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 Food Posession ... need some serious help!

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aljones
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PostSubject: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:45 pm

I have two dogs, Avalanche - an Alaskan Husky who couldn't be a better dog ... he's probably one of the best dogs I've ever lived with.

On the other hand I have a Sibe - Sasha - who's been a problem since I picked her up in San Antonio as an "off the street rescue".  She showed up at one fellows place, stayed for a couple of days and he was going to take her to the shelter.  Fellow worker took her in and things like "having a baby" made this a temporary situation.
I brought her home Mar 8, 2012 and waited to see if anyone was going to respond to "found dog" notices before I had her spayed in Nov 2012.

During the two plus years I've had her, she's bit me five different times; varying from several minor bites to one that required a trip to the emergency room, stitches and a $5000 bill.

I feed both dogs separately, Avalanches food is on the front porch, he's free fed and has food available whenever he's outside.  Sasha gets a cup in the morning and another in the evening.  She's never been impatient if I'm late with the evening meal, but will "moan and grouse" a bit to let me know I'm late but it's no big deal. If we skip the morning meal she doesn't seem too bothered. Oddly, she lays right beside the bag of dog food and has never gotten into either it or the garbage can which is on the other side of where she lays.

I've tried everything I can think of -
Hand feeding is not a problem, she recognizes that it's my food and I can give it or not.
NILIF - she'll set and wait for me to release her before she eats, at one point I timed her at 5 minutes setting there waiting.

The problem arises when she thinks the food is hers.  There is nothing that I have found that I can do, if I reach toward her bowl (or any food - and it seems to be just food - that she's claimed) it's at the risk of losing a hand.

Obviously there's no passing this girl on to anyone.  While there may not be any real (legal) liability if I let them know what the problem is, I can't / won't turn her over to someone.  If she bites me, *I* know what the problem is and can avoid it most of the time.

I'm reaching the point where putting her down is becoming a very real consideration.  I'm getting real tired of being bit!

On the other hand (again), except for that she's not a bad dog;  I can go walking on the desert, let her off lead and she stays (reasonably) close to me.  If she doesn't come when I call, she'll follow me home and has no objection to going inside.  
She and Avalanche play like Husky's.  She's warned him a few times to "cool it" but there's never been any blood.  
If I'm fixing something in the kitchen and drop it, I can pick it up without a problem,  she'll wait for me to tell her to "get it" if I decide to let her have it.
If I take her out the front door she'll walk past Avalanches food bowl and not even look at it.  She knows it's not hers so I guess it's not a problem.
If I hold her food bowl she'll eat without a problem, I can move it around or even take it away and she doesn't seem to care.

Earlier this week I was in town and the had some beef knuckles (large beef bones) and I picked up a couple for them.  Avalanche got his out on the front porch and is still occasionally nibbling on it (need to toss it, but he chews it well).  Sasha got hers out back.  When I went out to bring her in she decided she wasn't going to leave her bone unguarded - nibbled on my hand a bit, nothing major - to convince me that she was going to stay there.  (( Add insult to injury, there was a rattler just a few feet from her and, sorry, if she wanted to stay out I wasn't in the mood to get snake bit trying to convince her to come in ... yes, I was a bad daddy and left her and the snake to make friends ))

Today she's decided that she's going to stay out and guard whats left of her bone and I'm tired, if she wants to stay out that's fine by me.

For those who don't know, I live in the middle of nowhere, there's no calling in a trainer / rehabilitator, the nearest of those would be around 300 miles away or more.  It's on me and I need some ideas.

And a cookie to anyone who's read this far .....
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techigirl78
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:24 pm

Have you tried using something more appetizing then the bone to get her to come inside? I think that is the typical course for dogs with resource guarding issues - offer them something better to get what they currently own.
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:57 pm

Personally, being at my wits end, if she wants to stay out she can.  In fact, if she bites me again that's where she may live!

