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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Hooray! The toy appeared this morning in a 7am bout of vomiting. Peggy carefully carried it out of her crate and then left it on the floor. My husband, vividly recalling one of her first guarding episodes (a vomited up hair scrunchie), made the executive decision to leave the toy undisturbed and carry on with their morning. Peggy showed zero inclination to guard it or even engage with it beyond a passing sniff. It’s now in the trash.

I think this absolutely qualifies as progress, for him and her.
 

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I don't know which of them to congratulate most! Bet it was you who eventually cleaned it all up, though!
 
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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
I don't know which of them to congratulate most! Bet it was you who eventually cleaned it all up, though!
Lol! I did. But my husband is typically a much better housekeeper than me. I’ll never forget him refolding a basket of my freshly laundered clothes when we were still dating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Something really interesting happened today. Peggy was playing with her dog friends when she stumbled upon an old plush toy with all the stuffing removed. It was perfectly mouth-sized. Oh noooo. A Peggy delicacy.

She immediately picked it up and started glancing back and forth, willing the other dogs to stay away. I explained to our friends, one of whom is our trainer (although classes have been on hiatus for almost a year now), that this is the exact type of item Peggy will guard by gulping it down.

So what happened next? Our trainer called Peggy over.

“Here we go...” I thought.

Peggy trotted over to her, dropped the toy at her feet, and sat neatly for a treat. Our trainer calmly placed her foot over the toy, gave Peggy a treat, and Peggy trotted away to play. The end.

WHAT THE HECK???
 

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Peggy trotted over to her, dropped the toy at her feet, and sat neatly for a treat. Our trainer calmly placed her foot over the toy, gave Peggy a treat, and Peggy trotted away to play. The end.

WHAT THE HECK???
I’m not surprised. Peggy senses your anxiety and reacts according to it. Your trainer had a calm energy, no fear, no anxiety.

What you are going through is so frustrating and I really command you for the way you’ve been dealing with it. I don’t think I would be capable of it. Or maybe so, if I was in the middle of it and had no choice.

It reminds me a bit of the few times Merlin bit me because I was exasperated with him and my anxiety was showing. I knew the more frustrated I became, the more fearful he would be and the more likely I was to get bitten. I quickly learned not to handle him when I was in that state and that solved the problem. But in your case, you can’t do that because it could be a risk for Peggy’s health if you don’t intervene. So it’s very complex, mainly because your anxiety is in the way.

I’m sure you’ve thought about it but what about a spraying collar or other type of immediate negative consequence ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
I’m not surprised. Peggy senses your anxiety and reacts according to it. Your trainer had a calm energy, no fear, no anxiety.

What you are going through is so frustrating and I really command you for the way you’ve been dealing with it. I don’t think I would be capable of it. Or maybe so, if I was in the middle of it and had no choice.

It reminds me a bit of the few times Merlin bit me because I was exasperated with him and my anxiety was showing. I knew the more frustrated I became, the more fearful he would be and the more likely I was to get bitten. I quickly learned not to handle him when I was in that state and that solved the problem. But in your case, you can’t do that because it could be a risk for Peggy’s health if you don’t intervene. So it’s very complex, mainly because your anxiety is in the way.

I’m sure you’ve thought about it but what about a spraying collar or other type of immediate negative consequence ?
Yes, there’s definitely anxiety around it now, but the first time it happened with me there wasn’t. I just reached for a clump of grass and my poodle turned into Cujo. It was a shock.

That said, I’m the one who chased her like a lunatic when she stole things as a puppy. I made some big mistakes. My husband, too. Our trainer has never done that. They don’t have that same history.

We—it pains me to say—absolutely earned Peggy’s distrust and now we’re trying to mend that.

And no, we will not be punishing her for guarding. That’s one of the first things our behaviourist had to question us about, because it can make guarding so much worse. The last thing we want to do is escalate it.
 

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Yeah don't punish guarding. The humane society switched to a positive method and now work on positive reinforcement methods that gain trust and have a specific protocol for it. They've seen the percent of dogs rehabbed through the protocol something like 93% (not sure of actual numbers I can't find the study).

