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My dog has been (for the most part) getting better about his guarding, but seems to find a way around our training to pick up something new to guard. Once I started working on his food aggression, he began to guard his toys, I added toys to the training (lots of trading, treat dropping, and take it-leave it), then it was water bowls (all towards dogs, mind you). Then it was me, where if a dog got too close to me, got pets, or was near me when I had a treat pouch, he would freeze and attack. Yesterday, we were at the park and a puppy came near him and sniffed him and he got stiff. He's been getting weird about on-leash greetings so I try to keep them short. So the pup goes on to sniff a tree we were by and it seems really interested. As I'm trying to coax pax away, he gets glazed over and freezes before attacking. I know it was because the other dog found something interesting, so Pax needed to have a sniff and didn't want another dog around in case it was something good.

I want to add that I did extensive socialization with him and he used to greet dogs all the time very well, and actually would want to play as soon as we came in contact with them. Now, he'll growl sometimes, sometimes he's neutral, or sometimes it will be fine until it's not.

It seems that every time he goes through a new maturity phase, he gains a new aggressive feature, despite all my hard work. I just feel like I'm going in a circle with him.
 

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Just out of curiosity, what breed is he? I fear I'm headed for similar challenges with my 5.5 month old Lab/Pit mix.
 

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I'm trying to coax pax away, he gets glazed over and freezes before attacking.
Resource guard is interesting, only takes once to start the process. example.

I've spent alot of time in dog parks, some dogs run up to you, start petting them then it's game on. They snuggle right in, found a human that's willing to give lots of love so to speak. Another dog comes by, starts sniffing around - there's that moment if you're watching - that the first dog is saying this is mine and alot of the time you'll see the first dog block. It's not something that's going to lead to a fight, I was here first.

You need to learn to read your dog - watch for the signs that he's climbing that hill and snap him out of it before he crests it. Allowing a dog to escalate to the point bolded above is only going to make matters worse.
 

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@esuastegui I suspect American Bulldog/Lab mix, but not for sure.
@jagger I do and for the most part I can catch him and deescalate the situation. Its when it's not something I would expect (for example, the sniffing thing) or when it escalates in a matter of a second.

Another thing, he doesn't growl or bare his teeth as warning to other dogs, either. He only gives a look and freezes and most dogs aren't aware of it before he snaps.
 

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It's the growl or teeth baring that you want - that's the warning, and a warning that most people can read.

I liken a dog to a car engine, a dog at idle is great. Once a dog is full rev and in the redline - like Pax when he's frozen up and ready to attack - you're not going to reason with him, they are beyond reason and not thinking at that point.

Pay attention to your dogs eyes when he's relaxed and calm. Now watch the eyes when you know he's going to escalate, they generally dilate and many times there's a look of intensity or being unsure - focused. Body language is everything with dogs.

I remove the item of interest with dogs that RG. If it's over the food dish, no words, just remove the dish - put it away in the fridge or cupboard so the dog can't focus on it. Now stand there and read your dog - likely confused at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yep I WANT the growl, and actually have tried to TEACH him to growl but he never has growled as a warning, except towards people. :(

I'll keep what you've said in mind, @jagger , though I do a lot of it already it's just a matter of being more diligent. I think I may want to try a gentle leader with him so I can have more control of his head. I try to keep the leash slack when he's on edge, as the more he leans into his collar, the more his drive increases. I think being able to keep his head from getting near another dog could be valuable.

I am going to also be muzzle training him, not for this purpose, but just because I think all dogs should be muzzle trained. But that way, if I'm working with him and an accident occurs, he can't hurt anything.

Surprisingly enough, I worked on his bite inhibition a LOT as a pup, and whenever he gets into scuffs, he always comes away with bites on him, but the other dog never has a mark from him. So, he's not actually HURTING the dogs, but it's still getting him into trouble.
 

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You don't want to be in a state where you're de-escalating all the time, the dog won't learn anything. You should know by now what's going to trigger escalation - and put a stop to it before it starts.

If the dog is starting to escalate - then the dog is in control of the situation. You need to take the control, some tool to snap the dog out of the escalation and pay attention to you. It could be a gentle leash correction, snap your fingers, quick command etc.

I would put the treats away for this one, you want the dog it's attention to you - not the treat in your hand.
 

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"Snapping the dog out of" aggression using some kind of physical/verbal interrupter is not always going to work. Sure, for some dogs it does. Sometimes it's the exact thing to do. It shouldn't be something suggest over an internet forum, though, because an equal amount of the time it is either going to cause the dog to escalate (which is what I'd expect with a dog who is visibly escalating as the leash tightens) or result in a dog redirecting towards the handler (which is what I would worry about most with a dog who is visibly escalating as the leash tightens). In order to know if it is safe to do, you would need to see the dog in question, and I don't think from the limited information that can be provided over the internet I would agree AT ALL that this dog would be a good candidate for this kind of training.

This is one of those behavioral issues that I would be willing to bet has a very strong genetic component. How old is he? To my memory, he should be around 2 or 3 now, correct? If so, he'd be just coming into his full adult personality, and issues with RG is a common issues to appear suddenly at this age. I say this because I do know you've done the right kind of socialization- not just wide exposure but actually making sure he was forming positive associations.

Honestly, with a dog like this, I would just limit his interactions with other dogs as much as I could, and when he is around other dogs have him muzzled in a basket muzzle. I would definitely avoid one leash greetings with other, unknown dogs, and avoid places where there are often loose dogs.

All resource guarders have to be managed, but especially unpredictable resource guarders. As sad as it is, the safest thing for dogs who unpredictably guard resources is to limit contact with other dogs when off leash and unmuzzled.

It's not as if you haven't been working on this. You have been, and diligently. And it does sound as if he's improved some.

At a certain point, a dog is going to have gone as far as it can go with behavioral modification. Is it possible he has gone as far as he can go?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@Moonstream he's about 1.5 years old now. I want to get his thyroid checked cause he's about 80lbs and is borderline too heavy only eating 1.5 cups a day. (this is with moderate-heavy exercise weekly) I will definitely limit interactions until/if I see he's more comfortable again.
 
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