That was more an example of her temperament, while it is factual.  It's the whole series of biting the hand that feeds her that's getting me down.

And to answer your question directly, when she's fixated on her food (as opposed to meal time feeding) there hasn't been anything I can find that will break the "It's mine, leave me alone!" attitude.

It is seemingly a matter of having two different dogs and I'm not always sure which is which.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:19 am

Al, I feel for you. I hope that writing this has at least let off some steam. I too have a girl that can be possessive, although not really with me. It worries me because I want a second dog, but she has chased the cat away over a bone, that she doesn't even want, but I gave it to her so therefore it's hers, regardless if she'll ever eat it. when I need to take the bone away, it's done in this order.....Miya drop it, leave it, let's go, (move her away), Miya sit, stay, I proceed to throw out said bone, then release her. Miya has never indicated that she will bite me, however, if cat is in the area it could cause problems. I have no idea if this could work for you. Miya does all of these commands without issue and without me being too serious sounding, however, with her beloved bone I make her know that this is serious business and I'm not inclined to give in to her. Btw, she is only that way with her bone as well, I can relate somewhat.

I was going to post up a problem I encountered today, I think though this takes precedence.

Renee
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lillith87
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:46 am

I have only seen possession in Okami over two different things. Food/water-mostly over water, and a bone (that wasn't even hers)

With the food, when she was a puppy, my daughter Cassidy would come up and pet her and Okami growled. So I took the opportunity to make it turn into an, "Oh sh*t!" moment for her by stomping on the ground and shouting no. Then I did the normal food possession protocols. I.e feeding her from my hand, having my daughter feed by hand.

With the water, it has only been at the park with other dogs. My dog is EXTREMELY water motivated. She would drink a lake dry if I let her. I haven't been able to stop this from happening so I have to play goalie when she is drinking. She hasn't acted out on it, but she growls and goes in a defensive stance, if other dogs approach while she is drinking. It sucks, I really have know idea why she thinks water is some golden treat, but she does nevertheless.

The bone- I just removed it, and won't allow toys she wants to guard around. At the park she will chase other dogs toys, but she won't pick them up. But if I held onto it, she thinks it is hers. So I personally can't give her anything to chew or play with if other dogs are present. It is weird.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:16 am

Hello Al,

I'm sorry to hear about your issue with Sasha.

Do I understand correctly that the 5 times you have been bitten was when you tried to take her food from her?
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:45 am

I think if I was at the point where redirection, feeding from my hand, yelling had all been tried to no avail I would probably start looking into an e-collar.

My girl isn't much of a guarder, just a brat that doesn't want the other dog to ever have anything so she steals from him, but last winter she went through a false pregnancy and had some heavy resource guarding where she would growl and nip, though not bite hard, anyone who tried to reach in and take anything from her. I got stuff from her by being sneaky. I would start out just petting her butt so she didn't get it in her head that I was there to take something. She's nervous about her butt so when I touch her tail or anything she always looks back to see what I'm up to and that's when I would swoop in with the other hand and take the bone or toy away, then give her a treat.

could also look at the claw poles where you can grab stuff from 4 feet away. At least if she bites that it's not you.

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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:11 pm

Renee (I think): I don't raise my voice or yell; the tone changes from friendly to command mode (er, I was in service 10 years and a SSG, I know how to use my voice to get results - but not with her!)

Vetsky: direct answer - it's when I try to separate her from "her" food item.  Take it from her or take her away from it.

Twister:  the time that she bit me when I had to hit the ER was when I was trying to use a broom - which she has never indicated any fear of it - to move a food dish away from her.  Basically she climbed the broom and latched onto my arm.  

We're back into an absolute NILIF mode now.  
When she wanted out this morning, it was set, stay at the back door until verbally released.  This type of action / response is seldom a problem for her.
She's wanted in for the last hour and a half (give or take) but has wrapped her lead around a pole; I've walked out, picked up her lead (close to her collar) and directed her back around the pole so that the lead reaches the back door.  She'll follow me for about three steps and then goes passive-aggressive on me.  She just stops, she wants to go in (her food is waiting on the counter) and she's not going where I want.  I've reached the point that it's not going to happen - she'll do what *I* want.

