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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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A new behavior

Hello everyone! It has been awhile since I've posted but I'm usually active and lurking on the forum. I'm having a new behavior problem with my almost 3 year old that has just recently happened and I'm looking for advice.

Fenway, my golden mix, has started being reactive around Beamer, my 5 year old golden. I don't want this to keep escalating nor do I want my girlfriend's 20 pound terrier mix to be injured in any way.

I believe it all stems from an original incident 6-8 months ago with my roommate's boyfriend's puppy/dog (a Sammy). My boys were all waiting for their dinner as usual as I was pouring their food bowls. The pup came down the stairs right by my boys and they all started a small fight. Normally, I would never allow this dog to come by my guys when they are getting food/eating (but it was a mistake my roommate made.) Beamer is known to be food aggressive towards dogs who aren't in his 'pack' but he has been easily managed by avoiding those situations.
Since then, Fenway has really hated this dog with a passion and we keep them separated when the puppy is in the house, which isn't often anymore. He will growl anytime he hears the puppy outside our door.

The new problem I'm having is that he has now started to resource guard and will start a small fight without any signs prior that I can notice. We are currently on a trip to my mom's house and he has initiated three incidents since we got here. The first was between Beamer and Fenway after they were both sniffing for leftover scraps of popcorn. Just growls and teeth were shown between the two of them.
The second was with my mom's lab (11 years old) when they were all outside. They were sniffing what I believe to be one of the cat's places he brings his scraps from his hunts. I didn't see the start but saw Fen going after her and quickly broke it up.
The last was two nights ago when Beamer was walking by Fen eating an antler. This is a normal occurrence and has never turned to a problem in the past as we have antlers and nylabones throughout my house. Beamer was trying to walk by Fen and he went after him without any warning or anything.

No one has been hurt yet, but I don't want this to escalate to more. All bones/antlers have been picked up now and I am now going to be keeping Fen kenneled while no one is home. The main problem I'm trying to wrap my head around is how to keep an eye out for warning signs, as to my knowledge he wasn't displayed any. We are also at my mom's house right now instead of our house, so that may be contributing (although we have been coming here 1-2 times a year for a few weeks).

Prevention is key here for him and that is what I'll be focusing on. Any other advice would be great. I also plan to get him back into training classes (we were doing agility) once I finally graduate and move in June. Thank you in advance!

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 07:25 PM
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Hey, we've lost so many of our old members, it's really nice to see an old name. I hope you're doing well with school

I am not a good resource for this problem, (unfortunately, we have lost a lot of the people you would look to for help here) but I was wondering if you've thought about having any blood work done to check for anything that could be showing up there.

Here is a link to something I just saw today, it's a new study and it is very small but was talking about improvements in dog reactivity. I am wondering if the ideas about cortisol and stress and helping the dog relax could helpful to you with managing Fenway. And it does sound like management is key till you figure things out. (I'm glad you've figured out that all good stuff needs to be picked up and eliminated before there was a serious injury) I would imagine trying to keep things less chaotic and trying to keep him in a routine could be helpful. http://theiscp.com/wp-content/upload...-Thesis-2a.pdf


"This workshop
included instruction in canine body language; identifying calming signals and early
warning signs that meant intervention was needed to prevent a full blown reactive
outburst, everyday management skills, including Tellington TTouch techniques to help
relaxation and restore balance within the dog, and suggested activities to provide
mental stimulation and enrichment (Appendix iii)"

Are you familiar with the books by Turid Rugaas on behavior? And also the TTouch massage? Could be useful.

I'm sorry you're having such a difficult issue, I'm sure it's pretty stressful.


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Last edited by nolefan; 02-16-2017 at 07:31 PM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolefan View Post

Here is a link to something I just saw today, it's a new study and it is very small but was talking about improvements in dog reactivity. I am wondering if the ideas about cortisol and stress and helping the dog relax could helpful to you with managing Fenway. And it does sound like management is key till you figure things out. (I'm glad you've figured out that all good stuff needs to be picked up and eliminated before there was a serious injury) I would imagine trying to keep things less chaotic and trying to keep him in a routine could be helpful. http://theiscp.com/wp-content/upload...-Thesis-2a.pdf
This is an excellent and very interesting article. Thank you so much for sharing it.

I have a friend who has a selectively reactive 4 year old GR who is now in consult with a behaviorist and is at her wits end trying to to both help her dog and mitigate this. I am sending her your link...thanks so much!! )



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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 09:45 PM
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Consider getting the book: On Talking Terms with Dogs, by Turid Rugaas, it is a good resource for learning the basics of dog body language, and signals they use to 'keep the peace'/ avoid confrontations with each other.

This article may also be of interest to you.

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Anxious or Stressed

It is unlikely that Fenway did not give any warning signals to Beamer, before he got too close, however those signals are often fleeting, and easily missed by dog owners. Subtle signs, like turning their head away from the approaching dog, ears going back, lip licking, stillness (freezing) 'whale eye', holding their head over the item they want to protect, perhaps even issuing a low growl. If/or when the approaching dog 'ignores' the signals and continues to approach, the guarder may escalate to getting physical, in an effort to create more space. Any or all of these signals, can happen within a few seconds.


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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, he may be exhibiting subtle warnings that I am not able to notice or see prior, but since these incidents are so fast I don't think I'll be able to pick them up in time, regardless.

I will check out the books you recommended, nolefan and Charliethree. Thank you! It is good to see some old faces here. No, there is no medical issue that needs to be addressed with him at this time. He is a healthy 2 year old, and at that age where some of these behavior issues tend to crop up.

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