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Hi.
I have a 1 yr 3 month old Shibu Inu male. He is a great little dog. we truly love him. But he has a issue. He is not an aggressive dog. But if he finds a piece of paper or tissue and we try to take it off him he gets aggressive and even bit both me and my wife. Breaking skin on both of us and got real nasty when he did this. Is this a trait of the breed. Dose anyone know what we could do to prevent this from progressing. I'm worried about the children in the family. He never bit anyone before, but we are his owners and handlers. if he bit us and we feed him and give him love. is he going to start biting kids and other family members and friends.

Tony M
 

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Sounds like resource guarding. Instead of simply trying to take things away from him, teach him the "trade game" where you offer him something better than what he has, like a little piece of deli meat or cheese. Toss the treat away from whatever inappropriate item the dog has, then pick up the inappropriate item.

Ideally, you will practice the trade game with your dog BEFORE he gets into something that he absolutely can't have. Here is a quick tutorial on how to teach the trade game. Make sure to start with something very low value, and increase the value of the treats as the value of the object increases.

Management is also a big part of resource guarding. When your dog has food or a chew, he should be left alone. If kids are around, crate him when he's eating or has something high value, or if he guards things like paper he should probably be crated when any young children who are like tornados and drop everything are around.

You might also consider checking out Mine! by Jean Donaldson. Many people recommend this book for people who are struggling with resource guarders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds like resource guarding. Instead of simply trying to take things away from him, teach him the "trade game" where you offer him something better than what he has, like a little piece of deli meat or cheese. Toss the treat away from whatever inappropriate item the dog has, then pick up the inappropriate item.

Ideally, you will practice the trade game with your dog BEFORE he gets into something that he absolutely can't have. Here is a quick tutorial on how to teach the trade game. Make sure to start with something very low value, and increase the value of the treats as the value of the object increases.

Management is also a big part of resource guarding. When your dog has food or a chew, he should be left alone. If kids are around, crate him when he's eating or has something high value, or if he guards things like paper he should probably be crated when any young children who are like tornados and drop everything are around.

You might also consider checking out Mine! by Jean Donaldson. Many people recommend this book for people who are struggling with resource guarders.

Thank you for your response. But I've done that with a piece of steak and many other foods that he loves. He just likes the paper better. you can take any kind of food right out of his mouth, even steak. He just like paper better.
Go figure. I've had dogs my whole life and i never see a dog that just loves paper tissues. he will eat a whole box. he shreds it then swallows it.
ugg. we try to keep them away from him but with 4 people in the house its impossible. By the way he eats socks and underwear also if he finds them. I mean eats them. not just chews
 

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Have you tried spraying bitter apple of a piece of paper and leaving it for him to find? If it suddenly doesn't taste good to him, he may stop insisting on it. If it works, spray some tissue too so that becomes undesireable.

Also, I'd get a check up with a vet just to make sure he doesn't have some sort of deficiency that's causing the paper eating.

When he does get a hold of the paper, don't make a fuss about it. Stop trying to take it from him for a bit and just work on getting him to be neutral about you coming near him. Right now, he knows when you come over it's because you are taking his treasure away - so he's going to fight you about it. So just work on getting near him without threatening his treasure.

Meanwhile, practice "let me see it" with his toys. Ask him to "let me see it" when he has a toy and use the treat trade to get him to drop it. Pick it up and make a fuss over it. Turn it over and over, make it squeak, say "oh what a pretty toy", etc. Then watch him. If he tries to grab it back, tell him " sit". If he sits, give the toy right back. If he doesn't sit, just ignore him until he does. Do this regularly. Make it fun for him to give you the toy, while at the same time teaching him that if he sits politely, he can get it back. Make the asking for the toy very calm and matter of fact, make the giving it back a major deal with lots of good boys.

Make him sit for treats, meals, attention, etc, also. Again you want him to learn that when he sits politely, he gets what he wants.

