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i just got my first puppy, a beautiful english springer spaniel, and i love him to death. i have noticed a few problems in the short time that i've had him, and i want to make sure they aren't too terrible.
i've been working with henry on food agression ever since i got him, always handling his food and toys. he's always fine with things of that sort, but occasionally he gets into my cats food and growls at me when i try to take it away!! my mother said that he's snapped at her before. obviously, this is very concerning, and i have no idea why he does it. is this normal?? does anyone have tips on how to stop this in a humane way?
another thing i've noticed is that occasionally he snaps when people pick him up. just a couple minutes ago, he tried to bite my face, hence why i'm here. i was picking him up to go out to the bathroom because i had forgotten his leash and he tried to bite!!! of course i put him down and ignored him for at least 10 minutes, but i am still very concerned.
he's an angel otherwise, which is why i'm so confused. he knows down, sit, heel, paw, and a bunch of other commands and responds to training surprisingly well. he's great with kids and other dogs, and loves cats. his breeder was amazing and his family won many titles in conformation. why does he do this?? is it something to be concerned about?? how do i prevent it?? am i the problem?! advice would be greatly appreciated as i'm freaking out. he is in training to be a service dog but i'll have to wash him if this behavior continues, which i don't want to do at all. help!!!
 

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It is not uncommon for dogs to resource guard their food, and it is also not uncommon for some dogs to not like being picked up.

You should leave your dog alone when he is eating or when he's chewing on a chew. If you have to get it away from him, you can play the "trade game" where you offer something even more delicious than what the dog currently has in exchange for whatever he is guarding. In a perfect world, you will be practicing this game well before you ever really have to use it with lower value items first, then work up to higher value items. You can google "trade game with dogs" and a bunch of links will come up. Another good resource for owners with a resource guarding dog is Mine! by Jean Donaldson.

Management is another key factor with a resource guarder. When puppy is eating, place him in a crate or separate room so nobody can mess with him. Put the cat food away so puppy can't reach it. Don't leave high value items that he might guard out in the open. High value chews should be given in a crate, too, and you should only give him enough that he can finish in one sitting so you don't have to take it away.

Many dogs don't like to be picked up, so the easiest solution is just don't pick him up. You should, however, work on slowly counter conditioning him to being handled. Kikopup has a good video for handling that I watched a few times when I was teaching my dog to accept being handled. I believe she has a few videos specifically on grooming, as well, if you go to her channel.
 

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i just got my first puppy, a beautiful english springer spaniel, and i love him to death. i have noticed a few problems in the short time that i've had him, and i want to make sure they aren't too terrible.
i've been working with henry on food agression ever since i got him, always handling his food and toys. he's always fine with things of that sort, but occasionally he gets into my cats food and growls at me when i try to take it away!! my mother said that he's snapped at her before. obviously, this is very concerning, and i have no idea why he does it. is this normal?? does anyone have tips on how to stop this in a humane way?
another thing i've noticed is that occasionally he snaps when people pick him up. just a couple minutes ago, he tried to bite my face, hence why i'm here. i was picking him up to go out to the bathroom because i had forgotten his leash and he tried to bite!!! of course i put him down and ignored him for at least 10 minutes, but i am still very concerned.
he's an angel otherwise, which is why i'm so confused. he knows down, sit, heel, paw, and a bunch of other commands and responds to training surprisingly well. he's great with kids and other dogs, and loves cats. his breeder was amazing and his family won many titles in conformation. why does he do this?? is it something to be concerned about?? how do i prevent it?? am i the problem?! advice would be greatly appreciated as i'm freaking out. he is in training to be a service dog but i'll have to wash him if this behavior continues, which i don't want to do at all. help!!!

I have an Alaskan Malamute puppy who has very minor resource guarding problems. He doesn't guard anything other than small items/objects that he steals and knows he's not supposed to have. He bit we once when he was 10 weeks old and I took a chicken bone out of his mouth which is when I started seriously working on it. He no longer bites and it has gotten much better. What I did was whenever he is near something that you think he's going to guard, just toss a treat to him and walk away. When he's enjoying chewing/eating something, walk towards him and toss him a high value treat. From what i've read resource guarding is a pretty normal and natural behavior because it's instinct from when they were in the wild and needed to survive. It also isn't a dominance thing, it's an anxiety thing. He's scared of you taking it away and does not have the confidence to know you're going to give it back and share.

3 distinct commands you should work on are "Trade", "Give it", and "drop it". All different commands that if you start now, you'll be so happy you did. In the mean time though, to get him away from the cat bowl, get a high value treat like a hot dog piece, chicken, or even hard treats that make a sound when they hit the ground. Scatter them on the floor away from the cat bowl and say "trade". When he goes for the treats, take the cat food.

As posted above though managing the environment is key because in a pinch you may not always have something high value to trade him and it can be a safety concern if it's something dangerous you need to get away from him, so reducing the possibility of an incident happening is key.

One other thing too that i've kind of noticed is, my puppy is way chiller about it when I'm relaxed. If he takes something and I casually walk over and pet him and take it he usually doesn't care. But if I run after him because he got something dangerous and I'm repeating drop it, give it, etc. then it's a battle and I have to reset and get a hot dog. I can tell he's just scared i'm going to steal his precious thing because his ears go down and he just looks so frightened, I feel horrible.

The face biting i'm not really sure of though. As the poster above said, de-sensitation exercises would be a good start. don't feel bad though, you CAN get through this. I had the same fears/questions when I noticed my pup's behavior.
 

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Well, 11 times out of 10 aggression is a learned behavior. Dog thinks " huh, when I show aggression, the furless dude backs off." You have an aggressive animal. You can fix it now before someone gets hurt and fido has to get a forever sleep shot.
 
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