, her approach to the issue relied on the same processes that Patricia McConnell describes in her blog post, namely desensitization and classical conditioning. Two highly knowledgeable, experienced, and respected individuals in the dog training community who have a thorough understanding of the science of dog behavior and learning both chose the same approach to deal with resource guarding. Between the two of them they've worked with thousands of dogs and their owners over the years. I think they know what they're doing.

    The point of Ruff Love is for the trainer to effectively supervise the dog at all times while it's in the program. It is by managing the dog's access to reinforcement that the trainer conditions the behaviors they want in their dog. Managing access to reinforcement is particularly important when your main tool for building behaviors is positive reinforcement, which is Susan Garrett's approach. No one can supervise their dog continuously, so the dog is crated or in an ex-pen when the trainer can't directly supervise the dog. Susan Garrett also uses a crate for a number of learning games that help condition desired behaviors. Hanging a dog, shaking them, sitting on them, or any other act of aggression on the part of the trainer is absolutely antithetical to her approach to dog training.

    Are you anywhere near any of the Dog's Best Friend Training locations? Having someone who is specifically trained and highly experienced in dealing with behavioral issues see you and your pup in person and coach you through the process could be a really good investment. I'd inquire specifically about experience and results with resource guarding, and find someone with plenty of experience and a strong record of success. Again, best of luck and I sincerely hope it turns out well for you and your pup.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Labs R Us View Post
    I could understand (yet not allow) if he was trying to guard a bone or meat but he is guarding his silly toys which he has had forever. The minute it happened, I knew I had to correct it immediately so it didn't progress. Before this happened, when he would steal a slipper or such, I could go up to him and tell him “out” and he would do so without a problem. I really didn’t see any signs previously of this issue.

    Since the day he came home, I have had him work for everything he wanted...getting out of his crate, going outside, being fed, getting attention. He has also never been allowed on any furniture in the house. I thought I was doing things right.

    I've done research online regarding Patricia McConnell’s and Jean Donaldson’s thoughts on this subject. I will definitely have to look up the book Ruff Love, Susan, thank you so much. McConnell and Donaldson seem to go by the theory of counter-conditioning. I tried that with a piece of hot dog and he immediately dropped the object for the food. To me, tho, this would give him the impression that he can growl and then be rewarded for it. Not too sure about that solution. When I donned my gloves on Sunday, I was prepared to take Henry on if he showed aggression when I wanted to take one of his toys. I tried to hold him down while he continued to growl, snarl, and bite. The leather gloves helped but both of my hands are quite bruised. I should have also had a heavier shirt on because my arms were bit also. I want to get this issue done and over with ASAP.

    Just as side note, his playtime with my other lab (a 6 y/o blm neutered who is a mellow fellow) seems to be getting rougher. I think he is testing both of us. Maybe picking him up by his collar and taking his feet off the ground (i.e., come to Jesus meeting) will do the trick. Just need to make sure I am fully armed. I hope that his behavior can be corrected as I know what the only alternative would be. That would be a shame as he has shown to be an awesome dog to train.
    A couple of thoughts...you mention he's guarding his toys that he's had forever. That's a clue there regarding NILIF. He should not own any toys. YOU should own all the toys for this to work. He should only be playing with them when you give them to him, for a limited time, then you should be taking them back and putting them away out of reach of him. With our Chessie, we started this at day one. We would play with a particular toy or ball, and then I would take it back and put it away and get a different toy. We worked hard on the "drop" command, and he learned from day one that none of those favorite things were really his. The same goes for food. In your case, I would probably suggest keeping his food bowl out of sight except at meal times and then removing it completely again after 15 min. so he recognizes meals are given by you and only when he obeys your commands.

