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 Bone aggression

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Amber Goyit
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PostSubject: Bone aggression   Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:51 pm

Hello! I have a 6 month old Border Collie/Husky mix and lately he's been very possessive of bones. He's never shown any aggression towards us by taking food or other toys away - just bones.

It's only been the last week or so. It started with a cow hoof, he was giving out a low growl and snapped at the air once. So we took that away (it smelled really awful anyway!). Then today he was neutered, so we wanted to give him an apology treat. When he got home and settled in we gave him this shoulder bone with a bit of meat on it. I just crouched down beside him to see how he was doing with it and he growled at me. I hadn't even shown him any signs that I was going to take the bone from him at that point.

Besides not giving him bones is there anything we can do to prevent this from getting any worse?

And as a side note, we always get him to sit plus another trick before he gets any sort of treat. In the case of the bone today it was sit then down then he got the bone.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:06 am

Amber, Have you tried hand feeding? You could certainly do the holding of the bone and make it a bonding time with him, that way he is fully aware that you are in control of his food. He is entering the teenage phase, and they do become a little more pushy, and think they know everything, lol, like human teenagers. It tends to be a difficult phase for us as well as them. There are several things you can do, hand feeding his kibble and or his bones. You can also just leave him be, and if you need to take it from him, then you need to be firm move him into a neutral zone (away from where he was eating the bone), if he takes the bone tell him to drop it, leave it and again move him place in a sit and stay and take bone. If he leaves his bone, have him sit and stay and remove bone. This may take some doing, if he is not good at drop it, leave it, sit, or stay. But you need to do these things, be proficient, and firm. If he does what is asked give him a small and quickly ate treat for praise or praise with good boy. Taking things away need to be done in a positive fashion, and you need to have obedience from him. Those 4 commands need to be done for his and your safety, for numerous situations. Good luck, and I hope that helps. Smile BTW.....Miya at 3 years old still grumbles at me on occasion. Bones tend to be the most special treat to her, but, she will move to another location, drop, leave, sit and stay and I can take anything without argument. I just have to do those steps to do so. I would say 99% of the time I could just take it, but that 1% can always happen, personally, and others may think I am wrong, but, imho, it is not necessarily aggression as to why they don't want you to take away that special item, it's more that they get so focused in on it, that they forget about you, and just want that more. Immediate gratification will take their mind off of that and on to something else. With Miya she loves being told she is a good girl, for other dogs a bite of a hot dog, or their favorite training treat is all that is needed to refocus on something else.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:25 am

Amber, I want to add, speaking to Dallas may quiet him down if you are just checking in on him, however, you need to be out of his bubble, so to speak, while talking make it a soothing calm voice, as in "hey boy is that good", that's an example, if he gets growly, then still in the calm voice "hey stop that I wasn't going to take that". Being aware of the different levels of growl will help you. Miya has 3 types of grrrs. One is lets play, one is don't bother me unless you have to and the other is back off lady this is mine. A solid bond doesn't typically happen until they are a year or so old. Having patience and continued training will help set boundaries and have him understand what is expected of him.

Like I said earlier, it is a process. They are no longer your sweet pup, and they are not the mature adult that is your dream dog. They are in a state of constant brattiness, and spending extra time bonding and reinforcing commands is crucial right now. This really is the time you make or shape the dog that you really want.
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Sarah20
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:03 am

I totally agree with Renee. Dogs get super possessive over bones and food. You need to hold the bone and have him realize YOU are in control at all times of his food, treats, bones, etc... Practice having him chew the bone then hand him a tasty treat so he drops the bone. Then while he is chewing the treat, practice taking the bone. Do this "take and give"a few times so he realizes that you are not permanently taking it away but simply want him to leave it for something else.
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Artic_Wind
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:29 pm

Amber, Kohdi was exactly the way you describe, only bones. I too agree totally with Renee, I think speaking calmly goes a long way. The only difference is, and I'm not saying it's the way to go with Dallas, it's just the way I did it , but I was in Kohdi's bubble. I got down right next to him, of course his growling got louder and more fierce, but as I talked to him, the tone would get lower and lower, then I'd give him my hand, palm up and he'd put his paw in it, his whole demeanor would change to almost playful, he'd still revert back to hovering his head over the bone but over time (and it does take some time) he now knows I'm not going to take it from him permanently. I'd also add, I did things like Sara mentions but a treat wasn't enough to entice Kohdi away from his bone (every dog is different, that's all) so I'd have to trade him other things. I think the key to this part is, like say Sara's treat method, is giving him back the bone, holding it but allowing him access to it is a good way to go, that way Dallas sees when you take it, it's not permanent and you're not a...threat (I guess, I'm not sure that's the correct word) .

