Dog Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I don't know what to do. I have a big dog (100 pounds and fit). We recently got a smaller dog puppy (now about 60 pounds and fit). The big dog is growling and snapping. Aggressive possessive around food. Possessive aggressive if the little dog come near me and attacks the puppy but THEN growls at me.

I've tried diverting the behavior with treats for sit, shake etc. But then he just starts growling again.

I was just attacked for the second time in two weeks this morning. And by attack I mean a lunging attack. I defended myself then he came at me AGAIN.

I don't know what to do. Wife is in tears. I don't want to have him put down. We've had a private behaviorist some out but he's still doing this. Any suggestions? 98% of the time him and the puppy just play. It's the 2% that is becoming dangerous and I'm afraid of the puppy, me, my wife, son or God forbid someone else getting seriously hurt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,177 Posts
I'm sorry to hear your having issues like this. It sounds like your older dog could be starting to have a bad case of resource guarding. What have you been doing when he growls? What has the private behaviorist done when working with him? Just making sure I read this right but for the most part your older dog and the puppy get along fine but your older dog growls around food and you (is this all the time or sometimes?)?. How is he when the puppy isn't around? For the time being I would make sure you feed your older dog sepretaly to avoid any issues. I think you did take a step in the right direction by working with a trainer on this. If it is resource guarding it is going to take time and patience to work on.
I wish I could give better advice, hopefully members with more experience with this will chime in soon.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zed and Rain

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
I agree it sounds like a case of resource guarding, and he may be redirecting the aggression on to you when he's upset at the puppy.

I addition to feeding separately I'd also pick up food bowls, and any food puzzle toys, when they are done with them. You also need to pinpoint what other objects he may be guarding and remove them when the two dogs are together. That should help to lessen the guarding. For his guarding you keep a good eye on him when all of y'all are together and at the first sign that he is starting to get upset get him or the puppy out of the area. When you do that make sure that you make removing him a good thing, you can play a quick game once y'all are away. Give him a few treats, or a nice chew. Let him cool down for a few minutes then bring him back in.

To work on the resource guarding itself this link should be able to offer you some advice http://www.dogforum.com/training-be...guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/

Also consider getting this book https://www.amazon.com/Mine-Practic...467046738&sr=1-1&keywords=mine+jean+donaldson
 
  • Like
Reactions: zed and Sabina88

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks so much. My wife and I are devastated. The trainer just recommended that he needs to be put down. She said that because he acted this way as a puppy prior to 12 months and didn't back down when scolded then, it's in his DNA and will only get worse.

Is this true? I don't want to lose my buddy. I love him so much. I have called our Vet to get her opinion as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,177 Posts
Resource guarding is actually a pretty common issue, and can be treated/managed/worked on. I don't think you have to put him down at all, just get a new trainer. Look for a positive reinforcement trainer, and if possible some one who works with things like resource guarding a lot. The goal is not to scold him and make him back down, its to make him think hey I don't need to worry about my "things" being taken instead of your coming near my "things" I have to keep you away. Trying to make him back down and scolding are reinforcing that he does need to worried about something happening to his "thing", its also telling him that I get punished for trying to tell you that I am not happy with you/puppy going near my resources. In your dogs mind, now that there is a new dog he feels that his resources, in this case food and possibly you, could be taken and need to be protected.
The links Rain posted are a great way to start familerizing yourself with resource guarding and how to go about working with your dog.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zed

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,034 Posts
It's the 2% that is becoming dangerous and I'm afraid of the puppy, me, my wife, son or God forbid someone else getting seriously hurt.

Either put the dog down now or immediately board it at a facility that specializes in these problems. If this dog kills your wife, son, a stranger, it is on you, legally and morally, because you have just said you already feared that someone might get seriously hurt.
I'm not sure getting a new trainer, or looking for other opinions is going to be of benefit, if you don't like the second opinion, are you going to go for the best 3 out of 5?
I see a big difference between maybe some growling, and repeated lunging attacks by a 100 lb. dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,034 Posts
The links Rain posted are a great way to start familerizing yourself with resource guarding and how to go about working with your dog.