    Reading your above post again, it sounds like you put gloves on to train him to give up his toys? Am I right there? I think I might go about that differently. I'm thinking I might crate him and then remove every toy he has. I might go so far as to just throw them all out and start fresh. For instance, perhaps work with him more on his drop command when he's retrieving and then make sure you put the bumper away where he cannot reach it. I might go awhile where he has no toys whatsoever. Then I would introduce a new toy (unused from the store) and play a structured game with it with him. After a few minutes, I would take the toy and put it away, and work on something else with him. I would repeat that a few times a day, always beginning with a command, then a structured game, then take it away. I would make the toy a part of training, like training him to give it to you or whatever, and then not let him ever have it outside of that situation.

    Maybe it sounds mean, but he doesn't "need" his own toys and possessions. He needs to be looking to you for every good thing he gets, and realizing that you are where all those things come from. If he is noisy in his crate, maybe it would work out to have a kong that you fill with peanut butter or whatever that he gets (only inside his crate) after he has performed a command for you. When he leaves the crate, you would then need to remove the Kong and put it away out of his reach. He wouldn't be allowed to have it unless he was inside his crate. The key here, is that when you reintroduce toys, they're for a specific reason, after he has followed a command, and for a specific time period, and you control all that.

    re: the treat for him giving up what he's guarding: I think, that if he's resource guarding something, and you grab a treat, and call him to you, and he drops the item and comes, or you command him to "drop" the item and he does, it's ok to give him the treat. I think that's the point, that you teach him to obey what you tell him to do, and that he gets good things when he does. However, if you just show up with a hot dog and try to entice him to take the hotdog without giving him a command that he's familiar with, it seems like it could be a reward for guarding the item. You need to associate the treat with him obeying a command, and make sure you practice it all the time in all situations and places.

    I personally wouldn't jump to the conclusion you have a mean dog yet. 6 mos. is still a puppy...just coming into all that testosterone and figuring out his place in your world. I would be wise about training him, get even more serious with NILIF, find a trainer to talk to where you live, and maybe even talk with your vet to rule out anything. To me, it sounds like you have a dog that has a much stronger personality than you're used to, and maybe you just are realizing that now? What were his parents temperments like?

  4. #24
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    He's 6 mt. old and your still bigger than him, he's trying to buffalo you, if he succeeds, you'll have much bigger problems later on. Somethings are unacceptable, growling at me is unacceptable. Unacceptable usually meets with stern reprimand. First you shouldn't be chasing him, you should be making him come to you and if he refuses you should have the methods in place to make him, lead, tab, if you have nothing else Ears are always attached. If they run, I usually follow grab them, and drag them with a correction (choker, boxed ear, etc) for a bit; then walk away a few step, give the here again, and they get the option of getting corrected again or coming, we make our way back to the spot I gave the original command. To get the object away I'd do the scruff grab/ear grab, if he snaps, he gets a no nonsense nose slap, if I need something out of his mouth, I'd squeeze a lip under his teeth and hold it there till he lets go. He's not aggressive, he just 6mts old and testing, Who is in charge? What can I get away with? Right now it seems like he's getting the wrong answers. Would you do these things with an older aggressive dog, NO-WAY you'd hire a professional whose faster than you are, but this is a 6mt old pup akin to a two year old child. Two year old children throw tantrums, are possessive, some even bite. I guess you can try to reason with them, put them on time-out but I know what worked for me as a kid.
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 10-10-2013 at 04:12 PM.
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  5. #25
    Senior Member Sharon Potter's Avatar
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    I agree with keeping his toys put away and you controlling which one he gets, when he gets it, and for how long.

    Also....on the very rare occasion I actually have to get physical with a dog that has tried to bite, it has to continue on until the dog shows signs of submission, not just stopping the behavior.

    I've had exactly one dog with aggression issues that weren't solvable. He was given to me by his owners because of the issue, and I had really hoped I could solve it. He was brilliant, talented, and would turn on you for no reason at all. There was no telling what would set him off. Thyroid panel was fine. He was a very nice young male with derby placements but had been going after/biting people...and while he tried really hard to bite me, he never actually got it done because I was always on high alert (although he did tear my jeans from knee to ankle once). While I could handle him, it ended up not being worth the liability, nor was it any fun to have to be totally on guard every second in case he came unglued.
    Sharon Potter

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  6. #26
    Senior Member DarrinGreene's Avatar
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    You might consider putting a choke chain and leash on him for your own safety while you seek professional help for this problem that you created.

