Poodle Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
644 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm no stranger to the breed, but Fozzie has this little temperament quirk I'd love advice on because I've been working on it myself for a couple months with only some progress.

whenever he gets his mouth on something he's not supposed to have, like a sock (not so bad), paper (uh-oh) or my iPhone 4 (bad dog!), he seems very proud himself. Now, this is very cute except when I'm worried he'll eat something that will hurt him or is valuable to me.

When we go to take it from him by asking hm to drop, he starts to guard it by placing his paws over it, lowers his head and growls. He has bitten us and drawn blood when we try to take it in the past, it's like he goes mental when we walk over ot him to tell him to drop it. Talked to my breeder who suggested we try a very soft and gentle approach as our demands may have scared him. At her advice, We softened the demand and tried making a game out of it thus: "oh Fozzie, did you find a treasure? Bring it here!"and that helped alot and in most situations but not completely. He is especially prone when he is excited/needing a walk. Of course we have removed and secured temptations during this time so as to minimize negative interactions and we walk him minimum 1 hour per day plus dog park run around time 2-3 x per week and frequent in house games of fetch. This is the ONLY issue that causes him to go mental. Otherwise he's completely sweet and loving to everyone we meet. FozziesPa is more anxious than I am as he has never had a dog and is worried some child will be bitten, I'm more sanguine but still I don't want him doing this.

The cookie works, every time. It's gettin better by being softer in the approach and trying to make it fun ("Fozzie! look, a bone, come over here" and then get the thing when he's distracted. good for socks, won't take the risk on the iPhone).

So I have a fall back when the situation is dire. but I am worried that he is learning to grab objects just to get a cookie-- I don't underestimate the intelligence of my Poodle Prince! I also don't wnat him chewing on forbidden stuff when we are gone--at some point I'd like to not have to kennel him every moment we are gone.

Any suggestions? What can we do differently?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,320 Posts
Grrr....I just typed out a long response and lost it to the interwebs...

I would recommend the doing the trade game.

When the dog has anything, a toy, forbidden object, whatever, approach the dog calmly and offer the dog a high value treat (meat, cheese, something he doesn't get often). While the dog takes the treat, you take the item. If it's a toy, give the toy back after the dog gets the treat, and if it's a forbidden item, after the treat, give the dog an appropriate thing to play with/chew on.

While there is the slight chance that he will start taking objects for treats, it is more important that you can take those items back safely.

DO NOT attempt to take the item back if he is growling or guarding it, you will risk getting bitten. If he growls, say "NO" calmly, but sternly, give him some space, and show him that you have a treat.

Resource guarding can become very serious and its important to nip this behaviour in the bud.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
644 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
yes, we are concered. the good news is that he does not guard food or toys, at least so far. I work with him on this. He only guards the objects he's not supposed to have.

Yes, I will use food when needed to avoid being bitten (and in fact, dog cookies seem to be enough, he never gets people food so the cookie does it).

But I don't want to use food the rest of his life....I need him to be able to "drop it" immediately. Example: as a therapy dog if he picks up something with medicine in it at the hospital. Yes, I'll take treats with me but again don't want to have to rely on them forever. Am I being too perfectionistic?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,685 Posts
I think this behavior is something that needs to be nipped in the bud immediately. Growling and biting should never be allowed. If you have dreams of becoming a therapy team, the behavior will need to be completely eliminated.

Many people have reccommend a book about resource guarding called "Mine" by Jean Donaldson.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,320 Posts
yes, we are concered. the good news is that he does not guard food or toys, at least so far. I work with him on this. He only guards the objects he's not supposed to have.

Yes, I will use food when needed to avoid being bitten (and in fact, dog cookies seem to be enough, he never gets people food so the cookie does it).

But I don't want to use food the rest of his life....I need him to be able to "drop it" immediately. Example: as a therapy dog if he picks up something with medicine in it at the hospital. Yes, I'll take treats with me but again don't want to have to rely on them forever. Am I being too perfectionistic?
The goal of the 'trade game' is to teach the dog that humans taking things is a good thing. Treats, REALLY GOOOD TREATS, need to be used EVERY trade, whether it is a toy or a forbidden object. You will not need treats once he learns that humans can take anything from him and the world is not going to end.

I would also recommend getting the book Paddle suggested.

