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Discussion Starter #1
So Grizzly is almost 2 years old now. I've written before about some minor behavior issues. But here are some new developments...

Currently,
We can't keep anything on counters. Paper, food, plastic bowls, food in wrappers, you name it, he will jump on the counters as soon as we leave the kitchen and eat or chew on anything up there. This is a new thing. We've tried a spray bottle and scolding of course, and he doesn't do it when we're in there, just when we leave to watch tv. We've had to keep him kenneled every time we leave so he doesn't get into anything. We never ahd this problem before!

Scratching at the door. We have wood doors, so even though I have taught him to ring a bell on the door to go in or out, he rings it and then scratches. He knows the speak command, and will do it if I go to the door and say "speak" then let him in, but it's been 2 months and he still hasn't made the connection of speaking to be let in, instead of scratching.

Growling and snarling when he's eating. As a puppy, we always pet Grizzly, put hands in his food, had him eat out of our hands to train him to not be food aggressive. Since he's been about 1 year old, all of a sudden he growls and freezes, showing teeth whenever we bend over him or reach for his bowl. He never tries to bite us! He will try to bite our other dog if it comes too close though. I try to reprimand him by picking up the bowl, but he just starts eating as fast as he can then. It worries me for when I have children in the future that he will nip them.

I'm leaving for vet school in January, and Grizzly has to stay with my parents (who have no clue what they are doing) for my first semester there. I'm worried I'm going to come home to a terrible dog because he's been getting worse in the last 6 months. Please help!
 

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where the tails wag
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How much exercise is Grizzly getting? Does he go to obedience classes? Even if you do not plan on showing him, these classes are a wonderful outlet for our dogs.

My first thoughts reading your posts were that he needs a job (obedience) and stress relief (exercise).

I would also try to keep the counters clear, in a perfect world a dog would not think of helping himself to food or 'white things' but it is not a perfect world and they are dogs :) and it does look to be free food.
 

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Missing Selka So Much
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I agree. I would be very concerned about your parents watching him if they don't know what they are getting into. Will they do obedience and walk him often?
 

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Loving goldens since '95
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We can't keep anything on counters. Paper, food, plastic bowls, food in wrappers, you name it, he will jump on the counters as soon as we leave the kitchen and eat or chew on anything up there.
We have this problem with Molson, too. He won't do it while we are there, but when left alone in the kitchen, he will jump up and grab anything he can. We have been trained to keep our counters and sinks spotless to keep him safe. Haven't figured out yet how to stop him in the first place though. I'll be keeping my eye on this thread for more suggestions!

Growling and snarling when he's eating.
Go back to good old fashioned hand feeding. Every meal. After a few weeks, introduce him back to the bowl slowly and everytime you come near the bowl, toss in some high valued treats/goodies (whether it's some meat, green beans, cheese, apple, whatever) so that he can get the sense that someone reaching for his food bowl is usually a good thing, and not that you are taking his food away!


Agreeing with other posters about making sure that he is getting enough exercise, attention, obedience training and play time will definitely help keep him under control. You should make sure that your parents are up to the challenge of watching your dog while you're gone. It is a lot of work and time consuming, too!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the help. About the exercise...

We live on an acre of land in suburban St. Louis, with an invisible fence and a huge yard that he runs around in all day. He gets a long walk every day or every other day. I've actually had to increase his amount of food because he started losing weight from all the exercise. I had him in agility training from age 4.5 months to a year old. He's very good with commands, but the problem is he is VERY food motivated. I thought about putting him back in training, but since I'm leaving, I don't know who will keep it up while I'm gone. I'll let my parents know that I want him to go back into it. I called a trainer a few days ago, and she said it would have to be private lessons, because she doesn't know anyone who offers a class for his skill level. Those are SO expensive!
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Scratching at the door....do you ever open the door if he scratches at it...if so, he has not figured out that you are replacing one behavior with the other...
When in doubt, dogs will revert back to the behavior first learned. If and when he reverts to scratching - and it works for him...then he will go back to that behavior ......
You could set up barriers inside, near the door so he cant reach the door to scratch it and start working the 'speak' from the new position... or take him on leash, to a different location 10-15' away from the door...have him 'speak' then run him to the door and open it up like a party run outside...play...pee and play some more!
As to coming back in...you either have to go out with him ..have someone on the inside of the door...you have him speak...when the inside person hears him speak...they open the door and cheer-lead and call him inside...OR leave him outside and put up some sort of barrier between him and the door....but becareful that he doesnt get hurt trying to get over or around the barrier to get to the door to scratch.
 
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