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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First of all I want to thank everyone in the community, it’s extremely helpful for a New dog owner:

So I have a 3 month old Australian Shepherd puppy who is wonderful and gentle with resources, expect for when it comes to his highest value treat which is “Chicken Breast”

We have been using Chicken Breast as
his highest value treat/ reward, and he is great with waiting to eat or “trading up” his toys/ Kibble for a small piece of chicken. However if he ever gets a bowl of chopped chicken breast he is Very possessive and aggressive.

The other day I was cooking and I accidentally dropped one of the Plastic Gel Packets that Absorb the Chicken Fluid. He immediately began to devour it whole, so my instinct was to open his mouth to prevent him from swallowing. When I got near his mouth, he bit my hand very hard and now I have a deep cut on my finger that bled out ALOT.

So I have a couple questions I’m desperately looking for answers for:

1. How do you work on food aggression when your dog is in possession of its highest value reward:

2. should I be able to take this high value reward from my dogs mouth, or is there just a limit to how far a dog will allow food to be taken? He lets me pet him while eating chicken, and let’s me move his bowl with kibble, but if I get near his mouth when eating chicken he growls and bites hard.

3. should I just only give him Chicken as a reward and from my hand but never as a meal?
 

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Sorry you were bitten.
What you need to work on is the Trade Game. This means you need to start trading for something the dog already has.

I would start with a toy. You trade something of higher value for the toy. So, if kibble is higher value than the toy you offer the kibble and then get the toy and then as soon as the dog is finished with that piece of kibble you give the toy right back. You can work up from there. Don't START with something high value

Obviously your dog has high food drive. That is good for training but can be an issue if you need to take something away. The object of the trade game is to show the dog you will trade for something better than what he has BUT he won't LOSE the thing he has.

So many times people TAKE something from the dog and do not give it back nor do not trade for something MUCH BETTER. When that is the dog's experience, why SHOULD he give up anything he has??? He knows he will lose it.

When you feed the puppy his meals, crate him and leave him alone (unless he is eating all his meals from you because that is how you train). The food in a bowl is his food. Let him have it. Leave him alone to eat it.

In some cases the dog will never trade up if what he has is valuable enough. This does not mean the dog is "bad." It just means he is a dog. So, recognizing this you get to manage the dog in the environment.

All that said, when you are cooking, crate the puppy. If you drop something you will AVOID the fight in the first place. As the puppy matures and his training is coming along you can send him to his bed to stay while you are cooking. The point of this is you are preventing begging and attracting the dog to things you are doing on the kitchen counter so you are also avoiding the dog jumping on the counter. You never want the dog in the kitchen when you cook or around the table when you eat. This is called managing the environment that the dog is in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry you were bitten.
What you need to work on is the Trade Game. This means you need to start trading for something the dog already has.

I would start with a toy. You trade something of higher value for the toy. So, if kibble is higher value than the toy you offer the kibble and then get the toy and then as soon as the dog is finished with that piece of kibble you give the toy right back. You can work up from there. Don't START with something high value

Obviously your dog has high food drive. That is good for training but can be an issue if you need to take something away. The object of the trade game is to show the dog you will trade for something better than what he has BUT he won't LOSE the thing he has.

So many times people TAKE something from the dog and do not give it back nor do not trade for something MUCH BETTER. When that is the dog's experience, why SHOULD he give up anything he has??? He knows he will lose it.

When you feed the puppy his meals, crate him and leave him alone (unless he is eating all his meals from you because that is how you train). The food in a bowl is his food. Let him have it. Leave him alone to eat it.

In some cases the dog will never trade up if what he has is valuable enough. This does not mean the dog is "bad." It just means he is a dog. So, recognizing this you get to manage the dog in the environment.

All that said, when you are cooking, crate the puppy. If you drop something you will AVOID the fight in the first place. As the puppy matures and his training is coming along you can send him to his bed to stay while you are cooking. The point of this is you are preventing begging and attracting the dog to things you are doing on the kitchen counter so you are also avoiding the dog jumping on the counter. You never want the dog in the kitchen when you cook or around the table when you eat. This is called managing the environment that the dog is in.

Thank you,

I appreciate your response. I found it very helpful, I will definitely apply the methods above and start slowly with working on "Trade".
 

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I recommend the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson as a good primer for understanding and working with resource guarding. It's good about explaining why and how the techniques work as it walks you through the process.
 
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What if you stopped allowing the Dog into the kitchen? I mean, you obviously know how to train Dogs, it's plain from your posting. That way, you're avoiding future accidents/confrontations from the start, as well as possibly having to take him to hospital for removal of that plastic next time? And I could NOT agree more on the "Trade Game" suggestion. With whole heart. And what if you just plain stopped giving him chicken altogether, or do you think that that might not be a solution?
 
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