Taking a bone away from your dog
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Thread: Taking a bone away from your dog

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    Senior Member JustTess's Avatar
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    Taking a bone away from your dog

    When I was a girl, I was told once you give a dog a bone, you let him have it. Do not take it away because it could be dangerous. Perhaps I was a young child I was told this.

    Later, a dog had good manners if the owner could take the bone from their dogs without any issues. I was able to do this with my Samoyed quite easily (from what I remember).

    Well, today, both of my dogs had a rib bone. Lola was being very fustrated and she did not show any interest in her bone, she wanted Ilya's. I separated her to a different part of the room with her bone.

    Ilya was so mezmerized by the bone, he hardly noticed he was off the towel and now eating on the carpet (yuck). I called his name and he looked at me but wouldn't stop chewing. Here is where I made my mistake... I reached for the bone and he growled and snapped. He had his teeth on my hand but he didn't bite at all. I retrieve my hand and call out his name again.... he growls a little bit.

    I do think I need to train him regarding bones. He doesn't have a problem with me taking food away from him in the past. I guess it was his 2nd bone.

    Well, I'm thinking I need to break his concentration because he has never reacted this way towards me. I turn on the vacuum cleaner that was near me and quickly turned it off. Ilya's mouth is now off of the bone and I tell him I want him to lay down on the towel. He takes his bone to the towel and continues eating... I tell him he's a good boy and he gives me a smile and 3 tail wags.

    Is there a better way to have handled this without confrontation? Lola, did not care if I constantly took her bone away from her.

    I have not asked Ilya to "leave it" or "drop it" with food before. What would you use?
    Last edited by JustTess; 12-25-2008 at 11:44 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Here are my thoughts and let me preface it by saying there are those on this board that know a lot more than I do.

    This is based on my own experiences and what I read.

    Some breeds of dog and some temperaments (there can be overlap here but they can also be separate and distinct things) will allow their master to remove food from their mouths without even a spec of hostility. Such as my dog.

    Others are less predictable and are downright hostile when you try to take food away and that can be quite dangerous. If you don't know your dog then don't do it and if you think you do know your dog but you never tried it before then proceed with extreme caution if at all.

    I find that the "drop it" command can be used for ANYTHING the dog puts in it's mouth, why not?

    Consider using the command and offering something else to the dog at the same time.

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    Senior Member TooneyDogs's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    You are better off using object exchanges where the dog freely gives up the item (drops it) and gets something 'better'. You make what you are holding 'better' by waving it, shaking it....enticing him. This teaches the dog that they do not have to guard resources and is how you start teaching the "Give" or "Drop It" command.

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    Senior Member JustTess's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Thanks guys! This sort of caught me off guard because both of the dogs will drop their toys when asked without a trade.

    what you are holding 'better' by waving it, shaking it....enticing him
    I forgot about this. I could have gotten a piece of chicken telling Ilya to drop it.

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    Member smileypits's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Hi!

    I'm new and unexperienced in this forum, but not to dogs.

    Make him chew it in your hand, don't let him tug it away. If he does try - take it away and put it up for 2 minutes. Try again. Make him chew it while you hold on to it and about every 10-15 seconds, pull it away. If he sits patiently for 2-3 seconds - reward him by giving him back the bone to chew on. If he growls or continues to try to jump/grab it - put it up for 2 minutes and start over. Just start with something small like this... then add a command to it like "drop it" as you pull the bone away.

    Merry Christmas - Hope it was safe & warm.

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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Isn't taking the bone away entierly going to contribute to the posessiveness? I think that trading is better, so he knows you won't take his things away from him. I dunno.
    "Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
    Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

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    Senior Member Westhighlander's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Quote Originally Posted by smileypits View Post
    Hi!

    I'm new and unexperienced in this forum, but not to dogs.

    Make him chew it in your hand, don't let him tug it away. If he does try - take it away and put it up for 2 minutes. Try again. Make him chew it while you hold on to it and about every 10-15 seconds, pull it away. If he sits patiently for 2-3 seconds - reward him by giving him back the bone to chew on. If he growls or continues to try to jump/grab it - put it up for 2 minutes and start over. Just start with something small like this... then add a command to it like "drop it" as you pull the bone away.

    Merry Christmas - Hope it was safe & warm.
    This is not training "drop it" as he is suppose to freely give it up not because you pull it away. Your method is teaching him that you take good things away from him."

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    Senior Member GroovyGroomer777's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    I agree with the good old "trade off". Works like a charm for me. My dogs are very food motivated, all I have to do is open the treat jar in the kitchen and they drop what they are doing (even a tasty raw bone) and come running. They all get the treats, and I retrieve their bones.

