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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation ShepherdPit Mix

Hello,

I am a member of this website because I have a just about 7 year old female doberman named Rosetta. However, I am also the mommy of an 11 month old male Shepherd Pit Mix named Capone who was brought home by my son without my prior knowledge when he was 4 weeks old. So all of us have adapted pretty well, especially my girl Rosetta. However, recently Capone has been acting aggressive at night in our room. I do let him on my bed while we are watching television at night. He lays at the end of our bed and suckles on his blanket, chews a bone, or just rests. Recently though he started to turn around and growl and show his teeth to either my husband or myself if we pat him. He has nipped my husband. I have scolded him like you would if you were disappointed in your child's behavior by speaking firmly without yelling or being aggressive back. Eventually he slides off the bed and lays on the floor. My Rosetta did this when she was a pup and I honestly don't know what I did to correct it. It sort of went away on it's own too.

Next, is the morning issue which ties in to the evening issue. Capone gets up with Rosetta and my husband early in the morning (I am on summer vacation from work) and has his morning round of bathroom, carrots, play, etc., then while my husband gets ready for work Capone jumps in bed with me. This week my husband cannot even get close to the bed to say goodbye to me because Capone lunges toward him barking and growling. I am really concerned and am trying to figure out what to do.

Capone has done some weird and random guarding in the past over objects. I had my family over last weekend and my niece has a new baby. Capone sat near the baby seat and guarded it. He growled when anyone went near it and barked at Rosetta too (who was like, "yeah...go ahead pal, try me!"). So I kept trying to redirect him because I was concerned for the baby.
Can anyone help me with this issue? I am on the verge of contacting a trainer, but felt like someone here could give me some guidance. Thank you!

Lisa
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 06:13 PM
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I'd probably contact a trainer! 4 weeks old seems pretty young for a puppy to have been separated from his mother. Not sure if there might be some underlying issues there which may only now be surfacing. Just a thought.

I'm sure others will chime in soon. I still consider myself a newbie here and don't have near as much dog experience as others! But I do know that my dog (18 months old now) went through a phase when he was just under a year. He never barked or growled, but he did throw tantrums in a way when he was made to do something he didn't want to do. He'd jump up and grab at my sleeves. He'd get reprimanded (very firm NO! and OFF!) and put in time out by himself. I guess it was a phase because he stopped after a while. But the barking and growling that Capone is doing may be concerning enough to call in some support before things escalates into a bite, especially if he's around a baby from time to time.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 06:42 PM
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If he's not neutered then that would be my first move. Neutering is in no way a replacement for training but I see no reason for him to remain intact if he isn't already neutered. At his age he's starting to feel "his oats". He is becoming a young adult and it's not uncommon for this behavior to hit.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 07:15 PM
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It sounds to me like he is resource guarding...what he says is his (your bed, the baby, you) is HIS; and no one else better try to get it.

I think you should bring a trainer into the situation to help you get his behavior under control. Which you really need to do, because as it stands now, his behavior is not acceptable. Growling, lunging and nipping at his age are not at the mild end of the spectrum, and his behavior could easily escalate to become truly dangerous to people around him.

While you're looking for a behaviorist to help you sort things out, you could take a look at this book, Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs by Jean Donaldson, to help give you an idea of what you may be dealing with.

And starting right now, he should not be allowed on the bed at all. He needs to start earning his privileges. Look into the training technique, "Nothing in Life is Free" (NILIF) I don't go to the extremes some people recommend when they explain the technique, but the concept and some of the methods may help you.

You should be able to find a number of websites which talk about it.

Last edited by melbrod; 07-12-2019 at 07:32 PM.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hello,
Thank you so much for your reply! He is neutered. I felt the same way, being bossy and “feeling his oats.” A phase that I can correct on my own. My husband mentioned the young adult development as well.

Capone is laying at the foot of the bed snoozing while I am typing this. I feel like a bad parent because I am allowing him to be up here with me.

A while ago he went through this phase where he would guard a hockey stick we had in the corner. He would growl and bark at us if we walked by it. We removed it and he stopped. At that same time we had a long fence with a gate that separated the kitchen and living rooms. He randomly started to bark and growl at us if we tried to go through the gate. So we used a spray bottle with water in it and it worked. The sight of it now makes him back down. The fence and gate are now gone because he jumped it while I was at work and it just wasn’t necessary anymore. I am really concerned and would like to work on this.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:35 PM
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With this behavior, he should not be allowed on the bed!!!!!!!
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:39 PM
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What Mel said^^^ .

I have always used a modified NILIF over the last many years.

Lots of folks disagree, but this method has never let me down.

