Attention seeking behavior

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Attention seeking behavior

This is a discussion on Attention seeking behavior within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi everyone, Any advice on how to deal with attention seeking resource guarding? We leave Maya in the house when we're at work (around 4-5 ...

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Old 01-13-2018, 06:59 AM
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Attention seeking behavior

Hi everyone,

Any advice on how to deal with attention seeking resource guarding?

We leave Maya in the house when we're at work (around 4-5 hours per day maximum) and she is good as gold. She almost never takes or chews anything even though she has access to the bread for example. When I get home I take her for a walk straight away, feed her, play with her, work on training a bit and generally cuddle and spend time with her. However, when I have to do other things, such as cook dinner, or when me and my partner eat together or generally do things that don't involve her, the naughtiness begins!

She takes things, starting with socks generally, which we don't care if she takes and builds up until she finds something that we don't want her to have. It can literally be anything, like, a photo in a frame for example, not just things that she might want to chew or play with. When she takes something she waits upstairs until we notice and will not give up the item. If it's something that she shouldn't have (something dangerous for example) we bribe her to drop it with treats. When she has the item she growls and turns her head away and is very tense and stressed. It isn't a game where she wants us to chase her. We never shout or get annoyed and I would say that she is getting better at 'giving up' the things, but I'd like to know if people think that we're dealing with this the right way by bribing her with treats?
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:53 AM
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Lightbulb I'd confine her to one area, tether, or crate her.

.

She has the whole house to roam while U're at work, yes? -- So confining her to a single puppy-proofed room, or even a small area, while U're busy [cook, clean, dine, etc], is no great hardship for the dog.

I'd control her access -
when U're home, either she's in the same room, under Ur eyes, or she's tethered [or even crated] so that she cannot roam or snitch anything.

Tethers as Mgmt or training tools:
Tethered to Success | Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

U could try her on a leash while dining -- having her practice polite manners while U eat will come in handy, if U want to eat at a dog-friendly cafe' or have a picnic with her along, in the future.
Have her lie beside U on a bath-mat or any other cushioning surface, to give her BOUNDARIES; ask her to lie down, & then step on her leash, so that she can't get up. Provide a chewy that will last for some while, so she's occupied & doesn't wait, drooling, to leap up & catch falling food-bits B4 they hit the floor.
A cow-hoof, antler, or other hard edible chewy is a good choice; if she's not interested, rub a tiny smudge of unsalted butter on it, to get her nose going.

Periodically reward her for lying there patiently, & drop a small tidbit from a 2 or 3-oz bowl of bits just for her [made ahead]: chkn-brst, lean beef, any protein in pea-sized pieces. Praise her warmly & quietly, without her NAME -
as that might make her jump up in reflex; drop the food right under her nose, so she can easily reach it, & it doesn't roll away from her.

I take all my clients to outdoor cafes to teach manners around food - the 1st time, i handle the dog so they can see what works, as we're in public, & I don't want to risk the dog lurching up & tripping passerby, nabbing food from a passing waitron, etc. The next time, the owner handles the dog, it's not a novel event anymore, the dog has a good idea of how they're expected to behave, & things generally go very, very well.

- terry

.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
.

She has the whole house to roam while U're at work, yes? -- So confining her to a single puppy-proofed room, or even a small area, while U're busy [cook, clean, dine, etc], is no great hardship for the dog.

I'd control her access -
when U're home, either she's in the same room, under Ur eyes, or she's tethered [or even crated] so that she cannot roam or snitch anything.

Tethers as Mgmt or training tools:
Tethered to Success | Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

U could try her on a leash while dining -- having her practice polite manners while U eat will come in handy, if U want to eat at a dog-friendly cafe' or have a picnic with her along, in the future.
Have her lie beside U on a bath-mat or any other cushioning surface, to give her BOUNDARIES; ask her to lie down, & then step on her leash, so that she can't get up. Provide a chewy that will last for some while, so she's occupied & doesn't wait, drooling, to leap up & catch falling food-bits B4 they hit the floor.
A cow-hoof, antler, or other hard edible chewy is a good choice; if she's not interested, rub a tiny smudge of unsalted butter on it, to get her nose going.

Periodically reward her for lying there patiently, & drop a small tidbit from a 2 or 3-oz bowl of bits just for her [made ahead]: chkn-brst, lean beef, any protein in pea-sized pieces. Praise her warmly & quietly, without her NAME -
as that might make her jump up in reflex; drop the food right under her nose, so she can easily reach it, & it doesn't roll away from her.

