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 Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*

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Playing with the Big Dogs
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PostSubject: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:51 am

First thing I want to explain is that we haven't really seen this behavior directed at any human just at other dogs.

Simon seams like he is getting a bit of an issue with being possessive/aggressive when trying to guard treats, Nylabones, the water dish, Sadie's food bowl, and treats in other peoples hands from there dogs.

Mostly he will just body block Sadie away from the water bowl she doesn't really seam to care because other than right before bed we try to always have water in the bowl so if he drinks it all we just refill it and then Sadie can have it. Once he got away from me while she was eating and shoulder her out of her food. She just watched him but he was a little puppy then (it was about a month ago) so I think she might have cut him some slack.

I also make them sit before we go outside and before walks and sometimes when I give Sadie her treat he will try to snatch it. He of course does not get a treat for that behavior.

We were at puppy class and one of the other owners came over to say hi to him and give him a treat for sitting. Her puppy came over and he kind of bark snapped at her.

We have Nylabones out and Simon is currently teething so he need something to chew on so I don't want to put them all away if I can avoid it. Sadie will be chewing on one and Simon will try to take it from her. Now in this she wont let him and will show him her mean teeth face when he is being a brat and he normally backs off.

I am just worried that when he gets bigger and no longer get the pass he currently gets for being a puppy that he might start a fight and I would hate to have my dogs fight.


Also Sadie and Simon get along just fine other than that. They play together go on walks together and most of the time Sadie will grab one Nylabone Simon will grab a different one and they will chew together in companionable silence while we watch tv or read.

Any suggestions?


Last edited by Playing with the Big Dogs on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:31 pm

Any suggestions?
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:17 pm

How do you respond when this happens? What do you do, exactly?
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:14 am

Jeff it depends on which situation.

With the hogging the water I honestly don't really do anything other than make sure Sadie gets to drink her fill after. I do make him sit before I put the water down now. I am also more careful with feeding to make sure we don't have issues.

when I make them sit before giving treats I now treat to the side of there face not on the same side as the other dog. With the treat being farther away there is less opportunistic treat stealing attempts.

With the puppy class I said "no" and had him walk away and stop getting attention. We worked of the watch me cue and sits and downs.

If Simon is harassing Sadie I make him come chill by me. If he comes over fast I will find a chew for him and he will most of the time relax and chew but if Sadie leaves he will go snag the one she had but she normally doesn't care and will just find a new one or take a nap. If he snaps at her or she snaps at him I take any chews away and make they calm down after they are calm I bring two different one give one each.

As of now Simon respects when Sadie tells him to back off. Well sort of he sits close and keeps and eye on her to see if she loses interest and he can snag it.

I am just worried that he will get bigger and then behavior will get worse. and I will have a 45-50 lbs mess on my hands that I could have prevented.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:12 pm

Just had a really bad experience, I just got a dremal and was getting them used to the sound and having it touch there feet. I was doing that with Simon and Sadie came over and he attacked her and she growled and showed teeth back. It was horrible on the plus side Sadie was very good and other than looking mean she didn't do anything. Simon totally went for her teeth and all. Of course this has to happen on my lap so now I am a little freaked out.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:08 pm

That's really unfortunate to hear Sad

Sadly, I don't have advice for you. I've never had to deal with a situation like that. Hopefully someone can help you out and/or give some helpful advice.
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wpskier222
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:49 am

For the food and water guarding, I would make Simon wait and allow Sadie to go first with everything. If you are giving treats, give them to her first, if he reacts, then he gets time out and no treats. I would also work on things like, taking something from him, giving it to Saide, and then giving him a treat. Also, as he gets older, Sadie will stop putting up with his crap and teach correct him. Are you worried she will hurt him? She sounds extremely well socialized and it sounds like she knows how to issue an appropriate dog correction without causing injury. I would allow her to do so. If you stop her corrections, or freak out, than you are actually reinforcing his bad behavior and undermining her position.

For the grooming thing, honestly it sounds like he was freaked out and uncomfortable with the situation and when Sadie came over that pushed him over his threshold and he went after her.

I remember another thread about him reacting when you were working on grooming with him. I think you may just be going too far for him to handle at this age. I might get detractors with this statement, but quite frankly I never worked on desensitizing Dizzy with his feet. I did however generally work with him to allow gentle touching, and being examined and held in a very general way. I think it's about building his comfort level and trust so that he can be okay with you doing things to him. I can clip his nails no problem now because he knows I'm not going to do anything scary or painful.

