Food Guarders - What method would you use?

Posted by: PositiveDog

Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 01:55 PM

OK, I've lost this twice trying to post it. So here is the short version.

I thought this would be a great conversation starter.

Have you ever had a dog that guards it's food or other resources? What did you try and how did it work out for you and the dog.

Here are two very different styles of training. One more closely fits what I would like to see happen and the other I find, well- abusive.


What do you think? Why?

Example One: Ok - not my style at all. Although I was cringing through most of the video, I had to laugh out loud at the statement "I didn't see that coming." Seriously?! The video is not full length, but it does tell how many minutes the actions took place.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dog+...&FORM=VIRE1

Example Two:

Granted, this will be ongoing training. But looking at the posture of this dog and the trainer, I am more confident this will go well. Watch the dog go from somewhat confused to expectant and more relaxed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjpP5EZC7HI
Posted by: Lauri & the Gang

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 02:36 PM

This is what I have used (successfully) and recommend to others:

http://www.rawdogranch.com/training/problems/foodguarding.html
Posted by: SunCzarina

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 03:03 PM

The second is kinda what I did with Otto. He's almost 5, I still make him sit and give me a kiss before he gets a meal but I don't do the little bit at a time, make nice with Mommy thing anymore. I don't let the kids go jump around him while he's eating but occasionally they forget. Now he just looks at them, when he was younger, he would have growled.

It was so bad with Morgan I had to crate him for meals until she was no longer here. There was no telling her she couldn't give him the stink eye about his dinner and she would never back off if he growled at her. There weren't fights when he was clearly in the wrong but if she was wrong and tried to boss him, I was weeing myself pulling him off her.

The Cesar video is confrontational, a very aggressive stance over her food dish. I wouldn't label it abusive until he kicked her in the chest while she was nailing him. I was laughing waiting for her to do what Otto would have done, bite him in the junk for challenging him. Seriously, I would laugh my hiney off at the thought of Cesar Millan trying to get up in Otto's dinner dish like that.

We've conquered my dog's food aggression without being old school abusive. He's never bit anyone, probably because his growl makes everyone want to walk away and leave him alone. Just leave him alone and let him eat. I tell the kids that all the time, even when I'm cooking in my kitchen and he's eating, I talk to him, Otto, I need to get in the cabinet behind your butt. Otto I need to get to the stove. He knows I don't want his dinner and I'm not going to take it away so he moves.

My dad has those old school methods 'I'm the human, dog will submit to me' One time when I was 10 or 11 I watched him take off his belt and whip our shepherd with it after he dragged the dog home - the dog refused to come when he was called. That dog was headstrong but he'd do anything for me. I was a little girl and didn't think much of it philosophically but my father's strong arm methods taught me a lot about positive training, getting in the dog's head to get what you want from him.

Otto hates my father, wants him to leave because Dad's quick to yell at the kids (for nothing other than acting like kids). When Otto was a yearling and first met my parents, he was in that weird young shepherd place anyway so my father would look at him sternly and tell him to knock it off, and Dad wouldn't back off it. Morgan, Otto's mommy dearest, would lick his face and dance around infront of him trying tell him it's okay but it was never been okay for Otto. I doubt it ever will be okay with my father and Otto.

Otto won't even look at him without growling and Dad's tried to force himself on Otto. Dad's the only person who's ever pushed Otto past a growl, doesn't respect Otto's growl so subsequently, Otto's snap warned him - that's like a fake out I could bite you. So Otto spends a lot of time in his crate when my father's here...

I digressed but it's all part of the same kind of boss hog dog issues I deal with in Otto. Otto's a great dog and I wouldn't change a thing about him now. I'd change a lot of how my father deals with him but when they said you can't teach an old dog new tricks, they meant old MEN.
Posted by: PositiveDog

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 04:06 PM

Lauri, I like that link. Similar to the second video, but even more 'baby steps' which I like. Good foundations and all that. I am going to bookmark that one.

