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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Sorry for any english mistakes, it's not my mother-tongue)
I have a 44lb mutt named Thor, he's 2 years old, not neutered and I am having some problems with him.

The resource guarding always existed since he was a puppy but it wasn't so bad at the time and I didn't train him properly to correct it.

Some days ago he got ticks, his fur is low and thick so when I noticed it, he had lots of them; I gave him a bath, removed most of ticks with a shampoo as he did not allowed me to remove them manually and every time I tried he would stop me but not biting hard, no dilated pupils, just showing he was pissed off.

Then I noticed some spots on his fur, like it had oil in it and tried to touch it, now he would get aggressive, I worried this could be a complication related to ticks and that the spot was probably painful to the touch, so I bring him to the vet.

At the beginning, everything was fine, but then the vet had to look at the spots and told her things would get really bad if she tried to touch there, so we put a muzzle in him, it wasn't hard, up until this point he was sweet and patient.

Then she started to look at him, both the vet and me had to hold him in place so that she could look at what was those spots, the growling was pretty bad but eventually she was able to see it and prescribed some meds.

After she took the muzzle out, no snapping, no growling, it looked like everything was fine, she gave a piece of treat and they were friends again.

Back home is where things escalated, there was a bone I bought for him at the front of the house where he usually stays, and that's when the resource guarding became REALLY bad, I bought this bone before and he showed this signs but not this intense, it was like the bone had some sort of drug and nothing was more valuable to him than that, even calling him to go for a walk did not work (I know I should've learn my lesson before).

At first I tried acting like I didn't care for the bone, I went onto a normal routine, and when I got to feeding him, after I put the food in the bowl he ate it normally and usually after he finishes, he come close to me to lick my hand, but this time his pupils was dilated and he was rigid(I know these signs and I should've backed off), but no, the dumb side of me just continued petting him, so he snapped and able to bite me pretty hard in my left index finger.

That was my fault, I knew the signs and didn't react in time, I even consider this bit was just a warning (like he was still guarding the bone but afraid at the same time), even thou the puncture was a little deep, it could be a lot worse considering his strength.

To prevent the aggression to escalate, I waited until he was sleep and took the bone, when I was getting out of that section of the house, as soon as I closed the gate, he was behind me, he saw me with the bone, no aggressive growls but I could see the frustration (I think this is what intensified the resource guarding for food).

Now, he resource guards food and petting him is next to impossible, his pupils immediately dilate BUT I can still play with him either with rubber toys or with a piece of cloth where he likes to play tug of war.

(The tug of war play never gets violent, if I let the cloth go, the bring it back to me asking me to continue playing, if I say "leave it", he stops, not dilated pupils, no aggression)


What I am trying for now:

1. First I play with him to remove any excess energy he might have;
2. I gave the bone to a cousin that has a smaller dog, I won't buy it anymore;
3. I don't leave the food bow there with him anymore. Instead, I sit by the gate, he comes there, I ask him to sit, then I put a little bit of food there and signal him to eat it. This process is repeated until there's no food left in the bowl;
4. I don't pet him yet, I get uneasy even trying to put the leash in, I was able to do it yesterday but I know that being nervous near him does not help;
5. When I play with him, I use motorcycle protective gloves in case something goes sour (I work in TI, I need my hands to work);

I am trying to show him that:
My presence = play, fun
My presence = food, treats

At this point, even through he bit me, I didn't hit him, he's not afraid of me hurting him, he comes close to me, but I am afraid that at some point he might snap and I have to defend myself which in turn would make the situation worse.

I used to walk him everyday twice but now I don't trust him, one of the remedies I should put on his skin (iodine) but I can't, I will have to go to the vet in 12 days but that would require him to be with me in the car, but I don't trust him near my face :(

Before these events, he was such a sweet dog, he would sit by my side asking to be pet, always wanted to play, I could be laying down on the ground and he would either lay too imitating me or trying to lick my face to force me to play.

Am I doing the right steps to correct the behavior?
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