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LOST POST WARNING AS I AM CURRENTLY ON THE BRINK OF CRYING!
I wanted to start off by saying this is currently my first doberman (but not first dog) and he was purchased from a known/reputable breeder in the doberman community that I have only heard good things about (I do not know if naming the breeder in this case is taboo or not so I will just leave it out unless directly asked?).

He is a male and about a year and a half now and has always been a good lovable boy but in the past 6 months he has been showing signs of resource guarding here and there. It has really been only a few instances but it seems that in the past month or so its been getting worse... I have been trying to do as much research as possible and I have been trying to keep him on the nothing in life is free program. Every meal/treat/ and toy is given only after he does a command such as sit and wait until I set his meal down and I AM ready for him to eat it and sit or lay or something right before he gets a treat or toy. However, yes I admit that there are times when I just give him a toy or there is one lying around or I give him a treat just because. But I really do try to follow the rule as much as possible. He has so issues with those items, I can stick my hands in his food without a care in his world (other dogs have even stolen some) I do not give him any toy as high value as bones.

There are times when he steals something that he KNOWS he shouldnt have and he will guard that. Also, he has his own blankets that he likes to carry around and suck on. I never did NILF with those because he always seemed fine and the blanket seemed like it was somethign that soothed him as he would suck on it like a baby and fall asleep. Unfortunately, now he is sometimes guarding them as well. Also, we allowed him to have a couch that hes allowed to lay on and he is fine 9/10 with someone else sitting there either with him or alone but sometimes if you start petting him or trying to push him off he will start to growl. This is the same with sleeping on the bed. Though usually he sleeps in his crate at night and gets to lounge on there with me during the day (yes I realized this is a mistake with him now).

I instantly know when he goes into guard mode, he does his stare and if tested he will start to growl and get worse. I have used the COME command to get him out of that phase but that is not a fix for this problem and I do not want to try to bribe him with better items/treats because that is not a feasible solution 24/7 and I should not have to bribe my dog in my household that he doesnt get to run.

Hes been to obedience classes that hes done well in and he did agility for a while. He also gets decent exercise by coming out to the stables with me and coming out on my rides when the weather isnt bad.
I do not know what to do! I do not want him to bite me let alone anyone else and end up on the dangerous dog list. I'm so terrified of that. I feel like a complete failure with him because I feel like I try to do my best but just not getting results. The past two days all I have been doing is trying not to cry because I finally have my dream dog and I feel like an incompetent doberman owner. I have spoken to my obedience trainer and she told me that she personally does not worry about guarding and just to give him higher value items... I do not see how this is an issue that i shouldnt worry about.

I guess I am currently feeling very insecure in my doberman ownership and training. I love him but I wonder if I should send him back and swallow my pride as I could not bare being the reason he may get put down or him accidentally hurting another person..

And in case anyone is reading this and saying "wow someone is overreacting and kinda crazy" I do apologize I am currently going through a rough time personally and this dog situation is just sending me over the edge now.

Thanks in advance for reading/responding
-Lost and currently upset
 

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I am so sorry you are going through this. I don't have any experience with resource guarding, but I know many of the other members on the forum can help you with this.

The only thing I can say is that from reading many posts here the last 3 years, you should take away couch and bed privileges.

I also want to say that I don't think you are over reacting. This is something that should be dealt with right away.

From your post, I can tell you really love your dog and it seems to me you have done a lot of things right. Don't give up.

You said you were going through some tough times and your baby could be picking up on your emotions and it's causing him stress.

Hang in there and know that we are here for you. When the more experienced members get on this morning, I'm sure you will get a lot of good ideas.

Look forward to updates in the future telling us of your success. 馃槂

Good luck. Would love to see pictures of your baby.
 

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Hi OP, so sorry you have to deal with this!

I agree with Bluedobes. Take away ALL couch and bed privileges. After a certain amount of time and his behavior improves in other areas, allow him up only when invited.

We went through something similar. He wasn't resource guarding but he didn't want to get off the couch when asked and would resist in every way possible. Digging in his feet, leaning back, melting into the cushions. One thing that worked for us was to clip a leash to his collar. Give the command, ours was "off", then lead him off the sofa with the leash. That worked every time for us and after two weeks or so he started to understand. He was only allowed up when invited and must get off when asked.

That might help you as it allows you to take control and calmly lead your dog off. It doesn't give him the chance to disobey you if you are leading him.

Best of luck :) I'll be thinking of you.
 

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Thank you both for the for the kind words! Even those are a help right now.

Today marks the first day where he is fully losing all bed/couch/furniture privileges. However, I wonder what to do about the couch when I am away from home. He is alone and can obviously get on the couch by himself. He used to be crated when I would leave the home for his own safety so he couldnt get into any trouble but he is now a pretty big boy and I feel bad leaving him in the crates for hours even if its usually no more than 4.

