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Hello everybody!

I'm brand new to the community of being a dog-owner (and to this forum!). My family (of 5) recently adopted a 3-year-old yorkie-poo a couple of months ago. He is super friendly, loves to lick people, jump on people's laps, cuddle, etc. However, there have been some serious issues that I feel we may not be dealing with correctly. Hence, I am turning to this community for some guidance.

Overall, the dog is pretty healthy with 2-4 walks a day, 2 meals a day, and the occasional treat. He is usually fairly obedient. However, if he gets a toy (or a tissue, or raw-hide, or treat-that-takes-longer-than-one-bite), he lays down and gets very possessive over it. He will growl and tense up, and bite pretty viciously if anybody even goes near him or especially, the object of his affections.

Now, in situations like this, we have been scolding him and punishing him by putting him in his crate. After some browsing of this forum, I understand that this is not the correct course of action. He also gets fairly possessive over his crate.

He also poops and sometimes pees in the house despite getting regular walks (and he does not always poop on these walks). For instance, he got 3 walks today, but still pooped in the house and only pooped on one of his walks. How can we help him understand that he is to poop on the walks and NOT in the house? I tried making him sniff the poop and telling him "Bad", but it does not seem to work.

Lastly, (and this is not nearly as big of an issue as the aggression and biting), he loves to chew and gnaw on people's hands. He is actually very gentle about it, but it tends to scare people who aren't familiar with him, because it looks like he's going to bite them. We gave him rawhide chew toys, but he gets extremely possessive of them, and so we had to stop giving him those toys. Are there any other suggestions for this?

My parents were not too keen on having a dog in the first place, so I'd really like to try to resolve these issues, because his biting and attacks have gotten out of hand recently. He regularly draws blood when he bites and my parents are seriously considering giving him up to a shelter because he is causing problems. Please advise so this (in my opinion) cute little dog can still have a home!

Thanks!
 

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I am not the best individual to answer your questions, but I will do my best. I hope someone comes along with more experience, especially the biting. With respect to the toys, this dog is clearly 'resource guarding', guarding its possessions more than is appropriate. There is a recommended book on the subject Mine! . My suspicion is that with respect to the biting, this may also be resource guarding, and the resource is you.
 

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yes, he is resource guarding. Try playing "trade up" games. You give him something that is ok, like a toy, then after he's had it a few minutes, offer something better...a new toy that squeaks, or a treat. Say "drop it" while offering the new item. Let him take the new item while you take the old.

Don't punish for growling. Stop whatever you are doing that is making him growl.

The only way to stop your dog from having accidents is to house train him. That means 100% supervision. Keep him tethered to you so you can keep an eye on him. Crate when you can't be there. Take him out after eating/playing/waking up. Use a cue like "go potty" and praise/treat when he goes. Really let him know that him going there was WONDERFUL! Don't give him the opportunity to have accidents. If he does have one, DO NOT scold him. You will end up teaching him not to go potty in front of you, and then it really gets hard to train them to go outside.

For biting, google "the bite stops here"

Read the stickies at the top of the first time owner forum and training forums.
 

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Spotted Nikes is right. My poor dog "hid" from me behind tall grass and bushes when he pooped for 2 months. It sucked.

As to the resource guarding, that's totally normal and easy to handle. I started giving Kabota bones to chew on to help clean his teeth. He had never displayed the slightest guarding in 6 months, so I was surprised when I walked by him and he growled at me. I went to the fridge, grabbed some lunch meat and walked back and forth, tossing little scraps of ham at him every time I passed. Then I threw a whole piece of ham across the room in order to get the bone away from him (I don't want him chewing bones when I can't supervise him, so I give him 15-20 minutes a day.)

After a few days, he was looking up expectantly when I walked by, eagerly anticipating a fabulous treat. No growling at all. I still give him a really great treat when I take away the bone, and I don't give him bones when children are around. (Or my idiot brother-in-law. He'd try to grab that bone just to do it.)

You never, ever, ever want to punish growling. Growling is a warning. "Keep that up and I'll bite you." If you remove the warning, you are left with a dog that goes straight to biting. You don't want that. When a dog growls, back off and figure out another way around the issue.
 

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Interesting.
Just today, my six month old pup gave me the growl, snarl, then snap! behavior. I actually put it on video!

Actually, my girlfriend had called me up.... "you've got to see this!".... so I walked upstairs with the video camera. So there's the dog. Sitting in the tub for some reason... looking oddly tight back there.

Because of the act of video-ing her, I am forced to stare at her. No big deal. So I think I detect some growling during the video. Is that a growl? I wasn't sure. So I reach toward her and she offers a variety of nasty threat behaviors. I do not react in any notable way (realizing, "hmmm, I need to think on this problem").

Futher, I did not want her to get the impression that her aggression does anything at all. It doesn't make me wince or retreat, it doesn't make me cry, shout or punish either... nothing but calm indifference.

After a few minutes, I return with treats. I give them to her for free at first (just no growling allowed).... then I ask her to come (still in the tub) or sit or down... all for treats.... then I pick her up... treat.... then we do simple things in the hallway.... treat.... then I put her back in the tub.... treat.... I put my hand all around her face area.... treat.... then I leave.... and I leave at a moment when she seemed to seek more treat from me.... alone in the tub.

There is probably a complex stew of behavioral principles and instincts at play when a dog snarls & snaps at you. Given that I did not know the function of the behavior with any precision... nor did I know what, exactly, she was guarding ... I just did a number of things that may serve to help the problem.

I'm assuming that, for some reason, she really WANTED to be in the tub.... maybe a little obessively.... was "resource guarding" her position there.... AND she was sort of cornered by a guy who had just spent some time staring at her (while videoing her).
 

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As to the resource guarding, that's totally normal and easy to handle.>>>>>


not always "easy to handle" but good advice. Id also practice a very good "leave it"

 

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Don't give him the opportunity to have accidents. If he does have one, DO NOT scold him. You will end up teaching him not to go potty in front of you, and then it really gets hard to train them to go outside.
I'll just add to this what TO DO...since you're having potty training issues. Just simply scoop the dog up in your arms and walk him outside. Then praise like crazy for finishing up. As I scoop the pup up usually I'll say "oh nooooo" or something in a high pitched voice to get their attention. Lots of times they'll stop going right then. This should only be a last resort though. You really have to watch him 24/7 when he's out of his crate...after eating, if he sniffs, etc etc...right outside to potty in the right spot.

The rest of the advice on resource guarding is spot on. It's not uncommon. Just work on it and be consistent. Good luck!
 

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As to the resource guarding, that's totally normal and easy to handle.>>>>>


not always "easy to handle" but good advice. Id also practice a very good "leave it"

That's possibly the worst demonstration of "leave it" I've ever seen.
 
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