I take all my clients to outdoor cafes to teach manners around food - the 1st time, i handle the dog so they can see what works, as we're in public, & I don't want to risk the dog lurching up & tripping passerby, nabbing food from a passing waitron, etc. The next time, the owner handles the dog, it's not a novel event anymore, the dog has a good idea of how they're expected to behave, & things generally go very, very well.

- terry

.
Thanks for the great advice Terry. This is pretty much how we've resorted to dealing with things at meal times. Though I think we need to be a bit more structured as you've suggested. She has her cushion and sits on it while we eat. We restrict access to the rest of the house too. Though sometimes, especially if there are visitors, she manages to get hold of something in the room. In fact, mealtimes are one of the least troublesome times. We've worked out that she is likely to act up at these moments so we're ready.

It's more when we're in the house and have to circulate. When we're between tasks so to speak. For example, today, we just got back from her walk, she had finished her food and I was closing the shutters, so literally 5 minutes after finishing her food and after plenty of attention and exercise, when she grabbed a shoe. If it had been mine I would have probably ignored her but it was my sister-in-laws and a soft leather boot... So hard to distinguish between food and not food for Maya! Even though she isn't destructive she will eat certain soft leather items thinking they're chews. It took an hour of coaxing to get her to drop it. She eventually did as I resorted to taking her outside on her leash and into the shed to get some onions and she dropped it by accident pushing through the door... Not exactly a great training success!

I really felt like we were getting there with this issue but she's taken three shoes today. I'm not sure that we can hide all the shoes in the house... Plus, She isn't reliable enough to be off her lead yet, so I really don't want to resort to crating her and cooping her up in the house as when we're at work she never steals anything. I once even accidentally left a pizza on the table and it was untouched when I got home.

I should also clarify that she isn't a puppy, she's a four year old rescue that we've had for two months and was entirely untrained (apart from potty) when we got her. I'm pretty sure she wasn't even a 'pet' in her last life so I think she is probably on attention overload now and can't get enough. We are looking into consulting a behavioralist but don't have the money at the moment. I would also love to start agility training with her but first will need to work on her social skills!

Any advice or insights into this would be greatly appreciated

Last edited by mayamoo; 01-13-2018 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:43 PM
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Question Do U have small children?

.

I don't understand -- why is it so difficult to put shoes / boots / gloves / belts / other leather items, where she can't grab them?
If U have little kids, there are kid-friendly storage options that will keep the dog out of "stuff".

Does Ur house or apt lack closets? - How about hassocks that double as storage bins, blanket chests, a mud room with an overhead shelf for hats, scarves, etc, hooks to hang up items, & so on?

A used bureau or free-standing wardrobe is not hard to find, on CraigsList, eBay, or FREEcycle - one drawer can be designated for belts & gloves, another for hats & scarves. // A lockable wardrobe keeps the dog out, & provides plenty of storage for boots & shoes, including visitors' boots & shoes.
Park it near the entry or in the mudroom, & doff shoes for slippers each time U enter the house - this saves a lot of cleaning, too, as floors don't get dirty as quickly, & carpets won't build up a load of microdebris & develop discolored travel paths.

Open shelves or cubbies are useless when U have a dog who takes items to destroy, or just to provoke - WHY the dog takes them doesn't matter, the key thing is that the dog is taking items of value & causing upset in the household; preventing the dog from getting to these things is far-easier than getting them back, undamaged.

Closet organizers of all kinds can be had for a song at resale shops - like GoodWill; or look at charity shops in hospitals, yard sales, church white-elephant sales, or on http://www.Overstock.com
Old suitcases with hard sides are wonderful storage - many come with interior shelves, snap-close compartments, etc, & the latches are quite impossible for dogs to open.

- terry

.
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Old 01-14-2018, 03:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
.

I don't understand -- why is it so difficult to put shoes / boots / gloves / belts / other leather items, where she can't grab them?
If U have little kids, there are kid-friendly storage options that will keep the dog out of "stuff".

Does Ur house or apt lack closets? - How about hassocks that double as storage bins, blanket chests, a mud room with an overhead shelf for hats, scarves, etc, hooks to hang up items, & so on?

A used bureau or free-standing wardrobe is not hard to find, on CraigsList, eBay, or FREEcycle - one drawer can be designated for belts & gloves, another for hats & scarves. // A lockable wardrobe keeps the dog out, & provides plenty of storage for boots & shoes, including visitors' boots & shoes.
Park it near the entry or in the mudroom, & doff shoes for slippers each time U enter the house - this saves a lot of cleaning, too, as floors don't get dirty as quickly, & carpets won't build up a load of microdebris & develop discolored travel paths.

