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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
Today I was sitting on the toilet (lol) when Peggy pushed the door open dramatically and delivered this to me:

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It’s the shopping list I accidentally left on the couch where she was snoozing. Let me just say: I am so impressed by her newfound commitment to relinquishing treasures.

If anyone else is struggling with a possessive poodle, I highly recommend—first and foremost—getting good professional help. But also I came up with my own little exercise that seems to have really clicked in Peggy’s mind:

Whenever she drops a treasure for me—either voluntarily or because I’ve asked her to—I reach down and place a treat on it.

And then I walk away.

Nine times out of ten, I have no reason to take it from her. So I don’t. That’s the key. That’s why she increasingly feels optimism/anticipation when I reach towards an item of value, rather than defensiveness or anxiety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
Update:

It’s hard to believe Peggy was ever a resource guarder.

Who knows—maybe it’ll happen again at some point. I definitely don’t want to get complacent. Preventing resource guarding should be a lifelong effort with any dog.

But the transformation has been an incredible thing to behold.

For us, I believe the turning point was when Peggy had stolen something silly and I heard my husband tell her, “I know that is the most important thing in the world to you right now. Don’t worry. I’m not going to take it.”

That shift in understanding—that promise of trust—is at the heart of all the progress we’ve made.

And no, it doesn’t mean that Peggy can have whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. It just means she doesn’t go into a state of primal fear when she finds herself in possession of a treasure.

She is happier. We are happier. And I continue to play the “Put a treat on the treasure” game every chance I get, so that old anxiety doesn’t bubble back up.

I’ve yet to push our luck with anything like a raw bone. But maybe at some point I’ll give it a try. If it’s worth it for her health, it’s worth the effort to try and make it work.
 
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