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Old 04-16-2017, 07:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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This is a learned and self reinforcing behavior. Every time the dog growls and it gets to stay it is rewarded for the behavior. The answer is not however remove the dog from the couch as this set up the problem you have been having and increase the likelihood the dog needs to esculate defensive behavior.

The first step as pointed out by Frankston is avoid confrontation and at this point the dog views your approach as confrontation . Eventually you need to change this association in the dogs mind. Teaching off is one step. COUNTER-CONDITIONING and desensitazion is the next. I suggest Patrica McConnell's Cautious Canine as basic primer on this.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Dealing with a rescue dog

Hi. Again, fact is much, if not all of this and how you correct it, will hinge on what he was allowed to do in a former life. And which probably was why he ended up in rescue.

The puppy Basset encourages even the most hard-hearted individual to spoil, give in to. With the eventual result that the oh so cute puppy becomes a totally abnoxious hooligan.

And then there's the fact that you can take the hound out of the pack, but not the pack-instinct out of the hound with the result that for many, what they see as 'their's' will be defended.

I have always gone with the 'make them think what you want, is their idea'. Applied psychology backed up with avoidance/prevention. And when you get this growling situation, change your approach. And don't be afraid to use a trade (bribe!) which is where many books and other advice with problem dogs, relate to DOGS and not to HOUNDS. Some of it may apply, much of it does not. Obviously you don't reward growling with a bribe - that has to be given BEFORE the situation deteriorates into growling.

As I wrote before - please don't let this deteriorate into a bite first situation - Bassets are really mild people, especially the boys but if pushed, they may so easily go to fear biting.

As for the last thing growling, I'd need to see how you deal with 'going to bed'. Most hounds hate being alone, so can you have him up with you, even if in a crate, overnight? Much of this growling at this time could be to do with being uneasy and adopting an 'attack being the best option'.

Hope some of this helps.

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Old 04-17-2017, 08:06 AM   #14 (permalink)
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IF you want to put a technical name on the behavior it is called resource guarding. Resource guarding is a normal adaptive behavior of dogs. A dog that can retain resources has a better chance of survival than one that can't. Normal however does not mean acceptable.

Most dogs that resource guard do so with more than one thing. but general what it is what they most highly value. such as A comfortable spot, food, toys, humans etc. They also tend to be more touch sensitive than other dogs as well.

the best resource on resource guarding is Jean Donaldson's Mine! "A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs"

for a fair review see http://www.kateconnick.com/library/donaldsonmine.html
"Donaldson presents resource guarding as a normal, adaptive behavior and rejects notions that resource guarders are not "nice" dogs or are "dominant aggressive". Instead, she focuses on a behaviorist approach to conceptualizing and remediating such behavior.

In a nutshell, this primarily involves classically counter-conditioning a "conditioned emotional response" where an owner's approach is associated with high-value food treats, rather than representing a threat of loss or punishment. Initially this is done in the presence of little provocation, but incremental advances proceed until the dog can happily be approached when in the presence of whatever he formerly guarded most fiercely.

Anal retentive to a fault (and I mean that as a compliment in this context), Donaldson does an excellent job of breaking down forms of resource guarding behavior into detailed, progressive increments. In order to teach a dog to accept having its mouth opened, for example, she lists 60 separate steps - beginning with touching the dog's rump for a single second. It takes 27 steps before one even touches the dog's head.

Clearly, this is not a book for someone who wants a quick fix to their problem. It requires a food-motivated dog and an extremely dedicated and talented owner with the patience and perseverance to apply the technique.

Although the book is decorated with oddly cutesy clipart, it appears to be written more for the dog trainer than the owner himself. Donaldson repeatedly refers to the dog's owner as a third party, implying that the owner is not the target audience of the book. Similarly, her writing style maintains a quasi-academic aloofness. This is unfortunate, because a more approachable writing style and tone geared more towards the owner himself would make the book more welcoming for the reader who really would benefit from reading it.

Although clearly and intentionally very limited in scope, the book is extremely well done for what it is. Donaldson describes ritualized aggression in general, as well as various, specific forms of resource guarding. She notes that, "the most common constellation will involve guarding more than one kind of resource and being uncomfortable about certain kinds of body handling.

...The bulk of the 91-page book focuses on the mechanics of breaking down the problem behavior into increments and building on success in fostering a happy mood in the dog when approached. Donaldson explains the impact of timing well. She also troubleshoots typical problems and particularly warns about a failure to generalize non-guarding to people who have not themselves participated in training exercises. She also hammers home the point that the dog will tend to revert to guarding outside of a training context unless one specifically trains for "cold trial" approaches.

All in all, Donaldson covers the subject with great care, and I would recommend this book to the owner of a resource guarder. It's very useful to have a small, highly targeted book that discusses a specific behavioral issue, and I'm not aware of any other book that addresses this subject matter in the same kind of detail."
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