Growling w/bones children - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-11-2012, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Growling w/bones children

Buddy is 4 months old and has been great. The only problem we have with him is that when he has a bone or some other type of food in his mouth other than whats in his food dish he growls and barks almost like hes going to snap at the children. He doesnt do this if they touch his food bowl while eating. It doesnt happen very often but when it does happen it scares the kids.

Today i was preparing dinner in the kitchen and didnt realize I dropped a lemon on the floor. He took it in the girls room and started eating it, my daughter saw him chewing on something and when she bent down to take it away from him he then growled and barked and nipped her a little bit in the face. It scared her. The girls normally take stuff away from him like if hes chewing on a kids toy and he doesnt get upset just with "food". Hes done this before with my littlest daughter when she went to lay down next to him while he was chewing on a bone, she started petting him on the head and he did the same thing and bite her on her hand, you could see the marks in her hand. It scared her so now she wont touch him if hes chewing on a bone. Ive told the girls to leave him alone when he has his bones. Hes protective over those.

How do I correct this behavior in a positive way? When he did it today and he saw me come in the room he dropped the lemon and layed down so he knew he did something wrong, I told him no and put him in the crate. I dont want to associate the crate with bad behavior, will telling him no be ok enough. I have also tried when hes chewing on a bone to offer him a piece of cheese so he can see Im not trying to take it away. Now if Im in the room with him, the girls can sit next to him and pet him with out a problem but if im not in the same room with him he will do the growling barking thing and trying to bite. How do I let him know its not ok to do this with the girls?

Any thoughts and adivce that would help would be great!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-11-2012, 06:47 PM
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Please, please do not give this dog any more bones or anything that he will consider high value. He needs to not be given the opportunity to practice this bad behavior. Let your kids know that if he ever has something he should not that they are to come straight to you for help, they are not to take anything from him. Keep very yummy treats handy and if you have to get something away from him, you need to trade for it. Show him the delicious treat and call him to you, let him drop the object to get the treat. This is not where you want to have a power struggle. It's a no win situation.

You may want to check out the book "mine" by Jean Donaldson and begin hand feeding this dog all his meals. Your kids should not be messing with his bowl when he eats. After you are comfortable with how he reacts during hand feeding, they may be able to help you with close supervision. Resource guarding is a serious problem especially when you have children in the house. It needs to be very carefully managed while you are sorting out how to deal with it.

I would use baby gates to keep him restricted to the main room/kitchen area of the house so that he is only out under your direct supervision. Are you all in any puppy classes? I'm sorry that this is going on, I know it's very upsetting. The main thing right now is to make sure your kids aren't in a situation for a bite to happen.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 06:04 PM
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We went through the exact same situation with our previous dog, but when she was a year and a half & it did not end well. I highly recommend getting a trainer to teach you how to handle this situation immediately. Don't delay & don't blow it off. This can become very serious, very fast.

I'm not trying to scare you, just trying to protect you from going through a very painful situation.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 07:08 PM
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Four months is when we saw this happen with my first dog, Amber. She was disabused of that behavior immediately. I understand that there are better ways now. I do remember Amber's more submissive sister became a problem as it was not corrected. By a year her owners were afraid of her and that needn't have happened. Correct it early and you will be fine.

Maddie never resource guarded so we never had to deal with it with her. She's happy to share her bones and whatever with all of us, even the grandkids. Another dog, now that would be a different discussion.

belongs to Amber (LiquidAmber II) June 1995-August 2010
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