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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi- new to the DogForums!

We have a 3 year old Golden rescue dog who is very docile and non-aggressive. He is neutered. He plays well with other dogs; we have always had 2 dogs and he also plays with other dogs.
we just adopted a 1 year black lab mix, neutered, from the humane society. His name is Perry. He was with a family who returned him for "barking" but I suspect they underestimated the work involved.
He is sweet, playful and mostly housetrained. he knows how to sit and knows his name. He does fairly well on a lead. He does normal puppy stuff--chewing, stealing shoes and toys--all fixable in my book.
Here is my concern:
On first intro, Perry and Ralphie did well. No signs of aggression. Since then however, we have had about 6 dog fights. 2 were pretty bad, the rest were short lived with our intervention.
They have also played very well together, good dog wrestling and chasing.
Most of the fights have involved high energy situations: our return home, over a toy, during a thunderstorm.
Here is my question:
Does this mean that this dog is likely to become aggressive towards people at some point? Should I be concerned for my children's safety?

We have challnged him by stealing toys, taking his food away etc and he has always submitted to me and my husband. My children are 10 and 5 and have grown up with large dogs. Perry has never growled or snapped at them either.

Is this a fixable behavior?
Sorry so long- wanted to make sure you had all the info!!:)
Jeanie
 

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First things first. Do NOT start stealing his food and toys. That is one way to make a dog become more into guarding objects. Instead play "trade up" for items he has. (offer a tasty treat for a toy or food dish etc...) Why? Because it is not about who is boss it is about teaching the dog that it is alright to give things up. To your dog it will just mean "something good is about to come my way" not "guard this or I will lose it." As far as your dogs fighting, sounds like you have to adolescent males in the house. It is sadly, a recipe for disaster. You can more then likely, manage the situation.
I would start applying NILIF (sticky at the top of training forum) for all dogs in the house. Make certain that all family members are on board and using the same training techniques.
Just because your dogs go at it does not mean the dog will turn on you. That said, dogs fighting are dangerous and your kids could get hurt if they are standing right there or if they try to break it up. Teach them to NOT try to break up any dog fight at any time. I would not have these dogs together unattended until progress has been made.
I also suggest some formal training classes. They are to help you as much as to help the dog. It is also a wonderful way to bond with your dog. Your 10 year old may be old enough to help with that. Good luck to you. I am sure you can work this out, with some effort.
 

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I agree with Inga... the first thing I was going to tell you is STOP taking away his things without warning. You want your dog to learn "having things taken away from me is okay." NOT "someone is going to take this from me anytime" which makes him feel vulnerable and defensive. In order to teach "having things taken away from me is okay", you trade him for something of equal or higher value. You won't always have to do this... but it reinforces that having things taken from him precedes good things.

I am not sure if you need to be concerned about human aggression. Dog aggression does not translate at all into human aggression, if that's what you're asking. But resource guarding does. It's impossible to tell what kind of aggression Perry has without looking closely at his triggers. A professional behaviorist (different from an obedience trainer) will be able to help with this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for all the helpful info!
I probably did not make myself clear, I already felt like I had written so much..
we are NOT taking his stuff without warning, I am not that dumb!!
I already know about trading etc.
These episodes pretty much always occurs around chew toys. We do always supervise them, they are never left unattended together.
my main question was:
1. Is this unfixable?
2. Does dog aggression end up translating into aggression to humans?
thanks
jeanie
 

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1. If it is an issue with toy guarding then it is a bit clearer. Is it a case of Peppy trying to steal your 10 y/o's toys? Do they ever have to share toys? (Dogs generally don't share well.) Does your 10 y/o steal toys? etc.

2. No, this is not unfixable. You may always have to manage it at a very fundamental level (ie don't let them chew toys while unsupervised) but no it will not always be a problem.

3. Dog aggression does not translate into human aggression. However, dog aggression is not what Peppy has... Peppy is a resource guarder and yes, resource guarders can be aggressive to both dogs and people.
 

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I can't let my two young male dogs be together with toys or bones or they will fight over them, otherwise they play together just fine. Neither of them however are aggressive with people at all (or other dogs otherwise). I have worked with both to ensure they don't feel the need to gaurd things from people by constantly playing the trading game with them. They have something, I offer a treat, they take the treat then they get the toy back. I do it a couple of times a day with all 3 of my dogs. That way when a time does come that I need to take something and can't give it back they have no problem with that. I would have your kids play the trading game (with you right there of course) with the dogs as well as both of you.

