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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As Cosmo gets older I learn new things about him. Today I really didn't like the new thing!

Object he values is on ground. He is across the room. Dog b goes to sniff object or approaches it. Cosmo lunges across the room and bites dog b.

I tried doing an exercise where I had him on leash more than leash length away and put the object of interest in front of dog b and had them try it (a puzzle toy)

Cosmo snarled on leash and stood and tried to go take it back but he was on leash so I just told him to sit and wait. After they finished the food slot (it's an easy puzzle) I then let him try.

Not sure if this will be affective? Any ideas? Really don't like this behavior!
 

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Ohhhhhh resource guarding. Levi never did anything of the sort. I've been raising Heidi the exact same way, surprise! She's an RGer. Not with Levi, just with other dogs. Sticks seem to be a big trigger. If this is the first time, it could just be that is a particularly high value item and he only gets that toy when he is the only dog around. If he starts RG other items, then I would look into some books, such as: Fight by Jean Donaldson. It has a great section on resource guarding. She suggests three different techniques:

1) Desensitization and Counterconditioning of Guarding Dog - Essentially guarder is conditioned to having another dog around in the previously charged situation
2) Operant Conditioning of Guarding Dog - guarding dog is given an alternate behaviour, such as leaving the room
3) Operant Conditioning of Non-Guarding Dog - dog is taught to avoid the guarding dog when in possession of a resource

I've been working on the first two, since she doesn't actively RG with Levi, so I'm not going to try to condition strange dogs to leave her alone with her sticks. I've already seen a much better reaction from her. If a dog was within 5 feet of her, I would watch her little body tense up and lean over her stick. She's already to the point where they can almost be trying to take the stick from her, and then she responds.
 
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I second the suggestion to follow the protocol in Jean Donaldson's book 'Fight'. You can also find some good articles by Pat Miller on dog-dog resource guarding. What you want to do is make the resource guarding dog feel like Santa arrived when the other dog has something of value. This is referred to as a positive conditioned emotional response. Dog B has something of value means Dog A gets something of value. Timing is important. Dog A gets food after Dog B gets something.

Resource guarding is normal behavior. Until you have the book and understand how to deal with it, management is best. Don't give the resource guarder any opportunity to guard anything. If the other dog has anything of value, make sure the resource guarder is no where near. If both dogs have something they value, separate them completely. Don't set up scenarios such as the one you tried. You'll only increase the behavior and possibly make it worse.
 

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I'm in the midst of the same issue with my new rescue Cocker. I'll be watching this thread closely for tips too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone I'll definitely check that out! The tough thing is Cosmo seems to feel entitled to all objects, and especially those involving food - even if he isn't in possession of them. He will literally attack across the room if he even THINKS another dog is interested in it.

Thanks for the suggestions though, I'll check them out and update !
 

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LCK is still pushing this stuff? I may have to find a new forum.

Whenever anyone says any method or protocol is a "miracle cure-all" you can be pretty sure it's not.
I don't really "get" that technique. I've read about it several times, and I'm not sure why it would be better than simply hand feeding, or just doing training every day.
 

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LCK is still pushing this stuff? I may have to find a new forum.

Whenever anyone says any method or protocol is a "miracle cure-all" you can be pretty sure it's not.
Well it has been for me and my dog. No amount of OC did a single thing to help.
 

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Using operant conditioning won't help resource guarding. Classical conditioning does. Most of the time when CC fails, it's the mechanics that have been messed up. CC is extremely simple if a person understands it and it's extremely easy to get it wrong if a person doesn't understand it.
 

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@Grabby, I don't have a RG issue, but people have found pushing to help RG. I used pushing to increase focus and drive, and the result has been huge and quick.

Please explain the correct CC mechanics RG, I for one, would be interested to know where one might go wrong?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Haha no thanks I'd rather not rely on one method to fix all of his problems and ailments.
 

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Haha no thanks I'd rather not rely on one method to fix all of his problems and ailments.

