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Discussion Starter #1
I really hope someone has some advice for me, I am out of ideas!

I recently rescued a female Staffordshire Bull terrier mix from a local animal shelter. I am not a first time dog owner and I have a lot of experience with bully breeds and large dogs.

From the first day I brought Bowie home, I have had resource guarding issues with her. I have tried putting my hand in her dog food while she eats, and she growls and snarls and nips. For the last 4 weeks I have been hand feeding her (no bowl), and she is required to sit before she gets food, treats, etc.

Tonight, I was sitting in a chair with her while she chewed on her kong. I always try to put my hand on the toy and near her mouth while she chews and she will occasionally growl, but I tell her no and she stops. Tonight when I tried to put my hand on her treat while she chewed, she tensed up and snarled at me. I think if I hadn't told her no and taken the treat away she might have really tried to bite me!

The thing is, she is a great puppy other than this one problem. She is a sweetheart and loves everybody. She gets along well with my other dogs (although she plays rough sometimes, but we are working on that!), is doing great with house training and obedience training.

I'm really not sure what else to do. I have never had problems with resource guarding with any of my other dogs since I started taking steps to prevent it early (hand in the food bowl, etc.). This hasn't worked with Bowie....please help!
 

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You've started off correctly but, their are more steps to it with different treats. The usual process is hand feed without a bowl for several days. Then add the bowl and drop/place several pieces of kibble in the dish...feed entire meal that way for several days. The whole point of this exercise up to this point is just getting her used to your hand in/near the dish.
The next phase is adding 1/2 of the food to the dish and hand feeding/add to the dish the other half of the meal but, that half is much better food than plain kibble.
The last step is filling the dish and then calling her to you. Reward with a tasty treat and drop another tasty piece her bowl. These last steps are important...walking away from the bowl....no longer guarding it.
For the chews/toys you use some of the same tactics. Get a 2nd chew or toy. Wave it, shake it, make it the 'better' one to have. When she drops hers, give her yours. Pick up the one she left and repeat the process. You're showing her that if she drops it/gives it up freely she gets it back....no need to guard it. A variation of this object exchange is trading up for a higher value treat...ie; drop the Kong and get a hot dog.
 

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Thanks for the tips Tooney!

I've never had this problem before thanks to preventative measures, but my new pup just needs some extra training in this area.

I'm going to try out your suggestions and hopefully this won't be a problem for very much longer!
 

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I have many times seen people create resource guarding problems by trying to prevent it using the same methods you are using. Put yourself in the dogs place. What if someone came along and rested their hand on your plate while you tried to eat. What if they put their hand on your computer keyboard while you were trying to surf the net? See what I mean? You would get pretty upset with that person. The person is creating negative experiences in your everyday life.

The secret is to create positive experiences in your dogs life. Dogs don't snarl, growl, and nip at positive experiences. I suggest that for a week, let the dog eat out of his bowl and play with his toys and treats without inteferrence from you. Ignore the dog during these times. Then start creating positive experiences. When she is eating, slowly walk over and from a decent distance, toss a treat into her bowl. Her favorite treat. Do this every day gradually getting closer. In a week or so, you should be able to put your hand in the bowl and put the treat in it. Don't leave your hand in there. There is no need to. You are making yourself a nutience when you do.

When she is playing with her kong, from a short distance away toss her her favorite treat. Again, slowly work up to handing her the treat while she is playing with the kong. Eventually you should be able to take the kong, put the treat in it and give it back. Do the same when she is playing with other toys.

Anytime during this process if she ever growls or tenses up, back away and she doesn't get the treat. The next time or two, back up a step until she accepts you at that level.

This is real easy to explain in person and to show you how to do it. For me, its much more difficult to type it out. I hope I typed it in a way that is understandable.

PS ... Toony beat me to it. Our ways are very similar. You should be able to take the best of both. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When she is playing with her kong, from a short distance away toss her her favorite treat. Again, slowly work up to handing her the treat while she is playing with the kong. Eventually you should be able to take the kong, put the treat in it and give it back. Do the same when she is playing with other toys.
Thank you for your tips too Trainer!

I particularly like the idea for the kong. If she gives up the toy for just a second, she gets it back with an extra treat.

I hope that between your advice and Tooney's, I can solve this problem!

Thanks again!
 
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