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Hello!

He is a new pup. Have had him 2 weeks. We don't know his past at all, really. He is so sweet and loving, and always kind to my boyfriend (we all live together!). He is 3 years old, a beagle mix, about 14 pounds.

But...we have noticed, if Squishy (pup!) is laying on our bed (he doesn't sleep in the bed, hangs with me there sometimes if I am reading, laptop, etc) and my boyfriend tries to move something, or brushes dog hair off the bed, Squishy chomps at him! It is not even really a snap, he chomps his mouth and makes a chomping sound. My boyfriend can be sitting in bed as well, and if he brushes or moves something, Squishy will chomp still.

At first, we could not tell if he was playing and this was his way of playing, but it seems to me that he is not playing, by his body language. He is hunched, kind of slinking and has his tail lowered.

Most recently when he did it, I firmly told him no, and he put his head down, then I took him off the bed. He took himself to his crate all by himself, which is his safe space, so I feel he knew what he did was wrong and that is why he retreated there.

Any advice on what could be going on, or how to tackle this issue? He most certainly looks to me as the pack leader, so I am sure that's a tie in somewhere.
 

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You may be seeing the start of something called resource guarding, where either the bed or possibly you are the resource.

We have some resources on it here Resource Guarding, causes, prevention and modification

I think the easiest way to address it would be management - just don't let him on the bed, instead have a super comfy place next to the bed where Squishy can have it to himself and not be asked to move.

If you do need to move him from the bed (or sofa, or a sunny spot on the floor because he is in the way) it is far less confrontational to lure him with something lovely like a piece of roast chicken or frankfurter sausage. And please don't ”firmly tell him no” - to a dog, if he has something, by definition it becomes his, and you doing this is confusing. He won't know what the ”no” refers to. Going to his crate as his safe space was more likely to be getting away from the human that suddenly changed, rather than knowing he had done wrong. In fact, dogs don't experience guilt or remorse, the part of the brain that feels that hasn't developed in dogs. What dogs feel is safe/not safe, so taking himself off is to get away from the humans who (a) threatened his comfortable place and (b) suddenly got cross for reasons he doesn't comprehend. He was perfectly fine lying on the bed, then your boyfriend threatened his comfort, then you (who had been fine up to that point) suddenly became cross and confrontational.

And if I may, can I just add that the dominance, pack leadership theory has been thoroughly disproven and widely discredited, even by the person who developed it. It was based on flawed conclusions drawn from poorly observed evidence. The wolf pack was not a real pack, it's a group of individuals thrown together and the situation (captivity rather than wild) skewed the data as their behaviour was not natural. And dogs are not wolves anyway, any more than we are chimpanzees - in both cases there was a shared ancestor but the species evolved in different directions. That's why we have humans AND apes, wolves AND dogs.

This article explains it quite well. Debunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal

Nobody disagrees with boundaries and good manners, but the these can be established through training, building a mutually respectful relationship and without forcing submission from your dog. We certainly do not advocate aversive tools and behaviours.

If you think about leadership in your own life, the leaders (teachers , co-workers) that you respect earn that respect and inspire followership, they don't command or force it through wielding power 'just because they can'.
 

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I would start with "Look at you" training. This I feel is always a good thing to teach to begin with but there may be something in his past that makes him feel the swiping motions are dangerous, maybe he thinks he'll hurt or hit him. But look at you allows the dog to have a safe spot with you, where he can look at you for comfort in uncomfortable or stressful situations. I'm sure there's youtube videos that may be better at explaining look at you and how to teach this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You may be seeing the start of something called resource guarding, where either the bed or possibly you are the resource.

We have some resources on it here Resource Guarding, causes, prevention and modification

I think the easiest way to address it would be management - just don't let him on the bed, instead have a super comfy place next to the bed where Squishy can have it to himself and not be asked to move.

If you do need to move him from the bed (or sofa, or a sunny spot on the floor because he is in the way) it is far less confrontational to lure him with something lovely like a piece of roast chicken or frankfurter sausage. And please don't ”firmly tell him no” - to a dog, if he has something, by definition it becomes his, and you doing this is confusing. He won't know what the ”no” refers to. Going to his crate as his safe space was more likely to be getting away from the human that suddenly changed, rather than knowing he had done wrong. In fact, dogs don't experience guilt or remorse, the part of the brain that feels that hasn't developed in dogs. What dogs feel is safe/not safe, so taking himself off is to get away from the humans who (a) threatened his comfortable place and (b) suddenly got cross for reasons he doesn't comprehend. He was perfectly fine lying on the bed, then your boyfriend threatened his comfort, then you (who had been fine up to that point) suddenly became cross and confrontational.

And if I may, can I just add that the dominance, pack leadership theory has been thoroughly disproven and widely discredited, even by the person who developed it. It was based on flawed conclusions drawn from poorly observed evidence. The wolf pack was not a real pack, it's a group of individuals thrown together and the situation (captivity rather than wild) skewed the data as their behaviour was not natural. And dogs are not wolves anyway, any more than we are chimpanzees - in both cases there was a shared ancestor but the species evolved in different directions. That's why we have humans AND apes, wolves AND dogs.

This article explains it quite well. Debunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal

Nobody disagrees with boundaries and good manners, but the these can be established through training, building a mutually respectful relationship and without forcing submission from your dog. We certainly do not advocate aversive tools and behaviours.

If you think about leadership in your own life, the leaders (teachers , co-workers) that you respect earn that respect and inspire followership, they don't command or force it through wielding power 'just because they can'.
the issue isn’t getting him off the bed, you can pick him up easily off the bed, anyone can, it’s for some reason if you make a movement on the bed, such as brushing his hair off. It’s truly only that, which is so strange. Which leads me to think that perhaps something with movement happened in his prior life & it’s scaring him. He doesn’t care if someone comes and sits on the bed either, like I said it happens if he brushes his hair off the bed. As in maybe the sound of the bed or hand motion is scaring him
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would start with "Look at you" training. This I feel is always a good thing to teach to begin with but there may be something in his past that makes him feel the swiping motions are dangerous, maybe he thinks he'll hurt or hit him. But look at you allows the dog to have a safe spot with you, where he can look at you for comfort in uncomfortable or stressful situations. I'm sure there's youtube videos that may be better at explaining look at you and how to teach this.
Thanks! That sounds good. We have been working on this while outside on walks, I make a clicking noise with my mouth and he will look at me and i reward with a treat. I’ll search more about that, thank you. I agree, it seems something in his past must have made him scared of swiping motions - because anyone can take him off the bed, even while he is sleeping, he could care less, but the problem is the swiping!
 
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