I'm feeding her from her food bowl (if she gets back in again!), I'm holding it and if she wants to eat she'll eat with me holding it. (Not to say that I'm not a bit concerned!)  She's not comfortable with this but she's not aggressive about it. I can move hands around the bowl and, in fact, lift it away from her and all I get is a look that says "... but ... I wasn't done!"

It's that turning from a good dog (and most of the time she is) into a raging maniac that I have to find some way to overcome before she bites someone else and I have no choice about her being put down.  I don't dare take her into town with me for fear that someone will come by with something edible and she decides for whatever reason that it's hers.

We're well beyond the brat stage here.  I've related elsewhere that I once had a shepherd (previously my cousins dog, he lived in Syracuse; we lived on a farm; this was when I was about 17) who had been abused (teased by the kids going to / from school) to the point that she seriously acted like she wanted to rip a throat out.
When he brought her out to us, he tied her to the clothesline pole.  I got the "pleasure" of feeding her.  The first couple of weeks it was set her food down at the edge of her circle and shove it in to where she could get it. Eventually we got to the point that I could bring her her food and she was "a happy dog".  Further on down the line she became mine - and very much a one man dog, but not aggressive in any fashion - she was safe and knew it.

That's entirely unrelated but I've generally had good success working with and around "bad dogs" - this one is giving me a severe cause of nerves.


Last edited by aljones on Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:13 pm

I'm with Jenn. Think I would try the ecollar. I've just started using one with Ami (middle of August with a hiatus while I returned the sport dog, got the educator, had a wedding...).

Here's what I found:

With Ami at least, the vibrate ("tap" on the educator) is sufficient to get his attention. Disclaimer: I have never had experience with dog who bites, has food guarding etc so all I'm going to suggest is pure conjecture, an experiment.

First, I would get Sasha used to the collar (I just put it on Ami at first, did nothing, did treat him after putting it on - and the beauty of using only the vibration setting is that the collar does not have to tight enough for the prongs to contact the skin.) I'm thinking, train with ecollar and long line, use stimulation or vibration and pull towards you so she gets the message that coming to you stops the collar (see Lou Castle website).

After she gets this, then I would put the collar on with the long line and let her go about her business (if she might get caught on something, make the line something she can chew through in case you're not around). Then, if she goes into food guarding, you are a safe distance away, give her a "tap" or a "zap" (my husband calls it "fry baby, fry" Rolling Eyes - but won't use the collar himself, go figure) and pull gently but persistantly on the line.

My thinking is this: With Ami at least, the collar seems to function as a "tap on the shoulder" that breaks his concentration...sort of like with Marty in back to the future (Mc FLy?...McFly?). From your description, it sounds like Sasha "gets in the zone" and blocks everything out. The collar might be enough to interrupt that. (Sat night, Ami was out in the backyard by himself, the husky across the road behind the woods was howling, kids the other direction were shrieking and having a good ole time and there might have been a cat or chipmunk in the foundation border - whatever, Ami was going nuts - running back and forth, apparently looking for an exit - he could certainly get out if he wanted to and I did not want him to figure that out. I called to no avail - he was FOCUSED! I have not to date used the ecollar off leash but tried it anyway (vibrate/tap only) and immediately, his head shot up, looked a bit confused, I said "Ami, come" and blimey! The damn dog came running to the house and in the door Shocked

Maybe same process will work with Sasha?
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:53 pm

It sounds like you can handle the bowl during feeding.  How about this?

- Fill the bowl with 1/4 of her meal.
- Let her eat out of the bowl as you hold it.
- Once she is complete make her wait until you re fill and let her eat the second 1/4.
- Once the second quarter is empty re-pleish the bowl if she growls or is impatient remove the food and try again in a few mins.
- Then repeat for the last quarter.

