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Increase in resource guarding .....:(

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Maggie Mul, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Maggie Mul

    Maggie Mul Member Registered

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    Our 8 month old puppy has certainly kept us on our toes since we have had her as a puppy at 7 weeks. We have faced numerous issues. Her resource guarding behaviour has increased since she has finished her 1st heat. So we noticed that she was becoming increasingly protective about things she thought were valuable to her. Any type of rubbish she found from the bin, some of her toys and left over biscuits and chews etc. We have managed this behaviour by trading things with high value treats and by not leaving any of her toys/chews out. When she has finished playing with them they are put away. We were dealing with this quite well..... today she displayed another type of behaviour which worries me alot. Maggie was on the sofa with my daughter and I went over to pick something up. Maggie stood straight up and barked very loudly at me as if I should not be approaching. Her tail was wagging but she was definitely not happy about me getting nearer. I told my daughter to ignore her and I sat on the edge of the sofa arm ignoring her as well and did not make any eye contact. Within seconds she came over and started wanting to cuddle etc. I then got up and walked away. I told my daughter to leave the sofa and I went and sat down. Then told my daughter to approach without any eye contact, and again Maggie did exactly the same. Tail wagging but bark definitely said, I am not happy about you getting closer. My daughter sat next to me and again Maggie was happy and cuddling next to her. It seems it is the approach to the sofa or person she doesn't like. Is she now guarding anyone she is sitting with? How do we manage this behaviour? I am stressing about it as we leave Saudi on Saturday for 6 weeks and our helper will be looking after her! We will not be around for a while so am hoping that maybe this will be a positive thing as she won't have time for this behaviour to be embedded. What do you all think? So sorry for the eassy!
     
  2. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I wouldn't like to say why she's doing this because goodness knows what goes on in their heads at times. It might be a sofa thing or it might be a person thing. You could possibly get a feel for this based on whether she ever does this when you approach when she's alone on the sofa, or whether she does it when she and the other person are on the floor together and you approach.

    But what I'd do is the usual manage and avoid approach, and/or counterconditioning. You could simply ban her from sharing sofas - we did this because J would get snarky if he was lying on or next to you and you made to get up, or even just tried to uncross your legs. Or you could ask her to get off the sofa before you approach - you'd have to train for this really positively, i.e. lots of rewards and happy voices, so she doesn't feel pressured to get off. Or you could try, when she's on the sofa with someone, you take one step towards her, throw her a treat, and walk away. Then when she looks forward to you taking that one step forward, take two steps. Build up till you can hand her a treat, and then work on sitting down.

    You'd probably need to work on these with different people on the sofa and doing the approaching.

    If working on the counterconditioning, be very careful to take it very gradually so she is always completely relaxed. And be aware that she's still developing so some of her issues might not have fully developed yet, so you might see this sort of thing develop in different contexts, e.g. not liking the person sitting on the sofa with her to leave - which is why just banning her from the sofa when someone else is on it can be the easiest and safest response.

    Obviously you'll make your helper aware of the issue so she won't do anything risky (such as approach Maggie when she's on the sofa if she makes it clear she doesn't want her to). She might worsen slightly on your return as she might be stressed from your absence and be even more keen to control what 'her pack members' are doing.

    Sometimes we have to accept that our dogs are just a little deranged in the head and it's not so much about 'training away' the issue as managing, it, and focusing training on management (e.g. getting off a sofa or leaving a room when asked).
     
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  3. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    I agree it's really hard to know for sure what's going on here but I offer one fact: as a homechecker for numerous dog rescues if I'm ever called back for advice on a problem with the rehomed one, a good 50% of the time it's a sofa issue! And however many times I give the advice 'in the first few months especially don't let your dog on the sofa' nobody listens. I'm not being smug: I didn't even listen to myself with our latest young cocker because of course he came to us so sweet and sickly and confused and needy and I just knew he was always going to be an angel. Huh!

