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Old 12-04-2011, 10:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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7 Month old female, so sweet but has aggression issues.

Hello Everyone,

We are having a little bit of trouble with our girl.

She is such a sweetheart and would not hurt a fly, but we are finding that when it is time for everyone to go to bed and she is dead asleep on the couch, she does not want to budge. Trying to push her off or pull her collar will result in her growling and if we keep pulling she may try and bite.

She also does this with her favorite bone.

We can tempt her with one of her favorite food treats and this works well but I don't want to have to temp her, she should just do what I say

To me this shows that she still thinks shes the boss, is this true?

Maybe we shouldn't be letting her on the couch and cuddling with her so much (p.s. she sleeps in her crate)

Any ideas?

Thanks so much everyone
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I suggest finding a reputable trainer, this type of behavior you want to nip in the butt. It sounds like she has indeed established that she is boss, you can try to fix this on your own but if done incorrectly you can make the problem worse.

This breed is very intelligent and they know when you are scared, nervous and unsure around them. If you are trying to fix this problem but you are telling a command while you are scared or unsure she will not take you seriously.

so if you don't have any experience in training I recommend one.
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If there is one period when a perfectly sweet dobe may growl...it can start with sexual maturity...and many girls come into heat at 7 months old.

Now you may be adding to the growling, dragging a dog of the couch...as it isn't the most fruitful method...some dogs may feel a need to protect themselves...with a warning.
But having said that, letting a young dog growl over a bone earlier...was your first big mistake & because you didn't deal with it instantly / problems are starting to escalate.

If she won't wake up from a deep sleep, practice some touching exercises daily.
My dog goes from the couch to the master bed...your trying to take yours from the couch to a crate.
If she is good, I would ditch the crate, let her sleep overnight...on the couch (after potty time).
While a lot of members here, believe in crate training...my personal dog, hates one.
(her crate went in storage when she was 4.5 months old / I later sold it...my dog didn't need or want it)
Some dobes, may feel the crate is their comfort cave...others, just don't know why their locked up...and can't protect, family members or be near them / and this can cause much anxiety.

Couch & cuddling, is not your dogs real problem...and I encourage this pampering completely.
Temping a dog with a treat, so it won't growl next...is a loosing battle.
Cut out the treats (for now), and start training with a bone...until you can remove it from the dogs mouth willingly and at any time...without her showing any aggression. (I did this before, with a clients dog)
This should be your first priority...to gain more respect / (aka. "the boss")

C & D ...Larry says Hi...from South of London, ON.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It sounds like you have some resource guarding issues. Very normal, and definitely something you want to address. The best guide I've found for dealing with resource guarding is Jean Donaldson's book, "Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs." This is a very inexpensive, short little book that explains the issue and has a step-by-step guide for working on it. I think you'll get a lot out of it.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I love Meadow Cat's suggestion.

Here are some reviews on the book.

Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok, I'll third Meadowcats' suggestion and also highly SUGGEST you find a good trainer ASAP before she bites someone. She's giving warnings which is actually a good thing (vs biting without warning). But you obviously want the behaviro to stop.

For now, remove her from the things she growls about. She growls on the couch? no more couch. She growls over bones? No more bones...UNTIL the issue is resolved.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I just wanted to add - I have two resource guarders. Shanoa will guard stuff from Simon (but not from people) and Simon has very, very mild guarding from both Shanoa and people. It's an ongoing process to work on with them. However, you can also use a lot of management techniques. First, like Adara says, don't let her up on the couch at all. For us, with Simon, he guards very high value bones and chews. So when I want to let him have one, I put him in his crate until he's done with it. We're working to improve, but in the meantime I just let him be someplace safe and undisturbed while he has those items.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Just a note of encouragement for you, we had resource guarding issues crop up with our boxer around this age. By addressing it quickly and doing some exercises for a few weeks, we nipped it in the bud and haven't had issues for the past 7 years! I used the guide by Jean Donaldson that was recommended by other posters above.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post
For us, with Simon, he guards very high value bones and chews. So when I want to let him have one, I put him in his crate until he's done with it. We're working to improve, but in the meantime I just let him be someplace safe and undisturbed while he has those items.

Maui is the same way with bones and chews. She can chew them to her little hearts content in the mornings when I'm getting ready for work, she is in the bedroom with me. I have a gate at the door so the other dogs can't get in. (I always have it up so that the dogs don't go in there, the males tend to like marking their territory.)
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Resource guarding or possessiveness, needs to be addressed like yesterday.
I once knew an associate and he thought it was cute, when his rotti chased his cat from the dogs dish. I told him bad move!!!! He never listened !!*
Several months later his niece crawled between the dog and his dish and the rotti snapped at her face/small cut. When I found out, I was livid with him and our friendship parted.
My first dobe at 6 months snapped at one of our cats while at his dish. I immediately had a face to face with him while I verbally rocked the house, crated him for several hours and I showed him the food was up and I control the food. I gave him the food the next day and put the cat right next to him and told him, do it again and I won't b so pleasant.
Never had a problem again.
Some ppl call it cruel but my mentality is, you don't bite the hand that feeds you.
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I agree with the guys, I would stop the access to the couch, and in fact the bones, that way until you can either get the book that has been recommended or better still a trainer the issue can be avoided. Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Another way you can show "you control the food" would be hand feeding. We have a pup who came to us with pretty serious resource guarding issues. Taking the time, one meal a day, to hand feed made a lot of difference. I sit on the floor with her bowl in my lap, put her in a sit, and offer her a few kibbles at a time. Trust building, training, and working on her issue. Three birds with one stone
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Has anyone suggested this training yet? Sorry I forgot to suggest it until you get the book.