Ideally Sasha would respond to a command making her back away from the food and leave it. As I type this I tend to agree with the others that an e-collar is probably the best bet.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:02 pm

You all don't realize just how much I hate those things!!  My whole history is to teach with love and mutual respect and it feels like it's going completely against the grain.  However, as I said, I'm at wits end.  Because of the dog she is 99% of the time I do not want to put her down - at the same time I'm so blasted tired of being the target of her venom! (and obviously deathly afraid of her biting someone else!)

I came asking for ideas - I'll have to think long and hard on that one, but maybe it's time to teach an old dog (me) new tricks.

She went out at about 8 this am and it's now 11 - she finally decided to do it my way and is back inside.

Vetsky: as I was typing you posted.  I like that idea ... it's definitely worth a shot. It's odd, if I set it on the floor, it's hers (once I release her). She's tolerating me holding it ... note tolerating.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:10 pm

Sasha is an interesting case, as most of the food possession issues I have heard/read about, start with one entering the dogs space AROUND the bowl. It usually starts with growling at bearing their teeth. Usually you would add food and get closer each time, until the dog recognized that she won't get the food until your on top of her.

What I typed above I guess is the same concept but closer to the dog.

How is she on the leave it command for non food related items?
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:20 pm

When you are releasing the bowl, you are releasing your possession of it. She still sees you are leader enough to not challenge you over what is still obviously yours. I am assuming that she probably wouldn't let you add food to her dish after you have completely set the bowl down. I would wear welding gloves for this experiment.

I would try not to think of an e-collar as not teaching with love. You love her enough to not let her dig her own grave, so to speak. I wouldn't go about it as trying to hurt her into submission, but more as a tool to snap her out of her mindless guarding stance so that perhaps you can distract her with some other treat and get her where she can be redirected.

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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:32 pm

@aljones wrote:
You all don't realize just how much I hate those things!!  My whole history is to teach with love and mutual respect and it feels like it's going completely against the grain.  However, as I said, I'm at wits end.  Because of the dog she is 99% of the time I do not want to put her down - at the same time I'm so blasted tired of being the target of her venom! (and obviously deathly afraid of her biting someone else!)

I came asking for ideas - I'll have to think long and hard on that one, but maybe it's time to teach an old dog (me) new tricks.

She went out at about 8 this am and it's now 11 - she finally decided to do it my way and is back inside.

Vetsky: as I was typing you posted.  I like that idea ... it's definitely worth a shot.  It's odd, if I set it on the floor, it's hers (once I release her).  She's tolerating me holding it ... note tolerating.

Al - I had very strong feelings against the ecollar too. So before I ever used it on Mr. Dog, I tried it on my arm - the inside forearm where it is very sensitive - when I was finding Ami's "level" he responded at a level so low that I can hardly feel it. I've had far worse shocks with wool socks on a rug in January! He just kind of twitches his ears and looks around - sort of "was that a fly" kind of thing. BUT, what I found out was I do not have to use the "fry" (to be crass). Just the "tap". It really feels like a cell phone on vibrate (a sensation I am well familiar with because I had it deep in my abdomen which led on a long, expensive odyssey of medical tests). And, the response I get from the dog is really analogous to going up to a human who's totally involved in something and either saying "eh hem" or tapping them on the shoulder. Kind of "oh, I'm sorry, I d\idn't hear you...)

