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  • Another 'Bonnie' Problem.

    Well hey guys didn't think I would have to post up here again with Bonnie's aggro problem, but here I am. Except now it isn't general aggression, it is *drum roll*.......FOOD aggression.So tonight I came and gave Bonnie a smoked beef bone, the first real bone she's ever had (apart from rawhide chews) while we had a barbecue. As I passed her pen (she always gets fed in her pen, or Lou steals her food), and reached down to pat her and was rewarded with a loud snarl and following growls. As you can imagine, I was a bit upset and pretty confused, as she has NEVER, repeat NEVER done that before, even with chews and never with her regular food bowl. I'm not quite sure how to combat this successfully, but I know it can be done, and I am determined to be her boss in all situations - including food. To start, I tried stroking her to make her used to it, but you gotta have nerves of steel to do that - something I don't have. I was once again rewarded with a death glare sideways, with growls, and she stopped licking her bone and started looking (and feeling) tense and rigid. Now I don't want to sound pushy, but I sure as hell am NOTgoing to raise a dog that is possessive of her food. As usual, I am eternally grateful for any information.

    Thanks guys

  • #2
    Hi Striker.

    What is a smoked beef bone? Is that cooked?
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    • #3
      Yeah, it's cooked, stinks tho. They're pretty common, sort of shrink wrapped, and flaky. It looks smoked, I can't remember what it said on the packet except 'puppy bone'. We always give them to Lou.

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      • #4
        Well, nothing to do with your problem, but cooked bones are usually a major no-go. Yep, know a lot of ppl who give their dogs cooked bones and haven't had a tragedy with them. Know a hell of a lot more who have inadvertently killed their dogs doing so.

        But back to the problem.
        So this has only happened this one time with the real bone, yes? Not a problem at other times? If you give her a rawhide chew, she sees it as a chew 'toy' and isn't phased if you pat her or touch her?

        This is a tricky subject for me, as my answer may not be what you will expect.
        Can you answer the above please Striker?
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        • #5
          Yep, that's right. She doesn't mind me taking it away even, so yes, I think rawhide is an edible toy to her. The Bone isn't 'homemade', it is bought from a large pet store. Don't worry, I test them before I decided to give them to Lou - they are smooth all through except for the flaky outer surface. It's not the splintery sort (I never give chicken bones - I knew someone who gave the dog a whole chicken carcass - I was sure the dog would choke or run splinters into their stomach, but they didn't.) The bones I give mine are smooth though.

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          • #6
            Okay, thanks.

            I would never give a dog a real bone and then approach or touch them. With my dogs, I knew I could, but I had ensured that by training right from puppyhood.

            There are some things that I repect, and one of them is to let a dog be a dog. We are trying to civilise them sooo much it is sad. I believe we are killing dogs via ignorance, and the inability to recognise they ARE DOGS.

            Choose to give your dog a real meaty juicy yummy bone - but then respect their instinct.
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            • #7
              I do respect that they are dogs, but in every book I have read, it says they must be used to having their food touched/to be touched while eating a bone.
              Also it is one of those ones that takes forever to eat, and I don't think it is healthy for her to eat it in one hit - it's pretty oily.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Striker View Post
                I do respect that they are dogs, but in every book I have read, it says they must be used to having their food touched/to be touched while eating a bone.1 Also it is one of those ones that takes forever to eat, and I don't think it is healthy for her to eat it in one hit2 - it's pretty oily.
                1) I know it does. Books say a lot of things, but it is always up to the reader how much they believe in the end.

                2) Let her eat as much as she wants of it. When she's finished, she'll bury it to go back to when she wants it again. She is a dog, and that is what dogs do.
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                • #9
                  Well....awkward stage here, and I know I am guilty of what you said in your previous post.....but..I don't let her dig. It's not my rule, it's my mum's rule, but she is not allowed to dig, and she is fine with it.

                  I wouldn't approach her if she was trained - only because I would have the peace of mind that I COULD touch her if I needed to. As it is I never touch Lou when she has a bone, because like you, she was trained since a little tacka to not bite the hand that feeds her. How did you train your dogs to tolerate it? That's all I am after.

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                  • #10
                    Hold the bone. When you offer it to her. Only allow a small portion to be eaten. WHILE you are holding the bone.

