Vomit Aggression?

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ANB723
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Vomit Aggression?

Post by ANB723 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:32 am

I just posted a thread about how my dog has gotten a bit bone aggressive with other dogs. I was shocked at what happened tonight. I was sitting in a chair near my bed while he slept. I noticed he started excessively licking, I put my hand on the bed and patted and said his name. He immediately snarled. I got up to see what he was licking and he had thrown up(it was food) on my bed. I stood next to the bed and he turned and snarled, very seriously. My first instinct was to say no and to get him off the bed, when I moved my hand closer towards his back, he snapped (which I realize now was not the best thing). I then re-thought and asked him to get off the bed as he knows this. He got off and I wrapped up the sheet and walked away. I also held my ground while I was standing as I asked him to get off, my instinct was to not give him the release of pressure from me moving away if he's snarling but to rather get him off without being physical. I was happy that he was willing to get off.

This seemed very random. After that I wanted to see if I had missed aggression with his other food items. I gave him a treat and then touched it, he didn't care. I then gave him a little kibble in his bowl and he let me touch him and take away the bowl with no problems. I also touched a bone that he chewed on after and he was fine, even wagged his tail.

I understand that the vomit may have been higher value but he has never done anything like this, ever. And for me, it seems very out of character and definitely makes me look at him differently tonight as I'm a bit upset about it. It makes me worry about what if he gets food in the future that he's not supposed to have, is he going to snarl and possibly bite me about it? I honestly (other than taking away his bones recently when he's been aggressive towards our foster) have done nothing to add on this behavior. I don't quite understand why now and why with the vomit. I just never thought he would get to that point of being that aggressive towards anyone, me of all people.

Fundog
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Re: Vomit Aggression?

Post by Fundog » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:03 am

It is quite normal for dogs to try to eat their vomit, as you may already know. But since it is not an every day occurrence, or a "regular treat," it is most likely a higher value "treat," as you suspected-- yes, even above bones, if the bones are given on a regular basis! His behavior was quite natural, and should not be taken personally. Dogs will resource guard certain things, even against their very most favorite people. Learn from it, and move on, without letting it bother you too much. This is why we must observe and get to understand our dogs, so we can anticipate certain behaviors and protect others, such as children-- by instructing children NOT to try certain things on your dog. This is why we tell folks it isn't necessary to "test" their dogs for food aggression by touching something they have, or trying to take it from them. Instead, we try to learn better ways of getting something dangerous off our dogs in an emergency. Having something high value to offer in trade, to entice your dog to drop something is one way. Asking him to get off your bed so you can wrap up the sheet is another (well done, by the way). And teaching the "leave it" command is another valuable tool to have in your repertoire of behaviors. :)
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emmabeth
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Re: Vomit Aggression?

Post by emmabeth » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:14 am

oooh.. big shock for you.

He may have been upset/uncomfy/shocked at having vomited himself and of course for a dog vomit may well still have some value to it so theres that reason also to guard it.

He is more than likely more affected by you having taken away his bones in his recent aggressive incidents than you previously though, but I suspect he was uncomfy at having just thrown up and didnt want to be touched, with the guarding aspect coming in secondary to that.

Once you realised, you did the right thing by asking him to get off rather than trying to remove him, I don't buy into the theory that you shouldnt back down to them growling though - I do, its fine, but th en my dogs rarely growl and if they do its for a good reason. If you had needed to go out of the room to get something to lure/bribe/encourage him away with that would have been fine to do.

You just have to remind yourself that no matter our instinctive reaction to being growled at, it is NOT an insult or any type of personal slight against you, it just IS a communication 'dont touch htat. leave me alone. go away'. Once we can stop our instinctive 'oi how DARE you' reaction to being growled at, and think, and react more appropriately, it all gets a lot easier.

Your worry about if he found or stole something dangerous is valid - to combat THAT you need to teach him a good solid 'leave it' and an equally solid 'give it' so that he will leave things you tell him to leave,a nd he will hand you th ings he has in his mouth.

The idea behind both is that you teach him leaving things and giving you things is WAY more rewarding than just taking them would be. With 'leave it', its a habit you build up that he always gets something better from you, and NEVER gets that particular item, you start out with direct bribery adn swapping. Don't touch htat, have this. Then progress to making the item more interesting and the bribe less obvious, until you can ask him to leave a cooked sausage on the floor for a treat you have in another room.

With Give it, you CAN ask him to give you an item, reward him and if its ok for him to ahve, give it b ack, and it starts out the same as leave it with swapping, 'gimmet hat, you have this' where you will hand him something really boring, and then immediately ask him to give it you back in return for somethign REALLY tasty. Again you work up through varying levels of difficulty, until he is happy to hand you something for the promise of a treat a little later on.

With both of these you teach the dog to decide for himself, in the way that you want him to decide - so he is choosing to leave the item. he chooses to bring and give it to you - you are never forcing, or chasing, or snatching, so the chances are MUCH higher that he isnt going to snatch something up and swallow it whole, because he does not perceive you as a threat, he has no reason to think you are going to chase and snatch. I have even seen dogs pick up something they DEARLY want to have, know they must bring it to the owner, dont want to hand it over but will carry it alllllllll the way home until more direct bribery can be achieved... which is great as although the 'give it' has failed at the point of trusting that the owner will reward later, it has STILL meant the dog hasnt consumed something dangerous, or run away to chew up something dangerous.
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rekaeszter
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Re: Vomit Aggression?

Post by rekaeszter » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:20 pm

Hey,

I know this is an old post, but maybe you can help me - my dog only has resource guarding behaviour with vomit - I have never taken away bones from him, or 'tested' his guarding behaviour, but he was always fine. Now it has happened more than once that he growled at me after vomiting. Since I clearly can't (and even if I could, I wouldn't) produce vomit to practice on - what are my options? I wasn't able to remove him from the vomit with treats before he ate the whole thing up.

JudyN
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Re: Vomit Aggression?

Post by JudyN » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:49 pm

In all honesty, I'd let him eat it. It's safer for both of you than the alternative. Is he sick very often? Are there occasions where he guards his vomit but doesn't eat it, leaving you in a catch-22 situation?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

rekaeszter
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Re: Vomit Aggression?

Post by rekaeszter » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:57 pm

He did that once (guarding, but not eating it), but thank god it was at the break of dawn and his bladder got the better of him - i was able to get him out for walks and clean up before he got back to the room. I usually let him eat it (less clean up for me) - I just don't especially like this idea as a permanent solution...

JudyN
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Re: Vomit Aggression?

Post by JudyN » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:40 pm

It is only going back where it just came from though :wink: And I think it may be natural for dogs - wild dogs will bolt their prey, then throw it up back at their den and eat it at their leisure or feed it to their young (I think this is correct, though I stand to be corrected). With some dogs you just have to accept that there are limits to what you can train them to leave.

You could try working on a REALLY good recall in the house, using wonderful treats, maybe when he has a bone, and letting him then return to the bone. (You really don't want him to feel suspicious.) If this works you could try doing it when he's been sick, even letting him return to the vomit at first. You'd need to work on a way to prevent him returning to the vomit - this might be popping a lead on him when you give him the awesome treat, or shutting a door.

But if the vomit is that frequent, I would question whether there's some underlying reason.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

rekaeszter
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Vomit Aggression?

Post by rekaeszter » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:06 pm

Thanks! A vet has seen him and apparently other than a chronic case of cat poop eating, he is fine :) I will try working on it, thanks for the ideas!

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