Jenn, I do think the CM video was abusive. His posture, lack of respect for the dog's space and non stop eye contact set the dog up to be fail and then he did not back down until things went further south. I think the dog tried to back off and was not allowed to do that as Cesar jut continued after him. I think the bite was fear, not aggression.

Posted by: MaxaLisa

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 04:07 PM

Dog Whisperer my a$$, he has just made that situation worse.

embedding it for you Bonnie:



Perfect example of how dangerous his techniques are, particularly for the majority of people watching him.

The second clip, which is pretty clever with the food bowel - would hate to see this dog react to Cesar's technique.


Max was a food guarder when he got here, but not as major as this second clip. (Hard to tell the full extent in the first clip since the dog as been interfered with.) I first had to get him used to me being close, and would do that by tossing good food near the bowl when I got close. Then it went in the bowl. Then I was able to put my had in the bowl while adding to the food.

At some point, I added petting when he was eating. The last step was being able to take the food bowl away, which I did similar to Laurie's philosophy - it's easier to take away food when you are giving some food of greater value.

Being able to take away a raw bone that he was chewing one took a bit of work too, but we got there.
Posted by: PositiveDog

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 04:15 PM

Thanks, Lisa. thumbup

I have not personally dealt with food aggression even though I have brought adult rescues into my home.

The personal stories are great and reinforces my belief in using positive and respectful techniques and building trust.
Posted by: MaxaLisa

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 04:21 PM

Originally Posted By: PositiveDog

Jenn, I do think the CM video was abusive. His posture, lack of respect for the dog's space and non stop eye contact set the dog up to be fail and then he did not back down until things went further south. I think the dog tried to back off and was not allowed to do that as Cesar jut continued after him.


I agree. I am not sure about the fear part, but wouldn't surprise me.

Some dogs have a greater sense of "fairness" than others, and are more willing to do something if they think things aren't "fair." LOL, I was a bit like this as a kid, and as I've grown up.
Posted by: SunCzarina

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 06:08 PM

That labbie girl looks pretty confident about not wanting dude in her food. With Otto it was very confident 'This is mine' Most of the problem was caused by Morgan. Seemed to get in her head that Luther was senior dog to her and he had taken her food many times. So she was giving Otto the attitude that 'I'm the head dog now and I can take that if I want to.' She didn't really want it, she had zero food motivation, she just liked the idea of telling him she could take it if she wanted. No, no she wasn't going to take food from Otto.

What's interesting is they could take treats side by side and if she didn't catch hers because her eyes were going, he didn't reach right in and steal it. He'd look at her for approval, if you're not going to eat that, can I have it.
Posted by: Kayos

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 09:22 PM

I have only had one dog that guarded food and growled at me over the bowl. It was many years ago and I knocked him on his butt. It is all I knew to do. SInce them I always start my pups or new dogs with hand feeding and then graduate to the bowl and add good stuff as I walk by them. Then I reach out for the bowl while dropping better food in it. Then I take the bowl while feeding them better food. I do this off and on for the life of the dog.
Posted by: SunCzarina

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/24/13 10:43 PM

Otto only growled at ME once, over his first bone and he was 3 1/2 or 4 months old. I took it away. My kids, only once and that was James, my oldest. James had given him his food and left the box on the floor next to the dish. I told him to pick it up and when he did, Otto grumbled at him. Scared my son and I never asked the kids to feed him after that.
Posted by: BasiaBear

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/25/13 09:41 AM

Over the past year I have watched my roommates gradually turn Bubba into a resource guarder of his bones. He'd be minding his own business, enjoying his rawhide and either of the two roommates would often just take it away from him for no reason, often forcing him to do a slew of tricks- just spewing out commands that the dog didn't understand. And the ones he did understand, and comply with, were not rewarded but followed by even more commands that Bubba just didn't get. He eventually associated Joe and Dan approaching him with them revoking the bone for no good reason and confusing him, and as a result growl and snap. Once, Joe severely scolded him for this and banished him to the back yard. That drove him to be afraid to go out back. They had little understanding of how to effectively communicate with a dog and why their actions drove Bubba to growl and snap at them. All the while it was very clear to me what was happening and I would try my best to explain to them how Bubba perceives these situations.

