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Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Josie, Dec 7, 2017.
Does anyone have a food guarder? If so, how do you deal with that?
Yep - an incorrigible one, to the extent that when he was younger we really thought it might end up in a one-way trip to the vet I could write an essay on the subject, but the potted version is that having had a load of input from behaviourists and not being able to 'cure' it, we manage, manage, manage. Key is NOT taking food off him, so he can relax and not worry about it, which makes him a safer dog.
Ah that must be hard to deal with. Do you think he would even snap at you, the one he loves the most? (I'm guessing you are his favourite )
If you were in a lovely restaurant having your favourite meal and someone tried to take it away, how do you think you might react? As @JudyN says, the worst thing you can do is try to take something from a resource guarder because that makes them guard it all the harder. And remember a resource needn't be food; it can be a toy, a comfy spot on the sofa, a person, a favoured patch of carpet - anything. If you must take something, for the dog's safety, you have to have something of even higher value to exchange.
@Josie, this thread might be easier for people to find in future if it were in the behaviour section.
It's just curious to hear if your own dog would react the same way as if a stranger took it. Dennis will let me take anything from him (if he doesn't try and swallow it as fast as he can!) but I don't think he would let anyone else take it apart from the people he is close with
Yes, he'd most definitely bite me, and OH, if pushed. Imagine a toddler lashing out at his parents when he's really stressed, e.g. being held down for an injection. But a dog's got better armoury!
I worry that a lot of things I've said about him in my posts make him sound like a monster, and that the odd person thinks that he thinks he's the boss... If, say, I tried to shove him off the sofa, he would have a go at me, BUT if I ask him to get off, he'll pop off happily. He's pretty much the most obedient dog I know, as long as he doesn't get scared or the red mist descends... Thankfully he never guards objects now, only food (though my mum's handbag that had the remains of a ham sandwich counted as food...).
A word about 'trading': it's definitely a great thing to teach dogs, but doesn't work for the occasional one. When J was still very young, he got hold of a plastic measuring spoon. When I saw him chewing it, for some reason it seemed important that I got it off him, so I offered the lamb steak I had in my hand... he reacted very badly. I think, in his mind, if I was so desperate to get the spoon off him it must be REALLY high value and he was going to have to pull out the stops to guard it.
The reason I'm happy to talk about his issues is that it's important for people to know yes, a dog can be like this, no, it doesn't make him a bad dog, and it doesn't mean that it can't be managed safely. The best book I've come across for guardy dogs is Jean Donaldson's 'Mine!'
Thank you for sharing his story with us @JudyN and I know talking about topics like this will help others in similar situations. Which is a big part of this dog community we have!
We all have flaws, humans and dogs! you've just highlighted his on here because people have asked questions and you've been able to help them with your own stories
I have a guardy dog too and concur that it is like managing a toddler with weaponry. We know his triggers like hands round the food bowl whether it is empty or not, food wrappings stolen from recycling or lying with my oh on the sofa. As.well as swaps sometimes just clapping your hands really loud brings him back to tame dog from momentarily ferral. He would happily bite us as well as a stranger in that state of mind.