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Some of the older users will know me but I'm not around the forums much anymore, but I needed to stop by for some advice. Deacon, my 5 year old boxer who I've had since he was 4 months old, has started growling at me while eating. It's been going on for awhile and I've tried correcting it and I've never been successful and just given up and went back to just leaving him alone when he eats. But recently he attacked my 2 year old pitbull over food and with a baby on the way it's gotten me worried. I'd like to correct this if I can. I've tried petting him while he eats and when he growls making him back away from the food and sit down until I tell him he can eat again, then I'll pet him again and usually he'll just growl again. I do this over and over and it isn't helping anything. He attacked my other dog twice just because my other dog was around him when he was heading towards his food, my other dog wasn't even around the food. It worries me with a baby due in 3 months. But I see it suggested to just leave them alone when they eat... so I don't know if I should just leave him alone and let him be or if this is something I should try to correct. I will say I'm never worried that he will bite me around his food, all he's ever done is a very low short growl. He doesn't do it with treats I give him through the day or anything like that... he and my other dog can sit side by side and accept treats no problem, it's only with his dog food in the morning and night that he exhibits this issue.
 

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Hey! Sorry you are going thru this with Deacon. I would start with asking is he feeling well, perhaps a check up with you vet for a starting point. Has the feeding routine changed or is it still the same. with my guys they have to sit, wait a moment and upon our command to take it. NILF... My boys eat side by side but always supervised. My Kailer is very food motivated and when has finished his meal he sometimes wanders to Titan's side (not often-but supervising as always) I always reprimand him to 'leave it' and to sit. I would also consider getting a dog behaviorist to rule out anything else you might or might not be doing. I am sure some of the others will chime in. I have a cousin who's dog does not like to be touched or anything while she eats and they leave her in the kitchen while she eats. Congrats on the new baby!
 
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Thank you! :) And no there isn't anything wrong with him, as this has been going on for quite some time but I would always just let it go. No change in their feeding routine or anything either, but I usually do just let them out to potty first and fill their bowls while they're out and they run through the door to their bowls. Which probably isn't the best way to go about that. I'll start making them come in and sit and wait and eat on command. Which they do sometimes if I've already let them out earlier and they don't need out before eating and they do it very well, but 90% of the time it's potty then straight in to eat. Thanks for the advice!
 

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The term your searching for is "Resource Guarding" it should have been addressing ... a long time ago but ... whatever.

Your instincts are good put the food down and walk away. "This" dog has to much liberty and not enough structure! Things need to change for him, Crate Train him, he should eat "only" in a Crate! No "Free Roaming" in the home ... "indoors," he should be in a Crate or in "Place" period.

Pretty much "All the details can be found here:

German Shepherd Dog Forums - View Single Post - My 11 month old GS is crazy!

Ask questions. :)
 

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Yup,he is resource guarding indeed; Marshall was doing that when I got the pair but now he let me manipulate his food and resource guard only about 1 in 20 feedings...getting there.

When he does that I distract him with my left hand while I remove the bowl with my right;I also feed both out of sight from each others...I occasionally see some lookin up between the 2 but its rarer now that he is used to me taking out the bowl and messing with the content.

There are a few ways to correct the behavior
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a lot! This didn't start up until awhile after we got Jasper as well. In fact, Deacon never really was interested much in food at all until we got Jasper. I can reach my hand into his food bowl, move it, pick it up and he does nothing at all, it's only when I touch him that he growls a little, his hair stands up too. Maybe I just haven't given it enough time of consistently working with him so I'll just keep at it. Thanks!
 

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Being rude about it wasn't necessary but thank you for the advice anyway.
Sorry not my intent to be "rude???" But it is important to understand what your dealing with .. if you want to get an "issue" solved. :)

https://www.google.com/search?q=res...0j69i65j0l3.8583j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

But you know ... lots of "stuff" there?? :crazyeye:

You could "address" this issue "individually??" And ordering the dog away or to wait is a good plan but as you've seen ... the "issue" is still there?? I would change "everything" about how this dog lives with you ie ... teach him to "make better choices" by showing him how you want him to behave.

"The Place Command" and "Crate Training" and "No Free Roaming" is a hugh part of that process and it's all "conflict free" "Flank the Dog" address the issue indirectly ... teach him ... to make "Better Choices." :)

Here is one of Jeff's guys working on "Resource Guarding" and the dog is on a "Place Cot" he's not up on the platform because he happens to be short and stuff. :)


And the aforementioned "Jeff" would be this guy ... :
Solid K9 Training aggressive dog rehab, dog anxiety - Rehabilitation and Family Dog Training

Between him and Sean ... this guy :
https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/good-dog-transformations/

You can find everything you need to know to properly train your dog. ANd of course ask questions here. :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the links, I'll check them out! I've been working with him and I think we'll be able to get it under control :) And with the baby coming in 3 months we're going to go ahead and start putting some rules in place so both dogs will be used to the changes long before baby gets here.
 

