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Thread: Aggression and resource guarding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Default Aggression and resource guarding

    Hey guys, I'm new here and starting to have a few problems with my dog that I can't seem to fix. I've looked into getting a trainer, but unfortunately just seem to be too far from any.

    Anyway the background info: Rogue is a 2yr old koolie cross heeler who I've had since he was 8 weeks. For about 4 months after I got him, I couldn't even touch him because he'd just keep biting. I tried encouraging him towards toys, I tried putting him in a time-out to calm him down, I tried squirting him with water, I tried handling him with gloves, I tried smacking his nose, I tried to teach him to 'kiss'.... nothing seemed work and I used to have to wear long sleeves because my arms were pretty shredded up. On top of that he was a massive resource guarder, so I did what I've always done with pups - sat with him every meal, dropping a treats into his bowl so he'd know that hands near his food = more food. I also used to pat him, and things without ever touching his food and within 2 weeks he'd completely stopped that and I never had another problem with that. He was also enrolled into 2 puppy preschool classes and he was really good at them - really gentle with small dogs, a bit more rambunctious towards the bigger dogs but nothing sinister, just 2 pups playing. When I wanted his attention he would give it to me wholly and he wasn't distracted by much.

    Fast forward 4 months. He'd settled down a little bit and I was beginning to handle him a bit more. He'd still bite, but it was getting less. He was now in a sort of junior obedience class, getting used to sitting, heeling, staying, laying down etc around other dogs. He'd also had his first go on sheep and did really well - everyone was amazed at how well he could stay, stop and come to me.

    Another year passes, we moved towns and started at another obedience club when one day he gets attacked by two maremma's. I take him to the vets and he gets some painkillers and anti-inflammatories, then 2 weeks later requires a course of antibiotics for an abscess that's developed on his back leg. That heals up and all good. Come to obedience and suddenly he's more wary of other dogs. He stands really tall and still if they approach, and his hackles go up but he doesn't do anything. Then one day he lunges at another dog so I pull him back quickly with a 'leave' command. From then on he's reacted negatively to any dog that walks straight up to him. The people at obedience have told me to really pull back hard and sharp on his lead as soon as he even looks like heckling another dog, but it doesn't seem to be working. I've also tried rewarding for no reaction, and it works to a certain extent... as long as he knows I have food on me. He is still really good in his obedience classes (in intermediate now and can sit, drop, stand, heel and do off-lead stays and recalls) but as soon as another dog is right in his face he just snaps.

    He also went for my dad, my cousins 3yr old daughter, my cousin and my boss when he's had food and they've gone too close to him. He's still never tried it with me since he was a puppy, but it only takes one serious bite for their to be trouble. I really don't know where I've gone wrong with him, I don't know if I do too much with him, or too little, or maybe the food change or.... I have no idea, it's giving me a headache just thinking about where I've gone wrong This dog is my whole life and I'll never give up on him. Just the thought of losing him makes me so upset and angry at myself that I'm not doing something I should be doing, or doing something that I shouldn't be doing.

    Anyway, sorry for the whole sob story, I'm just at a loss and there's not a lot of places I can take him when I leave in such a small rural area. Any help, or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Geelong, Vic
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    Craig A Murray Dog Training Brisbane - Results, not excuses!

    Contact Craig ASAP and ask for a recommendation about a good behavioral trainer ASAP. Dont try and tackle this with online help as it needs a proper assessment.
    http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c11/Mali_nut/K9LOGO.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Rural Western Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nekhbet View Post
    Craig A Murray Dog Training Brisbane - Results, not excuses!

    Contact Craig ASAP and ask for a recommendation about a good behavioral trainer ASAP. Dont try and tackle this with online help as it needs a proper assessment.
    Yes I would totally agree. I have a friend with a koolie cross that sounds similar and professional help and hardwork was very much needed.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2014
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    Kingaroy
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    Default

    Thanks guys, I've contacted them so hopefully they get back to me with some contacts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Bundaberg QLD
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    Hi Rogue,

    Hope you can get some good help soon. You sound very dedicated to your dog and thats great. We'd love to hear how you guys go. Feel free to keep us updated. Good luck.


    Quote Originally Posted by reyzor View Post
    Education is important, but big biceps are more importanter ...
    DONT SIC YOUR DOGMA ON ME !

  6. #6
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    Aug 2009
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    Adelaide
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    I find with my dog - the more I scold or yank her around when she's upset with another dog - the worse she is next time.

    The more I call her a good dog for doing what I want and also do what I can to prevent inappropriate greetings, the better she is more often. It's really important to protect your dog from bad experiences with other dogs - and yelling at them "leave it" and yanking them hard - is a really bad experience.

    You might get lucky and suppress the signs of upset (stiffness, growling, lunging) but then you will get a dog that acts all calm until the other dog is within bite range - and then just latches on.

    Having said that - I second what Nekhbet said - get some help.

    I would also be looking to find a much better dog training club - one that focusses more on preventing bad experiences and rewarding good behaviour and setting the dog up to learn the right things. Having said that - I've already pointed you at Cathy Slot and Agilityclick.com - and she's been through some of the same problems with her koolie - in the end she decided it was the dog's hard wiring and to protect her from interacting with dogs she doesn't know. Which means she doesn't compete with that dog.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    melbourne australia
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    I have found resource gaurding to be one of the largest training challenges ive had to date.
    Brian produced resource barking in all 3 dogs when we added him. Ive been training it out gradually, but rewarding not doing it.
    Im a year into that training now. And still have to redirect a lot of the time. But it never escalates to scuffles. So some success, some failure, Good LUCK with yours.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Having said that - I've already pointed you at Cathy Slot and Agilityclick.com - and she's been through some of the same problems with her koolie - in the end she decided it was the dog's hard wiring and to protect her from interacting with dogs she doesn't know. Which means she doesn't compete with that dog.
    Yes sometimes it comes down to the dogs wiring. Quite a few good dog trainers that I know personally have had a dog like this at some stage. Some are easier to manage than others depending on how severe the problem is. I myself have had a dog whose wiring was such that I would never have put her in the trial ring. I worked incredibly hard with her and the results were good but she was never going to be like my other dogs.

    So sometimes it is not what you have done wrong it is simply that you have a dog where you need professional help to move forward. Your dog will possibly always need a level of management and I can almost guarantee that you will probably need to work extensively with the dog.

    These days before I take on a new puppy you bet that I get to know the dogs lines and parents well. This can give you a better chance of a dog without genetic temperament issues or at least being aware of potential issues.

    When I got my working BC pup the breeder told me that his line did have some minor resource guarding issues with other dogs but never people, but they are brilliant working dogs. Sure enough mild resource guarding issues towards other dogs, never ever towards people, which I was on to early and they have not been a problem and he is fine in a high stress trialing environment with other dogs. People were never an issue, he loves them.. His issues were mild and easily dealt with. My problem dog was a lot more extreme and her temperament was very much extensively flawed from the start.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 10-25-2014 at 12:35 PM.

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