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Little dog guarding resource and showing aggression

759 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  jojofergy
Hello. I have a problem with my 10 months old little Pomeranian dog. He is a very good and lovely dog, he is very smart and learns quickly. However I am having problems with his aggression. If he steals something there is no change of getting it back without him showing aggression, but its really random, sometimes he listens and gives it back without any signs of aggression, its just that his jaw is shacking after he returns the resource so he looks pretty stressed.
The first guarding sign was in the first 2 months we had him, he ripped a garbage bag and took a piece of chicken bone, he was growling and snapping when we tried to reach it, he ran under the bed and protected it, I tried to take it with a shoe and be was bitting and attacking it, he finally came out to get a piece of chicken and we blocked the access under the bed, he remembered it because he was trying to find the bone multiple times. Then there were more accidents like this. It has gotten much worse. He is stealing thing almost every day, no matter what it is. We are not able to come near without him growling after he gets something, fast lip licking and whale eyes are the sign of his guarding. He does not react to any treats and his aggression increases when we offer a treat for leaving the resource. He puncture bit me and other family members already. Few days ago he stole a bag of treats, we heard a rustle sound and my wife called his name from another room, he immediately started growling from another room, when we came near he had a guarding position and was snapping anyone who even came near, no highest value treats or anything worked, he started choking so I tried to reach it but he bit me, he than became even more aggressive but he left the treats and looked like he forgot about them and wanted to attack me and my wife, I eventually grabbed all treats and took a can of pennies and started shaking it hard because I did not see any other way, this is then he finally gave up and showed submission and started to lick us and play. One more example that happened yesterday, I was looking for my dog and found him standing on a laundry basket, he gave me whale eyes and growled silently, I seen that he wants to take an intimate clothing out of the basket, i told him to go away but he did not listen, I reached slowly and took the clothing away, this is when he was barking and attacking but suddenly in a matter of seconds he changed his appearance and became calm.
Just two more examples that may help someone identify the trigger and find a solution.
- when we were on a walk, doggie found something on the sidewalk, he wanted was holding the leash hard and did not want to come, I tried to pull the leash a little but did not want to pull him too hard, my wife touched him to get his attention and he attacked her
- today he was ripping the pee pad, we told him to leave it but he was growling, he did come when called but when we came near the ripped pad he was ready to protect it, finally he left it alone, came to get a treat and let us clean it up. After an hour or so the same exact situation took place...
His resource can be any item he finds. Sometimes when he steals something he comes when called and want to be petted but he holds his resource and dont allow to touch it. Just to add he does bring toys and leaves it on command. He brings his bone treats so I can hold it for him and had no problem with me getting bones from him. Its mostly when he steals something, his look changes and I know when he is showing signs of guarding. It is getting worse and worse and none of the internet or forum tips work. When he wants something, no treats will work. We had dog trainer and followed his steps but I think it has gotten worse. I dont know if its a dominance, trauma or just behavior. We would really appreciate your help. How can I get your advice?

One more thing that might help identify the trigger. There is often a situation that he takes a slipper, he comes to show that he has it but as soon as we move any move towards it, he guards it. We are then doing the whole process that we were advised, tossing treat pieces, than making a few steps and so on until he lets us grab the slipper, then trying to take it for a snack and ending it with him ignoring the slipper or pushing it with his paw. Yes it sometimes does work but after some time he is ready to get a different slipper so the process seems to be a hurdle race, it looks like he knows that he is going to get something when he steals.
We do not let him dominate, he has to deserve everything, he never goes first etc., but it sometimes looks like dominance issue, he sometimes barks and gets mad if we go into other room or when he jumps on a table to get something, he does not listen to get off and becomes aggressive. It takes some time for him to listen if he wants something. A lot of people as well as the breeder recommends Cesar Millans methods if the other ones are not working. What do you think?
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Don't worry about the trigger. In fact, I would not even care about the trigger.