For the dogs, just don't let them have toys or bones when they are loose together. It would also be a good idea to crate or otherwise separate them when you are not home or to busy to supervise them.

It sounds like perry may be "unloading" frustrating onto your other dog during high excitement times. Playing some self control games can help a lot with this, such as "rev up, cool down" (sticky at the top of the forum) and "its yer choice". Having good, solid obedience can help too becaue then when a high excitment time is about to happen you can give him something to do instead of unload on your other dog (ie: tell him to down/stay, or touch or whatever).

The best thing to do would be to have a behaviorist come for a private session and they can show you some things to do to help.
 

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Is it a case of Peppy trying to steal your 10 y/o's toys?
I did not steal anything. I'm tired of being accused of things on DF.

The dog's name BTW is Perry, not Peppy. LOL

Oh yeah, I never trade things with my dog. I say Give or Drop It. The dog gets praise, which I'm sure sometimes he sees as a poor tradeoff, LOL. But we are Gods, we own everything, we don't trade. Does a dominant dog go over to a lower dog and say, "Hey would you like to trade this bone for that bone?" He just takes. It is about who is Boss.
 

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I did not steal anything. I'm tired of being accused of things on DF.

The dog's name BTW is Perry, not Peppy. LOL

Oh yeah, I never trade things with my dog. I say Give or Drop It. The dog gets praise, which I'm sure sometimes he sees as a poor tradeoff, LOL. But we are Gods, we own everything, we don't trade. Does a dominant dog go over to a lower dog and say, "Hey would you like to trade this bone for that bone?" He just takes. It is about who is Boss.
lol @ Being a god...I didn't know that dogs worshiped :)....would you say your are more of the Ancient Greek god kind...or like the New Testament kind ?

Taking a resource away with out trading can be fine with a dog that is not showing any signs of guarding....that maybe the case with your dog and lots of other dogs....they don't care what you do

but its very bad advice to give someone who's dog has a guarding issue...you are setting the dog and the owner up for failure and possible being injured

to the question about dominant dogs trading bones to "lower" dogs.....no I have never seen a dog speak or trade...but I have seen plenty of fights over food toys and other resources....lower dogs can and will growl and snap at a "dominant" dog to guard their bone/toy/food....they may end up giving it up but they don't always do it with a wink and a smile ;)
 

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Oh Peppy, always with the "god" thing..lol.

I agree that it is great that your dog will "drop it" on cue. I also agree that you are lucky to have a dog that will do so without taking your hand or face off in the process.

True resource guarding is dangerous and needs to be handled non confrontationally. The risk here is a dog that becomes a people biter because of handler error. People biters end up dead. We don't want anything to escalate to that point without due diligence being made to work on the issue properly..IF it CAN be worked out without giving the dog the perceived NEED to protect certain items, and therefore prevent escalation while still FIXING or MANAGING the issue no one gets hurt and training continues. If we handle it improperly, someone may get bitten and the dog loses it's life, all due to the misunderstanding of the issues and the dog. The loss/benefit ratio is better with the non confrontational methods.

But we've had this discussion before, you troublemaker, you! :p
 

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lol @ Being a god...I didn't know that dogs worshiped :)....would you say your are more of the Ancient Greek god kind...or like the New Testament kind ?
Strictly Old Testament, thunder and lightning sort of stuff. If I say 'pack leader' instead of God, I get even more abuse on DF, so I just say God.

but its very bad advice to give someone who's dog has a guarding issue...you are setting the dog and the owner up for failure and possible being injured
Well in the interests of not being sued I'll defer to pugmom, Cracker, R-Ninja et al with respect to the OP's dog. I'm tired of arguing. At least try to negotiate yourself a good deal on the trades OK Wagnerml?
Cracker: I agree that it is great that your dog will "drop it" on cue. I also agree that you are lucky to have a dog that will do so without taking your hand or face off in the process.
Thanks, but luck doesn't have much to do with it. Its about getting an 8 wk puppy and developing the right sort of relationship with him. A rescue dog I admit is a different can of worms (one reason I always tell people to get puppies), and I'm happy to acknowledge that your non-confrontational way may be the best for most people. But its not the only way. I won't mention his name but ....... LOL
 

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lol @ Being a god...I didn't know that dogs worshiped :)....
Of course they do. Why do you think there's a doggie hell?



:D
 
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