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I was very much like you, I did a ton of research and felt ready. Then my puppy moved in at 9 weeks and I felt panic stricken that I was doing things all wrong.
My Puppy, Comet, also growled if we approached his food, wouldn't drop anything and instead would run in the opposite direction, and he was so sharky that I had to wear rubber boots indoors to save my ankles from his sharp teeth. I was pretty sure I had a resource guarding, aggressive puppy on my hands. Thankfully, people here helped me understand that his behaviors are all normal and that with correctly responding I could work through all of it and get to the other side with a well adjusted, kind adult. We are in the teenage stages, so I'm not quite there yet, but he isn't resource guarding AT ALL, biting WAY less and overall, showing many more signs of the wonderful adult dog to come.
As some have mentioned, I would highly recommend you stay away from anything negatively physical other then redirecting and guiding gently with a leash (and I don't mean yanking or pulling forcefully because you don't want to teach her to pull on a leash). I found that keeping a leach on Comet (indoors) was very helpful in managing problem behaviors like running away with something he shouldn't have or biting my children's feet/legs. It basically gave me extra long arms.
Your puppy is behaving the way she would with her littermates - this is what she has known for 8 weeks. She doesn't understand the rules in her new world and 1 week isn't enough time to catch on. As your wife and other posters write, she's just a baby... She has a lot to learn and she needs your time, patience and gentle guidance (easier said than done sometimes... We all understand how frustrating it can be at times).
There are some great positive reinforcement YouTube videos online.
I posted on the forum what we did for Comet and his puppy food guarding. I'm on my phone and not sure how to find the post and post a link to my comments, but I'll try to find it later and copy it here.
Hang in there. It sounds like you're doing a great job and you're asking all of the right questions, which will definitely get you where you want to be.
And, if it makes you feel any better, Comet is 8 months next week and we are still working on drop it and leave it.
I found my response post about my puppy guarding his food. I've copied it below. I don't know how to provide a link to that discussion but it's in the Golden Retriever Main Discussion area and it's titled "Growling" and the initial post was posted on 1-20-2015...
You've gotten a lot of solid advice and you have to do what you're most comfortable doing and accept what you're most comfortable living with long term. I agree that if you're seeing signs that worry you now, it's the perfect time to address them and find a great trainer. Puppies have puppy behaviors and a trainer will be able to tell you what you need to work on and what is simply silly puppy stuff. Ten weeks is so young and a puppy is so malleable.
I agree with Dancer that puppy preschool can be a great help. It's also a nice way to see how other puppies are behaving and hear what other families are challenged with. It also provides a nice weekly check in.
We got our puppy at 9 weeks and he was growling at us over his food dish, right out of the gate. I have little ones at home and this really worried me. I absolutely agree that young kids and puppies/dogs shouldn't be left alone. That said, even when you're in the same room, things happen quickly and there could be an issue. So anything you can do to prevent issues now will benefit you in the future. We have rules about the dog and eating, but I also didn't want to stand by and allow this behavior to potentially transcend to toys, objects that he steals, etc.
This is our first puppy and I knew I wasn't equip to handle this on my own. We worked with a trainer and she gave us wonderful, gentle advice for helping our puppy not see us as a threat. As another forum member posted, things like adding food to the bowl helps the dog to see you as a food provider and not a "food stealer." But, depending on how protective your puppy is, you may want to take it very slow. Our trainer first assessed Comet's bubble of protection, she called it. How close could we get before he starts to growl. Then she would have me stop just short of that spot (so that he didn't growl) and offer him a high value treats. After practicing this for some time, his "bubble of protection" got smaller and smaller until I could place the high value treat right into his bowl and he would take it from my hand or the bowl if I dropped it in. We also had my kids go through the same exercises (after I worked with the puppy for quite some time first and they were supervised carefully), so that our little puppy saw them as "high value treat machines" as well. Our trainer also had me feed him one meal per day out of my hand, one kibble at a time so that he would see hands as treat machines and not food takers.
I do understand that all puppies are different and some have this engrained into their temperament more than others, but I would agree that at 10 weeks you still have plenty of time to work through this and potentially work it away. I wouldn't try to do it alone though... bring in a trainer or behaviorist who can help you and guide you through the process correctly. We actively worked on this with my puppy for a good month or two and continue to randomly reinforce it. He's 6 months now and could care less if someone sticks a hand in his bowl. In fact, he's likely to start licking the hand because he's pretty sure there is something really good coming.
Good luck and keep us posted!
Last edited by Loukia; 02-22-2015 at 03:51 PM.