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Old 01-20-2012, 04:35 PM   #1
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Question Don't know what to do anymore... VERY treat/territory aggressive adult male

Hi All.

I've posted about this before but I really don't know what to do about this situation anymore...

My 6 year old male yorkie is EXTREMELY treat aggressive and also territorial. He will hide in his "cave"-- either a crate or under the bed-- and snarl or snap if anyone tries to get him out. Also, he will take bones and guard them. One solution is to not leave any bones on the ground but I feel like that is just avoiding the problem... is there a way to stop aggressive behavior?

We've tried praising him when he lets us pet him while holding the treat, we are very alpha with him... he seems to have little dog syndrome down to a T! If I go to grab his bone he will snarl at me and try to bite me unless I continue to repeat NO! and then once I take the bone I make him lick my hand, but he has bit my BF and our other dog on SEVERAL occasions. It is to the point that he has drawn blood :-(

I don't want to avoid this problem- I would like tips on how to start to fix it. Advise, tips, first hand experience... all welcome! Let's keep it to constructive criticism, please, no bashing.

Thank you all so much for all the help you've given and will give.
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizzbeth View Post
Hi All.

I've posted about this before but I really don't know what to do about this situation anymore...

My 6 year old male yorkie is EXTREMELY treat aggressive and also territorial. He will hide in his "cave"-- either a crate or under the bed-- and snarl or snap if anyone tries to get him out. Also, he will take bones and guard them. One solution is to not leave any bones on the ground but I feel like that is just avoiding the problem... is there a way to stop aggressive behavior?

We've tried praising him when he lets us pet him while holding the treat, we are very alpha with him... he seems to have little dog syndrome down to a T! If I go to grab his bone he will snarl at me and try to bite me unless I continue to repeat NO! and then once I take the bone I make him lick my hand, but he has bit my BF and our other dog on SEVERAL occasions. It is to the point that he has drawn blood :-(

I don't want to avoid this problem- I would like tips on how to start to fix it. Advise, tips, first hand experience... all welcome! Let's keep it to constructive criticism, please, no bashing.

Thank you all so much for all the help you've given and will give.
Hi,

I just want to make sure I'm understanding what you're saying.

He takes bones and treats into his crate..or under the bed, and is snappy if you try to remove the bone, pull him out, etc...and is aggressive toward your hubby, you, and your other dog on these occasions?

If this is correct, and he's only doing it in his crate or under the bed, as you outlined, I may sound like a nutjob (which wouldn't be the first time, lol) but I don't see where he's doing anything wrong.

Ours don't do this (yet) but if they did...I probably wouldn't do anything to try and prevent it.

In my opinion, a dog's crate, or under the bed (where they are unnoticeable) is their safe place. Their alone place. For an analogy, take a 12 year old girl, and her 6 year old little brother. If the 12 year old girl goes into her bedroom and shuts the door this indicates that she wants privacy. If the 6 year old little brother just barges in and tries to run off with her CDs or blow dryer....she's definitely going to chuck a fit.

Fact is..your other dog is horning in on your dog's house. His crate is his and his alone. His rules, his house...his safe place. If he takes a treat or bone in there and then someone tries to pull him out of his safe place, well...I'd snap too. lol! Or...if someone tries to take his bone away from him when he is inside his safe place, he's going to act out aggressively because you're inside his house. =/ I don't think it's a matter of alpha personality, I think it's that he feels threatened that people and another dog are horning in on his little safe place that was intended just for him...where he can be alone with his bone.

Does your other dog have their own crate as well? If not..I would suggest getting them both a similar crate with similar bedding, and make sure that neither one is allowed to wander into the other's crate....much like a parent would do with skin kids. This has worked well with "toy aggression" with Sprout and Bella. They don't do the growly-biting thing, but I imagine they would probably do the same thing yours does if one was in their safe place.

If I misunderstood you....and your dog is doing this ALL OVER the house at any time and all the time, anywhere, and not just his crate or under the bed as outlined in your original post....then disregard everything I said...because I have no idea. hehe


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Old 01-20-2012, 06:57 PM   #3
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Maybe try doing a trade with him... he won't feel as protective if he's getting something in return. That method worked for me with Tinkerbell on toys and bones and food.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:06 AM   #4
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Seek professional help. Take him to a trainer or behaviorist or better yet, have them come to your home to see him in action. I have to disagree with another post, biting and drawing blood is not normal or healthy behavior. You should be able to take anything from your dog anywhere and anytime without being harmed.

Recommended to me for my aggressive pup:

-Remove toys, objects that trigger, eventually can be reintroduced when he has improved.
-Time-outs, nips or bites, play time is over, meal time is over, but no longer than 5 minute time-out, dogs have 90 sec memories. Also, time-out should not be in his crate or play area. Designate a spot for this.
-Use a direct tone, not angry, or loud

Again, the above worked well for my very young pup, not to sure with a mature dog.
Best of luck
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:27 AM   #5
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I never said biting to draw blood was normal, I just feel that when a dog is in his or her crate, that's their safe place and they shouldn't be messed with, that's all.
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:44 AM   #6
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I probably could take a bone away from Lucy - but not sure I could take one from Ringo or what the purpose would be.

Ringo is pretty good a tthe 'trade' if you have a high value treat - he will probably drop the bone. Not becuase he is a good dog - just because he would rather have the treat!

With two dogs - all bones are given in their crates to avoid any problems. Otherwise, Ringo would have 2 bones and Lucy would have 0. Crappy chews we can leave lying around - high value chews like bully sticks, etc are not left lying around to squabble over.

