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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
You may remember my posts about Rosie (bully) and Lily (houndie) fighting, following the advice of our trainer we are working on things to help them and so far they have not had any more fights over toys.
However, after two weeks of peace we had a fight yesterday and one today, resulting in my getting bit by Lily. The cause of the fights are any time Lily growls at me, Rosie feels the need to defend and runs over and attacks Lily and the fight begins and it is rather nasty. Rosie usually gets the worst of it in the end.
But, my question here is houndie specific. I am working with my trainer is getting Lily to give things back that aren't hers like socks and other items. Tonight she was in the closet and when I tried to remove her by the collar she got nasty and started growling and fussing. Rosie came running and the fight started again. Only this time I was alone and trying to get them apart and when reaching for their collars ( I know bad move) Lily bit my hand she didn't break the skins but it did immediately swell and still hurts like the dickens.
So my question I guess (sorry got long winded)Is any tips on getting your basset not to growl at you when you are tying to get it to do something it shouldn't be doing?
I have also left a message for my trainer, we have class tomorrow and I have asked to conference time after class to up the anty on what we are doing to prevent fighting with the two of them.
Thanks.
 

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Lily sounds like she has resource guarding issues. We've dealt with a numberof fosters who have this and it can be very frustrating! One thing a behaviorlist told me was to remember that growling was a way they dog was communicating his displeasure. We had one that would go after us whenever we tried to remove the item...usually one of the kids' dirty underwear he managed to snag! :roll: Within a couple weeks he would still growl ('cuz he didn't want us to take it) but there were no more aggressive movements on his part. We just let him communicate his annoyance (because we all need to grumble) as long as there was no aggression.

Of course you have the addded issue of Rosie coming to your defense when Lily growls at you! I would certainly do as you are doing and get in touch with your trainer. My dogs have only reacted this way to 1 other dog. I had to put mine in a sit/stay before I could attend to the other one. Made for quite the circus!

Here are a few links to resource guarding (you mayhave already found these)- just various info:

Guarding and Showing Aggression Over Resources

Resource Guarding

Why does my dog guard food, toys and beds?

Nothing in Life is Free
 

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It sounds like you're able to predict the situations that will produce growling. Since you can predict them, you should be able to avoid them and by so doing, prevent the fighting between dogs.

When one of my dogs has something that I think s/he might guard, I use a high value treat, like cheese or hot dogs--something very attractive--to get them to trade. That prevents confrontations.

Maybe next time, you can check where Rosie is, shut the door to keep her out, and then use a high value treat to distract Lily from whatever she's doing that you want to stop. That gets you past the crisis moment without a setback, and lets you continue to make progress. :)

[ January 29, 2006, 08:28 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all the help, I am going to try all of the above and have heard back from my trainer and we are meeting tomorrow evening.
Bestsy, that high value treat was our first step and we are up to filet mignon with Lily in that area. Your right about keeping Rosie at bay though.

I'll let you guys know how it goes after tomorrow evenings meeting.
 

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Can't disagree with the great advice of Betsy.

In most instance we know exactly how are dogs are going to act. Rather than be dismayed when the do so it is far better to use that information to our advantage.

The only thing I can add is don't wait till lilly has something she is not suppose to to trade. Start by trading lower value articles like one of her toys. Also in this type of trading you can establish the concept of the Two-fer. Trade the toy for a high value item and then also give her the toy back. It sets up the senario that some time a trade is not an either or proposition but some times both.

The reason this is important there will be a time when you will not have access to something more valuable to the dog than it already has. What do you do then. If the dog has a reasonal expectation instead of a this for that swap it might end up with both it is more likely it is willing to trade.

The other thing to remember about resource guarding is often what is stolen has little value to the dog it is your reaction that is valuable. I will use Mariah, My mothers dog, as an example. She is a sock stealer extrodinaire. If you were to try and extract the sock from her without trading there is a high likelihood of ending up with at least one rather nasty puncture wound. She will happily trade however. After stealing a pairs of sox, I conducted a bit of an experiment. I ignored her and her sox. She would come up to me growling with sox obvious in her mouth trying to get me to notice. I continued to ignore her. In a couple minutes the sox were abandon since the soxes themselves had little value to her under thoose conditions. What was valuable was either engaging in the fun game of keep away, or as leverage to gain an extra treat. Mariah is still an exception sox stealer, except now she runs directly to Mom who will still trade with her because of fear of an obstruction should she swallow one.

If the dog slinks off and disappears to a remote location with the stolen loot it is most likily highly prized. On the other hand if she is more obvious about her loot I would suspect that the value of the loot is not the loot itself but what she can extract from it. Ignoring her while watching to be sure she is not harming the stole item or putting herself in danger with the object is another viable option.

It may not be that Rosey is protect in you but rather reacting to the growling of lily. It is why even if you deside to try ingoring (of course this has to be decided on an individule case by case base taken into account the risk involved) the stolen object. You still need to keep Rosey and Lily separated. The actions of Lily indicate she has a vaulable object. Possible reason for Rosey's reaction range from protection to curiousity to getting the object for herself. It does nothing to solve the problem to know the motivation of Rosie.


