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earning respect

1869 Views 25 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  fostermom
My 4 month old golden boy has been demonstrating resource guarding over the past 2 weeks...we began working with him, at the suggestions of those in the forum, by trading high value goodies and he did so willingly. However, just yesterday, he snapped at my 3 year old when she tried to take a towel that he had dragged from the bathroom. I consulted a behaviorist, at the suggestion of my vet, who wants almost $500 for two in home consultations. She did suggest that I have him neutered now and indicated that I must earn the respect of my dog ASAP. While I do spend much time with Chance walking him, playing with him, training him, and taking him to puppy classes, there are times I spoil him by allowing him to sit with me on the couch (because I like to snuggle with him while watching TV) and have most recently allowed him to sleep in bed with us. By doing so, am I giving him equal status thereby diminishing his perception of me as the leader?

Also, how long before we should start to see extinction of the resource guarding behaviors and when do I need to bring in the behaviorist?
Thanks--really need to get this problem under control.
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bumping this up, it's a very important question.
FWIW, I would google "nothing in life is free" training methods and start it immediately.
I would NOT allow him on beds or furniture of any kind, and yes, back in the crate at times.
and now where I'll get flamed...
I would STOP trading for high value goodies. It just teaches him that if he guards something, he will get something better in return. I really don't think that's the message that you're trying to send to him, and (JMO) it's the inherent problem with the method.
Are there certain things he tends to guard, or does he guard EVERYTHING?
I would be working REALLY hard on the "drop it" command when he's NOT guarding a high value item. Get him to know it and be 100% reliable with it.
<sharpening my claws>
The OP said that this is something they've been working with him on for 2 weeks, trading higher value items for what he's resource guarding.
So IMO, this is not an isolated incident, and I'm sorry, the dog is learning to guard whatever he has so that he will get something better. While I sure agree with Steph that if it's an isolated happening, the safest, fastest way to diffuse the situation is to trade for something better, this isn't just one incident. Why am I reminded of the parent in the grocery store telling their child "I'll buy you a candy bar if you stop screaming"? Hmmm, what will the child do the next time they're in a grocery store?
So not to turn this into a training dispute thread, but to answer the OP, as I said before I would strongly suggest you google the "nothing in life is free" method of training. It is NOT about bullying your dog, not in the least. It is a tried and true method of teaching your dog to respect you, which is what the OP asked for originally.
Get the dog off the furniture. Make him do some basic obedience work before you give him anything. Those are the basics of the system. And teach him the DROP IT command ASAP so that he's totally reliable with it. That way you can tell him to DROP IT, and give him a nice reward for doing it. The reward is FOR OBEYING YOUR COMMAND, not a trade-up in value. BIG difference.
And also for the OP, most of us have been lucky enough to never have a dog that is a resource guarding dog, and I understand he is your first. When we brought Tito home from the breeder at 8 weeks old she told us that in the puppy personality test he showed signs of resource guarding, and told us not to allow him to own anything from the first day we got home. Probably because of her warning, we've never had a problem with him. Which brings me to my final point, please contact your breeder. Good breeders are a tremendous source of help and information, and will be willing to work with you to get the puppy past this.
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great news! keep up the good work!
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