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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My two basset boys are now almost 15 weeks and I can soon take them out on a lead (2nd injections were last week) :D

One of the dogs in mad and really energetic and the other is miles more laid back. We've been given some drops off the vet to clean their ears every couple of days and the energetic dog lets us get on with it whilst the other one growls to the point of going for me. He nipped my arms but i thought I'm not gonna let him win and eventually I cleaned his ears.

Today I popped in the butchers and he gave me a couple of marrow bones for them. The laid back dog took the bone away into the garden and guarded it and growled at the other dog so I thought I'm gonna take the bones off them. He then snapped again and went for me. I grabbed hold of him and took the bone away. I also went to wipe his ears today with a cloth as he'd dipped them in his food and again he went for me.

What I want is some advice on how to nip his behaviour in the bud please. I don't smack the dogs if they are naughty but i do tell them "NO!" I don't want him to be aggresive and think that he can get away with it. I've yet to back down but don't fancy getting bit! He also went for my other half when she tried to clean his ears.

any advice appreciated

cheers

Ben
 

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Lets first start off with if the dog intent was to bite you would have been bitten. So the intent of the dog so far is not to cause harm which is a good thing.

My two basset boys are now almost 15 weeks and I can soon take them out on a lead (2nd injections were last week)
It is a myth that you can not socialize dogs while going through their series of shots. As a matter of fact not sociallizng them is more of a risk than exposing them to the element with a less than full strength immune system see;

AVSAB-Position statement on Puppy Socialization
The primary and mostimportanttime for puppy socialization is the first three months of life.1, 2 During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and without causing overstimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.
but don't fancy getting bit!
The most important thing you can do is train the dog to have a "soft mouth" bite inibition, so in thoses instants the dog feels the need to bite it does so without causing harm

See:
Bite Inhibition - How to Teach It


While it is possible the ear cleaning issues are tied to the resource guarding ( most guarders have touch sensitive as well) it is more likely that with imflamed and sensitive ears that cleanning them plain and simple hurts so the dogs are trying to avoid it. some things that will help

1. Warm cleaning solution to body temperature of dog 100-102

2. use a protective device such as a muzzle on the dog or at the very least a head halter so you have more control over the head.

3. use classical conditioning to associate ear cleaning with good thing like treats. Use two people to clean the ears. On persons controls the thead with a muzzle or head halter and at the same time provided continious treats while the other cleans. Over time especial when the infection clears an pain is no longer associated with ear cleaning . Ear cleaning will in the dogs mind be couple with recieve lots of treats therefore being a more pleasant experience and they will act accordingly.

The bones and other behavior is clearly resource guarding, which is normal adaptive dog behavoir. Normal however does not mean accecptable. Resources guarder in general do not guard just a single object but will guard many things, They also tend to have some touch sensitivity, with basset ears and feet are typical but by no means are these areas eclusive to bassets nor the only ones in which they will be sensitive about touching. The number one resourse in dealling with Guarding issues is MINE! - A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO RESOURCE GUARDING IN DOGS for a fair review click here!

With young pups whether they shows signs of resource guarding or not I would always recommend Food bowl exercises

The Puppy Well-Being Training System-Preventing Resource Guarding

Stop Food Aggression, Stop Resource Guarding


All these are non-conforntational approaches that reduce the risk of getting bit while practicing the techniques. but one can not over emphypsis the imporance of management in preventing the dog from practicing it more agggressive guarding habits before the training is complete. That is one must limit the dogs access to the highly valued items it has guarded in the past.

also see the fairly current thread Growling Basset
 

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All that Mikey said and you may want to get a trainer involved if the puppies are now bigger and a little harder to handle. No one wants you to get bit and if you are that usually gets the response a dog wants which is to make you stop trying to take "Their" whatever. It hurts like heck too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the great advice and links. Two of us now clean the ears and with warm cotton wool balls. I also gave him some small treats to reward his bravery!

Here are some pics below. Lovely weather here in sunny Manchester!!!





 

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I love the 2nd picture; he looks like he is laughing!

Also, I noticed in other pics his left eye is closed. Is there something wrong with it?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
They seem to be settling down now. Started taking them for small walks which tires them out :)

Re the cotton pads - will give them a go thanks

His is eye is closed because I asked him to wink!!! No idea really he probably poked it with a stick as he was in the bushes at the time, so no probs with the eyes (touch wood!)
 
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