A few examples:

My current youngest has never been allowed on furniture or beds. His reward...He has his own bed on the lower floor, 2 on the main floor and a large open crate in his room. He doesn't know the disappointment of being shoed off furniture for some unknown (to him) reason.

McCoy is never allowed to beg or act out when his meals are being prepared. He must be in another room. This really helps when The Sheriff is over. I call him when his meal is prepared.
He calmly walks over and sits. His release command is "Free". At which point, what he does is up to him. He usually wolfs it down in 45 second. His reward... He gets a meal well and carefully prepared without the nervousness and over the top anticipation.

We have a modestly secure back yard. McCoy is never allowed to breach it even though it would be easy for him. He is never allowed to bark in the back and must alway come in immediately when I call him. His reward... When weather permits, the back doors stay open all the time or, he can go out when ever he wants. Also, every time he comes in either at my beckon or voluntarily, he gets praise and a treat.

The truck: McCoy has a "Stay and Wait command. I can open the doors while doing a chore or removing groceries etc. It would not occur to him to jump out until he is released. Same with if all the windows are down or the top is off the Jeep. His reward: I am not quite sure...
Mostly it is that he is never locked in or confined so he is quite at ease in these situations.

Crate command: McCoy must go to his OPEN crate whenever I tell him to. He has never been commanded to do so as a punishment. His reward: He has a totally safe and comfortable space that is completely his.

These are just a few examples. I am sure that there are a bunch of people who think that I am too strict. Still, the bottom line is that McCoy is secure and comfortable in basically any situation. He knows what is expected of him and what to expect. It makes him happy.

So...

JMO

John
Portland OR
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Last edited by 4x4bike ped; 07-12-2019 at 08:41 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamermouse0213 View Post
I'd probably contact a trainer! 4 weeks old seems pretty young for a puppy to have been separated from his mother. Not sure if there might be some underlying issues there which may only now be surfacing. Just a thought.

I'm sure others will chime in soon. I still consider myself a newbie here and don't have near as much dog experience as others! But I do know that my dog (18 months old now) went through a phase when he was just under a year. He never barked or growled, but he did throw tantrums in a way when he was made to do something he didn't want to do. He'd jump up and grab at my sleeves. He'd get reprimanded (very firm NO! and OFF!) and put in time out by himself. I guess it was a phase because he stopped after a while. But the barking and growling that Capone is doing may be concerning enough to call in some support before things escalates into a bite, especially if he's around a baby from time to time.
Thank you for your reply. I agree that 4 weeks is too early and believe that is why he suckles blankets. He does it when he is tired...sort of like a pacifier which is soothing to him. Other than this issue he is awesome! Loving, friendly, and not at all like Rosetta with strangers. He is a little love with everyone. He learns quick. I worked with him the day my niece came over because she also has a 4 year old who Capone was all over her playing when she was at my house previously. Although I would not let my guard down, he did a lot better and she learned to tell him “no” and say “off” and by the end of the day they were pals.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:44 PM
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IMO I think we all have that soft spot that makes us want to spoil our dogs .....but at times spoiling them ....in the long run......is really going to hurt them. So give your a good shake off and be the boss.....we know you can do it!!!!!!! If you get weak.....give us a shout....seriously good luck with this as we all know its hard work.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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With this behavior, he should not be allowed on the bed!!!!!!!
I know! He is sleeping and I feel bad just kicking him off.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Ironically my sons girlfriend walked by my door and it startled him causing him to bark and then jump off the bed. He is now on the rug! Oh..other thing is..he recently also started to bark as a reaction to being startled while he is sleeping. So my son has come in my room many times in the past but lately if the door is shut and he knocks or just walks in, and it startles Capone, he barks until he realizes who it is and that it is ok. This again is just recent.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 09:31 PM
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I'd suggest a vet visit with blood work, including a full thyroid panel as you first step. Then consulting with a behaviorist would be a good idea. You can find a behaviorist in your area by searching here. https://www.dacvb.org/page/AnimalOwners

Meanwhile, he should be kept off the bed, and not allowed to guard things.


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 01:02 PM
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Reread the post by Melbrod, 4x4 John, LadyDi and Rosemary--I think you need to be more firm about these various behaviors which are all part and parcel of resource guarding. The unfortunate part of it is that as long as you allow some behaviors, some acts you have a situation where resource guarding can escalate and fast. And frankly ANY resource guarding can escalate to dangerous from just irritating very suddenly.

I'd want the help of a good behaviorist pretty immediately and I'd stop any of the stuff that is clearly a by product of resource guarding right now. This is an area I don't think you can be 'soft' about. No beds, no furniture no access to your bedroom--but really access a good behaviorist now.

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