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Thanks for all the links, I'll check them out! I've been working with him and I think we'll be able to get it under control :) And with the baby coming in 3 months we're going to go ahead and start putting some rules in place so both dogs will be used to the changes long before baby gets here.
There you go the best time to address "issues" is before they become "problems."

I tend to "advocate" the long view ... so now you know what that looks like. In anycase "The Place Command" should be a part of whatever you do. It trains "Calmness into a dog." And Jeff Gellman is the only trainer that I am aware of that "routinely" post work of dogs with "toddlers" don't know what he will do when his kids get older??? :)
 

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a few extreme case of resource guarding in this...for a laugh,to compare what we deal with and what could be :)

 

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a few extreme case of resource guarding in this...for a laugh,to compare what we deal with and what could be :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1JRaGJpzc8
Uh ... wow aside from the Border Collie (Herder Dog) those are some crappy owners and seriously "messed up dogs!"

E collar and "Behaviour Modification Protocols" for all those "Crappy Owners" ... that's just sad. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #14
wow, yeah glad we aren't at that point, martinc! lol! I know it sounds weird but I saw somewhere when I was researching the problem to take the food and pretend to eat it then give it back... I tried that today and it seemed to work pretty well! And when I thought about it, Deacon is only like that with "his" food. He's perfect when my husband and I are eating or I give treats, it's only "his" food that he growls over. So pretending to eat it might get him out of that attitude of thinking it's his and make him realize it's just another thing that's mine that I'm allowing him to have. I think we're already making some good progress! Thanks for all of the advice everyone! :)
 

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With the baby coming I'd get the best professional help you can find. Can you desensitize the dogs to some baby smells and noises? I'm just wondering if the added stress might make things worse for awhile. I read that you NEVER punish them for growling because then you have NO warning if they are going to reaction adversely.

Exciting about the new baby!!
 

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With the baby coming I'd get the best professional help you can find. Can you desensitize the dogs to some baby smells and noises? I'm just wondering if the added stress might make things worse for awhile. I read that you NEVER punish them for growling because then you have NO warning if they are going to reaction adversely.

Exciting about the new baby!!
The growling thing??? And what to do ... depends on who you talk to??

Not making "any" recommendations here ... just "stuff" I know. So ... by and large most "pet people" feel that the "growling" is a "warning." And if you shut it down ... then the dog gives "no warning and would/could just strike??"

Most "pet people" and (I am a member) feel that the growl is a "warning" and you need to figure out what the growl is about??

The "Pros" say if the dog growls ... you shut it down ... period ... end of story! They don't screw around with "insubordination!" Apparently ...that works out fine??

The closest I got to having that issue (growling) was Rocky WL GSD and my cats?? Only dog I ever had any issue with, with cats?? If "Rocky" had a treat and a Cat would approach (turns out ... it was one cat in particular) he would growl???

I was kinda sorta stunned as I had never seen this issue?? My solution ... was to say "Rocky!!" And then "Cat!" The cat would walk away and Rocky would then eat his treat.

In retrospect ... it turns out that ... what I did "for my situation" was the ideal solution. It's been 8 years and there has never been a Cat/Dog situation. In fact ... it turns out it's not "all" my cats that tick him off it's just one cat in particular. So what I did ... not "squashing" the growl does speak to the "pet people" approach.

"leerburgh" does not even know what the "Place Command" is? far as I can tell?? But ... that is what I read.

I tend to belive that if you institute a "No Free Roaming in the hose policy..., train, Place and do Sit on the Dog. You train "Calmness" into the dog and "babies" would be no big deal???

It's what I would do ... but I don't have kids.
 

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This behaviorist has written about resource guarding in her blogs! I think she's really good. She says that each time the dog stiffens and growls it learns something. For one, it learns that behavior makes approaching people move back out of the way.

Resource Guarding, Dog to Dog
 

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What you are doing is correct, but maybe the dog doesnt understand it is being corrected. It just sees you as you are taking food away, that's it. The dog may not recognize it is being bad. Next time hit the dog when it bites or make it understand that growling is really bad. How does the dog know? Sometimes yelling at the dog does nothing.

I understand that hitting a dog is wrong, but do you think a tap on the nose will faze them? Remember, you have an animal that you control, treat it as one. If you start treating it like a human, then you other issues going on with yourself.
 

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Pro's ... just flat out "Squelch" the growl. They don't look for the "why" "Pet People" do that. Leerburgh approach which struck me as kinda crazy?? Is to train the dog to "Stay Away From The Scent of the Baby??"

My default would be a "Place Command" and a no "Free Roaming in the house Policy." That would work a "Plan B" would be just contact "Jeff Gellman." he is the "Only Trainer" I am aware of that does "Dogs and kids."

I tend to be a "DIY Dog Training" guy but Jeff does "Skype"sessions and they are about $150 an hour. For the record ... most likely, I've already saved you time and $$$. Because I'm pretty sure in a "Skype Session he would be explain t to you ... "The Place Command and a No free roaming in the house policy??"
 

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