Boxer Crazy

Behavior and Training => Problem Behaviors => Topic started by: Bers on March 15, 2007, 01:11:07 PM

Title: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on March 15, 2007, 01:11:07 PM
I just wanted to bring up a subject that should be a major concern for anyone with a dog. Resource guarding is when a dog becomes aggressive over his resources. Dogs can guard against other dogs, or can guard against people who try to take things from them. Resource guarding is a major cause of dog bites to children. Unfortunately, once a dog bites to protect his resources, he is more likely to continue doing so as it is usually very effective.

The good news is that you can correct and even prevent this habit by some fun and simple exercises that your dog will enjoy. He won't even know he's being trained! 

Starting as soon as you can, and preferably when a dog is a puppy, you should practice taking things from him in a non-threatening way, and then returning them to him or trading him for something as good or better. If your puppy is chewing a favorite toy, take that opportunity to approach him and trade for a piece of treat - make it a high-value treat so he feels like he got a good bargain. Then, give him a pat, a "good boy", and give his toy back. He just learned that when you approach him and ask him to "give it", he not only will get his toy back, but in the meantime he'll get a tasty snack.

After you have fed your dog, make a practice of petting him while he eats, moving your hand cautiously toward his neck/face. If at any point he stops eating and becomes still, this may be a sign he is about to bite - use extreme caution. If he continues to eat without concern, then try putting your hand in his bowl and dropping a few tasty treats. Practice taking the bowl up and then giving it back again with a treat inside. He'll soon learn that when you reach for him while he's eating, something even better will appear. Let him know that he has no need to guard his food from you. You can also feed the dog by hand, one kibble piece at a time to teach them that you are the source of their food and to teach them to have a soft mouth when taking things from human hands.

Never chase a dog or puppy and try to forcefully remove an item from him, as it only makes him more determined to keep the treasured object. Instead, if your puppy takes an item he shouldn't have, then get something to trade for it instead. He'll quickly see the benefit of trading a dirty sock for a piece of chicken, and when you do the trade say "give it" as you take the item. While your puppy is young, 9 out of every 10 times that you take something from him you should return it or replace it with something better. When Koda was a puppy, if I ever needed to take something away from him, as long as it wasn't immediately dangerous to him, I would take it and return it several times before finally trading for a toy or a treat.

Once you lay the groundwork for this, you can have other people in your family and even people outside of your family practice, depending on how you want your dog to behave. Make sure to include children in this, under close supervision only, of course. Don't forget to do refresher courses on occassion, dogs have a tendency to forget things they don't practice regularly.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: b4mp3r on March 17, 2007, 01:35:53 AM
I started training winston not to guard his food/treats when i first got him, every time he would eat i would periodically go over and pet him, put my hand in his bowl, pick the bowl up and put it down. etc... also, i found if you move cautiously, and instead of having a commanding i am the master heir to your movements they will get more defensive, but if you go in with a reason, and a "im going to do this" heir, then alot of times that helps. its not the dogs decision whether to give you the food or not, its yours.

another trick that they dont know is training, is to take a milk bone, or some other treat that will take the puppy a little longer to eat, is to put it on the floor, let them taste and start to eat it, then put your hand over it, let them sniff, and when they back up just a little give it back to them and say good boy, doing this repeatedly gets the "if i let him touch my food, i still get it back" imprinted on his/her brain.

another reason why a dog may resource guard might be not enough food, is your dog hungry after the meal on a normal basis? if so they may think that if you take it they wont be getting it back, so letting the dog have his meals when he wants through out the day will help this also.


just adding on to what bers said, hope you dont mind =)
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on March 17, 2007, 08:36:32 AM
I don't mind at all, I think you added some great points. Thank you! :)
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerPerson on March 17, 2007, 08:55:55 AM
Good information.  Thanks
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: PradazPurdy on March 17, 2007, 07:47:12 PM
All well-said info. I've always done this with my dogs. It works wonders & it's a must! The less possessive/guarding a dog is, the better!
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: dogs4jen on March 18, 2007, 07:20:43 PM
I did this with ours too, and it's always worked great.  It's worked so well with ours that I forgot once that other dogs aren't so well trained.  One time we were dog-sitting a couple of dogs and I reached down to get something near one of them (a cocker spaniel) and she just about took my hand off.  She didn't do any damage, just scared the heck out of me! 
Jen
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: JugglingWolves on March 19, 2007, 12:43:24 PM
I did this with Keenan so he's never been protective of his things. He shares toys, food, water, etc with other dogs, people, even the cat!

