Resource Guarding

We have a 15 week old Goldendoodle, whom we've grown to love.  He has an issue with resource guarding which has a VERY concerned (does this with yummy treats, but also with other non food objects (worse with food objects).  His food bowl isn't an issue at this point and I have gone to feeding him out of my hand, as that has been one recommendation.  We met with a trainer a week or so ago who taught us some counter conditioning techniques involving tossing out treats to "trade up".  Sammy responds pretty well to me doing this in our home, but with others, or out in public, he continues to show this aggressive response.  We've only had him 7 weeks and to be honest we are concerned about whether or not we can keep him with our two kids in the house.  :(  Help!

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  • Lyn,
    I have not been on this site long and I understand your concern.

    My cloe was doing the same thing. I used the NO BITES in a stern voice and she is doing much better, I have not had a a episode yet. She is now one year and 5 months old. She is a wonderful dog and my grandchildren play with her toys and all. Good Luck
    Cindy
  • I know this sounds....well, wierd...but you have to be the bigger "dog". I only did this myself with my previous dog that had guarding issues and she was a German Shephard/Husky mix and they do pack a powerful punch. Now, I'm not saying, "do this" because you can and more than likely will get bit or hurt - but, Shadow started to guard her bone or toy with her litter mate, Cody, and Cody would just walk off or surrender. She tried it with me and I was a dork and jerked away. She would also have a look in her eyes (side stare, if that makes sense) and the hair on her neck would stand up, giving the warning, "if you come near my stuff, I'm gonna bite you". After the second time she did it, I had to take a deep breath because I knew what I was about to do. I told her "leave it" in a stern and serious tone and moved towards her. She did bite at me, in the common warning bite....yes, it #$%@# hurt and it drew blood, I had a very small puncture on the top of my hand, but I actually kept my fist there and got her by the neck with my other hand and pushed her head towards the ground (not aggressively either, that would make it worse, just a quick push down to the ground), saying "leave it" again, same tone, even though I wanted to scream my head off because it hurt. She never did it again. Like I said, I'm not telling you to do it................I don't want to tell you to do something that may get you injured. But, the method did work for me.
    Don't give up, I know it can be frustrating and scary. I don't have children, so I didn't have to take that into consideration with my case. If your up for the challenge, you can give the scenerio I gave you a try, but talk it over with your family and see what is best.
    • About 5 min. after that first post came through about doing this....I was doing it already! My adreneline was pumping and I was shaking, but after about 3-4 times of testing him with different things that he guarded and using this method he has really shown great improvements! He's only 14 lbs, so this is the time to do this and not later. We have been considering giving him up and this has given me hope that we can keep this dog that be have grown to love! Thanks so much and it's worth a bite to me if it works, but so far he hasn't gone there. Best of luck to you!
    • With him being only 14 pounds, you definately have a bit of an edge :-) When this occurance started, Shadow was already 60+ pounds and about 3 or 4 years old. With a younger dog, it may be a bit easier to correct. With my doods, they are 15 months old already and Hunter is 95 pounds. If I didn't correct his mouthing and play biting when he was still small, I know it would be a nightmare to try and do what I did before. I'd probably borrow one of those bite suits from the police department! :-) He's a BIG boy!
  • I think Linda's advice is right on the money as far as I am concerned. You are the boss and need to let the dog know that by whatever method works. With my rescue doodle, there was a pack order problem between our Springer and him. While they were settling it, things they considered high value and arguing over were banished, and while you are establishing your dominance, I would banish anything Sammy considers high value at the first sign of his guarding.
  • Hi Lyn,
    Our Toby began showing signs of aggression around the same age and I had the same concerns. Our daughter and two young grandchildren were staying with us at the time and I worried about the same thing. He is now 2 yrs old and the sweetest, smartest dog we have ever had. (My husband and I have had six dogs in our 29 years of marriage.)

    I've seen quite a few threads on DK about this problem. If it's not addressed/resolved at this age, it will remain a problem when he gets big. Having had a 150 lb Akita mix that had aggression issues, I took a slightly different approach to correcting this problem than most of the others here. It worked beautifully.

    When Toby had a sock or something else he shouldn't have in his mouth and I tried to take it away - or if he was sleeping and I needed to move him - he became extremely aggressive. He would growl and bare his teeth and snap, snap, snap. It was alarming to see this normally sweet, docile dog displaying this behavior to my daughter and I - yet never with my husband. He was trying to establish his position of dominance in our pack. Recalling what my trainer for Kuma taught me, Gina and I began to use this tactic: At the first sign of growling or showing his teeth, we would immediately flip him on his side, hold him down firmly in a submissive position and said "NO GROWLING... NO BITING" as we growled at him - like an alpha dog would do. He was forced to accept that he was NOT the leader in our "pack." It took patience and about 3 months of working with him on it. Now, at 2 years old, he is the most lovable and loyal dog we have EVER had. (He knows that the kids are above him in the pack as well, and he is perfectly content with that.)

    I wish you all the luck in the world with getting this under control!!!
    • Thanks so much for your response! I really am willing to try something different and we've usd the approach for other behaviors he's had and it's worked (the pinning dowm)! I've been hesitant to try it with the guarding, but it's something that I'm really willing to do. Thanks for taking time to respond!
    • FYI: Our trainer does not believe in rewarding them with even BETTER treats when they displaying signs of aggression. "Drop it" means "Drop it NOW. No questions asked. No treats. No deals. Just drop it because I'm the boss and you had better drop it." If he growls/snaps/bites it's an immediate flip-you-over-on-your-side-and-hold-you-down consequence. It's tough-love. These dogs are smart - they totally get it.

      I worried that Kuma (whom we had about 15 years ago) and Toby's love for me would diminish after doing this. It just felt so mean. Both dogs became real mama's boys. :) Sammy will love you all the more for teaching him how to behave nicely.
    • Lyn, when you did this, did he bite you? Allie guards her Bully Sticks, and I would be terrified to try and do that to her. We no longer give her Bully Sticks, because of this aggression (along with Diarrhea issues)... but I'm concerned that it will happen again when she finds something she can't live without.

      I honestly think that if I tried to do that to her when she had a Bully Stick, I would end up in the ER needing stitches.
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