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Old 12-05-2011, 12:55 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My rescue (min-pin) came to me with resource guarding and food aggression issues. Controlling his environment and setting him up for success worked for us. I used clicker training and positive reinforcement as part of his rehab. I also incorporated NILF.

IMO, successful rehab doesn't happen overnight. It takes consistency each and every day and above all, keep it positive

I'd also recommend you find a great trainer who can help you.
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Pictured is the now sweet little Trevor (my son's dog, aka Mr. "T").
- my wife & I babysit him 1-2 times/month, when he has job business in Toronto...and is out of town
- sometimes accompanied with his sister (w/3 legs)
- they all love it at our place & hate to leave...lol

BUT, little male Trevor wanted to be the top dog, early on.
At 7 months old, I am visiting my son and holding him...on my lap, sitting on the couch.
- I am having a nice family chat, and I soon feel my left leg warming up
- 5 seconds later, my brain processes the wet spot, and when I lift him up, my pant leg has been pee'd on
- so he thinks he will make me his little "bit*h"...sorry, not in my life time
- for the next few moments, I gave him some "old school / tough love" persuasion / problem solved

A few months later, our Amy and little Trevor is up on the couch with Dad.
Dobe Amy has a favorite toy in her mouth, and little Trevor wants it...so he growls at her.
First time I heard this from him, and I was laying on the other end of the couch.
In the next 1/2 second, I planted the side of my foot, across his yap...in one swipe.
Told him he was a BAD BOY (in loud voice), gave the prized toy back to Amy.
(5 years later, they still get along fine)

P.S. - if a dog first growls over the ownership of a bone / I would train it to "no-growl" with a bone
(don't dodge the "trigger" in training)
- my first dog growled at my infant son in the early 1980's when he crawled up on her
- after a face-to-face with Dad, I put the baby on the dobe's back (for the next 5 minutes) while I ordered her into a "down-stay" position / under my full supervision
(never to growl again...and she died 5 years later of cancer)
Get some help ASAP...you may not be schooled enough...to treat dog aggression, on your own.
- it takes a projection of human confidence / as seen through the eyes of the problem dog
- luckily you have a maturing pup, that is only 7 months old (and not years of bad manners)

Little dog / big dog...the one that wants to be the canine boss, then boss of the humans next:

AMY is turning 11 y/o this month...never growled, once in her life...at a family member.
- but she was trained with many hour of daily play exercises, for learning...while a puppy


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Last edited by Beaumont67; 12-05-2011 at 04:42 PM..
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:31 PM   #16 (permalink)
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When Leia is on the couch or in my lap... and is obviously going asleep.. I tell her "bed time", and she gets up and goes to her crate. You might try that... putting her in the crate before she falls asleep.

You need to reestablish yourself as the alpha. Find a good training tool or trainer to help you.

Good luck!
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:14 AM   #17 (permalink)
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OP, below worked with our girl and to add to this "until the issue was resolved" for us meant none of those things in the house for 6 month "probation" periods. If our girl flunked again, it was another 6 months. That went on for a year or so until she "got it".
In the meantime we got her a Kuranda bed and would sequester her when we were gone so that getting on furniture wasn't an option.
We got our girl into a small class w/a decent trainer.

Hope you keep us posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adara View Post
Ok, I'll third Meadowcats' suggestion and also highly SUGGEST you find a good trainer ASAP before she bites someone. She's giving warnings which is actually a good thing (vs biting without warning). But you obviously want the behaviro to stop.

For now, remove her from the things she growls about. She growls on the couch? no more couch. She growls over bones? No more bones...UNTIL the issue is resolved.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:49 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I have only ever been growled at by one dog. Out of a Great Dane, Doberman, and German Shorthair, the Shorthair was the only one who ever growled at me personally. She was probably around the age of 7 months when she was on the chair in the living room chewing on a toy. When I reached for the toy she froze up and growled. In and instant I grabbed that toy, yanked her off the chair and yelled a firm "no ma'mm!" She looked at me like what the heck just happened and never ever did it again. She ended up being one of the most submissive sweethearts I have ever known and an incredible dog. It is common for dogs to test their boundaries and they must be reminded quickly and swiftly of who is in charge. Just like kids, YOU sent the boundaries and enforce them.
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