I did rescue a dog that had some food aggression and we worked with her to overcome it. I would sit with her when it was dinner time and she had to sit patiently to get a small handful of kibble, which I fed out of my hand. After doing that for a while, I transferred the kibble to her bowl and continued sitting right next to her while she ate it. If she displayed any aggressive behaviors, it was right back to eating out of my hand. She also had to do tricks and stuff for that food so she understood that nothing is free. It helped immensely and she was "cured" of her food aggression within two weeks.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Missy/Precious mom on March 23, 2007, 01:55:55 PM
I have had Precious for 3 weeks today.  Yesterday, when she was eating her biscuit (and crumbling it on the floor) I was going to pick-up a piece from the floor and she lunged for it.  Not for me, but for the biscuit.  She has no problem if I pet her while she eats.  I am going to have to start working with her on letting me handle her food while she is eating it.  I don't want anyone getting hurt if they mess with her food.  I think it might be because she was starving when Chris took her from her home.  She is a little piglet when it comes to food.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bugsys Mom on March 23, 2007, 02:12:24 PM
We had this same problem with Zeus right after we rescued him.  Lot sof NILF and I would hand feed him to let him know the resources come frommy hands and that's where they belong.  He is super good now.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Missy/Precious mom on March 23, 2007, 02:14:47 PM
Great to know.  I'll let you guys know how it goes.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bugsys Mom on March 23, 2007, 02:20:33 PM
There were some really good links on here for NILF.  I also have a NILF link on Bugsy's blog if you want to check it out.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Missy/Precious mom on March 23, 2007, 03:34:35 PM
There were some really good links on here for NILF.  I also have a NILF link on Bugsy's blog if you want to check it out.
Thanks for the link.  I reviewed it and am going to start with Precious at tonight's dinner.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on March 23, 2007, 05:21:47 PM
Good luck. It sounds like she has a mild case, should be reversable with some work. She just needs to figure out that food is not going to be scarce and that you are not going to take her food away from her.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Missy/Precious mom on March 26, 2007, 09:48:25 AM
I started sticking my hand in her food while she is eating.  She eats faster (gobble, gobble) but doesn't go after my hand or anything.  I think she just needs to realize she is going to get her food.  She might have memories of not being fed from before.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on March 26, 2007, 04:29:11 PM
The real warning sign is when they stop eating and go still. That's your cue to move away quickly and go back to a place that is more comfortable for them.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Missy/Precious mom on March 26, 2007, 04:31:52 PM
When it comes to food she is a piglet (That's her nickname.).
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Stolimom on May 01, 2007, 04:08:55 PM
Stoli and Harley have always been really good w/ this..when they were little we always make sure we touched them while they eat or sit w/ them...they dont mind at all if we move their bowl or anything..very good that way...
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Mizorie on October 30, 2007, 01:52:34 PM
This is a great thread but resource guarding doesn't always pertain to food. It could be a spot on the sofa or bed with a growl or snapping when you attempt to move your dog, any ideas stopping this before it gets out of hand?
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on October 30, 2007, 02:03:51 PM
Miz - The basic concept remains the same - take control of the resource.  If the resource is the bed, don't allow the dog on the bed unless you give it a command (permission).  Work on an "off" or "out" command (I suggest starting on leash so you can enforce it w/out putting your hands on the dog) and teach them to leave a room or space when you say so.

I've noticed there seems to be a little of this that happens typically at their teenage stage (6-12mos or thereabouts), and if you just keep the rules clear, it passes fairly uneventfully.  We had to restrict Xena's couch access during her brat stage 'cause she would growl at us for bumping into her or she'd even hump us!  She lost couch privileges until she behaved!
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Mizorie on October 30, 2007, 03:40:12 PM
Sweet and I understand the concept. It hasn't been a real issue for Vega and I don't intend on letting it become one. Just wanted to ensure the one time it did happen, I did the right thing. Thanks for the quick response :)
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Rubidawg on December 06, 2007, 08:25:15 PM
This is a great thread Amber. I musta missed this before. But I have a question...

