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Discussion Starter #1
If Captain has a toy in his mouth I am the only one able to approach him without him growling. This is BAD. I correct it, but it happens again. It's especially true when one of my kids comes close. I will not tolerate aggression towards my kids. Help!
 

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Don't let him have toys easily accessible to him and make sure that they are the ones to give him toys. His good, fun, special rewards need to come from them for a while. Have them put him in a sit and give him a toy for a reward. Have them feed him but put him in a sit always. Let them brush him and give him treats. If he sees them as his competition he will growl to warn them away from what he thinks is his. Nothing in your house belongs to him so don't let him have something without being given something.
 

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I agree with kpoos and you; kids are priority no exceptions.

He has to know you are serious with the toys.

I would also add that the children become a part of obedience with him as well. If they request he sit, down, stay, come - he must learn to do this so he views them as leaders. (my 20 year old even needed some coaching on this recently on getting the dogs to listen to her)

Have you tried exercises where you sit and play with the toy and take it? Then request he sit or another command before receiving?

If not I would try it and then have the children with you, beside you doing the same thing. Another thing would be to place the toy up away from him but where he can see it, and when he wants it, the children get the toy and give it to him once he sits and waits calmly. Always correcting the growl during the exercise.
 

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I think that also teaching him "give it" with two toys, where you trade two toys back and forth cueing "give it" for the release and handing him the other toy, or trade the toy for a treat, then give it back, then give the toy, etc. would help with this behavior. Once he does "give it" with you, the kids could practice with him.
 

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This is called resource guarding and it can turn into a big problem. There are many ways to deal with this issue. Many folks have had good success using a book called:

MINE! - A GUIDE TO RESOURCE GUARDING IN DOGS by Jean Donaldson


My philosophy is that everything in my house belongs to me or the other people in the home and that we have the right to take anything and everything away from the dogs at any time. I instill this idea from the beginning by putting my hands in a puppy's food dish and randomly taking away treats or toys.

I'm not personally a fan of trading because I don't want to be in the position of bribing my dog. The "GIVE" command is great, but it really needs to be taught as a separate exercise.

When Delilah was around 7 months old she had a bully stick which is a very high value treat. She decided to test the waters and growled at my daughter when Clare got too close. Delilah was very, very firmly corrected and she bought herself a 20 minute training session of having her bully stick taken away and returned, over and over. She has not growled at anyone again.

Nip this problem in the bud.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone. I took all treats and toys away, and have had my older son (he can express himself very clearly verbally, my two and a half year, but he is right next to my oldest) do sit, give toy, give the GIVE command and make him sit again. That was for about 15 minutes. I will have them do it again later with the more high value toy that has been the cause of aggression today. I am going to get this under control now, and not let it become an issue.
 

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You know what, I'd just take the very highly valued toy away for good. There are other toys but he doesn't need to have something in the house that he values enough to growl at other pack members. I also would pick up my daughter (she is also 2) to make her much taller than my spoos. She then becomes an extension of you and you have to be right there to enforce whatever command the child gives. With the smaller kids it's harder to get dogs to understand that these are not other puppies and that they have to mind them although their voices are higher pitched (like when you praise) and they cannot always say commands clearly.
 
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