Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,
Has anyone had a young puppy resource guard various things? My pup is 12 weeks old and today alone she growled at us over a peanut shell, a bone, and a scrunchie. We try to keep it as puppy proof as possible and she’s crated but I have 2 kids and sometimes they drop stuff. She growls and tries to bite if you go near her when she has something she values. Even at 8 weeks she was growling when picked up but we gave her treats and told the kids not to pick her up and she seems okay with it now. She’s super smart and adorable but I’m so concerned we are going to have an aggressive dog. I have an appointment with a behaviourist this week but I’m hoping someone has had a similar pup and can offer suggestions. It’s hard to desensitize her when it’s pretty random things she guards. The bones I’ve traded for treats with her but she will still growl sometimes at me and always at the kids when they walk by. I just started giving her those in her crate but today I was trying to trade again. I’m scared for the kids (7 and 9) especially as she grows older. She does this to everyone in the family so I’m always on edge when the kids are around her. Thoughts? Suggestions? HELP! A lot of what I’ve read says the younger the puppy does this the more likely something is seriously wrong with her and I guess I’m hoping to hear from someone who has had a golden like this. Even the vet who has had 5 Goldens herself said she’s going to be a challenge at her 8 week appointment. 😔
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Did you try to take away her food or bones or whatever she guards? Because that is the thing that causes guarding issues. There is a lot of bad training information out there, and I see this happening all the time. If you can, NEVER take away her food, or other high value things. The guarding will get worse and worse when you do that. See it from her point of view: what would you do if you were eating dinner and someone just took it from you, you would be irritated right? And what if your food is taken away over and over? At one point you would get mad.
What you have to do is teach her that her food won’t be taken away, let her feel safe. That is the only thing that will solve this, TRUST. You can train this by only adding food to her bowl. So while she’s eating just throw an extra hand kibble in. (Only do this when she is calm enough that you can come near her).
Don’t try to trade her things for her bones, this is obviously not working. Just never take it away from her.
If you keep building trust the ”agression” will fade. I understand that there will come a moment when she is outside and eating something she shouldn’t and you have to take it away from her. thats the only moment you can do this. But try to avoid this kind of situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, thanks for your response. We never took her food away and she’s never guarded it. I thought trading would build trust because she’s getting it back but like you said so much info out there. I’m just going to continue to give her the chews/bones in her crate. I’m more concerned about the unpredictability of what she guards. My kids know not to take anything away from her but sometimes I have to. She can’t have things that could hurt her. But I agree it is about trust. Her vet and trainer appointment is this week so I’m hoping they can help. Anyways, I appreciate you taking the time. She’s such a great pup otherwise! Thanks again!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
Hi Jdub! I've raised a few puppies that resource guarded as young as 6 - 9 weeks old. What you are doing right now is exactly the thing you should be doing. No forced taking, getting a trainer, not bothering her.

In my experience, this is not a behavior that goes away but is rather managed throughout life. This behavior does not mean the puppy is going to grow up to be a monster, but with your kids, you'll need to work with the trainer and teach them how to approach her. Feed her in a crate, give her long term chews in a crate. If you're going to have family over that doesn't understand her, she should probably be crated or the rest of the family told not to give her food, not to let children take her toys.

Resource guarding is a very natural instinct for dogs and there is likely nothing you could have done to have caused it at this young age. I find that puppies often express their emotions very strongly anyway and go over threshold very quickly. As my puppies grew, managing their behavior became very easy. They became less "broad" in terms of what they would guard and when I knew or something that they would guard, I made sure to remove it before they noticed.

What this does mean is being careful on walks, working on building a reliable drop command and a reliable leave it, and understanding that your puppy needs you to understand them, because they don't realize what they're doing is wrong necessarily. Trading has been invaluable to me in working with puppies who resource guard and making them into well adjusted adult dogs. However, I am still careful with young children and parties and usually err on the side of caution and use the crate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Jdub! I've raised a few puppies that resource guarded as young as 6 - 9 weeks old. What you are doing right now is exactly the thing you should be doing. No forced taking, getting a trainer, not bothering her.