The other night, I gave Rubi a bully stick when a friend of ours came over. Its helped in the past to keep her from jumping and licking on whoever comes in the door. She was good, played with her stick and went to lay down. Didn't bother us at all. But when he left, I went to take the bully away, and this has never happened..... She went completely still, held the stick tightly in her mouth and wouldn't look at me, even moved away a lil bit when I walked towards her (she was laying down). So, I could tell this was a uh oh, and backed off. :o Instead of grabbing it and trying to take it away, I told her to drop it, which took a few tries, but she finally did and I grabbed it and gave her another treat. (and lots of praise and play afterwards)

Now here's my question. I've ALWAYS been able to take her toys away, stick my hand in her food, take treats away, Anything.  We've done the techniques you mentioned in this thread since the day we brought her home. This issue was very important to me as I've had dogs that you couldn't go near while eating. But she doesn't get bullies that often (she's obsessed with em, and used to try to burry them), and up until now, when she did have them...I could always take them away no problem. So, is this something that I need to keep working on? Why all of a sudden did this seem like an issue if we have no problems with anything else? Could it potentially get worse? Did I do ok by grabbing the treat when she dropped it? I kinda felt like I had to snatch it away to 1) avoid getting bit, and 2) make sure she didn't grab it first.

It just surprises me that all of a sudden she stiffed up and wouldn't let me grab it. It has never been an issue before, and it's not one that I want to let go on. So any advice anyone has, would be a Big help.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Missy/Precious mom on December 06, 2007, 08:57:51 PM
Precious snapped at Danielle once for taking her bone away.  I told her bad girl and put it up.  Since then I often take her bones from her and then tell her good girl and give them back.  I have never had any trouble since that one time.  Danielle can take them away too now.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on December 07, 2007, 09:07:12 AM
Dawn - What you are describing doesn't sound *exactly* like resource guarding.  It actually sounds alot like the description in one of my dog books (I believe it was Bones) of a dog trying to politely tell you they want to keep their toy.  The book describes a little puppy turning away and avoiding eye contact when an older dog approached and went to take her bone.  Not growling, no threats, just avoidance.  It sounds like what Dash does with marrow bones - he's just so happy to have one, he doesn't really want to give it back.  He won't really drop it for me and he'll do the turn away and eye avoidance, but if I reach for it, he lets me pull it away.

I think asking her to drop it and praising her was the right choice, because you got to show her that you taking away her bully wasn't such a bad thing.  Perhaps you could even work with just taking the bully a couple times and then giving it back so she can finish it.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on December 10, 2007, 09:01:51 AM
I think Julia's advice is great. It seems like she didn't really want to give up the bone, but she wouldn't necessarily have gone any further. It's something to be proactive about, but don't put too much weight in it just yet. I'd say give her the bully more often so it's not such a major big deal. And work on trading it and taking/returning it every time she has one.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Rubidawg on December 10, 2007, 06:59:28 PM
Thanks for the advice. I've started to work more with it already, so hopefully it's nothing more than what it is. She got another bone this weekend and I would take it away, make it a game, and trade for treats, etc. She seemed fine with that, but then later on, I started to see "that look" again when she had her ball. I was able to take it away, but she did back up and tense a lil bit, just a couple of times. So we'll definitely keep working on it. I don't want to read too much into it right away, ya know...could definitely create problems. Carefull whatchu wish for, right?! LOL
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on December 11, 2007, 09:14:32 AM
Sounds like she's doing fine.  They allowed to want to keep their stuff on occasion  ;)
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on September 01, 2008, 12:02:11 PM
Today my girls got their first experience with raw bones, and Lucy growled at me when she thought I was going to take the bone from her. I didn't make a fuss, I just told her to leave the bone and go in the house (she did, good girl) and I put the bone in the refrigerator. I think tomorrow I will try holding the bone while she chews it (yuck) and see if I can get her to understand that I'm not a threat to her bone.