I also don't think it's really the anxiety that you have about guarding thats causing guarding. AND personal opinion, I think it was a little bit rude of the trainer to show off like that with your dog.
1. It was risky
2. If it worked, it only served to make you feel bad

But seriously, don't take it personally. Like you said it's a different dynamic between you and you dog and the trainer and your dog. Your dog has a different history with your trainer than you. You are a wonderful dog mom whose doing the best they can. Good on you for getting a behaviorist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Yeah don't punish guarding. The humane society switched to a positive method and now work on positive reinforcement methods that gain trust and have a specific protocol for it. They've seen the percent of dogs rehabbed through the protocol something like 93% (not sure of actual numbers I can't find the study).

I also don't think it's really the anxiety that you have about guarding thats causing guarding. AND personal opinion, I think it was a little bit rude of the trainer to show off like that with your dog.
1. It was risky
2. If it worked, it only served to make you feel bad

But seriously, don't take it personally. Like you said it's a different dynamic between you and you dog and the trainer and your dog. Your dog has a different history with your trainer than you. You are a wonderful dog mom whose doing the best they can. Good on you for getting a behaviorist.
I really appreciate your insights! Thank you. :)

And our trainer has become a dear friend. So no ill feelings there at all. This was a social setting and she was just helping us to prevent a dangerous resource-gulping situation. But she’s also never actually seen Peggy guard from a human and was probably interested in seeing how she’d react. (Beautifully, apparently! Ha!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
Sounds like you have a great trainer!!
She’s wonderful. Too bad our classes have been shut down for almost a year now. :( When possible, she’s done a few puppy sessions. And I think she’s helping people with severe cases. But day-to-day training has been largely unavailable around here.
 

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She’s wonderful. Too bad our classes have been shut down for almost a year now. :( When possible, she’s done a few puppy sessions. And I think she’s helping people with severe cases. But day-to-day training has been largely unavailable around here.
Where are you from?
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Where are you from?
We’re in Washington state. Some trainers have shut down altogether. Others switched to remote teaching and consultation. Some, like ours, have adapted—rolling with each new set of requirements, opening and closing as mandated, etc.—but it’s exhausting. I don’t blame anyone for triaging the needs of their human and canine students.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
Well I guess I won't be running into you anytime soon being 3000 miles away!
Well, I’m originally from 3,000 miles away. :) Toronto, Canada. I don’t make my way back there nearly as often as I’d like. Hoping to change that post-covid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
Really lovely Peggy moment today, but maybe a stupid human moment? She was lounging on the ottoman and I went over to say hi. I noticed she was holding something in her mouth, and—without even thinking—I tucked my fingers inside and pulled out a small piece of packing tape. Realizing what I’d done, I fluttered it around a bit, turning my “rude” behaviour into a game, and then walked away.

When I came back, the tape was just sitting on the ottoman next to her. I picked it up again, played with her a little, and then she batted it onto the floor and curled up for a snooze.

475018


I don’t know why she didn’t guard this treasure from me. I wish I could see the nuances of these moments through her eyes.

The other day I left her snoozing on the bathroom floor while I took a shower, only to realize I’d accidentally dropped a sock next to her. For 15 minutes she’d been ignoring that sock, and when I reached for it, she didn’t even bat an eye.

Is the resource guarding protocol working? Is she simply growing up? Or are these situations somehow less emotionally charged for her?
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
Today I heard a banging sound while I was making dinner. I ignored it for a while, thinking my husband was throwing a ball for Peggy. But nope. She somehow had gotten her mouth on a new hardcover book and was flipping it in the air and watching it hit the ground, over and over and over again.

I had to get quite close to see what it was. It was a very strange sight, and my brain couldn’t quite understand what was going on at first.

So what did she do as I approached?

She looked up eagerly and stepped away from the book. 😭

This is exactly the response that our current RG protocol is intended to foster—a dog who looks up from a treasure with anticipation rather than anxiety.

Just doing a little happy dance over here. :)
 
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