Also, my home is almost completely hardwood and he has proven to be a princess where he will not lay on the hard floor unless he has a dog bed/blankets/pillows that he can make a nest out of and suck on. All of which he seems to beginning to guard slightly. This is may biggest confusion...is there a way to make NILF with bed/comfort items or do I take those all away and watch him try to "dig up" the hardwood trying to make is more comfortable? He does this when there is nothing available to him. I felt so bad while he had nothing in his crate last night and kept getting up all throughout the night trying to get comfortable.

Sorry for the long post again. I realized I rambled more than asked real questions...Never post when youre at your most emotional haha

-Lost


Hi OP, so sorry you have to deal with this!

I agree with Bluedobes. Take away ALL couch and bed privileges. After a certain amount of time and his behavior improves in other areas, allow him up only when invited.

We went through something similar. He wasn't resource guarding but he didn't want to get off the couch when asked and would resist in every way possible. Digging in his feet, leaning back, melting into the cushions. One thing that worked for us was to clip a leash to his collar. Give the command, ours was "off", then lead him off the sofa with the leash. That worked every time for us and after two weeks or so he started to understand. He was only allowed up when invited and must get off when asked.

That might help you as it allows you to take control and calmly lead your dog off. It doesn't give him the chance to disobey you if you are leading him.

Best of luck :) I'll be thinking of you.
 

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Jean Donaldson has a great book that is a practical, step-by-step guide on how to deal with resource guarding in dogs. Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs. I personally don't believe NILF is the solution to all of these problems, and that sometimes making resources more scarce only makes things worse. Jean Donaldson's book is great. I highly recommend it. I also recommend getting in touch with a great trainer. This is a good starting place to find good trainers: Search for Professionals I'd look for one that uses positive reinforcement methods myself.
 

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I agree with taking away privileges and I would start doing some training around the house every day. So you can re establish yourself. You can make learning the off command fun get a leash let him on then "off" get him off the couch and reward with a treat and praise :) I have all tile floor so I understand you there I leave my boy in the kitchen and block it off if I'm going to leave, I bought one of those trampoline looking beds it's off the ground and he absolutely loves it. I think I ordered it from Amazon... I dunno if that will help but it works for us.
 

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You can go over board with NILF it is good but I would not make him do something for every thing he gets. I would leave a long line on him when you are home I would not reach for his collar to take him from the couch or bed. Pick up the long line to get him down from the couch or bed. If he does not eat his bedding I would not take it away he would not know why you are taking his bed away. If he is eating it then yes take it away I would not want to lay on a hard wood floor either. Yes do get the book listed above & Good Luck also try to be calm it may take a little while to fix the problem and as some one else said he maybe picking up on your being upset.Also I think some of it might be his age teen ager, and seeing what he can get away with they some times go though a phase if they can get away with stuff.
 

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Thank you everyone that is responding.
I ordered this book today and its 2 day prime shipping so I will read that as soon as I get my hands on it.
He can be traded with for anything he has but the trade has to be for something of extreme value like sandwich meat which is not something that is constant available so that method is not a viable solution especially when he goes to another house hold or there are children...I do not want an incident because someone doesnt have meat or accidentally got in his space when he really shouldnt have his own space that he is allowed to snap at you for invading.
Its only been two days but he is respecting the no bed privileged and only tested it a few times by only trying to get his front half on it and whining a little (this dog is a goof and this is why his change is breaking my heart). The couch is good too unless hes left alone and then he sneaks back on there.
For post about the leash, way ahead of you! :) hes been leashed in the house as well to make it safer for myself and anyone else just in case.

Unfortunately, hes seems to be getting more easily agitated and now in more weird (for him) situations.. I am going to try to have his thyroid checked because although I am hoping maybe this might be a phase this is just completely not my dog. I feel like changes this fast are strange?

Jean Donaldson has a great book that is a practical, step-by-step guide on how to deal with resource guarding in dogs. Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs.
 

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Lost - Our Kelly was very similar to your male, she loved to fixate on her blankie for 10 minutes, on the end of the master bed.
- sometimes, I thought 5 minutes of blanket sucking was enough...but dog disagreed / I wanted to sleep, she wanted to continue sucking
- a conflict, in the making / given a high prey drive

If I said, "clean up now" & tried to move her off her sucky early / a handful of times, a growl started & if the bedroom light was still on, her eyes looked glazed.
- she got an immediate Positive Punishment (aka...physical correction) in a split second (from Dad, while remaining calm & voicing loud disapproval)
- I didn't use time outs or take privileges away (NILF)...I'm not adapting or making changes, due to bad dog manners expressed
I will not tolerate (for a second), a family pet showing aggression or dominance on any family member ever...ZERO GROWL Policy here.
- Kelly doesn't pull this BS crap any more & she has been good with kids & adults visiting

If you get experienced help now - your dobe doesn't sound like it should end up euthanized some day or end up biting a child.
- but you need good help ASAP
Your already scared of your males brad / bully antics - I'm afraid, trying to fix this on your own (regardless of your researching, for a cure) may prove difficult...respect for its master, has been lacking while your boy scares you.
- not a good start, to make corrective changes / whatever why you decide, to solve problem

More good & long read linked (sample below): Leerburg | The Theory of Corrections in Dog Training

Pack Behavior
So with all this said, what are pack behaviors?