In my experience, this is not a behavior that goes away but is rather managed throughout life. This behavior does not mean the puppy is going to grow up to be a monster, but with your kids, you'll need to work with the trainer and teach them how to approach her. Feed her in a crate, give her long term chews in a crate. If you're going to have family over that doesn't understand her, she should probably be crated or the rest of the family told not to give her food, not to let children take her toys.

Resource guarding is a very natural instinct for dogs and there is likely nothing you could have done to have caused it at this young age. I find that puppies often express their emotions very strongly anyway and go over threshold very quickly. As my puppies grew, managing their behavior became very easy. They became less "broad" in terms of what they would guard and when I knew or something that they would guard, I made sure to remove it before they noticed.

What this does mean is being careful on walks, working on building a reliable drop command and a reliable leave it, and understanding that your puppy needs you to understand them, because they don't realize what they're doing is wrong necessarily. Trading has been invaluable to me in working with puppies who resource guard and making them into well adjusted adult dogs. However, I am still careful with young children and parties and usually err on the side of caution and use the crate.
Hey, thank you so much for your response. I really needed to hear from someone who has had a pup this young resource guard various things. We couldn’t see the trainer until Friday and I needed some reassurance that she’s going to be okay, and that my kids will be too. I’m so thankful they are old enough to understand and just leave her. She’s a great pup and loves everyone she meets. Dogs included! Hoping with some help we will get through it and learn strategies to deal with it. And for now I will continue to use the crate. I have small kids in the family so when they’re over I will take your advice! She actually goes in there on her own now when she’s tired so I’m glad she has a safe place to just be. She’s great at her leave it and drop at home, we’re working on those outside. So many distractions out there!! Thank you again, your comments are much appreciated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Your puppy sounds a lot like mine is/was. He's gotten a LOT better. Although others in my household would disagree with me, only because I'm the one who's with him all day long and know his how to read and manage his ticks. And he loves me the most of course lol.

My puppy, 5 months now, since 9 weeks has always hated being picked up. We just don't pick him up. We don't pull him away or push him (gently and "normally") in any direction: scoot him out doors, away from digging, etc. He gets mad.

We saw a behaviorist for resource guarding and other various situations where he growls, snaps, lunges, and actually nipped us once when snapping. We're getting a second opinion because we got limited, but useful information:

He's a retriever who is doing his job and doing it really well. By getting mad at him for putting stuff in his mouth we doing the completely wrong thing and punishing him for what he thinks is good behavior. So he's being possessive since we are the bad guys. He told us to overwhelming get happy WHENEVER he picks up anything. Um okkk. Right?? But we tried it, and it works ha! He went from growling and scaring us out of the room, to wagging is tail frantically and bringing his treasure onto our laps. It's a bit crazy to get happy when he grabs my shoe or a bunch of napkins, but whatever. Then he has a loose grip and I can grab it and peacefully exchange for a treat or extra belly rubs.

Obviously we need to see someone else for advice on when we don't have 45 seconds to "reward " him for grabbing something dangerous. And he's still growly about other things. Anyways, I'd never read that strategy before so thought I'd share it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Your puppy sounds a lot like mine is/was. He's gotten a LOT better. Although others in my household would disagree with me, only because I'm the one who's with him all day long and know his how to read and manage his ticks. And he loves me the most of course lol.

My puppy, 5 months now, since 9 weeks has always hated being picked up. We just don't pick him up. We don't pull him away or push him (gently and "normally") in any direction: scoot him out doors, away from digging, etc. He gets mad.

We saw a behaviorist for resource guarding and other various situations where he growls, snaps, lunges, and actually nipped us once when snapping. We're getting a second opinion because we got limited, but useful information:

He's a retriever who is doing his job and doing it really well. By getting mad at him for putting stuff in his mouth we doing the completely wrong thing and punishing him for what he thinks is good behavior. So he's being possessive since we are the bad guys. He told us to overwhelming get happy WHENEVER he picks up anything. Um okkk. Right?? But we tried it, and it works ha! He went from growling and scaring us out of the room, to wagging is tail frantically and bringing his treasure onto our laps. It's a bit crazy to get happy when he grabs my shoe or a bunch of napkins, but whatever. Then he has a loose grip and I can grab it and peacefully exchange for a treat or extra belly rubs.

