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My 4 mo old male just started chewing on bones ... however, he growls whenever someone comes near him while he is chewing on it, what should I do? I don't want him to think that is o.k. especially around my children! Thanks for your advice!
 

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The minute he starts growling, the bone needs to be taken away from him.

What kind of bone was it? At just 4 months old and even as an adult, you need to be very, very careful with bones, but even more so at such a young age. Tucker didn't get his first bone until he was over 6 months old and had all of his adult teeth, and that was a big soup bone from the butcher. We don't give any other types of bones due to the potential dangers of choking and intestinal obstruction.
 

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I agree with Jo. The bone comes up at the first curl of the lip. Wait a day or two and try again. You might also try hand feeding her meals a few pieces at a time. All this will let her know you are the one that provides the kibble.
 

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I agree that the bone comes up with the lip. My dogs had sterilzed bones because my Goldens have very sensitive stomachs and react to grease. I finally took away the bones because Scotty was chewing pieces off. That said, I never put up with food agression and fortunately my Goldens aren't a problem. My old basset was a nightmare, but knew not to growl at me because I was the food provider and take-awayer. The only time Scotty ever lifted a lip was when his cousin, the boxer, came near his dish. His lip came up to say, this is mine and I mean it, she agreed and they have never had other incident. Sully is a push-over and will let anyone take her food, etc. as long as they are pay attention to her. Be persistent about touching her food. I have feed by hand, held the dish in my hand, all to let them know who is the alpha in this house.
 

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You can also give your dog the bone in his crate where no one can mess with him while he is eating his bone and it doesn't become an issue. Just another option.
 

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You can also give your dog the bone in his crate where no one can mess with him while he is eating his bone and it doesn't become an issue. Just another option.
That's kind of the attitude I've taken with Daisy, but I don't have small children to worry about. Just me and her so there's a lot more control over her interactions when she has a bone.

The crate is an excellent idea when you have children. I've always said, something about a dog and his bone ... I'm not sure I would feel comfortable letting a small child get in the mix no matter how much I trusted my dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cooper has just started getting a bone ... I gave him a rawhide that was candy cane shaped from the pet store, and another strip-type from the vet (supposed to be safe & easy to digest and good for dental health). He never growls when the kids (or anyone for that matter) come near his food or toys, just these darn bones! We have since day one put our hands in his food bowl when he eats, etc. In addition, he doesn't growl at "ME" when he has the bone (I AM Alpha dog to him!)

I took the bone from him each & every time he growled ... waited a day, but when I gave it back he did it again! Maybe I need to wait 'til he's older to give him any type of bone? I only gave him one to keep him busy for a while & to have something to chew longer. I also give him a "kong" toy filled with peanut butter (which he LOVES) and he doesn't growl over that! hmmm ...

Thanks so much for all of the advice; taking it all in! This is our first dog, and we are LOVING him!! He is so fantastic in every other way!! :)
 

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The first few times I give a dog a bone, I hold one end of it. That way the only way they can have it is to accept me touching it.
 

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If you do let him have the bone in the crate, make sure that the kids know that they should never put their fingers in the crate or try to bother him when he is in there. And tell the kids if the puppy ever growls to walk away and get an adult. Dont try to confront him. It can make him feel more protective. But I agree that the bone comes up when the growling starts. Dont just grab it from him, give him a treat and take it away. Trading it for something else will make it seem less like you are stealing it away from him.
Look up on the web for Nothing In Life is Free (NILIF) it has some great information on working with him.
 

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The minute he starts growling, the bone needs to be taken away from him.

What kind of bone was it? At just 4 months old and even as an adult, you need to be very, very careful with bones, but even more so at such a young age. Tucker didn't get his first bone until he was over 6 months old and had all of his adult teeth, and that was a big soup bone from the butcher. We don't give any other types of bones due to the potential dangers of choking and intestinal obstruction.
I agree with Joe, my dogs have their very hard to destoy beef bones. Any sign of growling they go up. They learned over time, I don't have any problems with any of them sharing their bones with humans or other dogs.
 

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I would teach him the ''leave it'' command, but practice it with treats first. This is how I did it. If my dog is laying on the floor I'd place a treat near him but far enough that he would have to reach it to get it. If he tries to get it, I'd say leave it. If he continues, I'd take the treat away. I'd do it again several more times until he stops lunging when I give the command. When he finally leaves it alone at my command, I then give him the treat. This way he would learn that when I tell him to leave it, he would not touch it.

I then make it harder for him by placing the treat nearer to him. Every time he leave it when I give the command, then he gets the treat. Soon, he would learn that what is his is mine. Anytime Kai has anything he shouldn't have in his mouth, when I give the ''leave it'' command, he drops it just like that. No competition, no nothing.

That is just my method though.
 

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Hi Shelley use to be protective over bones when she was younger she use to growl and snap at humans and other animals. What i did was give her a bone stand at safe distance that she was comfortable with and talk to her in a happy voice. As she got use to me being there i would take a step closer till i was right beside her. If she showed discomfort i would take a step or 2 back. Once she was comfortable with me standing beside her i would pat her on the bottom slowly work my way up to her head then the jaw. Like i said if she discomfort i would take a step back. By doing this she now accepts me near her bone i can even take it out of her mouth. She even brings her bone to me to play with her with it.
 

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First time Meg growled when she had a bone as a puppy was when she was underneath a table. My 2 yr old nephew crawled in to join her and she growled. I slid her out so fast from under that table and removed the bone. She soon learned not to even curl a lip!
 

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The first night I brought Mitchell home, he growled when my adult son walked by as he chewed on a rawhide bone. I heard it from the kitchen went flyinging and scared him so much he gave up the rawhide to me without a peep. I guess the evil eye works on dogs as well as kids. Hailey has just started growling while she has a bone, so she loses that too. Now any of them get chewies only when they are alone. Funny thing with the treats they get there is no problem nor when they are eating their meals, and they all eat together.... Obviously dinner isnt high value....
 

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The first few times I give a dog a bone, I hold one end of it. That way the only way they can have it is to accept me touching it.

This is what I ended up doing with my Cooper too. He went through a phase where he got very possessive over his food and toys, and as soon as I let him know that I was the keeper of the treats, and if he got aggressive with ANYONE, I would be removing the fun time, he stopped. Now he gladly shares his bones. Ick, but at least he knows how to share! He is almost two now, and from time to time I still stick my hand in his food dish, or take a toy out of his mouth. When I do this, I get really excited, and tell him how good he is for sharing, and then give it back. He usually just gives an excited butt wiggle and goes on playing. I mostly just do this so he sees that as long as he is nice about it, he'll get his toy back. He seems to have made the connection.
 
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