    We are now a month into the New Sofa Regime. If he gets up we always ask him to get down (for a treat) which he does and then when he tries to jump up again say 'No!' And gain. He eventually settles at our feet after a lot of resentful staring on his part. It is gradually working. But wearisome. And we did it to ourselves!
     
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  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Personally, I think it's fine for your dog to go on the sofa if there's no one else on it. J understands this rule, and it means I don't have to check he's not snuck up there when there's no one in the room. But that's just what has worked with him, and I never have a problem getting him off (as long as I ask nicely). Sometimes he even gets on the sofa when he hears OH approaching so he can be rewarded for getting off. He doesn't even wait to be asked!
     
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  5. Maggie Mul

    Maggie Mul Member Registered

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    Thanks for your replies. I think what worries me is that we leave in 2 days, so we have no time to do anything about this at the moment. This behaviour started yesterday, so is completely new. She seems very on edge since she finished her heat which was yesterday/today by my calculations. I know this sounds crazy but we got the suitcases out a couple of days ago and she barked the whole time we were taking them upstairs. I wonder if she knows something is going on? Can dogs pick up on things like that? We have many strategies in place, to manage Maggie's day to day behaviour. Our helper always says Maggie is an angel for her, but with these new behaviours, I am worried Maggie will be too much to cope with. My husband is also losing his patience with her as he says after 6 months things are not becoming any easier. :(
     
  6. Maggie Mul

    Maggie Mul Member Registered

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    I think when we get back I will see how she is and start to train a no sofa rule. At the moment I think she needs a clear cut message that she doesn't get to go on the sofa at all and doesn't get a say in who can and can't go on it!!
     
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  7. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Oh lordy yes. They are psychic. It's like they sneak a peek in your calendar and read what you've got planned, there's no hiding it!

    I've no experience of what dogs are like coming out of heat, but remember that she is not just still young, she's also heading into adolescence. No one ever says of their children 'We've had him 14 years and it's not getting any easier,' because they realise that they're likely to have a bumpy ride for the next few years.

    And remember that her behaviour is nothing to do with wanting to rule the roost, to take possession of your possessions and get her paws on the family finances. It's due to insecurity, to not being comfortable with the situation (for whatever reason - rest assured it makes sense to her). So yes, of course, don't let her determine who can sit where, but aim at reducing her anxiety, not trying to 'be more boss' (which is likely to go really badly).

    Dogs also don't understand that 'Don't get on the sofa when I'm there' means 'Don't get on the sofa when I'm not there' - so if you do find her on the sofa, don't 'tell her off' because in her eyes she's not broken any rules (so to my mind it's easier to teach 'Don't get on the sofa when I'm there' than 'Don't get on the sofa ever'). But again, this is just based on my experience with one dog.
     
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  8. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    If U do not deny her access to the ROOM where the sofa is, when no one is in the room - she'll most-likely be getting up on it.
    Not b/c she's evil or defiant or for any other reason than that it's COMFY to lie on, & having experienced it, she knows this; she's not "deliberately bad", but being able to get up with no one there to ask her to get off, she will. Dogs like comfort as much as anyone else. :shrug:

    So if U truly want a "no sofa for dogs" rule, U'll need to find a strategy that consistently bars her access to the sofa-room, at least when no human is in the room. That might be a gate, a closed door, a designated room for her only, or some other tactic.

    - terry

    .
     
  9. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    I don't think a no-sofa rule is what you're working toward: my mother's dog was always just getting off the sofa when anyone entered the room. BUT no one ever saw him jumping up there. The point is the sofa (and god-help-us!) the owner's bed is hot property. Top spec. The place where a dog if so inclined will decide to do a bit of empire building. And if it gets it wrong, it will start to make an issue out of it. Perfectly lovely dogs will suddenly show the whites of their eyes and give a warning growl when someone in the family or a guest comes in, puts out a hand to push them off and discovers that no dog (even theirs) is a socialist at heart! ;)
     
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  10. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    I would never, ever try to PUSH a dog off an elevated surface. It's bound to make ill-feeling in even the most tolerant dog, & can readily elicit a bite from less-forgiving dogs.
    I would lure, cue, call, bend over & pat my thigh whilst retreating from the dog & smiling... ANYTHING but shove them off! That's plain asking for trouble, IMO.

