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Hi, I am posting this about my dog Jethro who I adopted 2 years ago. He is a very sweet dog and a Full bred Black and Tan Coonhound and is of course nosey especially with food. We have been working on his counter surfing and food stealing with a spray water bottle and it seemed to be working.

Yesterday I left a cup of turkey soup on the counter and he seemed fixated on it. When I went to put it away he bit me. I was shocked and pretty scared as he has never done this before and and his growl was fierce. Very out of character.

If I lived alone I would bring him to boot camp and work with him but I care for and live with my 90 year old mother who he has been stealing food from when he can. When I am here I keep him out of the room but she forgets when she is alone or with someone else. I cannot take the chance that he would snap at her and will not be able to keep him.

I cannot bear to think that he would be put down as I do not think he is a lost cause. I have made an appointment for the vet and will have him checked for any illness but still I cannot keep him. I want him to have a good home where he will be active and with those who can correct and deal with this aggression.

I have contacted the Adoption Agency where I got him and they won't help me! In the contract, it says that the dog must be returned to them if you can't keep them. Unfortunately, they are not willing. I don't know what to do. Jethro does not deserve to be put down!

Can anyone help? Desparate and Sad!
 

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Until you figure out a more permanent solution, I'd like to recommend that you study the resources on this thread:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/resource-guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/

My own very sweet, very happy-go-lucky, very mellow senior dog will also resource guard high-value treats, and we just leave him alone with them. One time, my teenage son was walking him and he came across the head of a deceased animal (raccoon or opossum, I guess). My son tried to take it from him and he bit my son's arm. It was a superficial bite and has never happened again.

Obviously, the main concern is that your elderly mother might inadvertently get bitten if there's food around. Are you able to keep your dog in a separate room or a crate when you're not around to supervise?
 
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