Even though his owner didn't really care to 'get it', I continually worked with Bubba to attenuate his guarding (and make him not afraid of the back yard anymore). I started by simply approaching and walking away until approaching didn't mean something bad to him. Gradually worked up to sitting next to him, then stroking him, and walking away, never eyeing or minding the bone at all. It was very easy for me to do because I was never one to take it from him anyway. So as a result, he doesn't guard against me at all, I can even take things from him without a problem, but he does still guard with Joe and Dan, but not as much.
Posted by: dano

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/25/13 11:23 AM

Ceasar is such an maroon, love that video!

I had one pup who was cool until a meaty bone was being guarded,
and I fixed it by preparing for it doning gloves and jean sleeves, and
executed the dreaded alpha-roll 3 times, and then made sure my wife
and adult kids were also able to have it surrendered.

I ain't proud of old school ways before new school ways were learned,
but it extinguished the misbehavior quickly and forever. The way I figured
it at the time was fix it now, he's only going to get bigger. He screamed,
he kicked, it wasn't pretty, but 15 minutes later was a new now, with an understanding what was and what wasn't going to be.

Simply controlling resources is simpler, and over more time works.
Posted by: MaxaLisa

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/25/13 11:55 AM

frown
Posted by: PositiveDog

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/25/13 12:43 PM

Quote:
Simply controlling resources is simpler, and over more time works.


Yes, I would hope that would be the way you would choose now. I like to train for the long haul, so I have no problem taking longer to actually teach the dog.

Some people have made me do things in my life and other people have given me information that actually allowed me to make good choices.

As an adult, I have no friends in the first group, but have many in the latter one. Sadly, dogs can't just walk away so it is up to us to choose more respectful and humane methods.

I am enjoying reading the responses. While I am saddened by the choices using force or dominance, it is good to read and learn more about the various positive ways used to control the resources or change the environment to get the results needed.
Posted by: Barb E

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/25/13 12:49 PM

Very interesting topic

I have a friend with a Catahoula Leopard Dog who I saw behaving like that Lab this past Thanksgiving.

I had never seen anything like it in real life and it was very scary!!

The dog had a rawhide and one of the guests didn't know the "don't touch this dog when it has something" rule and reached out to pet him. Patch turned and bit, no warning. It was then my friend's job to get that rawhide from Patch - she worked with a trainer though I'm thinking it was more Cesar style - and she grabbed a tennis racket and eventually got it from him after much snarling and biting the racket. I simply stood on the stairs with my mouth hanging open - I had no idea of how to help or what to do.

I do know that when Patch was just a puppy he growled at her when she reached for a toy and the "breeder" had told her to alpha roll when ever that happened.

Of course where my friend really failed at that dinner party was having the dog loose in the house when there were guests over.
Posted by: Krissy

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/25/13 02:31 PM

I can't see the link, but I would not tolerate my pups growling at me for food. Once Fluffy tried, and I took it away from her. She missed that meal. The next morning, I went back to the usual pulling of the tail, moving the food dish, playing with the food, playing with her ears, etc. and she was just fine.

Luckily, Dex is so used to us messing with him that I put my hands over his food and he just licks between my fingers to get his kibble. It tickles and he eventually wins because I just can't take it anymore and let him be. If he ever growled at my though, there would be trouble! I would have to make him wait even longer to get his food.
Posted by: SunCzarina

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/25/13 07:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Barb E
Of course where my friend really failed at that dinner party was having the dog loose in the house when there were guests over.


worth repeating.

My sisters JRTs became overwhelmed at Thanksgiving, too many new people in addition to their teenagers then you add their little cousins (my kids), an old man who thinks dogs should just do for him as he asks when he has no relationship with them. Those poor little dogs, especially the female, she was growling at me and I finally told my sister to get her away from me, that little dog was scaring me.