Obviously we need to see someone else for advice on when we don't have 45 seconds to "reward " him for grabbing something dangerous. And he's still growly about other things. Anyways, I'd never read that strategy before so thought I'd share it.
Interesting! I’ve never heard of that strategy either! She’s gotten much better at all the handling. We don’t pick her up as much because she’s getting huge, but also because she can manage stairs etc., now. I will be sure to ask the behaviourist tomorrow about this. I don’t know if I’m that good of an actress haha. Vet told me at the last appointment she’s going to be work but it will be worth it. Hope your pup continues to get better! Thanks for your response!! Would love to hear updates on how he’s doing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
interesting. My puppy has the same issue and he was also 12 weeks Tuesday. I think it may be from the same breeder. Where did you get your puppy from? Can you message me
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
interesting. My puppy has the same issue and he was also 12 weeks Tuesday. I think it may be from the same breeder. Where did you get your puppy from? Can you message me
Hey,
Apparently I can’t count and she’s actually almost 14 weeks. I blame Covid! I can let you know what the vet and trainer say today if you want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Your puppy sounds a lot like mine is/was. He's gotten a LOT better. Although others in my household would disagree with me, only because I'm the one who's with him all day long and know his how to read and manage his ticks. And he loves me the most of course lol.

My puppy, 5 months now, since 9 weeks has always hated being picked up. We just don't pick him up. We don't pull him away or push him (gently and "normally") in any direction: scoot him out doors, away from digging, etc. He gets mad.

We saw a behaviorist for resource guarding and other various situations where he growls, snaps, lunges, and actually nipped us once when snapping. We're getting a second opinion because we got limited, but useful information:

He's a retriever who is doing his job and doing it really well. By getting mad at him for putting stuff in his mouth we doing the completely wrong thing and punishing him for what he thinks is good behavior. So he's being possessive since we are the bad guys. He told us to overwhelming get happy WHENEVER he picks up anything. Um okkk. Right?? But we tried it, and it works ha! He went from growling and scaring us out of the room, to wagging is tail frantically and bringing his treasure onto our laps. It's a bit crazy to get happy when he grabs my shoe or a bunch of napkins, but whatever. Then he has a loose grip and I can grab it and peacefully exchange for a treat or extra belly rubs.

Obviously we need to see someone else for advice on when we don't have 45 seconds to "reward " him for grabbing something dangerous. And he's still growly about other things. Anyways, I'd never read that strategy before so thought I'd share it.
Curious how the dig is now. My five month old has been a resource guarder from the beginning. She has bitten both my husband and I . She is 90 percent perfect GR but the 1O% scares me as I have grand kids. We are all trained not to react and are working with a behaviorist she’s also have basic puppy obedience and we work with her every day. . Tonight I called her to get ready for her bed (crate time) I got some treats out and she lunged at me growling. Im at a loss. Had a golden previously that was more typical in behavior. Does it get better??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Curious how the dig is now. My five month old has been a resource guarder from the beginning. She has bitten both my husband and I . She is 90 percent perfect GR but the 1O% scares me as I have grand kids. We are all trained not to react and are working with a behaviorist she’s also have basic puppy obedience and we work with her every day. . Tonight I called her to get ready for her bed (crate time) I got some treats out and she lunged at me growling. Im at a loss. Had a golden previously that was more typical in behavior. Does it get better??
Unfortunately it didn't get better for us. :confused:

Maybe we didn't try hard enough, or maybe it's just too ingrained in him, but my dog has had the same fierce personality streak from the day we got him. 99% sweetheart, 1% monster. I love him to death and he really is the best dog in all other ways, but I have to take extreme precautions with him.

I whole heartedly understand what a difficult situation this is for your family emotionally. Dogs aren't supposed to be this "hard", not in this way. If I could go back in time I wouldn't have kept him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Thanks I appreciate the honest answer. Woke up and started the day fresh. Training, training, training….
Hang in there.:) It does get better in the sense that you learn the triggers and body language. Every time my dog has an episode, I knowingly pushed him in some way. It's only other people that I have to make sure don't push his buttons accidentally.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top