For me, it was behavior that was a deal breaker with husband (ie dog goes or I go) (scratching the hell out of interior door when I left the room or the back door when wanting to come in...not a big deal in my book, fixable, but this is husband's book Very Happy ). I think you are at "deal breaker" behavior...of another order of things. It is worth some thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:58 pm

Since she hadn't gotten breakfast I was going to let it ride (she seriously needs to lose some wright) but you prompted an experiment. I got a cup of food, called her over. She looks at her bowl and I took a small handful and put it in the bowl. Released her - and she wasn't too comfortable - she ate what was there and backed off. I added a little more out of the cup and told her to get it (my version of release). Then when she was about done, I reached down and added a little more - not a problem (surprised me!) I have seldom been that close or that intimate once I've released her to eat.
I do not understand her ... sometimes there's a low grumble as she's eating, which is part of the reason I've gone away when I've released her to eat. She doesn't seem to mind too much my being right on top of her when she's eating, doesn't seem to mind me holding her food bowl (well, not too much) and didn't mind me adding food to her bowl as she was eating. I'm literally at a loss!

Obviously, in her mind she's being consistent - dogs do tend to be that way - but I'll be damned if I can figure it out.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:04 pm

I will break my silence.....Al we use an e-collar, it wasn't because Miya was bad, husband did this a preventive measure. I was totally against using one, we got it when she was over 8 pounds. When Miya was sold to us we were under the impression she was half wolf(enough research and my deductions say nada). Her prey drive was on overload at 3 months, she would take off, this was on my neighbors 400 acres, but it butts up against 2 ranchers, out of fear that they would shoot her because she does resemble coyote/wolf and from a distance one can't quite tell, we trained with the e-collar. I have had great success with the collar, I haven't used it in months maybe a year. She wears it almost every day. So we have used it for almost 2 years now. we don't have the same problem as to why use that collar, it is a good last resort trainer. As Amy said look at Lou Castle web site he gives a lot of step by step how to. Jen(Dizzy on this site is also a successful user). I do want to say that I recommend using it as a attention seeker not a punishment when she misbehaves. We use the sport dog, it is cheaper at purchase, but it is not effective for long hair, doesn't have the finite levels, and the distance is not as good. When we get a new one we're going with the dogtra or the educator, both Lou Castle recommends. If you need help we are here for you. Btw, the reason I finally went onboard, our neighbor runs the Humane Society, she recommended as well, explained that it's not cruel if used properly, I of course shocked myself, and it's not hurtful.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:24 pm

Using an e-collar is not a good idea with resource guarding or any form of aggression. You're punishing the behavior- not fixing the underlying issue. Punish the behavior enough and it may "go away" until the dog gets pushed to a point where the threat of the punishment is no longer a "big enough deal" and they will lash out.

I'm still sort of fuzzy about what the actual issue is. Are you wanting to take away bones and she isn't into that? Is it just any item that she gnaws on for a while but is never really "done" with?

If that's the only issue- my advice would be to not give her anything she can't finish. So whole cooked bone items (knuckles, marrow bones, ect) would be a no-no. Instead use stuff like chicken or turkey necks, bully sticks, ect. Stuff she can finish and can't guard. Without any practical access to a trainer your best bet would be management.

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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:02 pm

Kristina, I agree with you on the e-collar, hence why I never suggested, and emphasized not to use as a punishment, but merely an attention getter. The others mentioned and at least gave my 2 cents at my success, but for a totally different reason.

Al, you do have a unique situation in regards to your girl, she seems split personality, lol, and it's hard to advise you, as well it's difficult for you to correct, since you have more experience at dog handling than most of us. The only real experience I have is from when my mom worked at a gsd kennel, the alpha female was extreme, attacked her own litter, although the pup in question was a hardy 6 month old, she did draw blood. Their only resort for this girl was complete solitude outside kennel. The husband and wife owners and my mom were the only living creatures who could be near her, and she would attack for no apparent reason, no real warning. They fed her her meals and that was it, never recalled them giving her treats. Although I don't think your girl is that extreme, Perhaps as Kristina said, avoid treats that will take her awhile to consume.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:50 pm

Renee, if you're saying I have a schizo dog - don't expect me to argue!  It literally is a matter of when she thinks the food is hers and I try to take it away / her away that she goes schizo - with a passion!  If I could definitely determine a pattern, it'd be a lot easier to find a solution.