    Besides, it's rude. :shrug:

    Throwing a treat away from the sofa or bed is often effective, BTW.

    - terry

    .
     
  11. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    Well obviously- as you'll find I said in my original post. That's what I do and teach others. But common sense says dogs live (and I try to find them homes) in the real world. And since it isn't always possible to train your aged aunties, your children's friends and the visiting vicar exactly how to treat the dog, your only hope is to train the dog. And for the OP I think it's safest for her and her family too. End of advice.
     
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  12. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    I'm sorry, @merlina - I didn't think U were actually walking over & shoving a dog off the sofa bodily, :oops: --
    I wrote that post to caution anyone reading who might not realize that casually pushing a dog around, especially when they are at rest, is extremely rude & intrusive. It's a shortcut to being bitten, IME.

    Their habit of pushing, pulling, etc, while examining a dog is part & parcel of why veterinarians & groomers are so often disliked or mistrusted - we really need to prepare any animal for that level of manipulation with pre-conditioning, at home.
    Horses, too. ;)

    - terry

    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  13. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    Oh- don't get me started on Shetland ponies! :eek: I love 'em to bits, but...
     
  14. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    these Shetlands at Parlington Stud, UK, have been recall trained.



    the poster, MultiAnimalcrackers, is a 'Net-buddy & fellow trainer; her young dotter did some brilliant work with a neighbor's completely-untrained, impossible-to-catch ponies, in the field - teaching them to stick their own heads onto a halter, & be led willingly.

    This is her channel - highly recommended. Dogs, her donkey, ponies, horses, & i think cats are trained as well.

    MultiAnimalcrackers


    .
     
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  15. Maggie Mul

    Maggie Mul Member Registered

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    @merlina, @JudyN & @leashedForLife, thanks for you replies and advice. This afternoon, I have paid more attention to what Maggie is doing and it seems it is when she is already on the sofa with someone that she tends to bark and 'warn' people off. However, if we continue to approach without any eye contact and ignore her, when we sit down she wants to come and give us a cuddle. Then, when whoever she WAS sitting with gets off and comes back to the sofa she barks at them too, so it does not seem as though she has much loyalty!! It is just a case of not wanting anyone else to approach when she is sitting with someone. When she is on her own and we approach there is no issue whatsover. This afternoon, she has not been as bad. It will be interesting to see how she reacts tomorrow. We do and have always allowed her on the sofa. She is crated when we are not home and it is not often she chooses the sofa to snooze on, often preferring the tiled floor as it is a lot cooler. I suppose I am hoping that as it only started yesterday and with us being away for a while she will forget this behaviour as it will prevent her from doing it anymore and then hopefully she will forget it.......Wishful thinking???
     
  16. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Possibly... and she may very well be more stressed than usual as she knows 'something is up'. But she has shown that she has this tendency so I would still avoid the situation when you get home. So (assuming you don't want to go down the route of banning her from the sofa) when she's on the sofa with someone and you want to join them, call her off the sofa, reward her for getting off, sit on the sofa and then invite her back up. It's far better to avoid the situation completely in this way than to think, 'This time she wasn't quite so grumpy so I'll keep going and see if she improves.' If she isn't completely happy, then repeating it because she's 'not too bad' is more likely to make the behaviour persist and maybe escalate.
     
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  17. Maggie Mul

    Maggie Mul Member Registered

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    Great thanks @ judyN we will try this approach when we get back. She has been a little better today but we will definitely address this behaviour when we get back after the Summer! Thaks for everyone's input.[/QUOTE]
     
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