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Quick question for you guys.
My catahoula did a big no no tonight. He growled at my boyfriend while he was chewing his bone when my boyfriend walked by. It wasn't a soft grow either I took the bone away and had my boyfriend give it back to him and he was fine but ended up growing again. So I took the bone away from him completely.
This is way way way way out of line of anything I'd expect from this dog. He will normally bring us his bones and try and play with us. It was so bad I was really thinking he might bite him. Anything I can do to prevent this behavior and stop it before it gets bad. It was only with that one particular bone.

-No one said anything about giving the dog away so please don't jump to conclusions and assume.
 

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Not sure about Catahoula Hounds but at 2 years he is closing in on being an adult if not already. If he was a pup or adolescent I know what I might do regarding the posturing over the right of ownership display he exhibited with your BF.

You mentioned a couple things in your post which sound great and should work in your favor. Your expectations " This is way way way way out of line of anything I'd expect from this dog." is good to hear and even more so is your comment " I took the bone away". Seems to me, you have no problems establishing boundaries and limitations for your hound and your dog views you in a certain light of respect which doesn't necessarily carry over to others, which isn't a bad thing but for a weak handler coupled with a dog testing it's limits and boundaries as it matures, it can become a nightmare especially when it comes to any type of resource guarding.

I've dealt with a dog or two which had some issues in this area and I used my position to convey a message to the dog that this type of behavior is just not acceptable. First, the moment I saw this behavior occur I took immediate action similar to what you did and sent the message that this kind of behavior won't be tolerated. After that, I took away many of the dog's privileges and upped the dog's obedience as well as requiring the dog to earn most anything and everything. In many ways it aligns with NILIF training as it bolsters your position as the one who controls all resources as in everything. You can't make a dog like other dogs or humans but you can create a relationship where your dog heeds your wishes by reestablishing boundaries, limitations and rules. FWIW, I can take anything from my dog's jaws whether it be a raw meaty bone or other high value edibles/toys etc. but I wouldn't want others to do the same but most likely could if I was present. Sounds like you have the same situation.

After revisiting additional obedience and NILIF training, I might start to test your dog in a similar situation which created the incident you described. You most likely know your dog's postures, signals and subtle signs of increasing tension and while proofing your dog ( while the dog is eating ) with your BF present, the slightest indication should be corrected instantly by you. The dog stays chill, then I might throw a premium piece of food into his bowl as his reward with some verbal message from you signifying the proper behavior has been achieved. I'd close the proximity with both you and your BF as time goes by, nearer to his food bowl or bone chewing sessions but not to where it's crowding the dog and with an attitude by both you as nonchalant and going about your business.

Seems to me, from the way you described the situation, your relationship with your dog is mutually trusting and your dog certainly doesn't view you as any type of competition or reason to be insecure around its food and bones but other people including your BF is a different story. Use your relationship and position you have earned to tighten up the boundaries your dog might be testing as he is coming into full adulthood.
 

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He's resource guarding, many dogs do it. But taking the bone away just reinforces his need to guard it. The link Gilliandi gave you should help.
 

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He's resource guarding, many dogs do it. But taking the bone away just reinforces his need to guard it. The link Gilliandi gave you should help.
Exactly!

OP, he was worried about you taking it... and then you did.

Not a great lesson for him. Tells him he was right to worry and he may be quicker to growl next time.

Also, a growl isn't "bad" it's communication, and likely he had presented other signs of stress that were missed before the growl. I like a dog that growls, it's a warning. Dogs who are punished for growling often skip the growl next time and just go for the bite. So you know, removing the bone the way you did can be considered punishing to the dog, and damages your relationship/trust.

I recommend watching these videos:

Signs of stress:

Part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bg_gGguwzg

Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4N2XvnY7Mo
 
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I respectfully disagree with the idea that taking the bone away reinforces the guarding. The dog as described is exhibiting selective resource guarding dependent on the human and this is significant. It's not an across the board case of RG and needs to be treated as such. The dog is being selective in it's posturing and behavior as the handler did not suggest this is happening to her. Allowing the dog to maintain possession of a guarded item accompanied with the possessive behavior is what reinforces the behavior, essentially the dog won through its actions of growling and being possessive. Imagine using the same approach of letting the dog have the guarded item such as a ball, I guess a game of fetch would only last one for one throw, game over.