Resource guarding is the same. Diz used to try and guard his food, I worked hard to build trust with him and teach him that I had no interest in taking his food, and if he allowed me to approach him while eating, he didn't lose what was in his bowl and he got extra. As a result last night, I gave him a raw beef marrow bone for the first time and was able to approach and move it off of the rug on to the towel several times, and then take it away and put it back in the fridge at the end of the night.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:53 am

One thing I will say though is that he does have issues guarding toys and me from other dogs. He has never really had to share being the only dog, so he definitely has problems with this. I have a hard time working on it since he's an only dog.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:57 pm

@wpskier222 wrote:
For the food and water guarding, I would make Simon wait and allow Sadie to go first with everything. If you are giving treats, give them to her first, if he reacts, then he gets time out and no treats. I would also work on things like, taking something from him, giving it to Saide, and then giving him a treat. Also, as he gets older, Sadie will stop putting up with his crap and teach correct him. Are you worried she will hurt him? She sounds extremely well socialized and it sounds like she knows how to issue an appropriate dog correction without causing injury. I would allow her to do so. If you stop her corrections, or freak out, than you are actually reinforcing his bad behavior and undermining her position.

For the grooming thing, honestly it sounds like he was freaked out and uncomfortable with the situation and when Sadie came over that pushed him over his threshold and he went after her.

I remember another thread about him reacting when you were working on grooming with him. I think you may just be going too far for him to handle at this age. I might get detractors with this statement, but quite frankly I never worked on desensitizing Dizzy with his feet. I did however generally work with him to allow gentle touching, and being examined and held in a very general way. I think it's about building his comfort level and trust so that he can be okay with you doing things to him. I can clip his nails no problem now because he knows I'm not going to do anything scary or painful.

Resource guarding is the same. Diz used to try and guard his food, I worked hard to build trust with him and teach him that I had no interest in taking his food, and if he allowed me to approach him while eating, he didn't lose what was in his bowl and he got extra. As a result last night, I gave him a raw beef marrow bone for the first time and was able to approach and move it off of the rug on to the towel several times, and then take it away and put it back in the fridge at the end of the night.


Jen first thing thank you for your feed back and suggestions. I really appreciate them.

Now would you not leave water out all the time? He is normally less crazy when it's been out for a bit its just when we come home from a walk or something. I was trying this before and the issue I was having is Sadie didn't care about the water she was just over seeing what was going on.

But I can give Sadie treats and such first she eats first most of the time other than the days she just want to sleep in so Simon gets some first.

Sadie is pretty fantastic especially with puppies and I am more worried about Simon reacting. I don't want to think it is allowed that he can act that way. And I would hate for him to act that way to a different dog and get a bad reaction. Also I have read that I shouldn't let my dogs discipline as the person in charge I should be the one to step in and correct behavior what are your thoughts on that?

I feel like with dogs there is a lot of conflicting info on how to deal with possessive behavior some people say take it all away some say shower them with treats. I really want to work on building trust and not creating a monster.

But other than this Simon is a pretty good he is good with potty training walking on the leash sleeping in his crate I just don't want to mess up.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:16 pm

Ha ha. I hear you! There is a ton of conflicting info and it's so hard to decide what to do! With Sadie, if you trust her than I would allow her to help you teach him, but as you say be careful around other dogs. They many not know how to do an appropriate correction and could hurt him. I'm sure she was a great help with potty training, and I'd let her teach him in this way too. In my opinion, they will have a dynamic relationship with each other that is independent of you and will change over time. Yes, I think it's good for you to correct Simon and step in, but since Sadie is so good, allow her to do so as well.

I would leave water out, but if he starts guarding it block him and make him step back, then call Sadie to the bowl. When she's had her fill allow him to go to the bowl. Just start reinforcing her as above him every chance you get. She will still acknowledge you as the leader so I wouldn't worry about him extrapolating that she is in charge above you.

I think timeout is really going to be your best tool here. Where he starts this behavior, put him in timeout calmly and without a word. At this age, he's just a brat. Honestly 4 months was hell with Dizzy. I doubted my ability to own a dog. My girl Tasha never had a phase quite like the bratty boy 4-5 month phase. He will figure out when he acts up, he goes in time out. I don't know why, but the boys are just awful at this age. Jeff said Link was too.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:22 pm

One other random thought about allowing dogs to discipline - Sadie speaks his language and will give a better correction that is better timed and more appropriate to the situation than any human could. I've read a lot by great trainers and one thing I've noticed is that they all seem to have a really great dog that they bring with them to difficult cases. Well socialized dogs know how to deal with aggression and problem behaviors. Honestly though, I wouldn't say he has any problem behaviors, or is aggressive. He's just a stupid puppy, stay strong and firm, but be patient, and he'll turn out okay. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:36 pm

One final thing, trust yourself and trust your gut, you know him best. Whenever I read your stories about Sadie, I think she sounds like just an awesome dog. Well trained, trusts you, confident, well socialized, just awesome. You did that. Smile I could have saved myself a lot of frustration if I just trusted my gut with Dizzy rather than reading and reading. I tend to try and solve problems intellectually rather than intuitively, so if Diz had an issue, I would read everything I could about it and then try a bunch of different things. When I finally decided I should just trust myself things got a lot easier. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:46 pm

Journey is a bit of a toy/food/water hog herself. That is why I always feed Shaqua first and make Journey sit and wait. I've done this since I got them home. Journey still gets possessive of the water and I honestly think she drinks more than she needs just to make sure she gets the water and not her sister. When this happens I pull her away and let Shaqua drink some water while I hold Journey. She gets better all the time. The toys... Ha ha.. The problem is that Shaqua, like Sadie, never stands up for herself. If Shaqua has a toy and Journey takes it she just lets her. Even if I try to give it back to Shaqua most of the time she acts like she is no longer interested....

