Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, everyone. I joined before I even got my puppy, but I haven't been on since we got him. He is now 6 months old (!) and he's adorable.

I feed him raw occasionally, which was mostly quail until recently. Today, he didn't eat his breakfast (kibble), so I gave him a rabbit for lunch (first time he's had a rabbit or anything that big.) In the past, when he got a quail, he'd be tense and a little growly, but I'd make a point of petting him while he ate (but I've never taken it away from him. I've taken his kibble away, but never his raw food.

So today, I gave him the rabbit, and I made him sit and wait for it. But when I approached him, he was growling really loudly and then he snapped and barked at me.http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/images/smilies/mad.gif I was shocked and honestly, a little scared because he's pretty big.

What do I do to correct this behavior?!?! (I apologize if this has been discussed on the board somewhere. I'm not good at navigating the boards yet.)
 

·
Mercy Miracle (M&M)
Joined
·
5,097 Posts
Try using the trade command. Try to give him something else yummy or irresistable so he will willingly drop the food. Praise him lavishly when he does. If he does growl, correct thim firmly. I am having resource guarding problems with my dog too. I had to have a professional trainer come out. She has been much better since.
 

·
and River!
Joined
·
168 Posts
Personally, if I were you, I would definitely be taking his food away when he growled. Show him that growling does the opposite of what he wants (it makes food go away instead of making you leave his food alone). Put it away for 5 minutes, then repeat the procedure, taking it away again if he growls.

You can also sit in a chair with his bowl at your feet on the floor. Drop pieces of his food into the bowl, showing him that the food comes through you. Drop food only when he is sitting quietly making attentive, expectant eye contact (not when he is jumping, etc.). If he's really anxious and paces around or avoids you, then go slower. Read a book or magazine and drop food without looking directly at him (direct eye contact can be threatening to some dogs).

Feed all of his meals this way for a week or two, then work up to the point where you drop food, let him eat, pick up the empty bowl, set it down, drop more food. Then later drop food, pick it up before he can get it, put it back down, let him eat, drop more food. Then drop food, let him eat, put your hand near the bowl while he eats, take your hand away, drop more food. Then grab the bowl while he's eating and give it back right away. Then gradually increase the time you take it away for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I've had no problem with his kibble or his food bowl or treats or other things he grabs. I've always been able to take those things away. It was just the whole, raw rabbit that brought on this reaction (and a much lesser reaction with quail). Since I'm giving him the whole rabbit, I'm not sure how to give pieces.

I was thinking of maybe holding the rabbit while he ate it???
 

·
and River!
Joined
·
168 Posts
Yeah, try holding the rabbit while he eats and take it away periodically, but give it back immediately. He needs to learn that you're the resource manager in the relationship, not him. If he growls or gets snippy, say nothing, just put the food away for a few minutes and walk away like nothing happened. He'll change his tune once he figures out the consequences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,370 Posts
Lots of people here recommend a book called "Mine" for resource guarding.
Amazon.com: Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs (9780970562944): Jean Donaldson: Books

I don't have experience with this personally, but I would definitely read the book and/or get some help from a good trainer. Some things that people often recommend will only make the problem worse, for example, I don't think you should firmly correct a dog for growling, as it is a warning that you would prefer to get, rather than just get bitten.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,628 Posts
It sounds to me, from your description, that you hadn't even given him the rabbit yet when he growled and lunged. If that's the case, I would have said "ooops!" and turned around and put the rabbit in the fridge. I might have tried again in a half an hour or so and if he growled and lunged, done the "oooops" and turn around thing again. I would probably give him a third chance, but if he did it again on the third chance, I would put the rabbit in the fridge and walk away.


What I would NOT suggest doing is trying to hold the food while he eats. He's already shown resource guarding and you could be very badly bitten if you do that. I also would not suggest trying to take the food away as he is eating. That's another way to get badly bitten.

You may want to look into the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,628 Posts
Silly question from a Newbie. The whole hand-feeding really resonates with me but it seems like it would be hard or potentially unsanitary to hand feed raw foods. What do you think?
As long as you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, it shouldn't be an issue. I have one of mine who can't quite grasp how to eat a chicken leg quarter so I have to hold it for him so he can eat it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hi, I have not ever really posted as I lost my password and couldn't figure out how to get my account to unlock after.

Anyway, I have this problem with my 11 month golden female. We have hired a trainer who uses only positive techniques. You do not want to stop the dog from growling. A growl is a warning from the dog that the dog is about to bite/snap. If you extinguish the growl, you extinguish the warning - a recipe for getting bitten without warning. I have the book "Mine" by Jean Donaldson and highly recommend it. Eliminating guarding behavior is a step by step process that could potentially have 100 steps depending on your dog. The best advice we got was to hand-feed (we did it with kibble) and when we give a "prized item" (in our case it's a huge raw knuckle bone) we simply put it down, give her the release to take it, and then walk away and let her enjoy her bone in peace. IF and when we approach, we use the steps outlined in "Mine" - at this point, if we need to interrupt her eating the bone, we get her attention from several feet away and toss her a very tasty treat (garlic meatball, tripe stick) for allowing us near her. That's just an example - I highly recommend you order "Mine" and also find a positive-reinforcement trainer in your area. At this point, our dog only guards very prized edible items that she is very much into, and usually only when the cats are around. Good luck :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks

Thank you so much, everyone. I can't figure out tonight how to "thank" each poster (although I did it yesterday--??), but I appreciate all of your advice.

I will get the book _Mine_ and read it. If we still need help after that, I'll get a trainer.

Thanks again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,950 Posts
You've gotten some good advice here and I don't have better to offer, but did want to mention that dogs often seem to act a bit different regarding meat, especially raw meat. I've learned to separate mine when giving them marrow bones. Tucker, normally a pretty easygoing guy, gets very acquisitive and has to have both. He gets growly toward Tess, and she toward him. I think they are channeling their "inner wolves.". :D So what you are witnessing is likely pretty instinctive. Just not acceptable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
growling with raw:

I too have had the same issue: Mayah started growling when I started feeding her raw...I KNEW it, but the trainer we go to (puppy classes) and our vet both think I'm foolish to say it started then!!
I have been doing research online because it is COMPLETELY unacceptable to me that she growl...and have to say, I was going to switch her back to kibble rather than deal with the growling.
Now that I see it happens to LOTS of people, I'll stick with the raw, and take some advice on showing her the food comes from me and she is safe with me to eat it.
Who would've ever thought a GOLDEN would growl over her food??? I thought it was food aggression, but I guess it's not...not really.
Has anyone found techniques that really work?

Thanks!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,926 Posts
Growling and snapping is NOT allowed in my house. As OutWest stated above raw meat is a high value item for our dogs and will encourage to act more protecting of it. If that happens I would certainly HAND feed little by little. I would put then some in the bowl;
if the growling re-starts no more feeding in the bowl until complete trust is established.
Someone above stated that you should not inhibit the growling. Frankly I don't see how you can do that. An dog who is insecure about his food will growl and snap in order to protect it. The goal is to establish trust with your pup and letting him know that all food (valuable and less valuable) comes from you. When he takes the food from you praise for easy and soft mouth. When he goes to his bowl, don;t pet him but just stay nearby to replenish his bowl, if he behaves praise him once again., occasionally give food from hand and then again from the bowl.
 
  • Like
Reactions: problemcat
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top