When a dog jumps up and/or humps your leg, that鈥檚 a pack behavior.
When a dog growls for moving it aside when you get in your bed or on your furniture. That鈥檚 pack behavior and needs to be dealt with.
When a dog growls at you for disturbing it as you walk by as it sleeps that鈥檚 a problem with rank behavior in the pack.
This is the short list of just a few of the most common forms of pack behavior. It provides an example of pack behavior issues that deserve corrections even though the owner has never trained them. I deal with pack behavior corrections in a section near the end of this article.

While you would not correct a dog for not coming when called until after you have taught the meaning of the word COME, you can justifiably correct a dog either verbally, with a training collar, or by putting the dog in a crate for inappropriate pack behavior (i.e. getting on the bed or growling at you).

So let there be no misunderstanding. Formal obedience means teaching the dog the meaning of sit, come, stay, lay down or go to your place and lie down. Don鈥檛 correct a dog for not following these commands until you are 100% sure in your mind that your dog understands the meaning of what you are asking him to do.
 

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Lost - Our Kelly was very similar to your male, she loved to fixate on her blankie for 10 minutes, on the end of the master bed.
- sometimes, I thought 5 minutes of blanket sucking was enough...but dog disagreed

If I said, "clean up now" & tried to move her off her sucky early / a handful of times, a growl started & if the bedroom light was still on, her eyes looked glazed.
- she got an immediate Positive Punishment (aka...physical correction) in a split second
- I didn't use time outs or take privileges away (NILF)...I'm not adapting or making changes, due to bad manners expressed
I will not tolerate (for a second), a family pet showing aggression or dominance on any family member ever...ZERO GROWL Policy Here.
- Kelly doesn't pull this BS crap any more & she has been good with kids & adults visiting

If you get experienced help now - your dobe doesn't sound like it should end up euthanized some day or end up biting a child.
- but you need good help ASAP
Your already scared of your males brad / bully antics - I'm afraid, trying to fix this on your own (regardless of your researching, for a cure) may prove difficult...respect for its master, has been lacking.

More good reading & sample below: Leerburg | The Theory of Corrections in Dog Training

Pack Behavior
So with all this said, what are pack behaviors?

When a dog jumps up and/or humps your leg, that鈥檚 a pack behavior.
When a dog growls for moving it aside when you get in your bed or on your furniture. That鈥檚 pack behavior and needs to be dealt with.
When a dog growls at you for disturbing it as you walk by as it sleeps that鈥檚 a problem with rank behavior in the pack.
This is the short list of just a few of the most common forms of pack behavior. It provides an example of pack behavior issues that deserve corrections even though the owner has never trained them. I deal with pack behavior corrections in a section near the end of this article.

While you would not correct a dog for not coming when called until after you have taught the meaning of the word COME, you can justifiably correct a dog either verbally, with a training collar, or by putting the dog in a crate for inappropriate pack behavior (i.e. getting on the bed or growling at you).

So let there be no misunderstanding. Formal obedience means teaching the dog the meaning of sit, come, stay, lay down or go to your place and lie down. Don鈥檛 correct a dog for not following these commands until you are 100% sure in your mind that your dog understands the meaning of what you are asking him to do.
^ this is outdated thinking based on incorrect, outdated information on studies of captive wolves. Current, more modern studies of wolves have replaced those, and understand that free ranging wolves do not behave in the way that unnaturally gathered packs of captive wolves do. Additionally, canines are not wolves.

OP, you'd be well served to find an appropriate trainer. Physical corrections can escalate your problem and create a dog who no longer warns with a growl before they bite. Personally, I wouldn't risk that. Your choice, of course, since it's your dog, but...there are safer ways to deal with your issue.
 

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I agree that a harsher punishment will simply make things worse at least in my dogs case.
As I have stated, because his attitude and behavior has changed so quick here its even changed in a matter of days and in random times, I plan on sending his blood work out to be checked for thyroid problems and see if there is a medical reason while also looking for a trainer to assist me. I want to make sure he is ok inside and out.


^ OP, you'd be well served to find an appropriate trainer. Physical corrections can escalate your problem and create a dog who no longer warns with a growl before they bite. Personally, I wouldn't risk that. Your choice, of course, since it's your dog, but...there are safer ways to deal with your issue.
 
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