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Revely
10th February 2009, 07:57 PM
Hello there!

So today, for the first time in his life, Thomas growled at me! I was moving toward him to pick up his (new, obviously very special!) bone and he sort of gave a very low growl and lunged for it. It wasn't a mean growl or anything, but it threw me for a loop!

Is there something I can do about that? He's almost a year old and I've not had any problems with him in that respect. He gets very excited about food and protects it from the cats, etc (who can blame him?) but not humans.

Am I overreacting? Is this something that is just a normal reaction to a very good bone, or is there something I should do in that case to show him that's unacceptable?

I took the bone away from him directly and put it in my pocket and walked away.

Help?!:confused:

Karlin
10th February 2009, 08:12 PM
It's as much a normal reaction as it would be for a child to grab a toy away. Trainers tend not to feel growling should be discouraged -- it's the dog's warning system for displeasure. Teach a dog not to growl and it will just go straight to biting without warning, which is dangerous.

However, it is NOT a good idea to have a dog so protective of items that it is growling (and this includes guarding it from cats). On the cat side, I'd suggest feeding him where the cats are not around -- so that he isn;t stressed by them and thus growling at them. Management is the best way to resolve most issues, in other words.

But the fact that he growled at you means you need to start working to train him to happily give up items he has and not feel threatened by you or anyone else. Resource guarding of this sort tends to start small (cats and you) and can become sa very, very serious problem and a danger to children. So do take the time to train away from this.

Start here: http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/why-growl-good

And also try these links for advice on training for this issue:

http://diamondsintheruff.com/RG.html
http://deesdogs.com/documents/classicalconditioningchangesfoodbowl.pdf
http://deesdogs.com/documents/desensitizingpossbehavior.pdf

Revely
10th February 2009, 08:21 PM
Thanks, Karlin! I will definitely start doing those things right away. I think you're right in that it got out of hand very slowly, starting with the cats just walking by as he was eating, and moving on to today.

But yeah, I'm not going to deal with that. :P

Thanks so much!

nicola
10th February 2009, 08:25 PM
Thanks for that info. Karlin. My sister's blenheim displays this behaviours with the other dogs and with the children also. Apart from that, she is a lovely little dog. I will pass on that info to her.