Resource Guarding - Where Did I Go Wrong?!

GinnyKang

New Member
Hi all!

My girl is 6 months old and just started showing signs of resource guarding. I've had her since she was 3 months and here's a little background on our training thus far:
-She takes to her crate very well. She can shut off and doesn't whine anymore when she is in it.
-Hand-feeding is done two times a day for training purposes such as heel, sit, lay/stay, place, drop, leave it, focus/eye contact and relax.
-I socialize her as much as possible and go on structured walks in crowded areas such as Home Depot, dog-friendly patios, does training outside of the dog park, walks alongside another dog frequently. She is not reactive with other people, bicycles, skateboards, cars since we have exposed her so much to these things.

I try my best to not leave toys around, have her wait for any meals that are fed with a bowl, and not allow her on the furniture. Recently I went to take her bully stick away and she growled. I said no and just pulled it out of her mouth, no biting... yet! There was a second and third time where this has happened but the growling was a little scarier.

What I'm doing now: I have a slip lead on her in the house especially when she is having a meal that is in a bowl or a bully stick. I tell her to leave it and go to her crate and pick up the item. Once I have her settled I allow her to do some additional obedience work to continue enjoying her treat. So far this has been going on well, I can pick up these items without even allowing her the opportunity to protect anything.

My question is, am I handling this situation correctly? Does anyone else have experience with this? Is this her starting to be a dobieteen?! I'm curious if this will be a lifelong management situation and I will never be able to take a high-value item away or if it is temporary. I am trying my best to do everything correctly.

Thanks
 

jazzies mum

Hot Topics Subscriber
To my mind you are definitely on the right track and yes you are most likely entering those dreaded Doberteens when they feel the need to push the boundaries. If she never gets to benefit from her guarding behaviour she will most likely give it up very quickly and it will be just a stage. You seem to have a good training ethic so I am sure you will soon have this sorted. :)
 

Rits

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I think you are on the right track to be able to take something away from her when you need to. Is there a reason you need to take her bully stick so often? I find sometimes that we are so worried about resource guarding that we try to over train and actually make the problem worse by constantly taking the high value item, so then they become more possessive of said item in fear of you taking it. I used to be in the camp of feeling like I should be able to constantly stick my hand in my dogs food whenever. I've done it in the past, purposely training for it and I have learned better. With my current girl, I have no doubt that I can take her food away with zero issues, and I haven't once trained sticking my hand in her food and taking her bowl away over and over. I've built that trust and respect in other ways.

I would start working on a solid "drop it" or "out" command with something that holds a little less value. Then trade up with something of equal or higher value. Once this is solid, you can use it on a bully stick. However, with something so high value I would use this command wisely and sparingly to set my self up for success. Over use it you could end right back up with her feeling like she needs to hide it from you and she learns to ignore the command. I want the command to work in emergency situations so I don't use it over and over for high value items.

Ripley actually brings items to me and I tell her how good of a girl she is, say "out" and give her a treat. If I catch her in the act of grabbing something she shouldn't have, I just call her to me and she happily runs to me!, not away, because she know she will get something in return. The only downside is she likes to bring me things now in return for a trade LOL but its so much better than chasing my dog down and shoving my arm down her throat. A scary experience for both dog and owner.

Hand feeding is a great way to build trust, train her, and make her value her food and time spent with you, good job!
 

Ravenbird

$ Forum Donor $
@Rits nailed it. I'm a firm believer that if you have given your pup something they have a right to believe it's theirs! I've never taken a dogs food away, especially the bowl. Just what is stated above, I'd not train to give up something of high value that you gave them, if you must, trade for something of higher value. It's different if they pick up something not allowed or that they find since you didn't give it to them in the first place she won't learn to distrust you. You seem to have excellent basic training skills, so this phase will pass. If you are doing this food removal as "practice" I think it's a mistake. You can do the opposite to discourage defense of her bowl or bully by reaching toward her while eating with a high value treat while leaving the bowl or bully alone. "here's a piece of hot dog to go with your bowl of kibble" and toss it in. That way she looks forward to seeing you approach while she has a prize as you might add more to it. Think of a wolf pack leader: once full & it leaves the carcass to the lower wolves. He will never go back and keep them from eating just because he can.
 

GinnyKang

New Member
To my mind you are definitely on the right track and yes you are most likely entering those dreaded Doberteens when they feel the need to push the boundaries. If she never gets to benefit from her guarding behaviour she will most likely give it up very quickly and it will be just a stage. You seem to have a good training ethic so I am sure you will soon have this sorted. :)
Thank you! I sure hope so.
 