The previously included link to the info describing RG includes this comment "...and/OR it will teach him that he needs to protect the object from you, as he sees you as a thief." Hmmmmm..."sees you as a thief", well I guess that might hold true for a dog which has been allowed to set its own rules. Once a dog understands that the handler owns everything, resource guarding will not exist. Teaching a dog who has ownership of all is not heavy handed or dominating, it's just an extension of the obvious. We provide for our dogs in every way, shape and form and a dog relies on the human for our ability to provide. If the dog sees the human as a "thief" well that speaks volumes about the relationship, mainly it's either horrid or nonexistent. Nothing but good comes from my hand in my dog's eyes therefore I can give and take from my dog as I choose because I have earned my dog's trust above and beyond any innate resource guarding tendencies.
 

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Exactly!

. I like a dog that growls, it's a warning.




Seriously????

With all due respect having a relationship with a dog that growls at you in any form other than play growling seems incredibly hard to appreciate and understand.

But, as they say, to each their own.
 

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Is the dog in a kennel or on a bed when on a bone?

Ours growls at me, been working with him on it but it's not coming easy.

He goes to his kennel to chew on bones, we never lock him in for any reason, door is always open - it's his zone, quiet place, whatever you want to call it - it's his space, his alone and the rest of the condo is shared. It's only me that he will growl at, never the gf, kids have gone near with no issue. Just me, so I tend to leave him be. Outside the kennel, no issues - if he's in the kennel with no bone, no issue.

Spoke with gf last night after reading a couple of threads on this forum, got me to thinking. She admits that she's not a pack leader, she wants to love the dog and probably elevates him to pack leader. I tend to be pack leader with him - pinschers can't be allowed to be head of the pack so it probably confuses the heck out of him.

Sometimes the battles aren't worth fighting :)
 

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Obviously you don't WANT the dog to growl, but you need to deal with the source of the growling as opposed to punishing the growling itself. Growl = uncomfortable and I'd sure rather have a dog that growls than one that goes straight for a bite because it has been taught that growling isn't okay!

OP, I think the resource guarding sticky is good info.
 

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One other thought and jagger kind of hit on it.
Dogs resource guard numerous items, so let's use the example of a dog on a bed or couch and the dog exhibits RG behavior. Using the suggestions by some, they would allow the dog to remain on the bed or couch because removing the dog from its perceived rightful ownership of that position would be the same as taking the bone away which it was resource guarding. You know, reinforcing the behavior. So, if one removes a dog from its spot on the couch or bed when it growls at the human, it's actually reinforcing the dog to become more possessive and guard the bed or couch. Is that what I'm supposed to believe? I'm guessing most all would remove the dog from the bed or couch and not allow the dog back until some understanding was created or maybe not. Maybe there are many dog owners out there that are held hostage by their dogs, beats me.
 

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Obviously you don't WANT the dog to growl, but you need to deal with the source of the growling as opposed to punishing the growling itself. Growl = uncomfortable and I'd sure rather have a dog that growls than one that goes straight for a bite because it has been taught that growling isn't okay!

OP, I think the resource guarding sticky is good info.
One should generally be able to see when they are causing their dog discomfort via all kinds of signals your dog would be displaying before they elevate it to the lip lifting growling phase.

Once again, the modification of RG is not a cookie cutter remedy and at times is particular to the dog and humans surrounding the dog. Sometimes conquering RG can be accomplished by boosting a dog's confidence level if the dog is lacking.
 

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Exactly!

. I like a dog that growls, it's a warning.




Seriously????

With all due respect having a relationship with a dog that growls at you in any form other than play growling seems incredibly hard to appreciate and understand.

But, as they say, to each their own.
The growl is a clear sign that the relationship between the boyfriend and the dog is lacking. I agree. You also speak of reading the dog's other signs of stress. Not sure the OP is versed on this, as they would have likely seen the signs before the growl occurred.

I have also modified this behavior in several of my foster/adopted dogs, as well as with client dogs. I work as a dog trainer, and we specialize in these types of issues. We teach the dog what to do, build trust and strengthen the relationship, and teach the dog that people approaching items is not a threat.

I think something that you are missing is that a big part of modifying this behavior is managing the environment to prevent this behavior from occurring. I think the links talks about this as well. So if done right, the dog will not have opportunity to practice the behavior and learn that growling works. I caution against taking the item while the dog is guarding because I do not know this person or this dog. I do not know how strong and trusting their relationship is. Often what happens if the person keeps removing the item while the dog is guarding is that he will think, hmm, growing isn't working. I guess I'll have to up my game. And that's when a bite happens.

So sure, allowing the dog to keep the item tells him that growling works. But ideally with management, the dog doesn't have the item in the first place. Not until some training has been done and trust has been built. And isn't growling better than biting? We want to avoid teaching the dog that he must up his game to protect his item.