It kind of broke my heart a little that she growled at me, it's the first time that's ever happened. But we had a talk about it and she apologized and we agreed to work on the issue again. ;D
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: boxer pal on September 01, 2008, 05:50:06 PM
Awww . . . I'm sure Lucy will learn that you aren't going to take her bone away from her.  Are you?   :laugh4:
I'm glad you bumped this topic up.  I need to re-read the whole thing and see if I can find how to work through Romy's issues.  She's NEVER been prone to resource guarding with a human, but you put another dog in the picture and it's a whole 'nuther story!  She eats her kibble from her bowl in the kitchen with Rudy only 5 feet away, but when it comes to their raw meals, I HAVE to make sure she's completely by herself and finished before the dogs can mingle again.  Not a huge deal, but still a bit of a pain.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on September 01, 2008, 08:59:52 PM
I decided not to wait until tomorrow, so I got the bones back out. At first I held the bone while she gnawed on it. It worked pretty well except it was sort of hard to hold onto and I was a little worried she might slip and get my finger as she was exercising those super strong jaws. After awhile I gave her the bone and she took it to a corner of the yard. I didn't really like her taking it and sort of hiding away with it, so I followed and sat near her and praised her for being calm. After a little bit I called her away from the bone and gave her some treats, then told her to go back to the bone. After a couple of times I asked her to leave the bone and go back in the house. She looked back at the bone a few times, and started heading back a couple of times, but when I corrected her she quickly turned back to me. When I got her inside I gave her lots of treats and praise, then I went back out to get the bone and put it away.

It seems like slow progress, but the last thing in the world I'd ever want to do is push my dogs into biting me or anyone else. So I'll take baby steps just to be sure. I'll probably never try to take the bone from her, but I will work toward being able to pet her while she chews the bone, and as long as she will drop it and leave it on command I'll be happy with that.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: boxer pal on September 01, 2008, 09:19:05 PM
Sounds like major progress to me, Bers!  Good job,  . . .  BOTH of you! 
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: ltournat on September 29, 2008, 08:18:12 PM
So what to do when its a dog on dog resource guarding with stealing toys and growling, etc?  Or trying to take each other's treats?
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on September 29, 2008, 08:46:21 PM
IMO, you can't do anything effectively unless it's consistent... and it won't be consistent unless Andy is on board. He is likely to undo or undermine anything you try if he allows that sort of behavior.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on September 29, 2008, 08:48:19 PM
You also want to keep in mind that he's resource guarding when he blocks you two from playing with Felix.  He's treating you guys and Felix as resources that he can control, which does imply he thinks he's leader at least part of the time.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on October 22, 2008, 10:56:14 PM
It's a touchy thing when it's dog-on-dog resource guarding. They should be able to stand up for themselves, but it's easy to cross the line into bullying.

Have you read any of Patricia MacConnel's books? "The Other End of the Leash" and "Feeling Outnumbered?" are two I'd recommend for anyone with more than one dog.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 20, 2009, 09:32:27 AM
We have had Rex for 2.5 weeks and yesterday, while I was getting everyone's food in their dishes, Rex started fighting with Max, our first male (5.5 years old.)  Again, this morning when Mocha and Max were outside, I started filling all the dishes when Max came back inside and Rex stood in the doorway between our kitchen and front doorway where the food bin is and was barking horribly at Max with his hair up.  Max did not come forward and start fighting with Rex.  :angel:  I was wondering how we could alleviate this scenario.   ???
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bugsys Mom on January 20, 2009, 09:33:58 AM
I was wondering how we could alleviate this scenario.   ???
First thing you have to do is establish your authority in your pack.  ;)
You are the one who makes the rules, not them.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 20, 2009, 05:25:46 PM
I was wondering how we could alleviate this scenario.   ???
First thing you have to do is establish your authority in your pack.  ;)
You are the one who makes the rules, not them.

Yes, we definitely let him know we weren't happy with that performance by crating him after giving him the firm "NO" and getting him to the crate by his collar/scruff of his neck - they are so close together...   ;)  But then what?  Do we just keep repeating that, or should we crate him before every dinnertime so he doesn't have an opportunity to assert himself?  Thank you!!
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on January 20, 2009, 08:51:33 PM
I'd work on general "pack leader" status - and set all dogs up for success in the meantime. So if you think there will be stress/tension - you should put the dogs in a situation where they can't get into trouble. What this mean depends on their level of training.

My two will "fight" (snarl, jump) over dinner. So they have specific dinner spots where they get fed in the dining room that are about 10 feet apart. They both know to "assume the position" when I pick up the food bowls (I prepare dinner on the counter) - I've taught them to wait until I give the OK, but of course I had to train the "wait" command first. I put the bowls down, wait as long as I feel like (I can do jumping jacks if I want to) and then I give them a release.