Kistina, I used the recent bone incident as an example but I'll give another.  Shortly after I'd brought her home, I made the mistake of setting a sandwich on the coffee table, then walked back to the kitchen to get a drink.  When I came back into the living room, the sandwich was gone ( oh well, my fault ) and then she barfed it back up.  I grabbed a paper towel to wipe it up with and she grabbed me.  Did a pretty decent job on my hand, no stitches but it definitely wasn't pretty.

Each time she's bitten me it's been over "food".  As I said (and tested) earlier, she's not particularly anxious about me being around her bowl - she's not happy, not comfortable - but it doesn't seem to invoke the outright possessiveness.  

Thinking about the e-collar: yes, I could use it to reinforce her existing training but in the situation with the food, I don't see how it would be helpful since it's, generally, something I don't see coming.  The possibility exists that if use it reinforce training that might influence the "dominance" (god, I hate that word) enough that she's willing to see that food should not be an issue.  I'm the one who controls it, not her --- but that's no guarantee.

What really throws a monkey wrench into my mental works is that there is obviously some point where she thinks it's hers and she has to guard it.  As I said, even though I know she's hungry - she'd eat till it killed her - she's never particularly anxious about my feeding her, about Avalanches food (she apparently knows it's his - even if he doesn't care), about things I drop in the kitchen, about the dog food bag that she lays beside .... it's weird and it's driving me nuts!! Oh, and I can now set my food down anywhere now and neither of the dogs will bother it - it's mine.

I was asked one time if I was afraid of her, that's a mixed bag of an answer, but not really. I can step over her when she's laying in the door way and she doesn't care (and yes she's moved and gotten "kicked" a time or two), she's gradually learning how to play with a human being (something I hadn't thought a dog needed to be taught) and she's responding, she's found out that if she comes up to me and butts my leg / arm that she'll likely get petted or a belly rub. If I had to guess, she's acting like a feral dog who's gradually becoming adapted to humankind and were she more wild I'd think that the case. What I don't know is how long she was on the streets before she chose the original fellow to take care of her. If it was a month or so, I might understand but she's been with me for over two years now - she should be over that. I'm not afraid of her so much as I am concerned, I don't want her to decide to really take a chunk out of me and end up in the hospital - there'd be no choice in the outcome them (sheriff, not mine)
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:23 pm

If I were going the e-collar route I would use it to reinforce the 'come' command. If I wanted her off of food, I would have her come, sit, and stay while I went and got the item. Not zapping her every time she growled.

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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:33 pm

Indeed Jenn, as I said in my very first response, I have a set pattern that I do for Miya, e-collar is not involved, however, with as stubborn dog, to get the attention a little vibration that Amy suggested would/should be all need, hence no punishment, but merely attention grabber. Al will she not leave if you call her away as in my example at the top? Bring her inside, and you go back out to dispose of it? I honestly would make food time a controlled occasion, since that is the only time you have a problem, take out all possibilities that way, if you give her treats give her something that is quickly ate vs bone.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:20 pm

@TwisterII wrote:
If I were going the e-collar route I would use it to reinforce the 'come' command. If I wanted her off of food, I would have her come, sit, and stay while I went and got the item. Not zapping her every time she growled.

Oh, you got that right! I know from others experience what happens when you teach a dog not to growl!!! At least Sasha does warn me - I just gotta be smart enough to pay attention.
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:31 pm

@MiyasMomma wrote:
Indeed Jenn, as I said in my very first response, I have a set pattern that I do for Miya, e-collar is not involved, however, with as stubborn dog, to get the attention a little vibration that Amy suggested would/should be all need,  hence no punishment, but merely attention grabber. Al will she not leave if you call her away as in my example at the top? Bring her inside, and you go back out to dispose of it? I honestly would make food time a controlled occasion, since that is the only time you have a problem, take out all possibilities that way, if you give her treats give her something that is quickly ate vs bone.

