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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 18 month old Toller, and posted a lot of questions here, up until a few months ago. We have had a lot of problems with her, and several of you said I was completely incompetent and had better take her to a shelter before I ruin her completely.

Well, a few months of maturity seem to have fixed most everything. She hasn't tried to bite me in 3 months, she comes when called, she goes to the door when she sees me getting ready for a walk, doesn't jump on people, etc. She runs out onto the dock to jump into the water! I was beginning to think that last one would never happen; and the shame of owning a Toller that didn't swim....:redface:

It might well have been coincidence, but her problems started when I gave her rock hard yak cheese as a chew at about 6 months. It kept her busy, and seemed less likely to break a tooth than a nylabone. She loved it and guarded it ferociously when I tried to get it away. I stopped giving them to her when the problem seemed intractable.

Well, now that she is doing well, should I try again, or is it just playing with fire? She doesn't guard anything now, but perhaps she would guard the cheese.

At night she wants to play constantly. I take her for an hour long walk, play fetch and practice agility for half hour once or twice a day, take her swimming, and play with her toys inside for perhaps an hour a day. Shouldn't that be enough? But when I stop playing at night, she stands at my feet and jumps up and down; begging to play more. The cheese would occupy her for a while!

Any advice, besides taking her to a shelter, would be appreciated.
 

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Honestly? I'd just ignore her. As long as she has things to chew, I really don't feel obligated to keep my dogs busy all day, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Honestly? I'd just ignore her. As long as she has things to chew, I really don't feel obligated to keep my dogs busy all day, lol.
That's just it; she doesn't have anything to chew on because a year ago she guarded anything chewable. I'd like to try the cheese again, but am reluctant to risk the bad behavior starting up again.
 

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The only "bad behavior" is your interruptions to her chewing. Give her the chew, monitor, but don't bother her. Is that a reasonable compromise?

If dogs don't chew they're going to need more dental surgeries in their life. Dogs NEED to chew on things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The only "bad behavior" is your interruptions to her chewing. Give her the chew, monitor, but don't bother her. Is that a reasonable compromise?

If dogs don't chew they're going to need more dental surgeries in their life. Dogs NEED to chew on things.
If I don't interrupt her she will eat it until it is small enough to swallow; taking in several days calories in the process. No, that doesn't seem a reasonable compromise.

Her predecessor, the one on the left, wasn't a chewer but made it to 17 without any dental issues.
 

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The cheese chews should be digestible. I would also recommend pig skin rolls, pig ears, and bully sticks. Your dog isn't going to fatten up overnight over a chew.

You are constantly comparing your two dogs. It's wonderful that your 17yo did not suffer any dental problems! Maybe your current dog will be the same. Maybe not.
 

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Have you tried just teaching the dog how to settle down? Trying to tire the dog out all the time can actually backfire and create a monster- yeah they need their exercise and all, but some dogs literally need to be taught how to settle in the home- that every waking second doesnt always mean go go go......
 

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Mine has so many chews on the floor/in her bucket at this point that if she whittles one down I can just pluck it out of the mix and she would be none the wiser. Not that this a problem, there is enough to choose from that she looses interest in the small bullies or any bone that has had it's meat/marrow exhausted, the strips and pig ears get so soft at the end that she can easily consume them. She chews all day, it's how she settles at night/after a walk. It keeps us both sane. She doesn't display any aggression, but I trade fairly with her and groom her while she chews. She does cache though, I find half finished bully strips/sticks hidden in the cushions and behind my desks and cabinets all the time.

... So yeah I would give her chews again but not just one, make them plentiful so she doesn't need to guard it) and I would make a point of trading with her (take the cheese, give it back, take the shoe, giver her a bully, etc.) and when she exhausts a treat, trade up (take the small cheese, give her a fresh one). Soon she'll learn that you taking a treat is a good thing because there is a chance of getting a nice fresh smelly replacement.

Ps. I think you are supposed to soak and microwave those yak things when the get small so they can chew them up like a little cake.
 