I used to wait between them to be sure they didn't get in each other's space or try to sneak into the other bowls. They've since learned that isn't allowed - once they are both done eating, they will switch bowls in the hopes of leftovers (which are never there). If they attempted to snarf about empty bowls, the bowls would be immediately picked up after I decided they were done.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on January 20, 2009, 10:33:01 PM
I was wondering how we could alleviate this scenario.   ???
First thing you have to do is establish your authority in your pack.  ;)
You are the one who makes the rules, not them.

Yes, we definitely let him know we weren't happy with that performance by crating him after giving him the firm "NO" and getting him to the crate by his collar/scruff of his neck - they are so close together...   ;)  But then what?  Do we just keep repeating that, or should we crate him before every dinnertime so he doesn't have an opportunity to assert himself?  Thank you!!

First of all, I would take the collars off in the house so you don't have the temptation of pulling them around by the collars. Being the benevolent leader of your pack doesn't have anything to do with punishment for bad behaviors. It has to do with controlling the resources fairly and consistently so that everyone can relax and get along. I recommend you read some books on dog behavior: "The Other End of the Leash" and "Feeling Outnumbered?" in particular. I don't know if we would have been a successful multiple dog household without the knowledge I gained from these books. I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding your dog's behavior and using that knowledge to manage their actions.

Also, I wouldn't even be feeding the new dog in the same room as your other dogs at this point, it's way too soon. He should be eating in another room, even in his crate if necessary. You should only introduce him slowly to the group eating area at meal times. This is just an extremely high tension time/place, you should look for potential problems like this and take steps to avoid them. It's always easier to prevent fights than to break them up.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 20, 2009, 11:18:52 PM
Thanks for the good information. 
I had been feeding them all together, several feet apart since we brought Rex home, and there wasn't any problems until 2 days ago.  Why would Rex start now with this behavior?  What is making him change? 
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on January 21, 2009, 07:18:10 AM
He's getting more comfortable in his new home and trying to find his place in the pack (BTW, his place is not determined by "order of arrival," - his personality may not be a "bottom dog" personality).

It also may not help that Max is ill, that's often unsettling to a pack.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerPerson on January 21, 2009, 07:28:36 AM
Rex is a young male...and he is trying to ascertain where he fits...it may be numero uno, and it may not be. I have this same situation going on in my home.  Willie was very passive when he arrived and settled in as the lower rankinf male...but suddenly he had decided he wants that Alpha male position...

I will NOT allow any tiffs to happen when there is food around...none3.  If they have issues with each other and food is around I will not either feed or remove it (if that can be done safely for me)...I also feed in areas that are designated to them...all in the same area, but at least 4 feet differentiating their spots from each other.

Good luck...
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on January 21, 2009, 09:09:05 AM
Ditto others - he's realized he's going to be staying in this pack so he is now beginning to "settle in". This process is sometimes very smooth, and it's sometimes anything but.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 21, 2009, 09:13:33 AM
Thanks again!  This advice seems to me like it would work with my household.  
Their dishes are 4, 6 and 11 feet apart.  Rex and Mocha's are the closest together, then Mugs then Max out at 11 feet from Rex's and 15 from Mocha.  
Our vet assistant says the neutering should curb this jockeying for alpha - is this true, or since it has gotten this far, will he always be trying to upstage Max?  We're very concerned about this.  
Thanks again.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bugsys Mom on January 21, 2009, 09:16:14 AM
Chances are is this is a learned behavior neutering will most likely not change.  Neutering in general does not change a dog's behavior.  That's what the Vets among others would like us all to believe.  ::)
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 21, 2009, 09:20:21 AM
Chances are is this is a learned behavior neutering will most likely not change.  Neutering in general does not change a dog's behavior.  That's what the Vets among others would like us all to believe.  ::)

I was really hoping that wouldn't be the case.  I'm beginning to believe we bit off more than we can chew by rescuing Rex.   :embarassed:
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: blynn03 on January 21, 2009, 09:22:51 AM
It may turn out that Rex is meant to be the alpha among the dogs...you can't necessarily "make" Max the alpha just because you want him to be.  You CAN manage them to where there are no troubles....you can show them what is acceptible behavior and what is not....but if Rex is meant to be an alpha dog and Max isn't, you can't force it.