I honestly think that Journey has more of an alpha personality than Shaqua, but it works because Shaqua just doesn't care... she lets Journey do whatever she wants within reason...

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:57 pm

@CavingSiberian wrote:
Journey is a bit of a toy/food/water hog herself. That is why I always feed Shaqua first and make Journey sit and wait. I've done this since I got them home. Journey still gets possessive of the water and I honestly think she drinks more than she needs just to make sure she gets the water and not her sister. When this happens I pull her away and let Shaqua drink some water while I hold Journey. She gets better all the time. The toys... Ha ha.. The problem is that Shaqua, like Sadie, never stands up for herself. If Shaqua has a toy and Journey takes it she just lets her. Even if I try to give it back to Shaqua most of the time she acts like she is no longer interested....

I honestly think that Journey has more of an alpha personality than Shaqua, but it works because Shaqua just doesn't care... she lets Journey do whatever she wants within reason...


That's interesting. I recently met another female husky puppy that was 5 months old that had the same issue. I don't remember this issue when I got Tasha 16 years ago... I wonder if it's our (society in general not us specifically) big push to socialize.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:30 pm

I have the same problem with my Nala she is now two and still has this behavior since she is our only dog I dont worry about it too much and when we take her to the dog park she is just fine its only in her own home. Im not sure how to fix it, she seems to be doing better when I show her that if i take the bone i will give it back if she doesnt snarl.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:59 pm

@wpskier222 wrote:


That's interesting. I recently met another female husky puppy that was 5 months old that had the same issue. I don't remember this issue when I got Tasha 16 years ago... I wonder if it's our (society in general not us specifically) big push to socialize.

That's an interesting thought, Hmm. I just thought it was her personality but it could be something like that....
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:50 am

@wpskier222 wrote:
One final thing, trust yourself and trust your gut, you know him best. Whenever I read your stories about Sadie, I think she sounds like just an awesome dog. Well trained, trusts you, confident, well socialized, just awesome. You did that. :)I could have saved myself a lot of frustration if I just trusted my gut with Dizzy rather than reading and reading. I tend to try and solve problems intellectually rather than intuitively, so if Diz had an issue, I would read everything I could about it and then try a bunch of different things. When I finally decided I should just trust myself things got a lot easier. Smile

It's always nice to hear that your dog sounds awesome! Thank you.
Sadie is pretty fantastic. Her only real issue is she can be a little leash aggressive but we are working on it and it's getting better. well that and she can get to excited during agility and decide to crouch and run laps around the course but she is kind of a goofy dog. It is going to be super embarrassing to take her to an agility competition and have her decide she needs to do that. lol.
But I just wanted to thank you for your super kind words.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:12 pm

Also thank you to everyone who gave feedback I really enjoy having forum people to talk to about dog stuff.

Something I discovered last night. Simon is super defensive about slightly.. . unbalanced dogs. We went to visit my friends dogs they have Samson a super chill older mix who is calm but will not put up with any puppy crap because he is to old for this stuff. Copper who occasionally has issues with adult males trying to prove he is the man but is normally pretty okay around puppies but also will not put up with bad behavior. There third dog is Eva a two year old boxer mix, Eva is a kind of nervous dog around older dogs just not very confident. Eva and Sadie love to play and if dogs had then she would be Sadie's best friend. Eva takes a lot of her queues from Copper but Copper had a lot of hot spots and we weren't letting him play with the other dogs so he didn't rip them open again.

Eva would try to act aggressively to Simon and Simon would back up towards me but hold his ground and bark or snap back. At one point Eva tried to go for Simon not super aggressively but not really friendly either and before the humans got to him Sadie used her body to push Eva away from Simon and then tried to hump the crap out of Eva. Just some weird dog body language for all you dog people.

Over all I though Simon did pretty good he expressed he needed space came back to me when he got worried but mostly just walked away and did his own thing when other dogs behaved badly. For anyone worried Eva mostly just postured with her hackles up and growled a bit she only really tired to physically engage him once and Sadie said no to that.

By the end of the night Simon was relaxed with all of the dogs as long as he was next to me and all the dogs(other than Sadie) would give us our space and we got to play card games. I really liked that Simon got that he could sniff the old dogs and walk with them but you didn't really get to play with them.
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive Guarding behavior *They just got into a fight please help*   Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:52 pm

Hey just an update on this. I don't know if anything I did helped but Simon over all seemed to grow out of his guarding behavior. We can have bones or toys out and the dogs have no issues. Like I said I don't know if I did well or if he just got over it on his own.
I have to admit when I have a puppy I really want to do everything I can to help them grow up to become nice well adjusted dogs.
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