I respect what you are saying but I do disagree, as my intention is for the owner to educate themselves on the topic, learn how to manage the environment and modify it, but most importantly remain safe, and prevent the dog from thinking his only option is to bite. All dogs can bite, all dogs will bite if pushed far enough, and I have no way of knowing the strength of their trust and relationship to suggest that simply removing the item while the dog is growling is safe.

I personally have not used NILF for resource guarding, but can see how it could help in general. I do like teaching a dog default behaviors like sitting and giving me attention before they receive things, at doorways, etc, so I think we can agree on that being very useful.

Ultimately we are not going to change each other's mind, but I wanted to offer a safe way to approach the situation. And it's good to have various opinions because it provides an educational opportunity for those reading this thread.

Forgive me if I missed anything. I think we agree on several things, but our approach is obviously different.

I do suggest to the OP that a session with a trainer would be a good place to begin. Steer clear of anyone talking about dominance, wolf logic, or status.
 
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One should generally be able to see when they are causing their dog discomfort via all kinds of signals your dog would be displaying before they elevate it to the lip lifting growling phase.

Once again, the modification of RG is not a cookie cutter remedy and at times is particular to the dog and humans surrounding the dog. Sometimes conquering RG can be accomplished by boosting a dog's confidence level if the dog is lacking.
I agree with reading signs of stress and boosting confidence/relationship. I do think we agree on many things. :)

But I also think that many dog owners do not know how to read their dog, which is why I posted the videos. It should be common knowledge, but it isn't, as is obvious by the many "cute" videos of dogs displaying signs of stress, that humans interpret as adorable or funny. So I will always suggest the safest way to approach modifying a behavior.
 

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Gillandi,

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to better spell out your methodology. I believe we do agree on certain approaches and ideas regarding a realistic remedy for RG. Yes, many dog owners probably are oblivious to the more subtle signals a dog gives before it reaches a heightened level. A great example would be the recent event Victoria Stillwell was involved in, she paid the price no doubt. But let's move on. The OP seems to be a capable person in my estimation based on some of her/his words but I completely agree that it might be best to offer advice with the the lowest common denominator in mind when discussing these issues in this forum as neither of us can make a valid evaluation of the dog without at the very least seeing a video or viewing the dog in person. However, where I do have some disagreement in your approach is in the use of management. Management is a band-aid and rarely if ever solves any issues a dog is exhibiting. Management is simply removing pertinent elements or placing restrictions in a dog's environment so the dog has no opportunity to indulge in the undesirable behavior we are trying to modify. By no means does management modify or cure a dog of it's unacceptable behavior. The dog learns nothing through management but management does have its merit in certain ways for many an owner but overall is nothing but a restriction on the dog without modifying the dog's behavior. Management in most cases is fine in the short term until a solution is employed but over the long haul merely deprives a dog of a normal coexistence with its human and restricts its freedoms, however in severe cases this is the dog's destiny or else it will probably be put down. I'd take management over my dog getting the needle in this instance.

As far as using NILIF along with upping the obedience, I have never seen any fallout from strengthening a dog's obedience if done evenhandedly. In a nutshell, the time spent training additional and enhanced obedience creates a relationship between handler and dog which is unbeatable, there is no better alternative because it creates a team of sorts which develops mutual respect/trust for both involved.

As far as your comment " Ultimately we are not going to change each other's mind", well I somewhat disagree because dog training is an involved fluid process because it involves so many variables. One is always learning in this business of dealing with dogs. I guess my pet peeve are these videos and websites which suggest everything is the same and this is exactly how one should deal with a particular problem. They spew such misinformation at times and too many people sign on to the information provided, some win but many lose, it's just not cookie cutter stuff. For example, all too many people say, " Get a dog trainer", well there are lots of really horrible dog trainers out there as anybody can claim they are a "dog trainer" and a wise person would vet the trainer they choose to use for the particular problem they are wanting to modify but too many do not and just waste their money and the problems with their dogs continue if not worsen. I do not adhere to any one philosophy of dog training and pick and choose among many based on the characteristics of the dog and the ability of the handler. I think think this obvious as I tend to post countering opinions when blanket statements are made by many on how to cure a problem, if only it was that easy;)

Once again thanks for your thoughts and respectful manner in which you voiced them. Yes, we agree on certain methodologies and of course we should.
 

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Thanks for your respectful, thoughtful post as well.

"By no means does management modify or cure a dog of it's unacceptable behavior."

True, but it doesn't allow the problem to get worse while you modify it. Allowing free access to objects the dog guards before he is more trusting is setting him up to fail.

To be clear, management is not the only step I take to work with a RG dog, but it is the first step in the process. :)

I agree not all trainers are created equal, it's a shame that in the US you need zero qualifications to call yourself one. I am working towards my certification, just a matter of collecting teaching hours and taking the exam.
 
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