I agree with Vicky....it is doubtful that neutering will alter Rex's desire to compete for pack status.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bugsys Mom on January 21, 2009, 09:25:18 AM
Chances are is this is a learned behavior neutering will most likely not change.  Neutering in general does not change a dog's behavior.  That's what the Vets among others would like us all to believe.  ::)

I was really hoping that wouldn't be the case.  I'm beginning to believe we bit off more than we can chew by rescuing Rex.   :embarassed:

I think you need to give it some more time.  They will adapt and be fine as long as you let them all know that it is YOU who is the "alpha"  :)
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: blynn03 on January 21, 2009, 09:26:28 AM
I'm beginning to believe we bit off more than we can chew by rescuing Rex.   :embarassed:


Don't give up on him yet!  You've only had him for a couple weeks, right?  This REALLY doesn't sound like something that can't be fixed with some NILF training.....don't get discouraged!
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 21, 2009, 10:04:24 AM
What is NILF training?
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bugsys Mom on January 21, 2009, 10:05:41 AM
What is NILF training?
It means Nothing in Life is Free.  You control all the resources.
http://www.dogo.org/Education/NILF.htm

It also develops a stronger bond with your dogs.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerPerson on January 21, 2009, 10:35:27 AM
Four - I had to institute some very strict rules in the last couple weeks...my big male Goofy and my wee westie got into it...I thought Ollie (Westie) lost his eyesight.  I have been working very hard with them with NILF to get them to do as I say...not what they please and they are rewarded ONLY if they do what I want (eat/outside/treats/bed sleeping etc)It is tuff since OH isn't quite "with it" in the training department.  I made it CLEAR this is how it has to be so I don't have any more vet bills because of fighting! 

It still is a work in progress, and always will be...

I would reccommend reading "Leader of the Pack" by Patricia McConnell, it helps explain things.  There are many great books out there, any that have to do with NIFL training would also help.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 21, 2009, 12:00:41 PM
Thanks for all the info.  I do train our dogs like that.  Rewarding only when they do what WE want, etc.  It is so difficult to us to train these 2 young puppies at the same time, even when we are in separate rooms with them.  It seems to take twice as long when they are so distracted all the time. 
Work at it we will! 
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on January 21, 2009, 12:53:29 PM
First of all, I don't think you should give up on Rex just yet. We had a few scuffles over food when Lucy first joined our pack. It sounds like that's what you guys had - just a scuffle. Chances are pretty good you can still work this out.

Another point about NILF - it's more than just rewarding good behavior, it's a total philosophy on how you interact with your dogs. When a new dog comes into the pack it's a good idea to get everyone on a strict NILF program. The reason for doing this is twofold: it takes away the opportunity for tension that will arise over resources if free access is given, and it gives everyone a chance to relax knowing that you are in charge of everything and no one has to worry about who's getting access to what. Be fair and consistent with everyone. That means everybody has to sit and wait to go outside, one at a time. Everyone has to sit (or down, or whatever you ask them to do) and wait before being fed, before getting treats, before being petted, or having access to furniture and toys. Every resource available to your pack should be under your strict control.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 21, 2009, 02:26:38 PM
Thank you, again for the information on keeping order.  It all makes sense.

Max and Rex had another scuffle this afternoon, this time it was regarding food dishes.  Not actual food, but because I was leaning over Max's dishes to get a treat holder from a storage bin I keep in Max's eating cubby hole.  Everyone was interested in what I was doing, Max was next to me and Rex was trying to get closer to me.  (And the dishes/storage bin.)  Max started it, but it didn't last very long and Rex backed down rather quickly. 

Mocha and Mugs stayed out of it, even though they were right next to the boys.  Kudos to them!   :thumbsup:

I kept the boys separated when I prepared everyone's dishes this morning.  No chance for a scuffle then. 

One thing about NILF- I don't see how that helps with the rough play between Rex and Mugs and her getting hurt. 
I can see how I would have to continue breaking up their playtime when it starts to escalate with a distraction, "enough" command and treat or separation, but not how the NILF is described to work. 
(I read the link you sent us, Bugsys Mom) 
Following that concept, do I have them do a trick for me and then let them play? That doesn't seem realistic!   ???
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bugsys Mom on January 21, 2009, 02:39:26 PM
Basically play is a resource and you need to control it.  When you don't want them to play, don't let them.  ;)
Tell them 'enough' and separate them.  Boxers are really smart and they will catch on quick.  But, they will also always keep you on your toes and thinking.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: blynn03 on January 21, 2009, 02:49:31 PM
Basically play is a resource and you need to control it.  When you don't want them to play, don't let them.  ;)

Exactly.  Since YOU are the owner of all resources, including play, YOU dictate the rules.  If they don't follow your rules, they don't ge the resources.  Basically....if they are playing too rough, you take away their privelege to play for awhile.