    Sounds like he kicked your butt. I dare say that if he gets away with that a couple of more times it will be very difficult to regain his respect.

    Recently did the whole counter conditioning thing with an adult male Golden and it worked, to some degree at least, for the owner. If it were my dog it would have been dealt with quite differently but when I have to work with the owner watching a positive approach to such problems is called for.
    Darrin Greene

  7. #27
    Senior Member polmaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labs R Us View Post
    About two weeks ago, Henry suddenly began to show possessive aggression. I was totally blown away by this behavior as he has been the sweetest and easiest pup I've ever had and was a breeze to house train and crate train. His obedience is really good and I abide by the rule that "nothing in life is free". He has been CC'd to "here" as he had a tendency to go and visit the gunner rather than return to me. He has also been doing well with the "hold" and I'm about ready to start FF.

    His aggressive behavior first showed up a couple weeks ago when he grabbed a scarf off the floor. Normally, I could go right up to him and say "out" and he would drop the object. Not this time, he took off running and when I was able to catch him, his body became stiff and he started growling and snarling at me. I was able to get the scarf away from him by just waiting him out. Last Sunday was the worst incident thus far. I tried to get a toy away from him by telling him to "sit" and "out". I took a hold of his collar and he proceeded to bite my hands, arms, and leg. I was prepared and wore leather gloves, so luckily only ended up with some really ugly bruises.

    I am so surprised by his sudden aggression as he is a very happy and social puppy with people and dogs. I just have no idea where this aggression came from. I get conflicting suggestions from people such as to pin him down until he submits or trade him his guarded object for a food treat.

    I had really hoped Henry would be my first MH but with aggression rearing its ugly head, I'm not so sure any more. Can this behavior be corrected? (I have to admit that I am now nervous about taking any object away from him.)

    I am really upset about this so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    I am unlikely to offer an answer on here.
    Much like any other.
    I come from a background of behaviour in dogs with an upbringing in Gundogs.
    I would strenuously advise a visit to a 'bona fide' dog trainer ,other than any 'purely gundog trainer' !..nothing against 'gundog trainers'...just that I perceive the issue/problem as a behavioural issue rather than a 'gundog related issue'.
    One Shooter One Spaniel One Retriever

  8. #28
    Senior Member Labs R Us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrinGreene View Post
    You might consider putting a choke chain and leash on him for your own safety while you seek professional help for this problem that you created.
    I really take offense to this statement.
    Becky
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  9. #29
    Senior Member BJGatley's Avatar
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    Excellent advice on above posts.
    It's like your pup is showing you that he has a pair. It's up to you to show him that you have a bigger pair and usually it just takes one incident on your side to proof that. Once started, don't let your guard down after that. It must be impulsive on your part meaning don't think about it just do.
    Good luck and I believe he will come around.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Julie R.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labs R Us View Post
    I really take offense to this statement.
    Some dogs are just "testier" at a younger age, but you still have to deal with it in a manner that lets him know you're the one in charge. I'm sure I'm not the only one that is worried that a 6 mos. old pup bit you hard enough through gloves and on your arms, to bruise you. At this point, it doesn't matter whether you inadvertently created the behavior, or you just have a tough case, it has to be dealt with. And actually, leaving a collar with a short leash or tab on it at all times is a good idea. This way if he gets snarky with you again, you can grab the leash and make him sit or heel or if needed, yank him up off the ground. But boot camp obedience (one command, consequences for disobedience as well as praise for immediate compliance) is a very good way of redirecting and gaining control.
    Julie R., Hope Springs Farm
    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers since 1981

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