Adopted Husky Resource Guarding

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Adopted Husky Resource Guarding

This is a discussion on Adopted Husky Resource Guarding within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I adopted my oldest dog 6 years ago and we’ve been so blessed. He’s a lab mix weighing about 85lbs. A month ago we decided ...

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Old 09-24-2018, 02:30 PM
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Adopted Husky Resource Guarding

I adopted my oldest dog 6 years ago and we’ve been so blessed. He’s a lab mix weighing about 85lbs. A month ago we decided to adopt our second dog June. She’s approx. 2 year old husky. We met with June several times with Smokey and they had no issues, and what’s weird.. if we are out on a leash or at the park or in the car there’s absolutely no issues. The moment we get inside the house she’s a different dog.
She lays under the coffee table or just in the floor and shows her teeth to Smokey if he walks her direction.. We have taken up all toys and bones thinking she was just guarding the possessions and her behavior improved but she still won’t let him walk near her.. we aren’t sure what to make of it., they we get home from work they are excited and jumping all over each other like best friends.. if they are working on training (which both have been though 9 weeks and are AKC registered Canine Good Cirizens) they are fine, she will let them be inches from one another.. but if we are just laying around and Smokey walks in the living room she snaps at him, guards the space and won’t let him pass..

Please help.
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Old 09-27-2018, 06:15 PM
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Try fun impulse control games with both dogs together

Very sorry to hear about your doggie stress issues! We all just want our dogs to get along, right???

Hmmmm. This sounds a bit like my house, but not as drastic. Our shy fearful Gracie has been with us for about 3 years and then we just brought Puma pup in a few months ago. Gracie does not appreciate her space invaded or her body touched by other dogs. Not a resource guarding issue, but rather a nervous issue.

In the beginning if Puma came even close to touching her or being next to her Gracie would growl or show teeth to baby Puma, who honestly just wants to be friends and play with Gracie. Or if Puma is annoying the cats or stealing my clothes the fun police or Sheriff Gracie will try to "manage" the situation. Sigh. Lots of management to make sure all is ok with those two, plus an older chihuahua and 2 cats. Full house!

So what we do is lots and lots of counterconditioning and impulse control activities with Gracie and Puma pup so that they both learn not to be so reactive towards each other. For example, all over the house, different rooms, areas, we call our dogs and ask them to sit. The we give them small bites of yummy food, one at a time, to each dog.

This fun routine allows them to learn to be right next to each other physically--- helping to ease the "body closeness" discomfort. Also teaches them impulse control, patience, and fairness. They learn that each one of them is going to get the goodies and not have to worry about RG the food (or area or human's attention)

Also since Puma tends to RG still at times esp her kitchen blanket area, I ask my dogs to come to that area, and again we practice the same method.

Always fun, and super rewarding with yummiest food (steak, chicken, livers, cheese etc) is how we do it!! They love to do the impulse control games.

Maybe you could do this with your two dogs? Do fun, highly food rewarding impulse control games with both dogs in the areas that are being resource guarded or are trouble spots in your home.

Also, maybe for now block off trouble spots like under the table so that your Husky does not keep practicing the RG behavior while you work on it. The more rehearsed it is, the more the RG behavior will cement in their brain. Prevent it from being practiced.

More tips coming soon....hope this helps!
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Old 09-27-2018, 06:44 PM
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Talk them down with a happy voice...

Here's something else we do with our dogs. Honestly sometimes even now it takes me a lot of quick thinking to use this "newer" positive method rather than the old method that is so damn ingrained into my head of just yelling at them to friggin cut it out! But it works somehow to change the situation.

Yelling at them or verbally correcting them strongly sorta just reinforces to one of the dogs that yup, they are right, there is something to be worried about, hence the growling, lunging, barking, showing teeth stuff.

So, we use our happy, light hearted, silly voices a lot to stop the aggressive behaviors. And we do distractions and create space/distance to interrupt the aggressive displays so that it is not being rehearsed over and over again.

So if Sheriff Gracie is growling at Puma for being an annoying pup, we say nicely "Heyyyyy Gracie whaaaat? We don't have to do that. Puma is just trying to play with Sparky. But hey, let's go to the other room and grab a treat!"

Then we baby gate the playful dogs for a bit to romp and give Gracie a bone or treat for following us out of the room. So no punishment, but rather interrupt the unwanted behavior and turn it into a positive association. It is working for us. Gracie still gets grumpy with Puma but less and less. And now they can be a lot closer physically without Gracie losing her mind! Heck, all three were snoozing on the bed together the other day---HUGE accomplishment for Gracie. Before she woulda freaked out if Puma was that close to her on the bed.

Also, I often say to Gracie when she is trying to be grumpy to Puma, "Hey, Gracie, I've got this! No need to growl. We're ok." I do this is an a nice, compassionate way, letting her know that I understand she is creeped out and about to tweak, but that we are A-Ok.

If I have a treat nearby I may back up with a treat, too. Distracts her from the negative behavior that she was engaging in at the moment. And again, now seeing Puma do something triggering gets Gracie a treat so the message to Gracie is: Puma stress=treat. Stops the aggression quickly most always!

And if Gracie still can't relax, probably because of stress build up/stacking from earlier in the day (or week), I separate the dogs and give them each a nice chewie to relieve their stress.

I think our first trained response is always to loudly tell our dogs to CUT IT OUT! But sometimes I have found being silly, or gentle, or nice, can stop the milder aggressive displays. Of course if they are acting dangerous at the moment, this is not the time to try this method.
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Old 09-27-2018, 06:48 PM
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Is stress stacking adding to the mix?

You may want to read my Stress Stacking I and II threads I wrote here on this forum to see if this is contributing to your dogs grumpiness. I definitively find Gracie is much less tolerant of Puma puppy when Gracie is over stressed by other events such as stormy weather, change in schedule, not enough massages by me, etc.

Think hard about possible stress stacking with regards to your dog's aggressive moments. Is stress stacking contributing to the negative behaviors
that you are seeing at times between your dogs?

Hope some of this helps you guys. Resource guarding and aggression sucks---and can be so very stressful for everyone. But I am betting your situation will get much better over time if you try some new creative ideas.

Keep us updated on your progress, ok?
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Old 09-27-2018, 07:36 PM
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Ahhh, and I shoulda mentioned, if it looks like it is getting too out of hand or dangerous for any of you humans or the dogs, maybe call in a positive reinforcement based behaviorist for an assessment.
The behaviorist could see the dogs in action and then offer you some more suggestions.

We can offer suggestions here on this forum of course, but if it gets too much, then call in a pro!

Probably this is obvious, but figured it was worth sayin', just in case.
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