Kohdi was a bit older than Dallas when this started though, he was about 1 1/2 years old (a little bit after getting Mishka, I personally think Kohdi was thinking I was going to take it and give it to Mishka, who at that time was taking everything he had...still does, lol).
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Husky mom 2016
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 11:49 am

I was reading thru this string of comments and none have worked for my 6 month old male husky. I have had him since he was 5 weeks old, I did everything I knew to make sure he didn't have food or bone aggression. He has bit me twice, he had his bone I reached over to pet him, no warning from him, he just turned and bit me. I have a younger son, so this is not acceptable behavior. I have called a few trainers and no responses.
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 12:01 pm

Howdy Ma'am and welcome to the forum - though I'd rather not see your first post such a problem post. (wait, that didn't sound right!)

You're going to see a lot of this - people asking questions so we can better understand what's going on - before we even think about providing a possible solution.

My first question is "was this a one-off event" or is this his standard routine when you try t take something like a bone from him - examining the possibility that you startled him?

You said "I did everything I knew to make sure he didn't have food or bone aggression", without going into agonizing detail, can you, first, give us some idea of why you decided that you needed to make sure he didn't have something a well raised dog shouldn't have - and - second, what did you try?

and I'm sorry, for some reason my tone seems to be accusatory - that's not at all what I intend. Time for me to go away for a while.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 12:18 pm

I'm with Al. Knowing what all you have done would really help. If all you have done is what is in this thread then that's one thing, but we don't want to make more suggestions if they are all what you have already done. A pup taken so incredibly early at 5 weeks has been basically set up to be more problematic than your standard pup taken at the proper age of 8 weeks, so a little more care and work can be expected to put into them than you may have done with any pups previously. Many lessons on manners were missed that mom and siblings would have taught you pup.

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Husky mom 2016
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 12:25 pm

Some background on his parents, his dad is a fun loving, very easy going nothing bothers him at all, very happy husky, the mom on the other hand is very different, she has food aggression and was even that way with her two puppies and the 5 other dogs in the home. So knowing this when I brought him home I started right away with hand feeling him, moving his bowel while he was eating, sitting next to him and petting him while he was eating, then when I introduced bones, I held them, would take it away and then give it back, play with him with the bones so he thought of it more as a toy. Petting him while he was chewing on it, just always near him, to prevent the aggression. I work from home so I have always been home with him.
He has bitten me on two different occasions but you have to be very careful anytime he has a bone, because of his demeanor, so doing all I did starting from such a young age, as you can see didn't work. I didn't startle him when I went to pet him cause I was talking to him.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 12:50 pm

Does he ever get to just chew on his stuff in peace? Or do you do this every time he has a bone? It's all about balance. Being fiddled with is good for a dog, but it can also create insecurities if you do it too much. If a dog never gets the opportunity to just enjoy their bones or chews and are constantly wondering where it will be moved to today they never really get a chance to become comfortable with you. You maybe better off implementing the trade method. Some dogs get frustrated if people do stuff they just don't see a point in like moving their bowl. My girl falls under this type. She likes routine and having set expectations of where and how things will go. Instead of moving his bowl while he's eating, try putting something tasty in it. Then he starts associating you being around his food as getting something good or better than what he already has. same with bones. Some dogs get to a point where they think every time you go near them you are taking something away. You have to give something back, preferably something better to break this mentality. Get liver treats or something jerky like with lots of smell and when you want to take the bone, trade him the quickly eaten treat for the bone.

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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 12:58 pm

Yes he has time with all his stuff by himself, yes I have balance so it's not irritating to him. We have had a consistent routine since we got him and even prior. I am an anally organized routine person. He has liver treats that we have used for training and as a bonus as a treat during the day.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 1:07 pm

On the same lines as Jenn was saying.....you unfortunately had 2 strikes against you with getting your pup...too young of an age and the dam already having issues, so it's already hardwired that your pup will have issues. Is he fine with toys and his meals? Is this just an issue with bones? If it is only an issue with bones than I would really crate him for bone time so your child is away from the pup, leave pup alone and in peace to eat his bone, and realize this is his "issue" and prevention is the key. This is something I deal with with my girl, so it is not something you are alone on, she was 5 weeks old, and her dad had an attitude. When we feed bones she is left alone to eat, when she is done, or I think she is done I enforce the drop it, leave it, and remove her to a sit and stay and take it away. I use the prevention method because raw meaty bones is the only thing Miya is severely possessive on. Higher value treats, like Jenn suggested is perfect to do as well, but with that approach you should not give the bone back, it is gone and over with. Keep in mind, you do not want to be bothered by your pup while eating, the mutual respect must be given back. With children in the home, imo, it is best to use prevention, crate them when something is high value will prevent bites. Lastly, he may grow out of it, he is still young. Working on training, bonding, and trust, may change him into an adult who isn't possessive.
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 1:25 pm

Yes it is only with bones, that seems to be the only solution that will work and hopefully he does grow out of it. Thanks
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Bone aggression   Tue May 24, 2016 3:54 pm

Since you say that it's *only* with the bones, I agree with Renee - the bones are a *special* treat and need to be treated specially. Giving it to him while he's crated (in his home) is a good idea since that tells everyone (human and canine) to leave him alone while he enjoys his snack - and yes, there are times when it's just best to "let sleeping dogs lie", so to speak.
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