If you are still unsure of how to correct the behaviour, I would consult a professional.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,496 Posts
::edit:: sorry this has turned out really long...!

ok, well you need to look at your body language and voice/tone etc too.

Why? Because you say he only does it when he has a 'forbidden' item but not ok things.
Dogs do NOT know what is 'ok' and what is not except what we have taught them. He knows by your reaction that it's something different than a toy or an 'ok' thing, so bascially you have involuntarily taught him that when mum yells and says "OI! Fozzie, no! Come here boy, come here...." it means it's a highly prized item, not to be given up easily unless it's worthwhile to him.

What do you do when he has a toy? Or when you're playing fetch? You don't need to answer, but just think about it. Don't worry about being 'soft' or 'nicer' about it, be like you are with a toy or food with EVERYTHING rather than 'telling' him which things to guard and which things not to ;) Do a bit of testing with a sock or something that's 'not so bad' but still 'forbidden' to test YOU about your reactions too, just to see how your reactions are telling him how to react.



But yes, do the exchange thing for everything and anything. Yes, he'll learn to bring you stuff you probably didn't want bought to you, but if the alternative is that he guards and nips about things, then darn it I'd MUCH prefer a dog bringing me random things than tucking away to chew without me noticing!!!

I have been doing this with Paris lately as I'm working on formal retrieve work a bit, and I am highly rewarding Paris for bringing something back to my hand. I am specifically making her place something in my hand (dropping it isn't acceptable, if she drops it at my feet she has to pick it up and put it back in my hand! lol) but I am working on her holding and placing in my hand ANYTHING. Socks, toys, a book, rubbish, the hammer, a spoon, a bottle cap.... anything and everything I tell her to pick up is being worked out and bought back. I am paying her HIGHLY for placing something in my hands, so while she previously hasn't been inclined to bring me things, she IS now showing interest in picking up *anything* to bring it to me, as I have placed a high value on her doing just that!


So yes, exchanging food for bringing you something can and does tend to encourage them to start bringing you STUFF! But in my opinion, and in your situation, I wouldn't be worrying about things being bought to you in the hopes of a reward as I can certainly think of worse things than a dog happy to bring you things.... lol!



If you 'pay' him highly for bringing you things, he'll become pretty keen to bring you things. It's known as 'transfer of value', and if you pay him highly for something, dogs soon learn that the 'something' predicts a great reward, and the something itself becomes awesome as it is linked with the great reward. Much the same as pavlov and the hounds salivating at the sound of a bell. The same as clicker trained dogs know that a click = reward is coming. Fozzie will learn that bringing you something is awesome. You'd still want to reward him, but when the act itself (of bringing you something) is pretty awesome, it might only need a 'yes! GOOD boy! Thank you!!!" and a wee wrestle or something to make him feel his job is still awesome.

But for starters, you need to put the high value on it yourself with a really good reward for bringing you ANYTHING he has found.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Ok sounds like a problem that should never of happened, but I do think it could be fixed. Ok start with a game hopefully your dog will play with you and a ball, but instead of using one ball use three that means you always have at least one ball. Now throw a ball and don't ask for it back you still have 2 left get your dogs interest in the second ball and now throw it. You have a very good chance that your dog will drop ball one. If not he will drop it when he goes for ball 2 and you still have ball three again get interest and throw it. You should be able to pickup at least one of the other balls and continue the game. Before long your dog will be droping the ball he has so he can chase the next. This is a start of teaching your dog you play fair and don't rip toys and treasures out of his mouth. If you want to own something just step on it and say mine if he backs off give him a treat and don't fear your dog stay calm. If that doesn't work make sure your dog is on leash so you always have control.

Susan Garrett teachs how to get a dog to release a tug toy basically she takes hold of the dogs collar and hold dogs neck to her leg so the dog can no longer self reward. She also does not pull on the tug she lets it go neutral and she waits for the dog to drop the tug as soon as it does she lets go of collar. Sometimes this takes time 1 minute and sometimes 15 minutes. The key to this is the dog figures it out and releases the tug next time it will be way faster and next time faster again. If dog takes tug again just start over and grab collar it normally doesn't take to many repeats for the dog to figure it out.

My bet is you have yelled at your dog to release something and scared the dog and it reacted and now the dog know that works to get you to stop. Remember stay calm and just think first how to handle the situation.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top