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Discussion Starter #1
Molly, my JRT, is possessive with her treats but only towards my little girl. I have asked my daughter to stay away from Molly when she has them but I'm worried that her growl could turn into a bite.... How can I train Molly to give up treats if she isn't possessive towards me? I'm not sure if I should let my daughter do it, as I don't want to put her in that situation. My daughter gives her treats and they play great together any other time. I'm a little confused as to what I should do for the best. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Molly, my JRT, is possessive with her treats but only towards my little girl. I have asked my daughter to stay away from Molly when she has them but I'm worried that her growl could turn into a bite.... How can I train Molly to give up treats if she isn't possessive towards me? I'm not sure if I should let my daughter do it, as I don't want to put her in that situation. My daughter gives her treats and they play great together any other time. I'm a little confused as to what I should do for the best. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I don't really understand... Treats should be given, when the dog is doing something right... Very small ones...

What do you define as 'treats'?
 

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First, I want to let you know that you are absolutely doing the right thing by having your daughter stay away from Molly. A growl is actually a GOOD thing because it means the dog is communicating with you. If you don't listen to a growl and get your daughter away ASAP, it very well could turn into a bite.

How old is your daughter?

There are training techniques that can lessen and eventually eliminate resource guarding, but it requires you to be very knowledgeable about dog behavior. I definitely wouldn't let a child be the one to train the dog. I'm sure there are ways to train Molly to be less possessive without putting your daughter in harms way or having your daughter do the training, but those are best learned from a positive reinforcement behaviorist or trainer that will come to your house and give you private lessons.

Your best bet is to continue doing what you're doing...Identify what treats it is Molly wants to guard, and when she has those treats, make sure your daughter respects her space. Create some solid rules and boundaries for your daughter to make sure she understands so she stays safe. You may want to consider giving molly those treats in a crate if you use one.

In the mean time, it's never a bad idea to have your daughter actively participate in Molly's care. She can give out treats, play, feed Molly, walk her, even give cues if she is old enough to speak clearly. All under your supervision of course ;)
 

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I'm confused about what treats you want Molly to relinquish to your daughter. If your daughter is giving treats, why does Molly have to give them up? Do you mean toys?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for responding. I can understand why there is some confusion. I don't want Molly to relinquish her treats (and by treats, I mean tripe sticks, bones, pigs ears etc...)It's the growl at my daughter if she just happens to go near Molly that I am worried about. If I go near for any reason, say to get something near her, then Molly is happy to let me but not my daughter.... I would never take away a treat and I wouldn't encourage my daughter to do that either. I will definitely give Molly a more secluded space to eat her treats in. My daughter is nearly 3. We've only had Molly a matter of weeks now so we're all still getting to know each other but I have no issues, other than the growl. My daughter does do a lot with Molly and I can tell they are getting on great at all other times. Again, thank you for your replies.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I 're-read my original post and I can see why I have confused... I ment if I was to train Molly that a treat being taken away wasn't a bad thing by swapping it for a better one, but I would only train if needed. I wouldn't just take a treat away. Sorry for not being clearer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ooh, resources guarding is a much better description! I felt labelling Molly as 'aggressive' was a bit extreme. I think Molly will take to this training really well as she is a clever puppy. She doesn't take anything that isn't hers though and if I ask her to drop her toy during play, she responds quickly and positively. Should I get my daughter to offer Molly the peanut butter on a fly swatter? Obviously under close supervision... We won't take Mollys treat away, just offer something better, then walk away. I really want Molly to know that my daughter doesn't want to take anything away, so isn't a threat. Thank you Megs87
 

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You are very right in your assumption that labeling her aggressive is unnecessary. She's not aggressive, she just seems to have resource guarding tendencies. It's extremely common, and very treatable and/or manageable. :)

I would stick to just you for the trading games and training sessions for now, until she is more comfortable with humans around her prized items/relinquishing items. She obviously for some reason or another, doesn't trust your daughter as much as she does you, around her things. She may think that children are just less predictable around her chewies, and trusts you, the calm adult, more. Give her her space, and teach your daughter to always respect Molly's space.

Not only do you want Molly to trust your daughter around her chewies, and be comfortable with her enough to drop a prized item from time to time (especially in an emergency), but you want Molly to know that she is able to have time alone, and with stress-reducing things like chewies, and that no one is going to bother her. If she is to trust your daughter, and trust that she isn't going to 'steal' her prized items, she has to know that your daughter will never do that. She has to know that your daughter is trustworthy, that she won't ever take something away and not give a fair trade, so make sure this never happens. At the same time, you want her to know that it is safe, trustworthy and a good thing to relinquish prized items when asked/redirected, because awesome things happen! I would start small, as in, not with her favorite pig's ear. And start with extremely high value treats as the trade-off.

Tonight, I would have your daughter practice leaving her be, and ignore her if/when she's chewing on her chewie. Then start very slow with the exercises tomorrow. Remember to be patient with this, it's not an overnight fix, she has to learn to trust you both implicitly.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Brilliant response Megs87. Thank you. I want my daughter to grow up knowing exactly how to treat a Dog and I am learning so much from this forum that we both can put into practice. This is something that I know now, will take time and patience. I have never told Molly it's wrong to growl at my daughter, I just took my daughter away from the situation and I always remind her not to disturb Molly. It's not something that happens regular, but like all toddlers, her mind isn't always focused and things never seem to apply all the time...dogs are sometimes easier than children!! Thank you again for the in-depth response. I'll update on any progress.
 
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