With all due respect it is my opinion that it is way too late for browsing the internet for advice if this 100 lb. dog is lunging and attacking. I believe the dog needs to be removed from the home immediately and either euthanized or training done by a professional at a boarding facility that deals with these problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,634 Posts
I see your point @Lucille that if there is danger removing the dog from the situation is best, I agree. This can be achieved by much less harsh means than you suggest. For example keeping the dogs separate by crates and ex pens, a muzzle and not giving access to the child at all.

I do not agree with immediate euthanasia based on the trainers reasoning. If the dog can be adequately restrained as to minimize danger, why not wait to be assessed by someone who has a better understanding of dog behavior. I'm not sure any vet would agree that just because a puppy lunged any adult aggression is untreatable.

At the very least a vet and behaviorist(not trainer) needs to be consulted in this case. The Internet may not give the necessary behavioral modification info but I am sure there are people on this forum who can help th OP find a decent behaviorist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,177 Posts
As Chas said, I do see your point. But I personally don't think jumping to sending the dog away or euthanizing right of the bat is a good way to start.
While I don't know the exact details of what happened, its not uncommon for dogs with resource guarding to get snappy/snarly in some of the more extreme case. And given the fact that (I could have interpreted this wrong) the trainer wanted the dog to back down after scolding, it could have escalated the behavior slightly.
Because a large dog is involved, there are some precations that need to be kept in mind. But as far as I can tell there is no history of aggression, the dogs get along fine for the most part and this only occurs over food and possibly the owner, which are two pretty common things dogs resource guard. I think working with and consulting with a trainer and or behavioralist is a good starting point to gauge the situation.
Just my opinion though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zed

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
Either put the dog down now or immediately board it at a facility that specializes in these problems. If this dog kills your wife, son, a stranger, it is on you, legally and morally, because you have just said you already feared that someone might get seriously hurt.
I'm not sure getting a new trainer, or looking for other opinions is going to be of benefit, if you don't like the second opinion, are you going to go for the best 3 out of 5?
I see a big difference between maybe some growling, and repeated lunging attacks by a 100 lb. dog.
If the dog was randomly attacking for no foreseeable reason, or was acting aggressive to the child or wife, then I'd agree, but the dog is doing so around food and if the puppy at times goes near the owner, both of those things are manageable and with a proper behavioral modification program can be overcome.

I will say that if he EVER acts that way towards the son then for the safety of the child the dog needs to be at best rehomed to a home without any children, and if that's done the original owner could still be held responsible if the dog attacks someone.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zed and Sabina88

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
Thanks so much. My wife and I are devastated. The trainer just recommended that he needs to be put down. She said that because he acted this way as a puppy prior to 12 months and didn't back down when scolded then, it's in his DNA and will only get worse.

Is this true? I don't want to lose my buddy. I love him so much. I have called our Vet to get her opinion as well.
Well my resource guarder first started guarding when he was around 8 months old, and I had him for the next 17 years, he passed away when he was 17 years 8 months. If pushed he would have attacked, mostly he was content with simply growling and snarling over his treasured food and chews, he would also guard the yard and house from people he did not know. My new boy is 3 1/2 now and he'll resource guard the house, in his case I'm not positive if it's true resource guarding or fear, personally I think it's a mixture.

Whether it'll get worse is really not known, only time will tell.

How old was your 100 lb dog when you got him?
Is the resource guarding new or has it been going on?
Has the behavior gotten worse? Has he started guarding new objects?
What do you do when he guards?

The dog I had for over 17 years did get a little bit worse, he started out only guarding his food and chews (mainly chews) but as he got older he also started guarding the yard. It stopped there, he never guarded anything else, and his behavior while guarding didn't get worse. With the chews it actually got better.