Also....I know I already said this and I don't want to sound like a nag....but in the other thread, myself and many others let you know that their rough play doesn't sound out of the ordinary.  If it were me, I'd only separate them when Mugs is OBVIOUSLY showing that she doesn't want to play anymore and she's trying to get away.  If she gets a little scab while she's still going after him....that's normal and it's just part of having 2 boxer pups.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on January 21, 2009, 04:17:07 PM
Quote
Max and Rex had another scuffle this afternoon, this time it was regarding food dishes.  Not actual food, but because I was leaning over Max's dishes to get a treat holder from a storage bin I keep in Max's eating cubby hole.  Everyone was interested in what I was doing, Max was next to me and Rex was trying to get closer to me.  (And the dishes/storage bin.)  Max started it, but it didn't last very long and Rex backed down rather quickly.


This sounds like the incidents we would have with Lucy in the beginning. It's just the tension over the food/food bowls. I had to be careful to keep them away and keep order when I was doing anything food related. They would even fight over things I dropped on the floor, so they had to be kept out of the kitchen most of the time. Basically, any time you *think* there might be trouble, plan for it. They have issues over food, so plan ahead and prevent the problems before they occur.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on January 21, 2009, 06:13:34 PM
"The possibility of food" is just as enticing to dogs as actual food. That's actually the thing most likely to set off my two, especially because it's less obvious than when food is present so we miss it ahead of time on rare occasions. My two can be kenneled together when we go away and don't have a problem hanging out together, but they have to separate them to eat and then they wait a couple minutes after they've taken the dishes away before they put them together again.

I'd take up the food dishes and not allow the dogs to crowd you when you are dealing with food or in areas of the house where food *may* be present.

I also would not give up on Rex yet. Show him that you are in charge with firm guidance and clear rules and he'll be a happier dog for it.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on January 21, 2009, 06:44:39 PM
Neutering does cut down on male-to-male aggression - but food guarding and 'social' status aren't that - so I'd suspect you won't see a big difference.
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: AandWBoxers on January 22, 2009, 01:42:29 PM
Our thanks to you all providing guidance and information.  We really appreciate learning to recognize differences between behaviors and try to avoid certain situations.  It helps us all become better trainers! 
Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BainGhana on January 28, 2009, 11:51:56 AM
This is all great...And something that I have done with harley all his life. Hand feed kibble. Give treats then take etc.
One thing I did not see on here though is resource guarding toward other household pets. Unless I missed it of course. But I would like to ad that once Elmo came into the picture, 7 weeks ago I had to quickly begin showing harley that Elmo was no threat to him, or his food. So what I did was I would take 1 treat (puppy bisquit for example) break it in half. and give them each 1 half. let them chew it for a minute. Take it up from both and the swap. Works great. This way the other dogs scent is on the treat...Therefore they view it as oh wow Harley/Elmo gave me a treat. Cool. Same with food. I put 2 plates down. right next to each other. let each eat half the food on plate. Then swap plates out too. This way they are learning to not be aggressive toward me when I take up food, and also view food as a source from their pack partners too.

Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: BoxerWB on January 29, 2009, 05:44:54 PM
Bain - Where did you learn this technique? It seems a little unrealistic. Afterall YOU are handing these things or "providing access" to your dogs. They aren't stupid, they know that the food is coming from you.

Something smelling like the other dog means very little - unless you think my dogs are learning to share because one lays down in a spot that smells like the other?

Also, at Elmo's young age, dog-to-dog resource guarding isn't likely to occur. You might not have had trouble with previous dogs, but given that many dogs don't have resource issues with each other, that wouldn't provide any "proof" to this method.

Title: Re: Resource Guarding
Post by: Bers on January 29, 2009, 06:39:50 PM
I've not heard of that one either. I suppose it might help them learn to share, just by desensitizing them to trading things, but I suspect they still know that the biscuit comes from Mama! :yes: