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Food Guarding
  • mattzmattz
    Posts: 418
    Ok, so Etsuko is getting really "protective" over some treats we have been giving her. Whether it's her bullystick or nutra-bone or whatever, she'll take the item... chew/eat on it for a bit, then place it somewhere (in her crate, in our closet, or wherever) and up until the point that said treat is completely eaten she guards it. She isn't growling or anything, but it's fairly annoying. I can't keep her attention for anything, all she's concerned with is guarding her treat. Everywhere I walk in the house, she watches me, then looks back at her treat, then back at me. If the treat is say, in my closet... She'll sit between me and the closet, not letting me enter unless I physically pick her up and set her aside... At this point, she begins to whine.

    WHAT CAN I DO? I want to assure her I'm not going to take her treat or eat it, lol. Should I just ignore her?? I've done the thing where you pick up the treat (as if inspecting it) for a quick second and then place it back where she had it.



    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 14:22:34
  • ToshiToshi
    Posts: 63
    hmm when you pick up the treat for a quick second then give it back to etsuko do you praise her when she isn't in guard mode? that method worked for me and toshi. even when it's meal time i'd give him his food and take the bowl away while he's still eating and he'd just look at me without growling-then i'd praise him and give it back. i've been doing that since he was 8weeks old. with bully sticks/pizzle sticks i started out by holding it for him while he chewed it. i'd pet him all over..kiss him on his face and praise praise praise him for not trying to bite me or growl. he is now about 6 months and we haven't had any issues with his treats/toys. i think you should try to correct the problem and not ignore it so it doesn't get worse. good luck.
  • funny, my cousin's Shiba hides his treats too!! i wonder if it's a Shiba thing. =P
  • mattzmattz
    Posts: 418
    Well, I wasn't ignoring the problem. That's why I made a post here, for advice, tips and help on the situation. I was ignoring her behavior, as she sits between me and the treat, etc...

    No, I haven't tried the praising after no growling/biting... Makes PERFECT sense, I will definitely try this with her and add it in her daily routine to see if we can get her to calm down about her treats!!

    Thanks Toshi!
  • mattzmattz
    Posts: 418
    The praising seems to be helping, even after just one day!

    She is still guarding, but she doesn't seem as worried about her item.

    Thanks for the tip!
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    Resource guarding is a sign of insecurity. Your dog is fearful that you will take her food. One rule of dealing with a fearful dog is always feed a fearful dog.

    If she is growling at you over her food, offer her something better, but don't take her food away! Just giver her a treat and walk away. You will NOT be reinforcing the growl or the fear, instead you will be building a positive association between you (approaching her food) and a treat. If that association is set in place, then when she sees you coming to her food she will actually start to show excitement and joy instead of fear.

    Praising her for not growling/biting is fine, but you should focus more heavily on building the positive association first before the problem becomes habitual.

  • ToshiToshi
    Posts: 63
    ur welcome. glad i could help.
  • Good advice, Brad! I've been doing a switch of food items for toys or other high value things with Oskar, not because he's growling, but I can see the way he drops his head and tries to hide his toy that he's a bit fearful of it being taken. The switch works just fine (it's how I taught him to drop the ball so we can play fetch), but I like the even more positive approach of just going over and giving him a treat, so he feels no need to guard at all.
  • i was really scared our pup would resource guard, so i started feeding him some of his meals out of my hand... holding bones/treats for him when he chews...
    and i think we made him into a little food snob - he LOVES to be fed by hand vs eating out of his bowl. SIGH. and from his activities at the dog park, and at home, he doesn't mind sharing his toys and his water bowl with other dogs. but i'm totally convinced on how well positive training/enforcement works!!!
  • mattzmattz
    Posts: 418
    She IS NOT growling, or biting... But, she does seem fearful.

    I'll keep the positive association in mind!
  • Mattz, that's how my female Shiba is too (well, she'll growl at the other dogs, but not at me), and my male Akita, Oskar (see above). Not growling, but clearly afraid they are going to lose what they have. I'm going to try the positive association thing too!
  • Dr. Ian Dunbar covers this extensively in his "before and after getting your puppy" book and is probably on Dogstar too...has great advice on "treating" them and getting them to actually look forward to you coming toward them while eating...also can use techniques for toys or anything they may "guard"...(Like what @Brada1878 says, but more in depth...)

    I did it with my puppy and now he has no guarding reflexes - yay positive training:)
  • mattzmattz
    Posts: 418
    Awesome! She is doing great now! In a few weeks when we give her a special treat again we'll see how it goes!!!

  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    I think Hammond is starting to have food guarding issues, but it's very rare and only in unusual circumstances.

    Twice yesterday he bit me (once hard enough to break skin). The first time was on a walk and he found a piece of pizza or a hot pocket or something on the ground. As soon as I looked at him he started growling at me (which I didn't think much of, he growls all the time over everything - normally it's just playful noise), and when I went to reach for it he tried to leap away. When I did grab it he went from growling to snarling and bit me. Once I got it away from him he did allow me to go in his mouth to fish the rest out.

    The second time we were at my friend's house and he'd discovered the bucket where she keeps the dog food and he'd also discovered it was at a good height that he could push the cover in and eat out of it. So I went over to to move him away and he flipped out. He went back about three times and it was the last time that he turned and bit.

    I'm not sure what to do about it. Obviously this is unacceptable behavior, but all the suggestions are things I already do and he's happy to cooperate with. If I put his food down, he'll let me touch him mouth, the kibble, put my hand in the bowl, pick the bowl up, pet him, etc with no issues. With bully sticks and stuff he'll let me take them from him (with a bit of resistance, but no snapping or biting) and give them right back. If I feed him from his Kong Wobbler, I can pick it up and move it around. Feeding him from my hands he always takes the food gently.

    Even with my friend's dogs, he's fine eating next to them, sitting next to them to get treats, he'll allow the shih tzu to take toys from him or sneak bits of treats that he's dropped. So he's not resource guarding in general.

    The kibble-container issue is even weirder than the pizza because it's the same kibble he gets at home, so it's not a new, exciting thing. I took a handful out to use as treats for sitting, offering a paw, etc. and he was a perfect gentleman even with the other two dogs sitting next to him. He never snapped or growled or even looked sideways at them.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    @Anna - Work with him on 'drop it', 'leave it', 'swap it', and on impulse control.

    Yes, he is guarding his new find, but if you really work with him on the 'leave it' and 'drop it' commands, it will become much easier to get him to drop something that he is not supposed to have so that you can take it away.

    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • Anna:

    In your case you need to TRADE one item for another. I never suggest picking up and item and then just giving it back without at the same time trading regardless whether a dog has bitten or not. It is always best to practice trades with a higher value item before it becomes an issue. At this point he has learned that biting you gets results. Absolutely practice trades and if you continue to have problems do not let the issue go, but instead seek a behaviorist to help you hands on.

    Drop it and leave it commands can be balanced with trading practices.

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2011-11-18 09:32:35
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    @Sunyata We've been working on impulse control already (he's kind of an overzealous jerk when playing with other dogs and throws hissy fits sometimes when we try to give the calming-breaks during class), but I'll have to be more strict about it I guess.

    I've been reading up on Doggie Zen and we're starting to work on that, so hopefully it'll help as well. I'll discuss "drop it" and "leave it" with the trainer at class tomorrow to get some hands-on direction for that, too. We've been doing it a bit, but I think I'm either not doing it often enough or I might be doing it inconsistently. Getting him to let go first will be a benefit, since at the moment (and likely the reason I get bit) I have to try to wrestle/pry it out of his mouth, when then adds in his "Arg don't touch me right now I'm busy" frustration-energy. :/

    @StaticNfuzz Thanks for that clarification! I knew for just flat-out taking I should be trading (though I've not been so good at it. He's only started on big adventurous walks this week and I've still got to get myself in the habit of bringing high-value treats everywhere with me), but for just practicing looking at things he has I thought it's okay to pick it up and give it right back. I'll start incorporating trading to that as well!

    Sometimes (especially with this issue) I just feel really bad because I worry that I'm failing him somehow. :/ Like my friends and I will sometimes joke around "This dog is kind of an asshole" when he's really rowdy, but I want to help him be a good dog and don't want people to honestly think he's an asshole. Am I just expecting too much (of both myself and him) too soon? He is only 13 weeks old. I don't want to end up using his young age to excuse bad behavior, but I want to make sure I'm being realistic in my expectations of progress as well. I think right now it's skewed because potty training, sleeping at night, and leash walking have all happened pretty much instantly, so I get really discouraged when these other bad behaviors are taking longer to work on. And then I feel more discouraged because I think the slow progress is like 70% my own fault and only 30% him being really stubborn and opinionated.

    Once this session of puppy class ends mid-next month I plan to try to enroll him again.
  • Anna: Some puppies are more tenacious than others so they come across as jerky. It makes it tough for first time trainers since you have to be super consistent and very direct in your requests. Elements of NILF is a good way to go.

    It is a balancing act though since you have to coordinate yourself and the timing of things, sometimes anticipating events before they happen. Talk with your instructor and keep working at it. A second class is a good idea as will other sessions that are more fun once he has the basics and manners down.

    Some dogs are very mouthy and bossy as part of their personality so it is very important to get the behavior under wraps. Don't worry about what everyone else thinks of your dog, work on getting the relationship between the two of you down the other will good stuff will follow. He is young yet.

    Hang in there and keep at. Try not to doubt yourself and think of it as a team effort.
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    "Tenacious" is definitely a good word for him, haha. He put two sets of holes in my (admittedly old and crappy quality) pajama pants this morning because he wanted to play/go outside and I was trying to ignore him for being mouthy. -_- I did the whole "go in another room and close the door thing" but it was a struggle because I had to pry him off my pant leg in order to shut the door on him.

    I've definitely been incorporating NILF elements. We don't go outside unless he's sitting AND I say "Let's go". He doesn't get his dinner (either in the bowl or his Kong Wobbler) until he's sitting and I say "get it".

    It just gets frustrating sometimes because there are times he seems like a completely different animal. Like today at the park, which is distraction-central, he was absolutely wonderful. He checked in with me pretty regularly while walking, he greeted other dogs and people calmly and politely (the majority of the time), he responded well to "let's go!" or "come on!" or ran over when I called his name. But then in puppy class or at a friend's house or just potty walks outside the house (which at this point are all familiar locations for him) he won't even twitch his ear to acknowledge I've called him. And there's some invisible line where he goes from energetic and rambunctious (like sniffing things on walks, running ahead, etc.) to obnoxious where he starts biting my pants, sleeves, the leash, etc. It's just play, so I'm not super worried, but it's still pretty annoying and I'm not sure what triggers it.

    Unless the distractions at the park work to my advantage in that he's slightly overwhelmed and more likely to look to me as a safe, familiar point of reference? He's pretty fearless but he has gotten overwhelmed sometimes and run to me for protection (even though he continues initiating play or whatever, he'd rather do it from beside or between my legs), like playing with a very energetic pit bull or the first time he met a full-grown great dane who wanted to play with him.

    He's also started to hump other dogs. He's 14 weeks tomorrow, so is that too young for it to be hormonal and more of a personality/bossy thing? Still pretty intermittent, but he definitely tries on my friend's wheaten terrier every time he sees her. (He tried on the great dane, too, which was incredibly hilarious for everyone who was there at the time.)
  • Anna: He sounds pretty typical with a lot of maturing to do. The distraction factor will be something that you will need to work through for quite a while. Rome was not built in a day. As far as tugging on your pants etc...bring a toy with you and distract with the toy and let him clamp on to that instead. A rope toy is a good thing to have on hand. Always redirect. Your puppy likes motion so he will grab things that move or move unusually. He may also use the clamping on as a default behavior when he becomes frustrated or wants attention. Redirect to other behaviors and he will stop. Don't try to correct with a choke collar or try to correct with leash (if that is what you are doing) by tightening since that generally creates more irritation or arousal.

    About the humping....Here is good info about that....

    I think we have hijacked Mattz's thread. You may want to move any future updates to your area for Hammond.

    Good luck and keep training

  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    bumping this up for @Lucilovesdance

    They HAVE to watch each other each other eat?

    this stupid woman brought her nasty little chihuahua over who attacked both dogs for their food.

    What do you mean this stupid woman? She is someone you don't know just came into your home with her dog? No warning? Not trying to put words in your mouth, but trying figure out why was she in your home during feeding time? Or do you free feed?

    Especially if your dogs don't know this strange dog it's not good thing to let happen her dog should stayed at home or been on leash at least.

    If you free fed it is best to take up toys, chews, and food during when a new dog is over lessons the chance of issues.

    Chihuahua tend to not be well trained for potty training. No offense to chihuahua owners I know some who walk their chi's and actually let out in backyard to potty. Just seems majority of owners have potty training issues.

    The dog could have been stressed from the ordeal and pooped out of stressed or really had to go who knows.

    My catahoula mix was horrible she would push her way into Bella's food bowl to eat her puppy kibble. I can't monitor feeding during morning time as I get up at 7 or 8am not 5am..

    Finally got mom and dad to monitor the dogs during eating and that only happened when Bella finally fought Dink off. Dink was semi blind and hard hearing plus being catahoula in her she had stubborn streak..

    Junior our second boxer was worse he would stare at the dogs while eating and push his way into their bowl, but if any objection he went after the dog.

    Again finally parents intervened and fed Junior separately.

    Is it possible you can feed the dogs in separate rooms? That way the staring at each other stops and no arguments can occur?

    This book might be helpful, but it's mostly geared towards resource guarding with humans I think not sure if it covers with dogs maybe someone who read the book can help with this.

    With your dogs having accidents be sure to clean each spot extra good. I use nature's miracle stuff works well for dogs and even human messes. I learned that when I took care of grandpa at our house. Man he was messy guest. D:

    Have you contacted a behaviorist maybe they can help set up a plan to get handle on things.

    With toys is it certain toys they're having issues or all toys?

    I'm sure adrenaline was still running and while being together argument happened..

    Saya and Bella was boarded once and I think the staff did horrible job and didn't read instructions. No offense to people that work at a kennel, but they sometimes didn't give Bella her meds, and I think they fed the dogs together. :(

    Which caused argument or something.

    When we picked them up they looked stressed and Saya was defensive with Bella if she walked close to her in a nice way not meanly.. I made sure both got separate time and they weren't too close and eventually Saya cooled down and is fine with Bella again.

    I hope things work out for you. :)

    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • She was a friend of a friend whom I had asked not to bring into the house while I was feeding the boys. I don't free feed, never had. And the damned chihuahua ran into the room attacked them, I yelled very loudly at her and she fell to the ground whining like I had hit her? She left and snuck in while I was gone and pooped her raisin sized poop on my brand new carpet. The owner says her cats pick on the dog, and thinks its okay, poor dog had holes in its ear. Anyways, even if I put them in different rooms they'll both try to watch each other eat and will peer around corners and be all creepy.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495

    This is a good thread to read regarding your issue.

    IMO - I prefer to work on the issue instead of taking the source away. FWIW, if you work on the issue now, it can help in the long run.

    This will depend on your comfort level though. Some owners are afraid when dealing with their dogs growling as they are afraid of getting bitten. If you avoid giving your Shiba the dental stick now, down the line, if you want to introduce him to another high value item, the same issue will arise.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    @Bootz-thanks. You're absolutely right. It's best for me to deal with the behavior now.
  • millerb7millerb7
    Posts: 132
    From day 1 i have always taken food and treats from the dogs. I always immediately give it back and praise them. We have a lot of little kids in the family that always visit and they always take treats/toys from the dog. I sisnt want Chloe to snap at one of them.

    I'm not sure chloe has ever eaten a meal where I haven't taken food from her. Or chewed on a bulky stick when I haven't taken it from her mouth. Literally since day one. Again, I always give it right back and reward her.

    She's super calm around food and toys now. This evening my toy poodle walked up and ate the pieces of food Chloe was eating and she never once let out a growl. They share water and treats/toys a lot, no issue.

    Now if Chloe has a treat and one of the kids takes it from her mouth I don't have to worry about a bitten kid. I don't have kids but let's be real here, you can never be to careful or assured that they would never take the dogs food.
    Post edited by millerb7 at 2014-04-21 23:22:20
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Just a word of warning, I wouldn't be so sure that just because you can remove food from your dog that he/she will be fine in any other situation with any other human or dog. I don't think you can generalise like that.
    Your dog knows you and know and trust you to not steal the item, whatever it is. But with other people or dogs...?
    With some dogs it might be ok, but others probably need to practice with all the different risk scenarios.
  • millerb7millerb7
    Posts: 132
    It definitely worked in my situation. I would say over the past 12 months we've had her that probably 15 different kids (some of whom she has never met before) have grabbed toys/bones out of her mouth. The niece and nephew play with her while she's eating all the time and will take bully sticks from her to play with as well. We live in a neighborhood with about a million kids under the age of 8 as well as our family has about 12 kids that she can encounter anytime throughout the year that are all under 10. Since her "fox" look all the kids always rush her and immediately start tugging ears and tails and petting and taking things. None of them are mine (we don't have kids) but I knew this was going to happen as the parents don't exactly have the best control over the kids. If she was ever to bite one (provoked or not) I knew she would 100% be blamed regardless.

    I'm not saying in every situation it will work. In mine it definitely seems to have worked. She has never growled at a single person or another dog. She shares food/water with about 6 different dogs on a weekly basis depending on which family member is over or who's house we are at on that given day.

    At the dog park strange dogs come up to drink from her water all the time as well, dogs she's never met. I've yet to see her growl at one.

    Again, this may be isolated situation with my Shiba, and I don't condone just thinking they will be fine if you (their owner) can do it... but it was the method I used and it seems to have worked fine for us.

    NOTE: My wife is a nanny so there are always small children in the home.... so this was another concern for us as well. She has been exposed to infants and toddlers since she was brought home... this also plays a big part in her current behavior.

    My wife got a new infant (3 months old) a few weeks ago. Chloe just lays on the floor with her when she's on the floor playing and just watches her.

    It's weird... she knows who she can and can't be crazy around. When I'm there she will wrestle with me, and she bits my hands/arms as I play with her (just open mouth, not actual biting down as I nipped that in the butt quick)... it's part of our play that we do, I use my hand sort of like a toy. With anyone else though, she never does that or tries biting people.

    Really the ONLY thing I wish I could change with Chloe is the off-leash issue. Obviously as most know, Shiba's can't be off-leash. My other dog can and I wish I could change that with Chloe but to me it's not worth the chance of her being hurt or worse, killed, trying it.
    Post edited by millerb7 at 2014-04-22 11:53:01
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    I would have to agree with @Juni That may work with your dog, but not with all. But honestly the reason why we train our dog is so that if that one "situation" slips and we weren't there to catch it, your dog will know whats acceptable and what is not.

    I definitely would not promote letting kids taking stuff out of my dogs mouth. That is something you should monitor and tell the kids "no! lets not take his food". Just because your dog is well trained don't mean others are. This is an accident waiting to happen.

    As far as sharing food with other dogs, I don't really think its necessary. I train my dogs not to touch a dog bowl thats not theirs. Teaching a dog to share will just promote Gluttony.

    A lot of people think growling is a bad thing. But in fact, growling is a good thing since the dog is giving a warning before he escalates to biting. My friend's dog doesn't growl at all and just bites.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    It’s a false assumption that taking a food or items teaches a dog not resource guard. Just because you can does not mean you should…..Anything can change and change it does depending on the circumstance. Maturity and expanding personal boundaries can flip assumptions like these on its ear, once something happens there is no going back. It’s best not to push the envelope on expecting a dog to endure swarming kids and taking food etc away.

    Some additional resources to investigate that backs/overlaps making decisions on resource possession and working with the Kids that will encounter your dog.
  • millerb7millerb7
    Posts: 132
    Yeah, to each their own. I like the way we have done it for years and it's always worked with every dog we've had.

    I'm not saying everyone (or anyone else for that matter) should go do it. It's not possible to monitor everything all the time so when it happens (which can be often at times with a house full of family visiting) there are no issues.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    @millerb7 - Even though it has worked for years and with every dog you have does not mean it is a good idea. Honestly, I cringed while reading your post. Allowing kids to behave like that toward your dog (or any dog, as a matter of fact) is a disaster waiting to happen. I really hope that you reconsider allowing your dog to be mauled by children and allowing those kids to mess with her while she is eating/chewing a treat.

    Remember that you, as a dog owner, should be an advocate for your dog; protect her from liability. If something were to happen and she were to snap at a child, what would happen to her? Would you be willing to put the time and effort (and potentially money) into having a dog that is deemed by the courts as dangerous?
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    @millerb7 it's great that it's working for you! I agree with @sunyata just to say that the great tolerance your shiba has for children and her resources may not be reflective of most other dogs. If the children your wife provides childcare for do this with another dog, a behavior they learned in your home, they may not see the type of sweetness/tolerance your dog has shown.

    P.S. I take my dog's toys, treats and food periodically just because he's a big resource guy. He is pretty great with us about it, but struggles when he sees other animals being fed (like has a tantrum) and is not a great sharer of toys at all. So who am I to say it's worked? Ha!
  • millerb7millerb7
    Posts: 132
    Haven't read the two posts in entirety yet but I wanted to clarify.

    I don't do it to "let" it happen. But Easter for example, there was probably 25-30 people at our house. I'd say 10 are kids under the age of 10. Inevitably one of them will grab a toy or treat from Chloe. They aren't my kids and I do my best to watch her at all times but while hosting it's just not possible. It's not really the kids she watches as much as big family gatherings.

    Also we have a 4.5lb poodle who can be a brat sometimes. She will steal food from Chloe on occasion. I do my best to prevent it, but again it's not always possible. Anyone who tells me they have an eye on their dog literally 24/7 is lying. Just not possible.

    Again, I respect all the views here. As I said to each his own. I don't suggest everyone do any of this by any means.

    Grace steals Chloe's toys all the time and she reciprocates. They play tug of war together and Chloe knows she must be real gentle since Grace is so small. When she plays it with me she's real rough.

    Again, we don't let the kids do these things or hope that they do, but these things happen regardless of whether you want them to or not.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    @millerb7 - You absolutely CAN prevent those things from happening. Again, YOU have to be an advocate for your dog. If you know that children who are not dog-savvy are coming over to your home, either watch their interactions with your dog or perhaps separate them. I know several people who have large families with lots of young children who would never in a million years say that "these things happen regardless of whether you want them to or not". It takes a bit of management and attention on your part (although, honestly not that much management and attention), but yes, you can prevent those kids from stealing toys from the dog, pulling the dog's tail, etc.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    If that happened at my house, I would put my dog in a playpen to limit direct interaction. Or not allow the children to play with her if they can't do it nicely.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • millerb7millerb7
    Posts: 132
    Guess we're just beating a dead horse about now, as we will never see eye to eye. I do appreciate the feedback though for sure.

    How is the OP's situation coming along?
  • Clarifying question after reading this (and other) posts about "resource guarding":

    So when our 18 month old Shiba hides his treats, is THAT resource guarding or just normal "dog behavior"?? He never growls or bites or "guards" any of his things, but he does hide his treats. Is that a negative behavior?? ( I just thought it was a 'dog' thing).
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1589
    ^sounds like typical behaviour.
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    Hiding treats is not resource guarding, it is just dogs being dogs and "saving" them for later. If my pups are given something that can not be eaten in just one bite, they often run around to look for a hiding place while whining that they can not find one. I have found treats in some of the weirdest places. (My oldest has a favourite hiding spot in my comfy chair between the back and the seat cushion!)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    renitiadb said:

    So when our 18 month old Shiba hides his treats, is THAT resource guarding or just normal "dog behavior"?? He never growls or bites or "guards" any of his things, but he does hide his treats. Is that a negative behavior?? ( I just thought it was a 'dog' thing).

    Definitely a dog thing. Sagan likes to store his treats and toys away "for later", lol. It's amusing.
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • So if I am reading this right, I should let him run around trying to hide 1/2 a bully stick?

  • Quake hides any treat I give him in the folds of his doggie bed all the while whining and then he stops whining and retrieves his "treasure" and eats it!!! LOL! I don't see it as negative behavior at all. He's just being his Shiba self!!!
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    @BanjoTheBetaDog - It is up to you. Personally, I would not want my pups hiding a half eaten bully stick... (Eww!) But if it has not been chewed, then I would not stop them.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • @sunyata, I actually don't mind that he hides it so long as he goes to one of his favorite hiding spots (his crate or his dog bed in the bedroom). I don't want to find it in my shoe or anything.

  • Fen's new favorite hiding place is in our blankets (on the bed) He sleeps with us so he hides his treats there - not so amusing at 3:00 AM when I get a half chewed gooey thing in my toes!!!

    Glad to know this is just his normal self - I think it's ADORABLE the way he works to hide his treats (yes especially the bully sticks). He nudges the blankets or bed with his nose even when there is nothing to nudge - cracks me up! I actually make dog furniture so I am working on a bed with an extra blanket sewn into the bottom so he can hide all his treats in there =)
  • Just wanted to ask:

    Yuka is starting to guard her food bowl, so what I've been doing is trying to teach her the "give" command. When she's done eating from her food bowl, I'll get her attention with my other hand (that has higher value food items in it), and tell her to give, while sliding my hand in, palm upward and taking out her food bowl. However, there are times when she eats way too fast from my other hand and ends up trying to bite my hand that has her food bowl. She has bitten my hands before when I tried taking out her food bowl. Granted, she still has puppy teeth so it isn't as painful, but still, it does hurt when she lunges for my hand. She did not have this issue for the first 2 weeks that she was with us, though, she only starting showing these signs recently, in the third week. The good thing about this is she gives us a sign - she does this hard stare at my hand for a second or so, so I know what's about to come.

    I read on another thread that the way to take her food bowl out is to get her into her crate or move her somewhere else so that she will not be able to see when her food bowl is being taken away, because she has a fear of the object being removed. Another thread states to do the "give" command, which I have been doing for a couple of days.

    What I'm wondering is - is it better to work on the "give" command, and slide my hand in to take out her food bowl while she is beside it, or is it better to move her to another place before removing her food bowl? She eats in her pen and she doesn't sleep in a crate - she sleeps on her dog bed, so removing her means I need to take her out from her pen (which, of course, she gets excited about because that means coming out to bully her older sister!). Which is a better option?

    Forgot to add, Yuka is going on 11 weeks old and I've had her for 3 weeks now. She knows quite a number of commands but we haven't been able to work on "drop it" or "give" because the only thing she wants to hold in her mouth is food, which at the moment are only kibbles or chicken or some tiny treats.

    Appreciate the advice! :)
  • Wanted to add on that I recently saw this video on youtube of Victoria Stillwell and a dog that had major guarding issues with its food bowl.

    What she did was to give him an empty food bowl, and when he looked up at her and made eye contact, she would give him lots of praise and some food in his bowl. When the dog was done and looked up at her again, she would praise him again and give him some food, to show the dog that she is the provider of food, not the taker of food. I'm wondering if this technique works, if any of you have tried it?

    This is the video:

  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 361
    I'll respond from our experiences with resource guarding, in a shortened version because our rehabilitation with Laika was interrupted by food allergy complications. Cutting that part of the process out:

    We tried the method shown in this video, along with other forms of resource control, including hand feeding. None of this worked for her and caused further anxiety. She would jump and bite and bark and became intensely upset in particular with my husband.

    Instead, we left her food dish alone. Started feeding her on a flat tray for a while to address her speed eating. While she was eating we'd walk by and toss high value treats toward her (not in her dish - we discovered she gets very upset if you mix treats in with her food - she doesn't like them touching). Eventually this helped her associate people being near her while she's eating with a positive feeling - it was highly rewarding after all. She'd be HAPPY when we came in the room while she was eating. :)

    After a week of seeing her happy we started pushing toward our desired behavior more. We'd lean in for some pets, reward her if she didn't flinch or shift or stiffen up or growl or such, and then leave her alone but remained in the room. We eventually worked up to being able to touch her where ever we want, and touch her food dish, touch the food in the dish, etc. without issue.

    When we got our 2nd Shiba she had some guarding issues with him, but never a repeat of the same behavior. By this time she had learned "no" and after only a few short corrections (and one trip to the vet where Rhyz had managed to get his own tooth stuck to the skin inside his mouth) we were able to feed and treat them side by side.

    So, I don't know what to suggest. Every dog is different. While the video shows a perfectly good method that probably works for a lot of dogs, it didn't work for us. I'd say give it a try and see how it works, but in retrospect other than teaching the dog that food comes from you (which they probably already know because they wait for you to feed them) I think it really only teaches them to be more polite when you're feeding them - but I can't see that it really teaches them to be HAPPY that you're around the food, which is what I was really pleased with about the method that ended up working for us. They are happy to have us around when they're eating - we haven't given her treats while she was eating in months now, but she has such a positively reinforced experience about it that it just doesn't matter. :)

  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    This seems like the most appropriate threat to tag on to.

    My pup has started guarding...his empty food bowl. I am honestly a little confused. He finishes eating, he knows that the next step in our routine is the puzzle ball with more food---but when we reach in to pick up his food bowl, he will grab at/mouth our hands (he kind of puts more pressure on hubby than me). I can understand guarding it with food in it, but empty?

    I am treating it like food guarding. I make a big show of setting the ball down at the same time as picking up the bowl, or use treats if he is too "aggressive" (I use this term really lightly because he is such a calm dog that I don't think he can hit that level of aggression) We hand feed him anyway for the first part of the meal. I wonder if this empty food bowl would be an appropriate technique?

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