Renee, nope, when she's zoned in on her <whatever> it's simply a matter of leaving her alone until she breaks free of it.  Her normal treat is either a dog bone (Ol'Roy variety) or Milk-Bone filled bones - but neither are so important to her that she's going to break concentration of her bone.

So far all the incidents have been when she's caught me unaware. I did push it one time (the stitches) but all the rest have been quick and dirty ...
That's what made it so rough on me the other evening when I ended up leaving her with a rattlesnake literally a couple of feet away.  There was no way she was going to leave her bone and there was no way I was going to argue with both her and a rattler.  I didn't know what she'd do if I came out and shot it since she would have been way too close, also where the rattler was gave me a great chance of a ricochet going awry ... caught between the rock and the hard place.

I had to try something today ... I've maintained that Avalanche wouldn't bite, he'll do everything he can to escape a situation and I've never seen him one that provokes a bite.  I had the last of the bones I picked up in town (two tail bones sawn in half) gave him one and then took it away from him.  He held on to it, but "let go", "let me have it" and he did, no problem.  So he got both the bones to chow down (wasn't playing that game with Sasha again!!)
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:47 pm

@TwisterII wrote:
If I were going the e-collar route I would use it to reinforce the 'come' command. If I wanted her off of food, I would have her come, sit, and stay while I went and got the item. Not zapping her every time she growled.

Exactly - here's what I envisioned: First you work with her ala Lou Castle method for recall...once she's responsive to that then, put her in the yard, long line and ecollar on. Give her something or leave something for her to find. Wait until she "claims" then give simultaneous "tap", pull gently on the line, call her with your recall word. Then (a departure from Lou, my own thought, totally untested!) give her something so yummy she cannot resist (chicken liver, cheese or, if she's like Ami, a piece of liverwurst Laughing . I'm thinking that if she thinks of you as the source of all that is tasty in te world, it might help.

I don't use the collar as punishment - its really a "hey you!" tap on the shoulder kind of thing - Ami does not respond like its punishment (actually, I've never "punished" him, in fact, until I read the training protocol, I realized I had never even used the word "no" with him - I've always just redirected his behavior to what I want, ignoring what I don't want.) I've seen Ami's reaction to negativity only twice - once when a neighbor was yelling at me about walking the dog on his street and once when Wayne was apoplectic about an insurance snafu. Both times, he cowered, hunched next to me, looked totally forlorn. When I correct him he just looks bouncy and sassy - like he's engaged. When I'm actively using the collar - I am totally watching him, anticipating his moves and use the "tap" before he actually commits a behavior, then give the command and shape it (pulling on lead, or enticing him, whatever I need to do.) I suspect I'm using it like "clicker" training but I really don't know much about that.

Good luck with your girl - also, the suggestions about management sound really good - just don't let her have anything that might trigger her "claim" mentality. (Probably easier said then done when your out in the boonies with wildlife everywhere...
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PostSubject: Re: Food Posession ... need some serious help!   Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:41 pm

Well, I figure it's time for a follow-up here. Since the bite, I've been feeding her by hand, either letting her eat out of the bowl or literally out of my hands. We've done the hand feeding before and she's doing what I expected - she very carefully takes whatever I have in my hands and then back off, sets and waits for more.

It's a little different when it's out of the bowl, even when I'm holding it. I've taken the suggestion that I feed her about a quarter of her meal and then add more to it and so far no problems. If I start to move it away, she moves with it - which doesn't really surprise me. She hasn't had any problem with me moving my hands around the bowl or adding food to it or even taking it completely away from her. If I call her name, she'll look at me and back up - so far so good.

I think I'll give it another week / 10 days / a fortnight and then "release" the bowl to her and then move in pick it up. Hopefully by then she'll have gotten the idea that it's bad news to bite the hand that's feeding you!

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