For a more in depth step by step approach for dealing with resource guarding I recommend MINE! A GUIDE TO RESOURCE GUARDING IN DOGS while it is not without fault, being dry and techincal being one of them a fair review of the book can be found here
"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.

...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. "

[ January 29, 2006, 11:41 PM: Message edited by: Mikey T ]
 

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"Bestsy, that high value treat was our first step and we are up to filet mignon with Lily in that area. "


Something to consider. What constitues a high value reward is the value the dog places on it not use. While filet is an expensive cut of beef it is not high on the olofactory(scent scale) many dogs find cheaper organ meat like liver, hearts, and gizzards much more attractive.
Just be sure when offering a high value threat it is a high value treat to the dog.

P.s. it is also one area practice trading helps. It can be valuable in determining what the dog actually prefers.
 

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Originally posted by Baby Duck:
Bestsy, that high value treat was our first step and we are up to filet mignon with Lily in that area.
My dogs don't find steak that big a treat, and I've even stopped bringing it home for them. They tend to like smelly things, like I mentioned above. Dried salmon and jerky are big favorities, too.

I also meant to suggest keeping long tabs or short leashes on both girls, so you can break up a fight without putting your hands in the middle. It will also allow you to pull Lily away from whatever she's doing that you don't want her to do. Good luck, and let us know what your trainer suggests.
 
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Homer has a similar issue. He will get something that he really likes, put it in his mouth, and will get this look in his eyes and then begin to growl. I will then usher the other 2 dogs into another room before anything can happen. He will sit on his chair looking at me with "that look" and growl if I come close. I let him sit there a while and then go up to him - slowly- and talk to him nicely. He may still growl and I won't attempt to take it away yet. When I think he'll let me, I will usher him into his crate so he can continue with it, as it is generally a raw hide or stuffed toy, or I just grab it away from him. It all takes time and patients though. It doesn't happen all the time, but just every now and then - and sometimes with a toy that's always been around and all of a sudden becomes his "favorite" of the moment. My real fear is since he wants to go after my cats, what if I let him loose in the house and he caught one of the cats and did that with him, how would I extract the cat from his mouth!!!??? I may be overreacting, but I'm afraid to chance it.
 
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Another problem is that Homer is not food motivated, so I'm afraid those other suggestions won't work on him.
 
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I agree with Mike that giving some items back after a trade is really important. It also reinforces the dog's idea that YOU are alpha and all the things the dog wants come from alpha.
I could offer Francis all the steak in the world and he'd gladly trade for a small piece of really stinky cheese!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry, I didn't mean filet mignon literaly, just that we were really up the scale on high value items and we weren't making the progress that i had hoped. I practice taking toys away from all my dogs so they will learn 1. trust me and know that I am not stealing but will get something in return and 2. learn who is really alpha around here. We had been using leashes and in the past two weeks they were getting quite well together so I took them off and boom! fight city. I appreciate all your advice and suggestions, it really helps to get a different perspective from others you know.
I'll let ya'll know what the trainer says tonight. Thanks for the support too!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Okay, we met with the traininer last night after class. It was really a preliminary discussion. I had to fill out a 10 page questionnaire on both Rosie and Lily and she needs a chance to go out them. but just from the description of the two fights this weekend. We are addressing each dogs issues seperately. Most of which are with Rosie at this point, which is to be expected. She needs some rearranging of habits that make her realize we (hubby and I) are in control and can handle things if Lily growls. So she has be relagated to sleeping on the floor in her doggy bed, rather than with us. Leashes back on for both of them. Getting recordings of Lily growling to desensatize Rosie to the sound, continue our practing with Lily to open her mouth when asked, which she does happily when it is empty. lol. And work on the "down" command for both of them. We will talk with her again after she has had time to review the questionnaires and a copy of our daily routine.
Thanks again for all the support and advice!
 

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Sounds like good advice, Baby Duck.

As for treats, my pups are absolutely bonkers over carrots. ??? Broccoli runs a close second and homemade bread slash biscuits (which is what happens when you don't measure --- but it is tasty! I'm eating a slice now of buckwheat-oat-flaxseed meal-unsweetened tart red cherry-sorghum-and whatever else needed using bread, and it's very tasty and the dogs love it) runs third.

Steak and such, they're interested in. But my pups appear to have more sprout in them than doggie. Although they think tofu is weird.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Things seem back to calm today. Lily has managed to get a couple of items that were not hers I still am not sure where she got them from, she must have had them stashed somewhere from a previous raid, but anyway, not growling today when I retreived them. So we are off to a good start again. Rosie isn't feel well so she not paying much attention to anyone at the moment. I'm home today to keep an eye on her. She didn't eat yesterday and seemed mopy. But today is back to eating normally and alert but not being bothered by Lily.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Things seem back to calm today. Lily has managed to get a couple of items that were not hers I still am not sure where she got them from, she must have had them stashed somewhere from a previous raid, but anyway, not growling today when I retreived them. So we are off to a good start again. Rosie isn't feel well so she not paying much attention to anyone at the moment. I'm home today to keep an eye on her. She didn't eat yesterday and seemed mopy. But today is back to eating normally and alert but not being bothered by Lily.
 
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