Many trainers simply do not know how to deal with a dog that's acting like yours does, and that may be why the one you hired offered the advice he or she did. Try to finde a behaviorist, preferably a certified applied animal behaviorist, as they will best be able to advise you on what to do. Also a regular vet is really not able to make an informed decision on your dog's behavior, it's sort of like asking a general practitioner on how best to treat a bi polar relative. They can offer advice but your best bet is a psychologist. In your dogs case the best bet would be a veterinary behaviorist.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zed and Sabina88

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thank you all so much for getting back to us. This is truly a terrible time for my family.

We kept our big guy away from the puppy all day (locked in the basement) and when we got home... at least so far ... they are happy and playing together.

We tethered each during dinner and hand fed our big dog. The little puppy had no issues, the big guy was slower to eat but finally did eat out of my wife's hand.

I'm just not ready to put him down. I do believe it's resource guarding. I do believe it's primarily over food and the puppy or food and keeping the puppy from us (attention).

We are now on the wait list for a new trainer who specializes in behavior modification. In the meantime we'll keep the two separated except during the evenings when we're at home and keep saying our prayers.. (you hear that St. Francis :) ). Not sure what else to do at this point.

This forum has been wonderful. Thank you all so much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
"Many trainers simply do not know how to deal with a dog that's acting like yours does, and that may be why the one you hired offered the advice he or she did." - Rain

I think theres a lot of truth to this. Some trainers don't want to admit they don't know how to solve a problem or maybe they don't have enough experience with particular issues.

Make sure the trainer you hire does NOT use any harsh/corrective punishment based methods, as that will only make it worse. Find a positive reinforcement based trainer. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,177 Posts
I think it might be worth it to invest in a crate (or x-pen) in your case. Its a little easier to separate them. That way too, you don't have to worry about teathering or having to keep one in basement.
I hope the new trainer works out for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,906 Posts
Thanks so much. My wife and I are devastated. The trainer just recommended that he needs to be put down. She said that because he acted this way as a puppy prior to 12 months and didn't back down when scolded then, it's in his DNA and will only get worse.

Is this true? I don't want to lose my buddy. I love him so much. I have called our Vet to get her opinion as well.

First of all, this is a very hard situation to be in and I am sorry you're having to deal with this.

I just want to say that in my experience what your trainer has said is not true. I do truly believe that there are some things in a dog's DNA that will just always be there to some extent...anxiety and insecurity (which turns into more intense resource guarding) is one of those things but it does NOT mean your dog is beyond redemption.

My Cocker mix, at 8 weeks old attacked - yes, attacked - me because I was holding his food dish and one of our other dogs walked past the doorway of the room. That surely doesn't bode well for him based on your trainer's theory, does it?

He is now 2 years old. Yeah, he has anxiety across the board which doesn't help - totally genetic. Yeah, he still resource guards. But not NEARLY as badly as he did previously. His idea now of resource guarding is just a simple growl if a dog walks past when he has a bone. No lunging, no attack. He's much better at being redirected when he starts and he doesn't resource guard at all from people. As far as I'm concerned, I can live with that.

I did a LOT of management personally. He ate in a separate room and only got the real good treats/toys when he was alone too. When he started bringing those things out in the "world" where the other dogs were, I made sure they gave him space. Now, it's a nonissue. He does still eat separately because he's a food hound and would steal from the other dogs if given the chance. :eyeroll:

I do think that trainers will tell you things when they don't really know what they're talking about. I had one "behaviorist" tell me that by allowing him to eat and have toys separately I was "teaching" him to RG because he was learning to "get his way". I'm not really an expert, but for one thing - I like management because at a bare minimum it keeps everyone safe. For another, I like when my dog is vocal about his discomfort and I like being able to redirect him -- usually by saying in a happy tone, "let's play with this over here" and moving him a little farther from the other dogs. He's learning that he can give himself space when he feels he needs it instead of having to go on the attack.

Anyway....that's a bit long-winded. :p I think management is a great first step and that finding a good, positive behaviorist is a great second one. Do let us know what unfolds. :)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top