Train the "trade game" and always have high value food on you. By high value, I mean like pieces of Deli Roast Beef and bits of cheese. Then, if he has a toy, say "out" and offer food so you trade the top notch food for that toy. Then give the toy right back. Do this with multiple things. Always have that high value food on you so you can trade up. Always give back what you traded for. At this point that is your best shot.

You also should work on impulse games to help teach leave it (doggy zen and so forth). This will build control over random environmental things. Again, leaving "it" earns them something better.
Oh.. another little trick from the world of IPO dogs that have just outted the sleeve and REALLY want it back, pull the desired item away from the side, not straight from the front. Moving something away directly in front of the dog triggers more prey drive. Taking it to the side invokes less prey response.
Thank you 3GSD4IPO, I really appreciate your help.
We are playing the trade game since we got him and he is doing very well at this, he always drops his toys or bones on command. The problem starts with things he really want, like a stolen item, but it depends on his mood.

I am thinking its a dominance issue because when he is in the "bad" mood he looks in a different direction when he hears command and finally listens but instead "sit" he "lays down". Other example is when he wants something from the table and we say "NO" he looks in an opposite direction and growls, it takes some time until he listens, dont even think about touching him.
He allows us to pickup his food bowl even while he is eating, he even sits on command during his meal.

We really need to finally correct this as soon as we can. If he bit his owners and other adults, he could do the same with kids. We were planning holiday with our family who have little kids but I am concerned about their safety so we are going to pass if he I wont trust our dog 100%.

Anyone has some more tips?
How should I react in certain situation like stealing, growling, snapping, not listening?
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Dominance between dogs and humans is not a thing, and Cesar Millan’s methods would absolutely make this situation worse. I’m at work right now and don’t have time to get into it, but I’ll drop some links later if no one else does first.
Dominance between dog and human is not a thing. They know we're not dogs, and that theory was debunked years ago. Don't use Cesar Millan's teachings, that guy is bunk, too, and it will probably make your dog worse.

First, it may be a good plan to pick up your house and make sure there is nothing that the dog can steal. Slippers, socks, clothing, off the floor and secure in a hamper. Garbage bags should not be left within his reach. Put it outside at once where he can't reach it.

Secondly, has the dog ever been punished? Jabbed and 'sshhhed" like Millan does? Alpha rolled? Screamed at? Had items forcibly removed? Such practices could have led to trauma and fear issues, so now when he has to give something up or gets told "No" he thinks that a painful punishment is going to follow, so growls and acts out.
I would put a leash on him so he cannot run off (let him drag it) when he does get something at least you can catch him! I would crate him while preparing and eating meals. IOW's manage the situation by not letting him be in it. As to laundry.. you need to put it where he cannot get it.

On walks and so forth your job is to be vigilant so he cannot pick something up.

If the issue is stealing it comes from being a puppy in a litter where other puppies will take a prize away from one who HAS a prize. Heck, my dog loves to steal things from me but again, she knows OUT and she knows that I am serious about OUT and so it is not an issue for me.

I don't think it is a dominance issue. I will say that every time she growls and you back down she is learning that growling works. Again.. manage the situation so she is not in it (like at meal times etc.).
My puppy is a year old now and I don't have any aggression issues but sometimes even with me managing the area he somehow finds a sock or a piece of paper that he wants to play with when I see he has something I don't want him to have I call him to me and give him a cookie then walk over and pick it up as he's eating sometimes I put another cookie where the item was but only if what he had was a really good item
Some items like paper I can have him bring to me now and trade for a treat but we've been working on that for a couple months hopefully he will eventually do that for higher value items too
I only call him happily so he's Excited to run to me
Maybe work on a really good come when called without items and slowly add higher value items ?
I also randomly throw treats in his bowl when he's eating I've always done this with every dog to hopefully associate people coming by as good things not scary or them thinking they need to protect their resources from me
He gets super excited when I get close to him even when he has a bone cause that usually means more treats lol

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