Set your dogs up for success and do not leave these on the floor if they are causing problems.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:06 AM   #7
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I agree that it's a big problem. While I don't think you should be messing with your dog on purpose while they are enjoying some alone time or private time, etc, you SHOULD be able to if needed. I cannot even fathom if Jackson growled at me, or showed his teeth, or anything. And no, I'm not his "alpha" -- but we have a mutual respect for each other.

Now, growling at other DOGS is a bit different, IMO. Because they have their own little language and it won't bother me if another dog is getting in his face while he's chewing a bone and he gives a warning growl to go away. They are animals after all. I agree with Ringo1 in that prevent the problem by picking up all bones off the floor so they don't have the chance to squabble. But when it comes to HUMANS, no, I do not think tolerating guarding is okay. We are feeding them the food, we need to let them know that we're not out to take it away from him, we are the GIVERS of food, lol. They need to trust you.

Really, I think a behaviorist could be in order. Resource guarding and food aggression is not something to be taken lightly and it can turn very dangerous. I hate that so many people think it's adorable when Yorkies act like this (I've seen sooo many YouTube videos of little dogs growling and freaking out if you touch them, or try to take a bone away, or a toy, and people are just cracking up. I do NOT think it's funny at all, because if a German Shepherd were doing this, people would be all up in arms and talking about putting to sleep). Not saying you are this way but it's a generalization I see and it's often looked upon as something cute or not a big deal with little dogs whereas I think it's a huge problem.

You could try to implement NILIF. http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:21 AM   #8
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In regard to dog on dog resource guarding.... you could always practice some exercises where one person brings in the other dog on a leash into the room. At that time, the resource guarder gets high value treats and lots of attention. Then the other dog is taken out of the room for a minute or so and the resource guarder is ignored.... very boring when the other dog isn't around. Then repeat. Do like 6-10 repetitions and then come back to it later..... do it a few times per day. So basically, you end up associating the presence of the other dog with good things.... never punishment. The other dog has to be the sign that good things are about to happen. Don't even talk to, touch or look at the resource guarder in any way. Attention given to the resource guarder will reinforce the the bad behavior.

When you're not doing specific training sessions, save most of the love, attention, yummy food and games for when the other dog is around and keep things fairly boring. Of course you are still going to give one on one attention to the dog occasionally but for a while, just try to send the message that the other dog around is not a threat... but that the other dog MAKES good things happen. I wouldn't really scold at all with other dog around, because then it just pairs punishment with the other dog. You probably inadvertently have told him "No!" or scolded him or whatever when he does this and then taken the bone away. In his mind, he's probably thinking "Whenever this other dog is around, I get my bone taken away...." Dogs learn very strongly by association, so be careful what is paired with particular behaviors. Heavily correcting a dog who has guarding issues is entirely counter productive. The guarding stems from FEAR of losing the item in question. Correction just reinforces that fear the dog had. Of course, I still think anything high value should not be left out if dogs are not supervised.

The other thing I would recommend for a resource guarder is building up their confidence and trust in you with other activities like obedience or agility training. Part of the issue with guarding is that the dog lacks trust. Training in other areas really helps to build trust.

Oh, I've heard great things about this book: Mine! By Jean Donaldson, you could check that out.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:25 AM   #9
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double post.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:25 AM   #10
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Yeah, Brister's dog is much better behaved than mine! I didn't even realize I was posting in the Training section (I rarely do because certainly Ringo is not the model of good canine behavior)

I will say that I love the Nothing in Life for Free program that Brit provided the link for. It really helped Ringo's aggressive tendencies. And walking Ringo a lot helps too.

Good Luck OP!
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:01 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone! I appreciate all the suggestions. We have a lot of work ahead of us haha! I'll keep you updated :-)
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:07 AM   #12
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I'm going to chime in here and make some suggestions. Yes this is serious, and probably has been building for some time. I've recently been reminded, that sometimes you just have to train some things over again.

So set up for success I agree with. First for this scenario work one on one with your male yorkie. No other dogs or ppl there.

Have two bones = value treats. Give one bone to him. Let him settle in - but not in his crate. Close off crate or bed areas etc. Create the environment for success.
Now say his name ask him to come - if he doesn't 0 bring out the other bone - proffer it to him with the come command. He should come hopefully and be willing to exhange his "bone" with the new Juicy bone. Praise him highly for this.

Let him chew new bone for 10 - 15 minutes. Take old bone ie first bone; grate some parmesan cheese over it. Call him again. Proffer "new old bone". Praise him well if he comes and takes new bone.

This is enough for day one.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gemy View Post
I'm going to chime in here and make some suggestions. Yes this is serious, and probably has been building for some time. I've recently been reminded, that sometimes you just have to train some things over again.

So set up for success I agree with. First for this scenario work one on one with your male yorkie. No other dogs or ppl there.

Have two bones = value treats. Give one bone to him. Let him settle in - but not in his crate. Close off crate or bed areas etc. Create the environment for success.
Now say his name ask him to come - if he doesn't 0 bring out the other bone - proffer it to him with the come command. He should come hopefully and be willing to exhange his "bone" with the new Juicy bone. Praise him highly for this.

Let him chew new bone for 10 - 15 minutes. Take old bone ie first bone; grate some parmesan cheese over it. Call him again. Proffer "new old bone". Praise him well if he comes and takes new bone.

This is enough for day one.
I need to do this! :-)
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