One new person, maybe 2 friends my dogs are familiar with but that's where I draw the line and box the dog. I get told all the time when we have company, 'oh let him out', 'he's fine', 'he was so charming the last time I was here'. Nope, he's a german shepherd, when there's too many people, I don't want to take the chance that someone is going to make the wrong move.
Posted by: Codmaster

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/29/13 06:42 PM

Personally, (and this is just my personal opinion and how we have raised all of our numerous GSD's over the year - some US show dogs, one BYB, and a few German working dogs); I could not tolerate a family dog who resisted any family member or friend who wanted to take anything away from them. Food or toys or even real bones - all must come out of the dogs mouth when I take a grip or when I say "Out". No decision on the part of the dog is allowed except "Yes"!

A growl esp. must be dealt with very swiftly and firmly. Obviously if one acquires an adult dog the training is different than if with a puppy tyhat you have had since a little small pup. But the result must be the same!

We have pics for example of a brother in law's 4yo child sitting with his legs around our adult GSD's food bowl (they were visiting us), and handing her the food one kibble piece at a time.

Any other behavior is MUCH too dangerous with a family dog, esp. if any visitors ever come by the house.

Just my own opinion - and I really do understand that not all folks have their dog behave that way. And that is cool (as long as they tell me if I visit them!).
Posted by: SunCzarina

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/30/13 01:30 PM

Define swiftly and firmly. When he growled at me the one time, I dealt with it. Small children (4s and 5 at the time) are not capable, my daughter better than my boys.

I didn't want a dog who didn't growl (warn) and went straight to a bite. The children can take things away from him as an adult. They can be around him while he's eating but even I tell him what I'm doing. I wouldn't put any of my children around his food bowl, that would annoy the dog and why do I want to do that. It's his food. I gave it to him and he'll let me take it away but he doesn't see the kids as superior to him. He's not going to, I gave up on that battle a long time ago.

Right now, he's learning about the puppy... puppy is learning why dogs eat in their crate. Next week, I start with treats so Otto can learn what he learned about being respectful of Morgan. Puppy is a confident little baby bitch so she gets in his face and he's finding little use of her right now, making him edgy...
Posted by: MaxaLisa

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/30/13 04:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Codmaster

A growl esp. must be dealt with very swiftly and firmly.

As Jenn alluded to, you have to be careful of this. You don't want to create a dog that doesn't give a warning growl and will strike without warning. You want the growl to diminish naturally as the dogs feels less need to use that warning.
Posted by: SunCzarina

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/30/13 10:41 PM

LOL only Venus isn't intimidated by his growl. She found a piece of meat on the floor after dinner and went to show it off to him. Damn she was mad when he took it from her. Either luck or stealthy puppy skill, he was busy doing something else when she dove head first into his bag of kibble...
Posted by: SunCzarina

Re: Food Guarders - What method would you use? - 03/31/13 09:28 PM

More food assertion thoughts.. Tonight, I gated Otto in the galley kitchen with me. He likes to watch me cook and his water & food are in the galley. 9 week old Venus is just starting on solid kibble today so I had put her food down in the main part of the kitchen so I could watch her.

The gate's only 2' tall but Otto knows he's not to jump gates because there's a gate across my bedroom at night so he doesn't chase the cat at 4am.

Otto had gobbled up his food as usual. Venus ate part of her food then went to play with her toys. She would nibble, stand on the gate talking to me then go back to playing.

Otto sat there on the other side of the gate just watching her food. I told him once that's hers and to leave it alone. I was watchful of him but pleased he did the right thing.

Yesterday, he'd growl if she tried to get in the water dish while he was drinking. I kept redirecting her to her own tip proof water bowl on the floor. Today, they were both in his water and he was fine with that.

Not about food assertion but Otto also played tug with the puppy a couple times today, yesterday he was sharing the beloved bumpy ball. Even though he knows it's his, he shared. LOL he also rolled her over in the sand pile a couple times for getting to much in his face.