Open shelves or cubbies are useless when U have a dog who takes items to destroy, or just to provoke - WHY the dog takes them doesn't matter, the key thing is that the dog is taking items of value & causing upset in the household; preventing the dog from getting to these things is far-easier than getting them back, undamaged.

Closet organizers of all kinds can be had for a song at resale shops - like GoodWill; or look at charity shops in hospitals, yard sales, church white-elephant sales, or on http://www.Overstock.com
Old suitcases with hard sides are wonderful storage - many come with interior shelves, snap-close compartments, etc, & the latches are quite impossible for dogs to open.

- terry

.
Things our dog has taken whilst we are present: ANY clothing item, shoe, belt, bag or any accessory she can. Photo frames, lamps, RUGS, cups, phones, any bit of paper she can, various ornaments, plant pots, cushions, books, chargers and ANYTHING she can reach.

Things our dog has taken whilst we are not present: Nothing.

What you are suggesting is that we lock all of our possessions in cupboards or buy tall furniture for our entire house. She's a big dog. So basically that we re-furnish our entire house to solve this problem. Maybe if we were rich this would be an easy solution but to me it seems obvious that it is important to know why she is doing this, seeing as she is only doing it when we're around.

To me it seems important to find out if we might be doing something to provoke this or if we could be doing more to put her at ease. Imagine if we Maya-proof our entire house, that wouldn't solve the problem if we took her to visit friends or family. Would that not mean that she'd grab something the first chance she got and make her less likely to give it back?

Also, it's important to note that she isn't doing this ALL the time. Some days not at all and some days more than others. I believe that this will lessen with time as she relaxes and understands how to behave in the house. What I was really looking to find out is if anyone else has had the same issue, how they dealt with it and some ideas of how to get a reluctant or tense dog to drop something. If we remove all temptation from the house would it not be the case that she would never learn to leave things or differentiate between her toys and our possessions?

We would really prefer to help her learn to relax rather than blockade everything we own in cupboards or shut her in a room or crate.
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:38 PM
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Lightbulb No, U can't closet everything - but expensive & hazardous stuff, yes.

.

I have no idea what could trigger it, as i'm not there when it happens.
Maybe a log would help? - note time, day, & what events PRECEDED her snatching X.

I'd say the odds of determining "why" are not high, but heck, U can always try.

I'd still say manage / prevent as much as possible; leaving a $120 pair of dress boots out to be gnawed would B very costly, & dangerous items should of course be off-limits to the dog [batteries, magnets, cleaning chemicals, OTC & Rx meds, kitchen waste - toothpicks, plastic wrap, string from a roast... POCKET CHANGE, pennies are now solid zinc, & lethal].

Some of the emotional states that can trigger this osrt of behavior include:
- attn-seeking [play]
- anxiety, overarousal, frustration, boredom, something IMPENDING that she can't wait for / intense anticipation.

there are others, too - U said this defo isn't play, so perhaps one of those in the list, above?

- terry

.
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:35 AM
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Thanks again for your response Terry

We definitely have had to hide a lot of stuff away but in the last two days she's only taken a bit of paper!

I like the idea of noting down when she does it just encase we see a pattern. Plus we are in the planning stages of building a secure clothes and shoe storage area, so that should help. I guess in the meantime we'll just keep bribing her if she takes something and hope that it decreases over time as she gets more relaxed.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:44 PM
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My dog grabs and eats all kinds of stuff in public places or anywhere outside. Rarely at home. I think it's anxiety or boredom, or just to drive me crazy lol. He has awful separation anxiety so I can't leave him home too much. At home with me if I let him stay where I am in the bed or couch with me or wherever I am he's fine. If he's locked away from me he starts chewing things.
Just my observations.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:50 PM
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Im curious as to what breed and what is does when it has something in its mouth? Does it prance around showing off the treasure it hunted, caught, killed, dismembered, ate. Ie. Is there a truncated set of behaviours?
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:46 PM
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My dog has never caught or killed anything live thankfully. If he steals a toy or ball in a dog park or field, it's usually an effort to get other dogs to play with him or because he loves anything that squeaks. He races around triumphantly head high or bowed slightly showing off squeaking madly trying to get other dogs to chase him and doing dog play gestures like play bows. If a dogs acts intent on the toy he'll drop it or throw it at them.

When it's eating forbidden objects in the park or leashed he'll grab them fast and start eating or just try to swallow them whole. If I say leave it or drop it sometimes he'll spit out part or try to run off if loose then I have to grab him, pry his mouth open and extract whatever it is yuck.
DNA testing said he's 25 percent boxer, 25 percent Chow Chow, 25 percent gsd and herding shepherd breeds, 12.5 percent lab and 12.5 percent American Staffordshire terrier.
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