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Thread: Fletcher bit me

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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Fletcher bit me

    For real! It didn't break the skin or anything but he growled and bite me all at the same time. I have NEVER seen any aggression in him EVER not with other dogs, cats, people.

    Here's what happened: Fletcher is famous for finding things and running off. I was rearranging a few things in the freezer and a mini ice cream sandwich hit the floor well he was standing right there so he did the grab and run to his crate (like it was base or something) So I called him out which he did not listen so I reached in and gave him a leave it which he ignored (happens sometimes too) well there's NO way I'm gonna end up with a sick dog over a stupid ice cream sandwich so I went to take it from him I do this take something away from him thing like its at least once every other day That's when I growled and bite me!!!!!! I let out a big OUCH and pulled my hand back with the now half melted half chewed ice cream sandwich in it. I think he let go of the ice cream sandwich when he felt me pulling on it to bite me. I left him in the open crate to wash my hand and check it out. Again no broken skin but there is a bruise.


    I'm not blaming Fletcher he's a dog. So I started thinking how is this my fault. Well for starters Fletcher has been out of his normal exercise routine because my son has been sick and we have not been getting in our usual 3 walks a day but that has happened before. Also for a few weeks now this dog has been acting like he's starving!!!!! Like he NEVER is fed, he eats 3/4 c kibble with fresh fruits and veggies I also give him about 1/4 c give or take in kibble as treats during the day sometimes a half a baby carrot. He is 8 months old and I think his weight is perfect for his build but...... I think Fletcher is just one of those dogs who never get enough or would eat themselves sick if given the chance. He also recently began night wandering so he's back to sleeping in the crate, which is going well he's not whining or barking at all and goes in without a problem. Other than that he's been the same.

    I did hop on here and look up guarding behavior problems and what I learned is this was my fault I should have and always should get him to hand over a prize with a lure like a good treat or toy. Obviously!!!! I moved the kibble treat storage container to the counter so I can grab one quick for the next time I need to remove something from Fletcher and I'm going to start again sitting on the floor in front of his crate at meal times. When he was younger I used to reach in his food bowls all the time. I don't want this guarding to become an issue so let's re-train myself NOW.


    Ok so here's the questions:

    Is this guarding? And I'm I correct in the switch idea? Do you think I'm feeding Fletcher correctly could he really be that hungry? I do think he was searching for snack during his night roaming...... Do you think I need to run feeding issue by my vet? Could this be a sign of something medical going on? Any other tips I should know?


    Just making sure. Thank YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Melissa
    "If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
    -Roger Caras

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't worry much about this one incident in itself but it certainly gives you an indication that he needs work on guarding and leave it -- which really does always need to be done with a swap to train otherwise this result is pretty common - as even if he started understanding 'leave it' for low value items, he's not got the idea that it can also mean for very high value items that he really really wants like an ice cream (eg he hasn't been trained to not feel possessive which is what swapping helps teach ). Many people find dogs will get very possessive of things like bones. I'd never try to take something from a growling dog. The growl is a warning that he may bite. Taking the item then also reinforces the guarding in the dog's mind.

    Training by swapping is actually quite fun. Lots of suggestions on training it here and in ian Dunbar.

    I'd actually have just let him eat the ice cream -- doubt it would have made him ill. Most dogs love ice cream! I wouldn't give it regularly but it is a nice cold treat now and then. More seriously -- I know my trainer friend Tara would have said to leave him with it and ignore him and let him finish, the moment you got the growl. Not worth reinforcing the guarding and/or risking a bite.

    If he is thin then might be worth talking to a vet -- also has he been wormed lately... but if he looks fine, welcome to owning a cavalier. They do seem to have a genetic issue about overeating -- labs and a few other breeds also have this problem, never feel full and they will happily eat themselves into blimps. That's why human management of their food is so important with cavaliers!
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  3. #3
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    It is resource guarding but your approach with training should take care of it. When a dog is completely caught up in the thrill of a stolen tasty treat it's pretty excited and not going to respond to "leave it" unless it's really well taught. I bet Fletcher was as surprised as you were when he growled and bit you. It's possible to get your dog to the point of giving up very high value treats such as meat and bones, but it does take a great deal of advance training.

    It is important to reinforce with Mr Monster and all other kids to not take any food away from Fletcher though, and they should probably be kept away while he's eating.

  4. #4
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    Thanks! I'm not freaking out I know this was more immature puppy human error than anything else.

    Karlin it was a double chocolate ice cream sandwich wrapped in freezer paper home-made so I know they are chocolatey. Fletcher LOVES peanut butter ice cream I have given him that. Now that I don't work spending time with Fletcher and stocking my house with home-made things has become my new "work" Also Fletcher didn't give a warning growl if he had I might have thought twice and gotten a treat he growled/snarled and bit at the same time.

    I know its my fault I have been teaching him by my reaction that stolen treats are high value. I need to teach him that treats given to him are the highest value!!!! Today I'm going to switch his regular kibble treats for a more fav treat (dried liver) and every time I give him a treat its gonna come with lots of praise and love. Next time he runs off with something I can grab a new great treat to switch out with whatever he has IF I don't feel like I can't let him have it.

    I think is was surprised too, I'm amazed at how smart these dogs are. Fletcher normally eats in his crate away from the kids, and Mr. Monster has just started to give him treats SUPERVISED but we're going to put that on the back burner for now.
    Melissa
    "If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
    -Roger Caras

  5. #5
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    Oh dear then you were right to try and get it away from him -- though probably too low a level of chocolate to be serious. Still would not want to guess especially if there was dark chocolate on the outside.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MomObvious View Post
    Thanks! I'm not freaking out I know this was more immature puppy human error than anything else.

    Karlin it was a double chocolate ice cream sandwich wrapped in freezer paper home-made so I know they are chocolatey. Fletcher LOVES peanut butter ice cream I have given him that. Now that I don't work spending time with Fletcher and stocking my house with home-made things has become my new "work" Also Fletcher didn't give a warning growl if he had I might have thought twice and gotten a treat he growled/snarled and bit at the same time.

    I know its my fault I have been teaching him by my reaction that stolen treats are high value. I need to teach him that treats given to him are the highest value!!!! Today I'm going to switch his regular kibble treats for a more fav treat (dried liver) and every time I give him a treat its gonna come with lots of praise and love. Next time he runs off with something I can grab a new great treat to switch out with whatever he has IF I don't feel like I can't let him have it.

    I think is was surprised too, I'm amazed at how smart these dogs are. Fletcher normally eats in his crate away from the kids, and Mr. Monster has just started to give him treats SUPERVISED but we're going to put that on the back burner for now.
    Maybe you could share the recipe with the rest of us? Sounds excellent!

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