He will pick up on that very quickly. Once he routinely sits immediately when he sees you have something he wants, start randomly saying "no more" and put the toy away out of sight and out of reach. Only do this with toys, never his meals or treats. Don't do it all the time, just once in a while so he learns that sometimes he doesn't get the item back.

So now you have been reconditioning him to see that you coming near when he has his treasured paper isn't a threat and that if he gives you his toy you will give it back and that if he wants something he has to sit for it.

At this point, you can try to treat trade for the paper again, using the "let me see it" command. If he gives it up, immediately put it out of reach and out of sight saying "no more" and give him another treat(s) for being a good boy.

This should help to lower his resource guarding because giving you his possession doesn't automatically mean he loses it. With most dogs, it becomes a game and they will start bringing you their toys because it's more fun if someone else wants it - that's why you make a big fuss over the toy itself when you get it; it makes the toy desireable. And by not doing that when you do "no more" makes that item less desireable.

One other thing is to consider where he goes when he has the treasure. If he runs into a crate or under a coffee table or into a closet, etc, then you want to take that option away from him. Getting into those places with the treasure is an attempt to limit your access to him so he can better keep you from getting it. In each of those situations, he is setting up a defensive line. It forces you to have to approach him in a specific way that gives him the edge (eg, if he's in the crate, you can only approach from one direction and at his level). By removing those options, you remove his home field advantage. This may mean keeping the crate closed during the day, or removing the coffee table from the room temporarily.
 

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He may be more play motivated. Is there a toy he really likes that he would leave the paper for if you wiggled it around?

I know how difficult it can be to keep your house puppy proofed, but I think it's going to be very important to to keep anything paper or anything the dog likes to get into well out of your dog's reach. It sounds like playing with paper is very self-rewarding, and every time he gets to practice behaviors he shouldn't the habit becomes more ingrained. Preventing him from accessing these resources that are apparently very high value to him are going to make it easier to work on this issue with low value resources that he doesn't prize as much.
 

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A big part of the trading game working is that you start with lower value objects that you can give back to the dog. So he has a toy he likes, but not nearly as much as a bit of cheese? Trade him the toy for a bite of cheese, then immediately give the toy back. Work up to more valuable objects, like more exciting toys or chews. Practice this often so that trading becomes a routine, and he learns that if he trades he gets both the treat AND the original item back 95% of the time. That last 5% is only when he gets items that are valuable and/or dangerous (or just messy, like tissues). The goal is that he loses the object he trades rarely enough that he's willing to take the risk of handing you something you ask for.

And yeah, it will require being really vigilant about leaving things out he can practice tearing up for a while. It's a pain, but worth it to curb the behavior.

My older dog is also a paper shredder, though not as bad as your boy. I do actually offer him safe, 'legal' items to tear up sometimes, like junk mail, a bit of tissue paper from a present or package, or even treats hidden in toilet paper tubes with the ends folded in. I do feel offering him outlets for the shredding behavior makes him less inclined to go searching out inappropriate objects, though I do have to be prepared to clean up the mess when he's done. Might help in your case, might not, every dog is different! But I thought I'd put it out there.
 

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My Shiba had resource guarding when I had him. I would recommend looking up the nihonken forums for specifics to the breed. We essentially need to desensitize or avoid practicing the aggression.

Unfortunately for me, we checked some hormones and medicine didn't help regulate the imbalance. After four years, he relapsed and bit about five people in one week.

The book, ruff love, helped during those four years and we went through many behaviorists.
 

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Same here, I have always offered a flyer or scrap mail for my pup to rip up as an avenue to get out his destructive instincts. I actually play with him ripping it up and taught him "rip!". I also taught him to spit out the ripped piece by waving another fuller piece of paper to rip up. Then when it's, "all ripped up", we are done and we "clean it up".

He is only allowed paper that I give to him. We are careful not to leave important papers within his reach, but if he ever grabs an important piece, we do the trade game.
 
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