Resource Guarding - treats

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LakelandLottie
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Resource Guarding - treats

Post by LakelandLottie » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:42 am

Hi guys, I'm hoping someone can help.

I have a 1yr old Lakeland Terrier. She's just reached adolescence which I understand is contributing to this behaviour that has stated happening but I need help combating it.

Lately she has started resource guarding her treats at the park. She doesn't resource guard anything at home: I can easily take anything from her without a reaction; this only happens at the park and only with her treats.

Every time i go to give her a treat if another dog is within a metre of us she lunges at them and sort of attacks them without actually biting them. It has even got to the point where if she even thinks im going to I've another dog a treat (my hand is in my pockets or my bag, or another dog is near my bag) then she goes for them. No one has actually been hurt, it's just a very vicious telling off but I want to stop it now before it gets worse and some does get hurt.

I've tried researching it but all I find is stuff on food bowl or toys resource guarding and a lot of the tips don't cross over.

Can anyone give any advice? Thanks.

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Nettle
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Re: Resource Guarding - treats

Post by Nettle » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:27 am

Hello and welcome :)

This is not unreasonable behaviour in dog terms, but as you say, it isn't well liked by others. And terriers have no reverse gear!

We need a bit more information. Tell us about how and when you take things off her at home. Tell us about when you need to give her treats when other dogs are close. For instance, if I wish to reward my dog/s out on a walk, I make sure I am well away from other dogs first. Mine know the treat is on its way, and we just move away from other dogs, and if the other dogs follow, I block them, ask their handlers to call them away etc. If you ever treat other dogs on walks, stop doing that. Your terrier will soon become more relaxed about things.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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LakelandLottie
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Re: Resource Guarding - treats

Post by LakelandLottie » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:03 am

I don't have much cause to remove food from her at home. She quite easily lets me take her bowl if I need to for whoever reason and she normally just looks at me and waits to have it back. A stern word is often enough to make her drop something she shouldn't be eating.

For toys I tend to get her attention first so she knows I want it and I'm not just playing tug of war. I mostly do this when I see her tearing the felt off of tennis balls. Unless she thinks I'm trying to play she's normally very good at letting me have it.

When it comes to treats I do often walk away from our dogs first to minimize the risk but of course a lot of dogs realise when you have treats and come bounding over. I treat her for all sorts of things like coming when called or dropping the ball by me just to keep her training up to par.

I know I can minimise risk but i'd really like her to not do it at all and not have to worry about other dogs being around especially because this time next year I'm planning on getting another dog. This kind of behaviour would make that really difficult.

jacksdad
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Re: Resource Guarding - treats

Post by jacksdad » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:20 am

LakelandLottie wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:42 am
.... if she even thinks im going to.....
Be careful about thinking we know what our dogs are actually thinking. this can lead us down the wrong path and in some cases make things worse.

A couple of common ways it can lead us astray is people by believing they know what the dog is thinking, reach the conclusion their dogs know what they did is wrong, there fore they must be punished OR become scared to train because they are afraid of rewarding the "bad" behavior.

it is actually much more helpful to just look at the observable behavior...X happens then dog does Y.

At the moment, you believe X = hand in treat pouch or hand holding treat.

Does your dog behave the same when other dogs are around IF you don't reach for the treat pouch?

Do you walk around with your hand in the treat pouch? some people slip into this because they know you have to be quick to reinforce a behavior you like. But it is actually not helping in all kinds of ways.

Does your dog have an dog friends and does this happen when them?
LakelandLottie wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:42 am
I've tried researching it but all I find is stuff on food bowl or toys resource guarding and a lot of the tips don't cross over.
the underlying principles apply. how you apply them changes with what the dog is guarding.

LakelandLottie
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:33 pm

Re: Resource Guarding - treats

Post by LakelandLottie » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:44 pm

Nope. My dog is absolutely fine walking around andnplaying with dogs. She's fine with me stroking and cuddling other dogs. It literally only if I put my hands in my pockets/bag with a dog near me or if a dog goes near my bag. Strangely (with the other dog in front of me) if the bag is hanging behind me she's fine with it, it's only if the bag is at my side or in front of methat she reacts.

I don't walk around with my hands in my bag though I do sometimes he them in my pockets but I never keep the treats in my pockets.

She does his with any dog: male/female, old/young, best friend/stranger. She doesn't discriminate.

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Nettle
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Re: Resource Guarding - treats

Post by Nettle » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:09 am

Thank you for the extra information.

Now we have to look at what is reasonable. Reasonable in dog terms, not yours. And I say respectfully that you are being unrealistic and unreasonable. These are observations not criticisms, and lots of people think the way you have been thinking. You need to change the way you think because your dog will not, can not. You would get pretty sparky if you sat down to a meal and random strangers came up touting for some of it.

You already know how to act so that she does not re-act. That's all you have to do. If other dogs come up, keep your hand away from the treat bag, keep the treat bag at your back, keep the toy in your pocket and walk away. Don't let other people's incompetence at training sully your relationship with your dog.

I hear what you are saying about your plans to get a second dog in due course. Stressing your terrier over other dogs and treats will not help her future relationship with the second dog. Doing things the ways that keep her calm will lay good foundations.


I hope this comes across as kindly as I mean it to. :) Please don't get the impression I am being critical because I'm not. I'm simply helping you to 'think dog'.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

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JudyN
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Re: Resource Guarding - treats

Post by JudyN » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:35 am

I'm a very heavy treater for good behaviour, so I understand that you want to keep rewarding your dog as much as possible. But for now, I think your priority should be managing the guarding behaviour as far as possible. You can work on the other skills more when there's no other dogs around. Simply knowing she might get a surreptitious treat when there's other dogs around could prime her to be anxious and reactive.

When you manage the environment to avoid the unwanted behaviour, particularly with an adolescent, the behaviour often goes away of its own accord as the dog calms down (no potential treats to worry about), matures and mellows. This can be much more effective than 'training' for this sort of issue where you might be trying to address the behaviour without addressing the cause.

My dog did the same thing very briefly, but it did go away of its own accord (despite him being an incorrigible guarder in other situations). Hopefully the same will happen with your girl :D
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

jacksdad
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Re: Resource Guarding - treats

Post by jacksdad » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:13 pm

Nettle wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:09 am
.... If other dogs come up, keep your hand away from the treat bag, keep the treat bag at your back, keep the toy in your pocket and walk away. Don't let other people's incompetence at training sully your relationship with your dog.
Exactly what I was going to suggest based on your answers.
JudyN wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:35 am
I'm a very heavy treater for good behavior, so I understand that you want to keep rewarding your dog as much as possible.
This is still possible to do, but you are going to lay some foundations first. it just depends on how much effort you want to put into this.

But for now, to start, I agree with Nettle's advice as the place to start. anytime you want to change an unwanted behavior, you have to start with managing the dogs life/environment as much as you can to not trigger the unwanted behavior and thus practice it and get better at it and it become more and more ingrained.

CaraN
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Re: Resource Guarding - treats

Post by CaraN » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:02 pm

I agree with managing it. The more times you let her practice it, the more she will think it works. I would not even give her treats in the dog park if it were me. Of the park was very empty and all of the dogs were otherwise occupied maybe, but its still a situation that is causing her stress. Even if the other dogs are not watching, she may be in guard in case they come over. You can try keeping her outside of the park and maybe give her treats where she knows the other dogs can't access. Its definitely, a behavior you don't want her to generalize.

I would practice also at home even just with yourself. While she is eating, walk by and throw chicken or something yummy next to her bowl so she gets the idea, someone approaching my food bowl means more food for me.

Ugh! Teenaged dogs!

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