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If you're concerned about the small size at the end (which I wouldn't be, personally, unless she has a history of trying to swallow things that she shouldn't) you could buy a small clamp and clamp it on to the end. I have a dog who choked on a raw bone because she thought another dog was going to take it from her, so she tried to swallow it. Now I throw a clamp on the end of anything she gets, prevents her from having that awkward sized piece at the end that she might try to swallow.
 

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Obviously if you are worried about the calories from the hard cheese, that is not an option to chew on (or make it smaller so it isn't as many calories). Try other things. How about a Kong stuffed with plain yogurt and frozen over night? I use Nylon bones (but NOT antlers or cooked bones). I also use Rib Bones and other non weight bearing raw bones. Not a lot of calories and the dog has something to do and they can consume those.

Don't take things from a dog that is chewing on them. Anything of high enough value will invoke resource guarding. Dogs that resource guard almost everything are hard wired to do that. So you learn two things: 1.) leave the dog alone when it is chewing or 2.) have something of much greater value (to the dog) to trade for what they have. A dog might trade Yak Cheese for a piece of roast beef.... or steak.
 

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There's nothing wrong with deciding not to give dogs extra treats just to occupy them. My dogs rarely (if ever) get edible chews. For one thing they don't need that many calories, and two - I know I won't be able to take if away once I give it to them (and I won't try). They DO get stuffed Kongs whenever they are left at home though and they love that. I don't stuff them full, just scrape a bit of peanut butter and coconut oil around on the inside (and usually freeze it).

Your dog will likely still guard if you try it again so you would have to accept that you won't be able to take it away once you give it to her. And really you shouldn't try - that will likely make the guarding worse because now she's right! Someone IS going to try to take it away!

I thought Nylabones were generally pretty safe? Way softer than an antler anyway (which is what our dogs have).
 

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I admit, Sam guards high-value chews and I don't do much about it except sometimes toss him some extra goodies while he's working on one. Now, typically these are raw meaty bones for us, so we work it out by only giving him a meal-sized portion instead of dinner - no worries about excess calories then. He'll sometimes have an extra boney bit left over after a long hard chew, but we don't take it until he's left it on his own (though we do occasionally offer him a trade to get a piece from him if, for example, he starts chomping too hard for comfort). He also guards appropriately - we only get stiffening and growling if we're hovering super close or actually reaching for his chew, but he's absolutely fine with us walking around him.

If we had multiple dogs, he'd only get these chews in a pen/crate or separate room. And there aren't children in the picture, or any other residents in the apartment who might blow us off and mess with him while he's chewing, so it hasn't, frankly, been a priority for us.

Were it a priority, I'd start working on a trading program. Starting with lower value goodies, I'd teach the dog to trade them for awesome things, and practice showing them that people near their food and goodies sometimes mean that more treats get tossed to them (obviously, you do this with things they don't guard/at a distance they're not reacting first). It's not a protocol I've personally done more than the very basic first steps with, but I do know that the Jean Donaldson book Mine! is a frequently recommended read for RG, and while I've not read it, I very much like some of her other writing and trust her as a resource. It might be a while before you can work up to trading for edible chews, but it's supposed to be (according to multiple trainers I've read/heard speak) one of the easier issues to fix, so long as your program focuses on teaching the dog why it's awesome to give up their goodies instead of the old-school "give it up or else" attitude.
 

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All of mine guard raw bones and bully sticks, beef trachea, yak chews, etc... anything high value which here, means anything long lasting and meaty. So what, let them, I guard my venison jerky and, chocolate cake too. LOL You'd be upset and, try to prevent it if someone tried to take the only piece of cake in the house after they all said you could have it - your dog doesn't know you'd give it back later, she just knows that's the only piece and you said she could have it. Let her have it, relax, leave it wherever she drops or leaves it. She will calm down, realizing no one is taking her chew, even if she leaves it laying around.

With four wolfdogs, there are chews scattered in every room of my house - I leave them there, the dogs know where they left them. If I move them to sweep and mop, I put them back before the dogs come back in the house or, if I have to move one, I make sure the dogs see me move it and, can follow me, so they know I'm just relocating it, not taking away what I gave them.
 
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