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    Senior Member Inga's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    I have unfortunately taken in several dogs that were resource guarding types. I found the best way to deal with this is the "trade up" method of training. Just as stated you offer some high value item to the dog. It isn't quite that simple though. I think this training needs to go on for long periods of time and offering a good treat doesn't mean he/she will automatically lose their possession. I mean, while your dog is eating you could toss a few small pieces of chicken into their bowl but do not take their food away. Do this often and your hand coming down to their bowl begins representing something wonderful to the dog. (yummy chicken) Same goes for when they have a special toy or treat. Hand coming down is offering, not taking away. I think in your case, I would also up the training in all parts of his training. Do you use the "Nothing in life is free" method of training? Meaning that your dog needs to work for everything he gets. This makes him see you as the boss without you trying to assert dominance over him. He needs to sit stay for his dinner or do a down before being let out etc... Having a dog that resource guards is dangerous and you should work on it. Do you have any trainers around your area that can help you? I don't want you to get bit and sometimes people trying to train a dog to give items up will inadvertently make it worse. It would be best for you to work with a skilled trainer at least for a little while. The good news is, you can get your dog over that.


    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

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    Senior Member tirluc's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    i have always taught my dogs that whatever they have is mine.....i can give it to them, but i can also take it away.....they are taught, not only a "drop it" it command...which means i want it dropped and them to leave it alone at that time (used generally w/ playing "chuck-it" or if they pick up something they aren't supposed to have)....but a "give it" command, which means "i want it"....w/ this i actually will use a bone as this is generally a "high stakes" prize for them....as mentioned above, i hold it while they chew it but every now and then i will tell them "give it" and have them release it (i usually use their collar to have them release), tell them how good they were and wait a bit (a few seconds to start) then tell them they can chew it again....the quicker the release, the quicker the return.....after the are releasing well this way then i will let them take it away and lay down to chew on it and every now and then walk over, tell them to "give it" and take it from them.....if they growl or snap it is taken away for awhile (hrs) and tried again later....i had a food aggressive/resource guarding dog that i did this w/ for about a wk and you can take anything from her now just by using the "give it"....even my GD can take things from her.....

    i also agree w/ Inga on getting the help of a trainer.....
    Last edited by tirluc; 12-26-2008 at 10:01 AM.
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    I totally agree with this. YOU control your dog and if YOU want whatever is in its mouth, NO MATTER WHAT, that dog better give it to you. It could be poison, it could be a pin-filled hot dog, etc. It's not teaching him you take good things away from him, it's teaching him OBEDIENCE because, hopefully never but maybe some day, it could save his life.

    Dogs learn quickly that, if they do as they're asked to do, they are never "deprived" but rewarded. If they give it up quickly and easily, they get it back or something better. I've done this for years and it works very well.

    A dog should NEVER growl at YOU if you try to take his bone away. He can growl at another dog but not at YOU.

    Quote Originally Posted by tirluc View Post
    i have always taught my dogs that whatever they have is mine.....i can give it to them, but i can also take it away.....they are taught, not only a "drop it" it command...which means i want it dropped and them to leave it alone at that time (used generally w/ playing "chuck-it" or if they pick up something they aren't supposed to have)....but a "give it" command, which means "i want it"....w/ this i actually will use a bone as this is generally a "high stakes" prize for them....as mentioned above, i hold it while they chew it but every now and then i will tell them "give it" and have them release it (i usually use their collar to have them release), tell them how good they were and wait a bit (a few seconds to start) then tell them they can chew it again....the quicker the release, the quicker the return.....after the are releasing well this way then i will let them take it away and lay down to chew on it and every now and then walk over, tell them to "give it" and take it from them.....if they growl or snap it is taken away for awhile (hrs) and tried again later....i had a food aggressive/resource guarding dog that i did this w/ for about a wk and you can take anything from her now just by using the "give it"....even my GD can take things from her.....

    i also agree w/ Inga on getting the help of a trainer.....

  13. #12
    Senior Member JustTess's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Yup, I have incorporated the NILIF techniques, though, I probably was a little lax about training the past few weeks with this Christmas rush and kinda let him have free run about the house.

    I have not see him resource guard with me before. While feeding his regular meals, I don't have problems asking him to sit and taking his bowl up or even moving the dish with my foot because it was in the way. He'll even stop eating his biscut if I told him to drop it and he'll spit out the biscuit. LOL

    Perhaps it was the novelty of his 2nd raw bone and the "la-la land" look he had in his eyes. He was definitely extremely excited.

    Funny, I just told my son earlier this week to trade something with Ilya because he wouldn't give up my son's favorite stuffed animal he found. When TD mentioned it, I gave myself a "duh" forhead slap. I guess if I'm going to start giving him raw bones, I need to train him to getting used to taking it from him. He's been tossing the rib bones at me this morning wanting me to play with him. (I'm glad he didn't eat the entire bone this time) The next time I give him a raw bone, I'm going to make him work for it a little harder... I also liked your suggestion too Turlac.

