Food Aggressive Hound Dog

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Food Aggressive Hound Dog

This is a discussion on Food Aggressive Hound Dog within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi everybody! I'm Shawn and new to this site. I am hoping someone can help me with this. It's actually three problems-two are behavioral, one ...

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Old 02-04-2019, 12:44 PM
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Food Aggressive Hound Dog

Hi everybody! I'm Shawn and new to this site. I am hoping someone can help me with this. It's actually three problems-two are behavioral, one is a food question.

I have a Bluetick/Walker Coonhound mix named Max that I adopted from Secondhand Hounds about a year and a half ago. She is beautiful and I love her to death. A couple of problems, though. She is a counter surfer and once she gets that food, she doesn't always eat it right away, guarding it, growling and snapping at anybody who gets too close. Now I have been working with her, and 8/10 times i can usually get the food away from her with no problems, but if anybody else in my family gets near her, she gets crazy. How can I get her comfortable enough to stop this?

The second behavioral issue is her aggression towards teenage girls. She is fine with everybody else, even other dogs, and we even have cats that she leaves alone, but my daughter's friends have to run up the stairs while I hold her so they don't get bitten. What can I do?

The third question is about dog food. She is extremely picky. I have tried several different dry foods (I have a very limited budget), but she usually picks through it, eating what she wants and scattering the rest. Any suggestions on a type of food?

Thanks everyone who reads this!
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:50 PM
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RG and counter surfing-- prevention is key!

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Originally Posted by godoffear View Post
She is a counter surfer and once she gets that food, she doesn't always eat it right away, guarding it, growling and snapping at anybody who gets too close.
Now I have been working with her, and 8/10 times i can usually get the food away from her with no problems, but if anybody else in my family gets near her, she gets crazy. !
First off, welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you have a RG (resource guarder) dog. Resource guarding can lead to a lot of dangerous behvior as you are seeing.

You probably should do everything preventative to make sure your dog doesn't grab food from anywhere and then stash it to RG later. You can/should work on training the RG, but for now, I would be ultra preventative so that your dog will not have more opportunities to practice the dangerous or aggressive RG behavior.

As far as counter surfing, for me, I always make extra sure there is no food in reach of my dogs on any counter or stove or table. We push all food way back or simply put it up out of the dog's reach. In other words do not give your dog the opportunity to get to the food on the counters.

None of my dogs are counter surfers, but maybe bc we do tons and tons of fun training using food as rewards-- so sneaking food isn't a high priority for any of my dogs. Also, we have meal patterns well established, as well as after dinner chewies/bones routine, so again, sneaking food isn't priority.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:04 PM
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More tips to be preventative with the RG (resource guarding) that may help you guys:

Have you taught your dog the UP and DOWN cues yet?

I have taught the cue "UP!" and then food/praise reward. But also--super important, the cue "DOWN" and I have highly rewarded the "DOWN" cue and made that trick or lesson super fun. I practice Up and Down everywhere
and make it a fun game.

Like when we are walking, if I see a big mailbox, I say Up and then reward with food/praise. Then I say Down, and pay! (food/praise)
Or if I see a stone wall border, same. Or sink at a park bathroom. Or a box at work. Or a wood stool. Or basically anywhere I see something fun to use in training the up/down so that my dogs get very used to me asking for either an up or down and they know they will get rewarded for compliance.

That may help you to teach your dog that staying down is more valuable than getting up and reaching for stuff.

Practice training that often and if you see your dog jumping up near a counter, say "DOWN" in a polite way asap-- and then reward heavily when your dog has all feet back on floor.

Dogs generally will repeat what is rewarding to them, right?
Right now counter surfing is rewarding to your dog---so rewarding that your dog feels the need to RG the food treasures she's found on the counter. So if you repeatedly reward the "Down" AND keep ALL food out of reach, you will really help your dog to not practice resource guarding from the counter treasures.

Last edited by AthenaLove; 02-04-2019 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:30 PM
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Was Max aggressive to anyone in the beginning? Did the aggression to the girls start recently?

I like to figure out the root of the problem and then figure out a solution, esp when dealing with aggressive behavior which can be dangerous. And can get out of hand very quickly!

Remember, most dog aggression stems from some type of stress, fear, anxiety, worry, discomfort or pain.
,
You say Max has aggression issues with the teenage girls. Can you figure out or think back to figure out when it started or what was going on when Max began to start displaying aggressive behaviors to the girls?

Like for example, were the girls messing with Max while she was eating a bone or meal? Or did they try to hug her often? Or get up in her face to kiss her? Or dress her up? Or annoy her when she was trying to rest perhaps? I am not saying these things have happened, but these are some of the things young people like to do to dogs and some dogs simply don't appreciate these things. Or they tolerate them for awhile...until one day they have had enough and start to get aggressive to get their point across to leave them alone.

Study up on dog body language, then teach your girls (and entire family!!) to understand and respect your dog's signs of stress or discomfort.

Please take extreme caution when having the girls come over to visit.
If your dog has gotten to the point of using aggressive behavior now, then your dog could deliver a bite if pushed far enough.

I would NOT hold your dog back at all!!!! Instead, separate and secure your dog BEFORE the girls come over. Train Max to loooove a crate or baby gated room, etc and when girls are coming over, have Max go to her special area and give her a special bone or chewie to work on. Or you go play with her for a few moments with her favorite toy. Or practice Max's tricks with yummy treats in her special area while the girls are visiting.

You want Max to start having a positive emotional response when teenage girls are coming to your home. And you want everyone to be safe. These things can be a beginning step to changing Max's emotional response.

Sounds like a lot is going on with Max. Make sure to exercise Max often--both body and mind--- and train her with fun, gentle, humane positive reinforcement to keep her less stressed.

Thanks for wanting to help your dog!!!

Last edited by AthenaLove; 02-04-2019 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:33 AM
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Yes I would like to add that the person that usually feeds the dog, is the person the dog will more likely give food back to in regard to R.G. This is becos there's a trust built that you give & take away. If other people who dont usually feed your dog, try to take away food, the dog will see this person as only a taker not a giver & as that trust isnt built, will be much less likely to give it over. R.G usually stems from a fear of not having enough food, my puppy was a tiny runt & very under weight when I got her, clearly did not get her share of her mummies milk- & she hasnt forgotten. I make sure she always has enough food water & milk. ☺️ Its also wild instinct to hoard for winter when food can become scarce, & my dog stashs dog biccys places too ha ha
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:40 PM
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Also, some dogs find humans that move quickly & squeal etc or even just high energy frightening & it hurts their ears, running up the stairs is likely to ignite prey drive- chase, so get the girls to walk up the stairs & be calm & quiet when around her. Look at ways to SAFELY build positive associations with them. Yes, thru a baby gate would be safer at first. Dont let the girls wave, shake or wiggle their hands or feet near her. Slow movements. Gentle reasuring talking to her & praise- I say things like- What a good little baby you are- such good girl arent you- love you baby! in a cooing tone- & she loves it, rolls on her back for tummy rubs & gives me kisses on my face when I cuddle her. That is a goal that has a long road of trust built up, but just keep working on it very slowly. Look for a wagging tail at first. Dont let them closer if she's stiff & starey or showing teeth. If they are excited, get them to shut the door without her in there first, or keep her inside if they are running, jumping, trampolining, doing cartwheels, etc any of these things outside that could either frighten her or ignite prey drive.

Last edited by [email protected]; 02-08-2019 at 03:42 PM.
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