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Old 12-29-2012, 10:48 PM
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Unhappy Possession Aggression in 4 month old?

I have an almost 4 month old golden retriever puppy showing signs of CPA. At first it would just be sometimes when he's in his crate with a bone, when he wouldn't let me go near him without growling, and then it happened with ANYTHING he brought into his crate. He has a habit now of whenever he has something he wants in his mouth he'll just bring it to the crate and be aggressive about it. Yesterday, he stole a carrot on the counter and brought it in and I was so scared to stick my hand in and grab it. I don't know if he'll bite me if I tried. Today though, is when I realized it's getting serious when he wouldn't let me touch him when he's eating his meal. I used to sit beside him and pet him when he's eating but he's growling and barking even when I'm just standing next to him.

How do I deal with this? I read some articles but those seem like it was for older dogs, not for a puppy.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:21 PM
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well, that was one of my first issues with the crate. Reason why we never used one.

I would say to only use the crate for sleep time. Feeding should be in one place only and away from the crate. I would also start to hand feed him his meals and then slowly go down to only hand feeding one meal a day. I would also use the kibble as treats to train him leave it, sit, stay and OK to come and get the food. Once he got those down I would start putting him in a sit stay and put some kibble in his bowl. He is to eat only when you released him with OK. Keep the bowl in your hand and slowly put it down but keep your hand on it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:36 PM
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Welcome to the forum!

If the articles seem like they wouldn't apply to a puppy then I probably wouldn't use them as they maybe don't employ methods that should be used with resource guarding or behavior modification more generally.

There are a lot of Golden puppies who resource guard - it's actually somewhat normal considering what puppies/dogs do naturally. However, it seems that your pup's guarding is a little beyond the norm.

The first thing to understand is that resource guarding is an issue of trust. Your pup doesn't trust that the item will be given back if it is taken away. That could happen if you are consistently taking things away without giving them back, especially by force. Unfortunately that is often the method recommended by many sources. If you are using general training methods that require force or intimidation it can further help break down your relationship.

If you haven't already done so start using positive reinforcement such as trading for another item such as a toy or treat for anything your pup has including clumps of grass. Also, kind of like sitting next to him and petting him while he's eating but more safely, you can toss a yummy piece of hot dog in the bowl while he's eating to teach him that good things come from you. It takes time but it will fix the issue eventually.

Here is the best resource on the market if you feel you can handle this on your own:

"MINE!" by Jean Donaldson - sold as an EBook too and cheap! Welcome to Dogwise.com

Keep all food out of reach. You can teach a dog to stay out of the kitchen area using consistent reinforcement. Avoid really high value items like Bully Sticks until you've got this under control.

Have you had a chance to attend socialization/puppy classes? I would encourage you to get into class or private lessons with a CPDT if you're in North America.

Importantly, stay safe. Do not let guest, children or other pets approach the dog during toy or meal time. Respect the puppy's communication that he's not feeling safe and never push him over threshold to the point where he feels he must communicate with aggression.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:33 AM
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@claudia m: It isn't just meals, it's anything! Like when I give him a treat he'll go to his crate. The funny thing is, he isn't even crate trained. If I lock the crate door and leave he'll be in hysterics.

@jackie_hubert: Thanks! I have recently (as in today!) started the trading thing. It seems to be going okay. I usually tell him to sit before I put the food bowl down and then I release him when he's no longer excited and just sitting calmly. I can see why he thinks I'm taking something good away from him because I haven't started this trade thing until I read about it and I usually just take whatever bad thing he's got in his mouth away (clumps of grass, ha). How long do you think a problem like this would take to fix?
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:52 PM
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Resource Guarding is among the most fixable problems! Some recent studies have showed this:
http://www.aspcapro.org/blog/2010/12...food-guarding/


Here are 2 more articles: http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/resource-guarding
http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtua.../food-guarding


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Old 12-30-2012, 02:59 PM
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I've taught Brew to share. Feeding time hubby and I alternate sitting beside him with our hand in his bowl so that he eats around our hand. Treat bones now he'll chew on them while we hang on to the bone. It's all very calm and relaxed and it's become the normal for him, at the first sings of resource guarding we went to work to correct the problem. I like how I've taught him to share, it's almost like we've built an even stronger bond, he'll bring me his favorite chew toys and want to share.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venustbh View Post
I have an almost 4 month old golden retriever puppy showing signs of CPA. At first it would just be sometimes when he's in his crate with a bone, when he wouldn't let me go near him without growling, and then it happened with ANYTHING he brought into his crate. He has a habit now of whenever he has something he wants in his mouth he'll just bring it to the crate and be aggressive about it. Yesterday, he stole a carrot on the counter and brought it in and I was so scared to stick my hand in and grab it. I don't know if he'll bite me if I tried. Today though, is when I realized it's getting serious when he wouldn't let me touch him when he's eating his meal. I used to sit beside him and pet him when he's eating but he's growling and barking even when I'm just standing next to him.

How do I deal with this? I read some articles but those seem like it was for older dogs, not for a puppy.

Hi,

This is exactly what we are experiencing with our 4 month puppy Snow.

When we took the puppy we used to take anything from his mouth and I think this is the reason why he developed such behaviour. Then he began to be very aggressive on the couch. When he was stealing something he would go directly on the couch and we couldn`t take it away from him, unless we were "tricking" him with something else (food).

When we saw that problem we decided to start obedience lessons with a dog behaviour specialist and he suggested us that we should set some limits to the puppy. We started by no longer allowing him to sit on the couch or to sleep in our bed.

The puppy is always carrying a leash even in the house and when he tries to go on the couch or in our bed we simply pull the leash and get him down.

Before feeding him we ask him to sit and stay and after that he can eat. We used this method right from the beginning and he lets us pet him and hold the hand onto the bowl while he`s eating.

I would suggest stop using the crate because your puppy considers it to be his territory and his only, hence the aggression.

Hope this helps you with your puppy!
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