GinnyKang

New Member
I think you are on the right track to be able to take something away from her when you need to. Is there a reason you need to take her bully stick so often? I find sometimes that we are so worried about resource guarding that we try to over train and actually make the problem worse by constantly taking the high value item, so then they become more possessive of said item in fear of you taking it. I used to be in the camp of feeling like I should be able to constantly stick my hand in my dogs food whenever. I've done it in the past, purposely training for it and I have learned better. With my current girl, I have no doubt that I can take her food away with zero issues, and I haven't once trained sticking my hand in her food and taking her bowl away over and over. I've built that trust and respect in other ways.

I would start working on a solid "drop it" or "out" command with something that holds a little less value. Then trade up with something of equal or higher value. Once this is solid, you can use it on a bully stick. However, with something so high value I would use this command wisely and sparingly to set my self up for success. Over use it you could end right back up with her feeling like she needs to hide it from you and she learns to ignore the command. I want the command to work in emergency situations so I don't use it over and over for high value items.

Ripley actually brings items to me and I tell her how good of a girl she is, say "out" and give her a treat. If I catch her in the act of grabbing something she shouldn't have, I just call her to me and she happily runs to me!, not away, because she know she will get something in return. The only downside is she likes to bring me things now in return for a trade LOL but its so much better than chasing my dog down and shoving my arm down her throat. A scary experience for both dog and owner.

Hand feeding is a great way to build trust, train her, and make her value her food and time spent with you, good job!
Thank you. I guess I have just thought that I should be able to take anything from her without any aggressive responses. So in a way I’ve been testing whether or not she respects me enough or sees me as a leader. The thought of me doing it too much has crossed my mind. I will let her have her high value treats in piece then 😊.
They are longer bully sticks though and I do have to “end her time” at 10 or so minutes especially because her teeth are still setting.

So I will NOT practice before her time is up.
Thank you for your insight!
 

GinnyKang

New Member
@Rits nailed it. I'm a firm believer that if you have given your pup something they have a right to believe it's theirs! I've never taken a dogs food away, especially the bowl. Just what is stated above, I'd not train to give up something of high value that you gave them, if you must, trade for something of higher value. It's different if they pick up something not allowed or that they find since you didn't give it to them in the first place she won't learn to distrust you. You seem to have excellent basic training skills, so this phase will pass. If you are doing this food removal as "practice" I think it's a mistake. You can do the opposite to discourage defense of her bowl or bully by reaching toward her while eating with a high value treat while leaving the bowl or bully alone. "here's a piece of hot dog to go with your bowl of kibble" and toss it in. That way she looks forward to seeing you approach while she has a prize as you might add more to it. Think of a wolf pack leader: once full & it leaves the carcass to the lower wolves. He will never go back and keep them from eating just because he can.
Wow. I like that wolf idea/concept. Yes, I agree that maybe I have overdone it 🥴. I also will have to maybe get some higher value treats like a hotdog for cases when the bully stick chew time comes to an end.

thank you so much 🙏🏽
 

Kaiser2016

Active Member
I agree with all the advice, in particular that taking their bowl away does not assert dominance, it's just annoying to the dog. Given that the Doberteens are demanding enough, and that you are doing everything else so well, I'd avoid these types of growling scenarios. It can be scary to have this kind of dog growl at you, we've never had it happen thankfully, but in the first year I definitely remember how worried we were about any altercations - it can change the bond/relationship with the dog in irreparable ways and that's just not worth it because the teen stage doesn't last forever.
 

GinnyKang

New Member
I agree with all the advice, in particular that taking their bowl away does not assert dominance, it's just annoying to the dog. Given that the Doberteens are demanding enough, and that you are doing everything else so well, I'd avoid these types of growling scenarios. It can be scary to have this kind of dog growl at you, we've never had it happen thankfully, but in the first year I definitely remember how worried we were about any altercations - it can change the bond/relationship with the dog in irreparable ways and that's just not worth it because the teen stage doesn't last forever.
Yes thank you. I am a first time dobie owner and have done a crazy amount of research to make sure I’m doing everything right. I appreciate all the advice 😫😍. My girl is enjoying her bully stick right now in peace!!! I called her over just now and she came with it in her mouth and wiggled her tail and walked away after getting some love (I DID NOT TRY TO TAKE IT) LOL!
Hopefully this means a step in the right direction in her continuing to trust me.
 

Ravenbird

$ Forum Donor $
Your "crazy amount of research" is paying off. I love to see people like you willing to do anything and everything even as their first Doberman nothing like they imagined. LOL.

