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food aggression help please!

3854 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Mikey T
As I posted last week, Flash had gotten sick. We were told to withhold food for at least 12 hours, and then feed small amounts frequently to get him back up to par. So we did, things went well, he is back to eating normal again.

Now onto the issue. Since then, if my 4 year old touches him while he is eating he growls at him. I can touch him, so can hubby or our oldest son (he is 10 today!), but the 4 year old cannot touch him at all. First I thought he tried to pick him up, but then I saw him do it another time with the same reaction from flash-he petted him.

Onto tonight. I had bought bulk meats tonight and had divided them for the freezer. Well I missed one of the rolled up papers. flash found it. He took off running with it under an end table, I tried to reach down to grab it and he would have liked to take off my hand! So then I stood up, reached around his chest with my foot and tried to move him and he attacked my foot. Now, I didn't get hurt, but had I not been wearing shoes I probably would have had some sores!

At that point I backed away from the item and flash, then called him into the center of the room. He came willingly, I picked him up and put him in the kennel so I could properly throw away the wrapper.

What can I do to avoid this situation? It didn't phase me as much as one would think but then again, I was used to a rottie so his attack was "mild" compared to what it could have been. Flash somewhat understands drop it-if he gets ahold of a toy, paper, etc, I can walk up to him and say drop it and he will let go but not until my hand is by his mouth. I honestly think this is due to with holding food that first day or so after he was sick but I don't know how to correct this. But the good thing is that neither kid wants to remove anything from his mouth, even if it is their toy, so they shouldn't get the brunt of his "attitude".

Anyway, thanks for reading this far. If you have any suggestions I really will appreciate it!
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I can't really help except to say it must be in the name - lol. My Flash is the sweetest thing until he steals a piece of people food and then he will run away and put the lock jaw on it. He doesn't growl, but I literally have to pry his jaws apart and shake his mouth to make whatever he has fall out. Then I have to grab it quicker than him or he will get my hand. I've tried training him in drop it and leave it. It totally works with normal treats but not when he's determined to eat something he shouldn't have!
Four the four year old you need to Practice Food bowl Games and the four year old need to be involved in the training.

food bowl exercise

One way dogs and humans differ greatly in learning is they way they apply the new information learned. Humans tend
to look a new learning and see where else to apply it where dogs look at on how this lerning applies to this situation and all other situations are different, so the look for how the learning does not apply. It is not unusal for a dog to guard a food bowl from only one member of the family. Because It has not learned that either
1. that other family member is not a threat to the food bowl.

2. or two only that family member is a threat to the food bowl.

With a four year old either could apply but it makes it necessary that he be involved in the training. Have another member of the family do the exercises is not going to change the dog perception of the 4 year old.

What can I do to avoid this situation?
if the dog does not feel threatened or at risk of losing the object it is not going to react. So avoid a direct confontration, Also decide what the risk are of letting the dog have the object. Most of the time there really is not a risk to letting the dog tire of the object of course that is not always the case.

2 work on trading object with the dog practice two to three times a day with session that are short 2-5 minutes and consist of 10 trades or more. Start with low value toy etc. and part of the trading process is the dog gets the orginal object back and something else, pets food, play etc... So you are building up an expectation when the dog trades it is a win win situation for him. You must slow build up to more desired objects and more distracting situations as well.

the pest resource on dealing with Resource guarding is Mine! by jean donaldson

for a fair review, click here

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.
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Just wanted to say thanks Mikey! I have been working with flash and things seem to be going a bit better. I will have the kids start doing it too (they are gone for a few days now though). I just reread the links and will really work with him, don't need a kid getting bit!
don't need a kid getting bit!
to be perfectly honest the risk of the kids being bit has little to do with resource guarding and a lot more to do with how well bite inhibition is installed.

keep in mind much so called "aggressive behavior" that dogs use like growling, snaping and lunging are really done to avoid a fight not start one.

Dogs Use Non-Aggressive Fighting to Resolve Conflicts

Ethologists, who often use this term when studying nonhuman animals, define agonistic behaviors as those that occur between individuals of a particular species in conf lict situations. Examples of agonistic behaviors in dogs include threats like muzzle-puckering and growling; submissive behaviors like crouching, lowering the head and tucking the tail; offensive behaviors like lunging and snapping; defensive behaviors like retracting the commissure (lips) while showing the teeth; and attacking behaviors like biting. With the exception of biting that results in punctures or tears, none of these behaviors necessarily indicates intent to do harm. They simply reveal emotion (e.g., anger or fear), communicate intention (e.g., to maintain control of a resource or to avoid an interaction) or function as a normal part of play fighting (e.g., growling, snapping or inhibited biting). To determine if an interaction meets the criteria for “agonistic behavior,” an observer must focus on an objective description of the communicative patterns displayed rather than automatically jumping to judgments associated with the use of the term “aggression.”

At the same time, as we know all too well, family members quarrel.
We negotiate and move beyond such conflicts with phrases like, “Don’t do that,” “Hey, that’s mine!” “Leave me alone!” or “I’m sorry.” Wolves (and many other social animals) convey similar meanings with a varied repertoire of gestures, postures, facial expressions and sounds, including those mentioned earlier as examples of agonistic behavior. Precisely because they employ such signals, wolves can resolve conflicts without hurting each other. This is an important consideration, because serious wounds in any adult can reduce a pack’s viability as a cooperative unit. Fortunately, dogs, as descendants of wolves, have retained many of these behaviors as well as the motivation — most of the time — to avoid dangerous fights. (A recent study* reported that none of 127 agonistic interactions observed at a dog park resulted in injury.)
I can saw since I taught mariah to growl again after having it eliminated through punish via a previous owner biteing incident disapeared because now whe had a more appropriate way of communicating. I not sayiung you should tollerate such behavior but at the same time insted of focusing on the behavior itself you need to focus on the emotions behind the behavior and by changing the dog emotions to the situation you change the behavior without less risk. By eliminating aggressive/agnostic behavior without addressing the underlying emotions you still have a dog that fell threatenend but without an effective way to communicat that so in reality it tends to create a dog that bites first which makes the dog truely dangerious.
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