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We recently adopted a male pomeranian from the local shelter. He is somewhere between 3 and 5 years old, but we're not completely sure. We suspect a history of neglect and/or abuse because of the condition he was in when we got him. He is so sweet 95% of the time. You can pick him up, pet him, roll him over, etc. and he is nothing but loving, but for some reason, when he is laying down on the couch or bed (most often on the bed), and you try to move him or pick him up from there he growls and bites. The more you try to console him and calm him down, the worse it gets. We never swat him, etc. The worst he ever gets is a very firm, calm No., but there has been three incidents in less than a month in which he has bitten and drawn blood. We love him, and, like I said, in any other circumstance he is the sweetest dog I have ever met, but there is something about this one situation that causes him to freak. Suggestions?
 

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Sounds like he may be Resource Guarding his sleeping location.

Read this all the way through, and see if it fits. You can do much with training to help this issue go away. Follow the protocols suggested in that thread.

You can also teach him an "off" cue to get down from things. Do this in a positive way, with a food reward. Once he is good at that, then you have a way to dislodge him from places without getting into a battle with him.

Beyond that, the best thing you can do when he is grouchy, is not to try to "console" him (which he is not going to understand as such, but rather will take as more intrusion), but rather just leave him alone. The growls and so forth are him telling you very clearly he wants to be left in peace. If you persist, he feels his only recourse is to bite.
 

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Sorry, I wouldn't be letting him on the furniture then, ever. My dogs know if they guard it they lose it. Biting isn't something I'm ever willing to comrpomise on.
 

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Sorry, I wouldn't be letting him on the furniture then, ever. My dogs know if they guard it they lose it. Biting isn't something I'm ever willing to comrpomise on.
Have you ever had a dog with RG issues?

My dog Josey had so many different things he had RG issues around, I would not have been able to feed him or let him have access to anything, if I took the stand you suggest. I might as well have given up on the dog. With the right training this issue really is resolvable. At this point, one would not even know my dog used to have a problem.


Understand this is largely a genetic predisposition, and the dog is more or less on "auto-pilot" when this happens. Biting happens when humans don't understand what is going on in the dog's "reptile" brain. Getting upset with the dog in any way, actually makes the whole thing worse.

Yes, I think it would be a good idea to not allow the dog on furniture until this is sorted out if that is possible with the little guy, although the owner may find that if the dog is very used to being on the furniture, doing battle over that matter, may actually activate the RG behavior and exacerbate the problem.
 
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I have a great pyrenees. Of course I've got a dog with RG issues. He's not allowed on the furniture. If my GP bit me there would be more than blood happening, I'd be missing a limb.
Have you ever had a dog with RG issues?

My dog Josey had so many different things he had RG issues around, I would not have been able to feed him or let him have access to anything, if I took the stand you suggest. I might as well have given up on the dog. With the right training this issue really is resolvable. At this point, one would not even know my dog used to have a problem.


Understand this is largely a genetic predisposition, and the dog is more or less on "auto-pilot" when this happens. Biting happens when humans don't understand what is going on in the dog's "reptile" brain. Getting upset with the dog in any way, actually makes the whole thing worse.

Yes, I think it would be a good idea to not allow the dog on furniture until this is sorted out if that is possible with the little guy, although the owner may find that if the dog is very used to being on the furniture, doing battle over that matter, may actually activate the RG behavior and exacerbate the problem.
 

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I have a great pyrenees. Of course I've got a dog with RG issues. He's not allowed on the furniture. If my GP bit me there would be more than blood happening, I'd be missing a limb.
Well then you've seen that reptile brain in action then! ;)

Have you worked on the issue using any of the methods in the sticky link, or do you simply deny the dog access to what ever he guards?
 

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I'd have to deny him access to the house and to me and to my husband and to our kid, etc. lol I do limit what I have to be watchful over. So we pick up food dishes and don't let him on the furniture. That just makes life easier. So when I see that a dog is being aggressive over a particular item I see no reason to just remove the item in dispute if it's not life altering.
Well then you've seen that reptile brain in action then! ;)

Have you worked on the issue using any of the methods in the sticky link, or do you simply deny the dog access to what ever he guards?
 

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I've got a pretty matter of fact and blunt way of speaking that often has people misunderstanding me. :p
But yeah, if it's just the furniture he is guarding that's the easiest (some would also say laziest) way of taking care of the problem.
Sounds like we are largely in agreement then. ;)
 

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Close the bedroom door. Don't let him on the bed at all, ever. I've known plenty of dogs that sleep on the bed with no behavior issues. But, your pom may seem to be a obviously has a problem. Easy answer, keep him off the bed. He isn't the first dog to resource guard mom and dad's bed. He can sleep in a crate next to your bed when you go to bed.

Once you've denied him the bed, he may be better about the couch. If he isn't, don't let him on the couch. Don't let him in your lap either. Teach him a cue for jumping into your lap. First he has to sit nicely beside you, then you can say "up" and pat your lap. Good dog. Tell him "off", and drop a treat on the floor. He gets down. Good dog. If he resource guards you when he is in your lap, then he isn't allowed up there unless it's just the two of you.
 

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Understand this is largely a genetic predisposition, and the dog is more or less on "auto-pilot" when this happens. Biting happens when humans don't understand what is going on in the dog's "reptile" brain. Getting upset with the dog in any way, actually makes the whole thing worse.....
Genetic? As in, some breeds are more prone to RG than others? Is that what you mean? "Reptile" kind of hits me wrong, lol.... ? Reptile when talking about a dog? What am I missing here ? :)

IMHO, I will say denial of the bed is the way to go here.
 

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Genetic? As in, some breeds are more prone to RG than others? Is that what you mean? "Reptile" kind of hits me wrong, lol.... ? Reptile when talking about a dog? What am I missing here ? :)

IMHO, I will say denial of the bed is the way to go here.
"Reptile brain" is a common term among biologists to indicate the inner parts of the brain that are concerned primarily with survival. It operates at the subconscious level. This is as opposed to the next layer out, the mammalian part and the "frontal lobes" that have more reasoning skills.

All of us have all these layers. Your "reptile brain" is what gets triggered when approached by a mugger. It helps you react appropriately: fight or flight, to survive. RG is very much something that happens at this level of consciousness.... that is without much "reasoning" involved. Incidentally, the "reptile brain" is also where most of your emotional life is located.

If you've seen a dog in full RG mode, he appears to think his very survival is at stake over his toy or food bowl. Of course long ago, that was the case, as a bit of bone or a food source could indeed be the difference between life and death.


That explained, I have no trouble with restricting access to the bed, as I stated with Furbaby. So long as that can be accomplished without activating the RG issue in the first place, that is easy. For example closing the door. (If you read Crio's sticky, you will see this is recommended.)

In the long run, I find it is much nicer to "re-train the reptile brain" not to feel threatened in these situations. So for example, my boy Josey, who used to get quite agitated if I approached him while eating, now welcomes me as I've reconditioned his brain to know that only good things happen when I approach at meal times.

The OP can easily create the same sort of pleasant associations with the pom with regard to her approach to the dog whilst he is on the bed. It just takes consistent repetition of pairing the stimulus with something pleasant, to change the emotional response.
 
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