It amuses me that a simple thing like pushing is rejected because it might help more than one issue. Why not try it, if it doesn't work then you have all those other things to try: LAT, BAT, CAT... which are all desensitizing techniques that dull the dog's response to stimuli whereas pushing provides a way for the dog to get the stuck energy moving and out of their body.
 

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@cos, stick with straight up desensitization and counter conditioning. BAT and CAT are -R. They do nothing to change how a dog feels emotionally. Creating a +CER is a long term solution. When someone says "why not try it" it seems harmless enough. Unfortunately, it's not harmless to delay behavior modification that can truly change how a dog feels so as to avoid escalating resource guarding.

@Gnostic, I'm pretty sure you can find plenty of resources on classical conditioning that can explain it to you.
 

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It amuses me that a simple thing like pushing is rejected because it might help more than one issue. Why not try it, if it doesn't work then you have all those other things to try: LAT, BAT, CAT... which are all desensitizing techniques that dull the dog's response to stimuli whereas pushing provides a way for the dog to get the stuck energy moving and out of their body.
To my knowledge (albeit fairly limited in terms of reactivity), LAT and BAT aren't meant to dull a response, they aim to change how an animal responds to a simuli.
@cos - I would definitely read the book, it's awesome, and has helped Heidi tremendously in a short amount of time.
 
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I don't know why you couldn't do a mixture of approaches as IMO, everything brings something different to the table.

I've used BAT for reactivity (with CC) and like it, but I really don't think it would work with resource guarding anyway.

Never heard of pushing, though it sounds interesting.
 

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@Grabby, I don't have a RG issue, but people have found pushing to help RG. I used pushing to increase focus and drive, and the result has been huge and quick.

Please explain the correct CC mechanics RG, I for one, would be interested to know where one might go wrong?
IME mistakes with CC tend to be:
-reaching for food or even feeding prior to the dog noticing the trigger. The order has to be trigger first THEN reaching for food and feeding to be effective
- Raising criteria too quickly. And/or raising more than one criteria in a single session.
-moving to the next step before CER (conditioned emotional response) is established.

It amuses me that a simple thing like pushing is rejected because it might help more than one issue. Why not try it, if it doesn't work then you have all those other things to try: LAT, BAT, CAT... which are all desensitizing techniques that dull the dog's response to stimuli whereas pushing provides a way for the dog to get the stuck energy moving and out of their body.
I don't think that pushing is necessarily being rejected completely...
I agree it can certainly be used to build food drive in many dogs. Just people are questioning how it can magically cure pretty much any problem as implied...
 

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@cos just wanted to add that management is going to be super important! I would make sure food, toys, and anything else he may guard is not out when around other dogs (unless it's needed for a training session). If you do not have much control over the environment then for now I probably wouldn't allow much freedom. Perhaps leashed or in some other way limiting ability to reach other dogs, and would be heavily reinforcing appropriate behavior both cued and uncued. And would avoid locations other dogs are off leash or otherwise not well managed.:)
 

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IME mistakes with CC tend to be:
-reaching for food or even feeding prior to the dog noticing the trigger. The order has to be trigger first THEN reaching for food and feeding to be effective
- Raising criteria too quickly. And/or raising more than one criteria in a single session.
-moving to the next step before CER (conditioned emotional response) is established.
Thanks, I am still learning about all this and the correct mechanics is certainly important.



I don't think that pushing is necessarily being rejected completely...
I agree it can certainly be used to build food drive in many dogs. Just people are questioning how it can magically cure pretty much any problem as implied...
Well, I can only speak from experience, but pushing has improved focus, dog reactivity (non-aggressive) and loose leash walking. My boy is now a pleasure to take out whereas before it was somewhat stressful having to anticipate and manage potential stressors.

ETA: obviously I was/am not dealing with serious anxiety issues with my boy, so in essence, he was an easy fix, but nevertheless other the methods had not provided solid improvement.
 
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