Ahem. Now you owe us pictures of the little darling. :rofl:
 

GinnyKang

New Member
Your "crazy amount of research" is paying off. I love to see people like you willing to do anything and everything even as their first Doberman nothing like they imagined. LOL.

Ahem. Now you owe us pictures of the little darling. :rofl:
YES!!!
Of course! She’s basically the love of my life 😍🥰 would do anything for her. She’s captured our hearts. I have SO MUCH respect for Doberman owners that have well trained adult dogs. Cause DANG it’s a lot of work.

C6DE7F26-2682-4191-8AD1-3FDE050A3CBC.jpegB2E4002D-8C85-406B-B8BA-606E80F1026E.jpeg
 

GinnyKang

New Member
The innocent eyes in both pics :innocent: So does she have any naughty puppy behavior? :rofl:
She’s great 80-90% of the time. On occasion she will jump up when she’s excited or get a little mouthy til we redirect her to a toy or just put her to nap in her crate. When we’re in the car she will try to climb up to the front and start throwing a whiney temper tantrum when we say no! I realized this is the Dobie-drama I’ve been hearing about.
LOL she’s certainly no angel 🤣
 

jazzies mum

Hot Topics Subscriber
When we’re in the car she will try to climb up to the front and start throwing a whiney temper tantrum when we say no! I realized this is the Dobie-drama I’ve been hearing about.
Yep! They can do a tanty better than a 2 yr old! :lmao:

Back to resource guarding. My girl was really good with not worrying about guarding her food..........until one day she had her marrow bone on her bed beside me and I put my hand down to touch her back. She went totally still and her eyes went flat and glassy while a low growl came out. I don't know how old she was but we were at the stage of training that she totally accepted my leadership so I just quietly reinforced my right to have that bone if I wanted. Some play acting of being shocked, "did you just GROWL at me?" Then I asked her to drop it, picked it up and looked at it closely for a few seconds and then told her it looked ok to me and gave it back. She has never done that again!
 

GinnyKang

New Member
Yep! They can do a tanty better than a 2 yr old! :lmao:

Back to resource guarding. My girl was really good with not worrying about guarding her food..........until one day she had her marrow bone on her bed beside me and I put my hand down to touch her back. She went totally still and her eyes went flat and glassy while a low growl came out. I don't know how old she was but we were at the stage of training that she totally accepted my leadership so I just quietly reinforced my right to have that bone if I wanted. Some play acting of being shocked, "did you just GROWL at me?" Then I asked her to drop it, picked it up and looked at it closely for a few seconds and then told her it looked ok to me and gave it back. She has never done that again!
Wow! Thanks for sharing. I have to remind myself that she is a dog and has a right to feel emotions, have good training days and bad ones.
Did you ever try to take it again or have to tell her drop it from then on?
 

LifeofRubie

Active Member
Wow! Thanks for sharing. I have to remind myself that she is a dog and has a right to feel emotions, have good training days and bad ones.
Did you ever try to take it again or have to tell her drop it from then on?

They 100% do!

It's funny... My Lab, literally a retriever, LOVES bringing prized things to show you. If he's got an excellent chew toy and you're sitting on the couch, he will walk right up to you and try to put the toy in your mouth. Like, I think you would enjoy this! So I'll take it, pretend to chew on it, and give it back to him which results in an explosion of Lab wiggles.

My Dobe likes to slink off and destroy things alone but will occasionally parade around with a toy when we come home from being out to show us how happy she and "OMG here's a present!" If she does have something, particularly outside where our coveted chuckit balls are, that she doesn't want to give up, I'll still approach her and pet her back but make no move to interfere with her possession. The interaction is only a couple of seconds and then I walk away. She's older now and knows that we will not bother her when she has something of high value so she's never resource guarded toward people but will toward other dogs. That being said, when we have our nieces over, we constantly remind them that if a dog has one of their toys to leave them alone and that dog toys are not people toys. When I tell the dogs to DROP IT or LEAVE IT, though, they understand it's none negotiable.

She'll get there!
 

jazzies mum

Hot Topics Subscriber
Wow! Thanks for sharing. I have to remind myself that she is a dog and has a right to feel emotions, have good training days and bad ones.
Did you ever try to take it again or have to tell her drop it from then on?
I am able to have anything that she has, whatever value it is. I don't take something unless there is a reason but if she has a bone that is down to that dangerously small stage I will ask for it and remove it. It's never a problem and she accepts that there will always be another good thing so not to worry!
She can be a bit snarky with other dogs if they want something she values, but I just remove the contested item and always feed separately so there are no issues.
 

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