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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our male basset Rufus, has just turned 2 years old and in the last 4-5 months has started to become aggressive, even biting my wife and son. The ONLY time he has demonstrated this behavior is when he has found a sock or another article of clothing without our knowledge. Upon confronting him to retrieve it he demonstrates the whale eye, growls, and will lunge if you bring your hand out to get it or move forward. This is after getting told to leave it, or drop it. If you catch him in the act of finding something or very quickly afterward of finding something he will typically drop it on command or give it to you.

Otherwise he is a friendly hound, will let kids roll all over him..etc......He has never guarded his food and I can remove it in the middle of his eating without an issue (as well as make him sit and stay in front of it until I give him the OK to start eating). He has always been mouthy, no matter how hard we tried to break him of it when he was a puppy (we tried every method we could find I think). He will mouth your hand and if you tell him "easy" or say "ouch" or make a loud noise he will barely even touch your skin with his teeth, but continue to waller your hand. He typically only does this when he wants chased about the house, though.

We have resorted to offering him a treat to drop whatever he has found on his own whenever he starts to show aggression. Although, you must make him drop it then come to you for the treat, otherwise he'll drop the sock, get a treat, then try and bite you if you reach for the sock..

He will seem to do most anything for food.

Any suggestions, as I hate to get rid of him if he can't be trusted.

FWIW, he's sleeping under my feet as I type this. :D
 

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The ONLY time he has demonstrated this behavior is when he has found a sock or another article of clothing without our knowledge
resource guarding is normal adaptive dog behavior. Normal does not mean acceptable, but it is not make him a "bad" dog. \


the best resource on treat resourse guarding in dogs is MINE! - A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO RESOURCE GUARDING IN DOGS

and for a fair review click here

Couple things to keep in mind

1. resource guarder tend to guard more than one object. You mentioned colthing but it is more likely than not they guard something else too like toy, food, favorite spot to lie down, ( hence the sage advice of letting sleeping dogs lie) favorite human. etc.

2. Resource guarder tend to be touch sensitive. there cn be certain body part they do not like to be touched, with bassets they are natorious for having sensitive feet to begin with.

3. when it comes to inflicting injury via the mouth is by teaching then bite inhibition is as a puppy , after 20 weeks or so a dog can not be reliable taught to inhibit its bite. but when taught as a puppy the training last a lifetime.

4. The success of dealing with any aggression is directly related to the degree the dog is capable of inflicting injury. Not because the dog that is a strong biter is less capable of learning but rather the risk of a bite or injury limits the training that can be done,

5. Rember it takes two for resource guarding a dog does not guard a resources unless it feel a threat upon the resource. For example my touch sensitive resource guarder loves to exchange sox for treats. so much so that she is an active sox hunter, But if instead of taking the bait you ignore her in less than five minutes the sox are abondendon none the worse for wear. So the first management question is ir really necesary to take the object from the dog in the first place? Most of the time avoiding the problem in the first place is more effective and much easier than teaching a new more appropriate behavior.

We have resorted to offering him a treat to drop whatever he has found on his own whenever he starts to show aggression
that part of the problem. By waiting for him to show aggression before offering a reward for exchange you are actual training the dog to act aggressively to get the food in the first place. What you want to do is work on exchangesw that A. don't require showing the food first, b. are low value item to the dog, and done frequently. It may be necessary at first to lure the dog to exchage with food but you want to fade the lure very quickly. In trining session you want to work in short intense bout with 10 or so exchanges occuring in no more than a couple minutes, this does two thing ! the dog learn by trading it doesn not necesarily loose the object being trade that is they get it back, and two the dog start to anticipate the exchange and act on it without the need for lure. So in practicing exachange of say a toy it goes like this put ten treats in you hand when the dog has the toy. walk over to the dog and ask for the toy. Exchange toy by showing food if you have too then give toy back repeat Within 2 -3 time you will not have to show the dog the food first to exchange repeat until all the treats are gone. haver every family menber do this 2-3 time each day. reduce the dogs meals appropriately to prenvent weight gain. Over time slowy up the anti to more prized toys and objects, and doing so under mor distraction ie outdoors, etc.


This is something that over time you can cut back on but never eliminate or the lack of willingness to exchange will reapear. For to have the dog willing to exchange it must have the perception to do so is in its best interest. With 1ooo.s of exchanges that the dog makes out better getting a food treat and the object back vs the rare occasion it gets nothing or only food the dog is likely to exchange however without a lot of past good experiences the dog is less likely to exchange,
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Mikey T. for the words of advice. We debated whether to give him treats or not to get him to drop socks. We have only tried it about 3 times so far. Rufus has never, not once, shown any aggression other than when finding the clothing (or a hand towel for instance---dang kids :) ). Never about a toy, food, stick, sleeping place, etc......He has been aggressive probably about 1/2 dozen times. The last time with my son, he ran off to his crate sans sock, laid down, and seemed to know that what he did was unacceptable, of course reading dogs is not my forte, but after a little crate time he came back out and lay down on the floor beside my sons feet and was an incredibly mindful dog the rest of the day. So I think we have a situation that can be corrected, it's just a matter of doing it the most effective way and you have given us some options to try. We appreciate it.
 

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He has been aggressive probably about 1/2 dozen times. The last time with my son, he ran off to his crate sans sock, laid down, and seemed to know that what he did was unacceptable, of course reading dogs is not my forte
most people misinterpret doggy guilt or guilty looks
What really prompts the dog's "guilty look"

What people associate as looking guilty is really an submissve/ apeasement behavior on the part of the dog in reaction to how the human are behaving toward it at the moment.


it's just a matter of doing it the most effective way and you have given us some options to try.
I highly recommend getting the book linked to above. It is not an easy read but it is much more detailed than what can be cover in a forum such as this is basical an overview where the book as the time and space to fill in critical details.

I think it is counter productive seek out the "most effective" it can delay or inhibt doing anything at all that could be effective searing for the best way when what is most important is ending reinforcing the behaviour, ie giving the dog less opurtunity to steal in the first place, admittedly much harder to actual do than it is to make such a pronoucement. 2 manage confrontation if not treatenend ther is no need fot the dog to guard. Is the dog or someone else live really in danger if the dog has the object, what is the dog likely to do with it etc.
3. train a more appropriate behavior ie exchange for a more appropriate object.

The most important thing is being consistent, and diligent. by being consistent and dillegent you will be far more effective with any technique, method etc whether or not it is the most effective over someone that is haphazard and inconsistent, effective training is more about being consistent and diligent than anything else.

see SAY YES TRAINING REMINDERS
you will see most involve either being diligent and or/consistent

ie "1. Work=play=work. All play is fun and so all work should be as well. If your dog makes a decision during play (example he grabs his toy without being invited to do so) you are reinforcing his right to make decisions during working with you as well (ahh, maybe I will chase the cat rather then practice A Frames right now!)."

deals with being consistent in all situations.

or "2. POSITIVE does not equal PERMISSIVE. This is the guiding principle of Say Yes Dog Training. You must be consistent. If a behaviour is acceptable at home (example the dog choosing not to lie down when told) it is also acceptable during work. Approach training and home life with a patient disposition and a strict application of what is and isn’t acceptable. Training happens 24 hours a day 7 days "
 
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