                    She growls or carries on in the way you don't wish her to, walk away - WITH the bone. Try again later. Don't scold, just walk away.

                    Hell, keep trying for as long as is needed till she gets the message. Will you be able to do this.

                    Other thing you could try is training her to leave, release, give, taa - whatever command you want to use ot get her to release/drop something/leave it alone.
                    It is an excellent command for learning anyway throughout a dogs life. Could save their life one day, actually.
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                    • #11
                      Don't I know it she picked up a dead tree frog today - it was mummified. I know this is shallow, but I couldn't touch her mouth until she had had a drink. Thanks for the training tip though I will be sure to try it first thing tomorrow. You know, you have been the most helpful person on this forum to me. I am extremely grateful for it.

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                      • #12
                        Perhaps it would be prudent to wear a glove. After all, this is only the 2nd time she will be 'offered' a real bone.

                        The most loving, affectionate and gentle dog can change when given a bone. As you have seen when you give Bonnie her usual food each day, she doesn't behave like this normally, so I wouldn't tend to think she is truly displaying food aggression as such.

                        Bones are sacred in their eyes! Lol.

                        Just use your instinct, and as always with this sort of problem - be careful.
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                        • #13
                          I don't know if what I do in this situation is the right thing, but I thought maybe it wouldn't hurt?

                          With Batty, when he first got a bone, I walked past and he growled and snarled at me. I stomped my foot (away from him) growled back, said no and took the bone away for an hour. Then I gave it back to him and sat down with him in the puppy pen patting him while he ate it. I didn't try taking it off him this time but I did have some warm roast chicken with me and whenever I put my hand near his mouth I gave him a little. Now he sees me coming and stops what he's doing to give me what he has in the hope that I'll give him some chicken LOL. If he growls at me when he has anything (and it's not just in play) he gets the same thing, he is told no, I make a loud noise and take away whatever it is that he is growling about for an hour and do the same thing as above with him.

                          If someone could tell me if I'm doing something wrong with the above that'd be great! It seems to be working though and it means he's dropping things he shouldn't have too LOL
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                          Batty's Training and Behaviour Journal- Updated 15/03/2010

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                          • #14
                            Bones are high value for dogs, ranking well above the average meal of biscuits.

                            I believe that if she hadn't been in a crate (cornered) she probably would have picked up her bone and moved away from you. Because there was no way out she gave you good warning to back off.

                            Do I understand that you also have another dog? I often find that dogs in multi dog homes need to be more protective of their food. It's not an excuse.

                            If it was me next time I gave her a bone I would get some raw meat and as you approach her offer her a tit-bit of raw meat, just slowly toss it into the crate to her. Do this several times without touching either her or the bone. When she stops growling, then progress further, give a pce of meat and a pat - repeat several times, give a pce of meat and touch bone - repeat several times.

                            I would also probably do this with her tethered rather than cornered. Draw her out to the end of her tether and start the training there that way if she does lunge at you, you can step back without her being able to follow thru.

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                            • #15
                              If the bone is smooth all the way through - it suggests to me that somehow it's not a real bone. I would never give my dog smoked anything, let alone a bone and I've stopped giving her dried roo bones - because she makes splinters out of them. And we've had problems with a previous dog and minced chicken carcasses - the fine powdery bone stuff in that caused blockage in her gut. Not fun.

                              Regards the resource guarding. Frosty doesn't do it. She's never done it, I can take anything away from her and give it back or not as I choose. I can even reach down her mouth and pull stuff out that she shouldn't be eating. If she's grabbed it while on lead. When she's off lead it takes a little bit more work but can be still done with a lure of greater value to her.

                              Do teach your dog "leave it" or "give" for let go of what you've got. I use "thank you" when we're playing "fetch" and "leave it" when she's got something she shouldn't have like strapping tape.

                              What DA said about you holding the bone might be good. You will probably have to separate the puppy and yourself from Leo. Otherwise, you can try approach a little bit and leave and approach a little more and leave repeatedly until she gets the idea that you don't do anything but this may also re-inforce to her that growling makes you leave. Maybe don't leave until she stops growling.

                              It's not a problem I have though. I can't let Frosty eat any bones, not even raw beef shin bones because she makes splinters out of them and swallows those and then chucks it up or has trouble at the other end.
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