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Our first dog (6 month old Australian Shepherd/Lab mix) is getting aggressive only around cardboard.

It started a while ago slowly when we would give her toilet paper rolls when we were done with them for her to chew on for a minute or two. Then we'd take it away from her so she wouldn't eat much or any of it.

When we'd take it away shed sometimes growl a little bit.

Now we have her doing the same thing to any cardboard in the house. Today my wife brought inside a package from Amazon and the dog went to chewing on it. When my wife would try and get her away from the box, shed growl and really show her teeth! She did the same to me right when I got home. All I'd do is walk up to her with a mean look and yell at her to "leave it". Then if I get closer to her she'd show her teeth and growl.

I don't know how to properly handle this. I've read that grabbing her or being dominate by holding her mouth shut and walking her away is a BAD thing to do, because it teaches her to bite first instead of growling first. But then I feel if I just walk away and let her have the box, she'd think she's above me.

What do I do?
 

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It's called resource guarding. She's afraid you'll take this wonderful cardboard she loves so much :p. Resource guarding is fortunately very easily resolved in most cases. Here's a link: http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/resource-guarding/

Getting the book mentioned in the article would be a good idea. Your local library might have it, or be able to get it on interlibrary loan, if you don't want to buy it.
 

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First, you don't need to worry about who "is over" who, as far as dominance. You letting her have the cardboard she wants isn't going to make her think she is over you. Dominance between humans and dogs isn't an issue.

What she's doing is called resource guarding. She has decided cardboard is fabulous and she feels she needs to protect /guard it out of fear that her treasure will be taken away.

Do a search for "trading up". It is essentially you offering a trade, something really super yummy in exchange for the cardboard. This way, it takes the fear of losing something she values out of the equation, as she.is getting something even better.
After awhile, you can start addin a "cue" or name for the trade, like "drop." So, you would continue to offer the trade, hut when she drops the cardboard you say "good drop!" After awhile of this, you may be able to graduate to saying "drop" before you show the trade, and, if you've practiced enough, she may drop it because she trusts you and assumes the trade is still coming. Then, give the trade. The next step is skipping the trade SOMETIMES.

This is sometimes called the trading up game, but, it's really more than a game, it's a training program so that she knows she doesn't have to "guard or protect " these things she finds valuable.
 

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