    I've tried trainers in my area and I wasn't particularly interested in them. I was looking on how to assist Ilya's breathing while re-training him for longer distances and I did not get very good results. Either I didn't buy into their theory or it seemed like they were reading from a book even generallizing all dogs. I was able to find some mushers who gave me some insight about the breathing, temperature, and building up his distance slowly.

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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Quote Originally Posted by JustTess View Post
    Yup, I have incorporated the NILIF techniques
    What is NILIF?

    Everytime I see that I think the person spelled MILF wrong.

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    Senior Member Bearjing's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Nothing
    In
    Life
    Is
    Free

    There are some sticky threads in the training section which provide instructions / explanation.

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    Senior Member melgrj7's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    I trade my dogs usually. My two will give me something without issue (so far anyway), but I still like to reward it. I also often have them give me something, give them a treat and then give the item right back, so they don't think that me taking something is bad. I actually kind of think that they think I'm just holding it for them so they can eat a treat, lol. I practice drop it and give it and leave it every single day.

    With the lab, she will growl and bite if you try to take anything from her, a ball, a sock, a towel, a bone . . . something she just happens to be laying next to and had no interest in until you went to get it. So I trade with her for everything (unless its an emergency, then I am bad . . . like when she stole my cell phone and started to chew it). Luckily she thinks anything you have is better, so she will trade a big meaty bone for a carrot.

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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    I'm a firm believer in being able to take ANYTHING from my dogs. Anything. I expect them to know their place in our pack and I expect them to act appropriately as the lower members of the pack. A wild dog pack allows the alpha to take food right out of their mouths and they are hungry/havent eaten in awhile. It serves two purposes, 1- the alpha exerts his/her role and 2- the lower pack members are HAPPY to give it up to exert their roles. That said...

    We had a puppy rescue this summer that was a One puppy litter - didn't grow up with any littermates and it showed by his resource guarding.... He just didn't get it, what is his is HIS, not ours. Instead of fighting with him about it - I begin a strict training schedule w/ him teathered to me all day. I controled everything he did, including how he ate his food (NILIF). Within 3 weeks, he was a submissive member of our pack and anyone could take anything from him.

    Sometimes it has nothing to do with resource guarding - many times there are other symptoms indicating that the dog thinks he is the boss and the alpha of his/her pack. Take that away through NILIF and training and suddeningly - no more resource guarding.

    My .02 cents

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    Senior Member GroovyGroomer777's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Quote Originally Posted by wizer View Post
    What is NILIF?

    Everytime I see that I think the person spelled MILF wrong.
    Tee-hee....<chuckles> men are such pigs!

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    Senior Member JustTess's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    I liked your post also smileypits. It's very similar to tirlac's and I personally think it is a matter of training Ilya, in the midst of his heightened excitement, how to get used to me handling him with a bone.

    Just this morning, he was tossing bones at my feet. Later, he collected all of them into the dining area and asked me to follow him when I was in the den. When I got to the dining area, he did one of his play bows infront of the bone. When I reached for it, he did a playful growl, so I tried trading it with another bone. LOL, he gave up the first bone for the other. Then I continued this using "leave it" each time. Trading something else.... including an unstuffed animal.

    I was caught off guard yesterday mainly because, Ilya had never given me a warning before and I haven't seen him become possessive of anything.

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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    It's probably good that he DOES give a warning, though. I think being sure you can take ANYTHING from your dog AT ANY TIME is very important. I'm glad he's generally fine and that he play bowed to you with the bones - that's adorable!

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    Senior Member Westhighlander's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a bone away from your dog

    Quote Originally Posted by smileypits View Post
    I'm a firm believer in being able to take ANYTHING from my dogs. Anything. I expect them to know their place in our pack and I expect them to act appropriately as the lower members of the pack. A wild dog pack allows the alpha to take food right out of their mouths and they are hungry/havent eaten in awhile. It serves two purposes, 1- the alpha exerts his/her role and 2- the lower pack members are HAPPY to give it up to exert their roles. That said...

    We had a puppy rescue this summer that was a One puppy litter - didn't grow up with any littermates and it showed by his resource guarding.... He just didn't get it, what is his is HIS, not ours. Instead of fighting with him about it - I begin a strict training schedule w/ him teathered to me all day. I controled everything he did, including how he ate his food (NILIF). Within 3 weeks, he was a submissive member of our pack and anyone could take anything from him.

    Sometimes it has nothing to do with resource guarding - many times there are other symptoms indicating that the dog thinks he is the boss and the alpha of his/her pack. Take that away through NILIF and training and suddeningly - no more resource guarding.

    My .02 cents
    Ability to control resource = Alpha. Ability to guard resource = control of resources. Control of resources = .....

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