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  #1  
Old 11-06-2012, 04:31 AM
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Default *Navi* the new addition - resource guarding

I am looking for advice regarding possessive behavior or "resource guarding" that I am finding in my new chichi. She is, according to the shelter she came from, 2-3 years old, looks older to me, I'm not sure how they tell exactly but that doesn't really matter. She is the absolute sweetest, calmest animal I've ever had. Seems like she wouldn't hurt a fly. She is loyal to us already with the exception that she hates the cat, but is already fighting urges to chase him when he walks by.

Our concern is this guarding behavior I've seen occasionally and now know it's an actual trait, not just a once or twice occurrence. She ONLY shows this behavior toward Maya, the puppy. Furthermore, she only guards certain items. She doesn't even care if Maya comes and eats out of her bowl at breakfast time. I got these thin rawhide dental chewies for Maya awhile ago, and there were a couple laying around. The first time Navi got ahold of one, she didn't let Maya come anywhere near her. Showing teeth, growling lowly, head ducked. Needless to say Maya got the hint, and didn't go near her, even though Navi had "her" toy. When I saw this I immediately took it away from Navi. She also shows this behavior with a braided rawhide stick (yeah, I'm seeing the pattern... rawhide), that again, Maya was previously just playing with. Regardless, how do we begin the process of reversing/correcting this behavior? I've read here and there what I can from the internet. But A lot of the info is regarding dog vs human, and this is only dog vs dog. She is completely "submissive" to us about it. But tonight was the first time I saw her actually snap and bite very rudely to Maya as she was trying to get her toy back that Navi stole (I didn't realize until tonight that this was actually an issue). I should note Maya is oblivious (ahem.. spoiled) and didn't even know what to make of that reaction, it scared her. OTHER than those few incidents they are best friends.

Sorry for the length of this post, I would just like any advice knowing you have all the info for my situation. As far as what I'd like to try, I was thinking of putting up all the rawhide's (which sucks because those keep Maya busy for HOURS lol..) and maybe even all the toys, at least for now, and giving them back maybe one by one to figure out which other ones may cause the problem. As far as correcting the behavior in the moment ie if it happens again, what is the correct way to show her that it's not ok? Another thing, she isn't into ANY toys that are not of some sort of edible matter. She doesn't like stuffed animals, squeakers, balls, etc. She is just laid back and likes to lay down (which also makes me think she's older but maybe thats just her), so I don't have a lot of options for toys for her to substitute for the yummier ones.

Thanks for any help!

PS - Here's a picture of Navi.. borrowing Maya's clothes (typical sisters)
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2012, 04:50 AM
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First off, she is absolutely adorable.

Personally, I'd go ahead and do away with the rawhides. They can actually be pretty dangerous and cause all kinds of problems. Have you heard of bully sticks? From what I've heard, they are much safer - and it'll still keep them busy!

One thing you can do is just simply keep the dogs separated when giving them these kinds of treats. For instance, only give it when they are in their crates, or one at a time while the other is in a different room.

Here's a good article that explains how you can manage the resource guarding:

How to React When Your Dog Begins Resource Guarding Against Other Dogs - Whole Dog Journal Article

Good luck!
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:35 AM
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Thank you so much for the advice. Yeah, I've used bully sticks. Everyone in the house begged me not to buy anymore because they are sure it made Maya's breath stink really bad lol. I didn't realize rawhides can be dangerous. Thank you again and ty for the Article I will give it a good read when I get off work!
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:01 PM
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My $0.02. You can't have 2 dogs in a house and have yummy chews that are for one dog and leave them laying around and not allow the other dog to chew on them as well. That just isn't fair. Navi was doing what is natural in picking up the chew that no one else was chewing. Doesn't matter that Maya was chewing it previously, they don't think like us, "this is Maya's chew because she was chewing it 15 minutes ago and left it to go play with the ball so I shouldn't chew it." Then when Maya came wandering by she gave a correct warning to say that the puppy needs to stay away from her chew and Maya heeded that warning and left. There was no blood, no fight and Maya got the point and walked away. I'm not sure what the problem was.

It sounds to me like Navi is a very tolerant little girl in letting Maya eat out of her bowl, that would never happen at my house and I would never allow it. My dogs bowls are their own and their food is their own (I do not free feed, they get measured meals) and it does not seem fair to me to allow a rude puppy to come stick his/her nose in an adult's meal and start eating. That puppy would be chased off with a snap and possibly a pierced ear from the adult for it's trouble if I didn't get to it first.

When I give out chewies (yes, I give rawhide) I use the large 10 inch rolls (I have 3 border collies and the chihuahua) and I make sure I give out 4 rolls, enough for everyone to have one plus one extra so if someone gets up to go do something else for a while and their chew gets taken by another dog there is always an extra laying around. There is no fighting about chews but they are not allowed to harass each other about them either and when I get a new puppy in he/she must learn to leave the adults alone and I allow the adults to tell them with growls and, if he/she doesn't listen, teeth snaps. Puppies have to learn manners somehow.

It sounds to me like Maya is somewhat spoiled and Navi is expected to let Maya run all over her and take it. Navi is an adult and adult dogs do expect puppies to have manners, that is correct in the dog world. Navi is great and submissive to the humans, allowing you to take the chews, just not letting the younger puppy take them. I don't think this is a problem unless she starts showing true aggression. Right now she is showing proper warnings. If you are really worried then give the chews in different spaces, like teaching them to stay on their respective beds with their chews and if they get up the chews get picked up. If Maya wants one when she sees that Navi has one then show her the others that are laying around until she learns that she can't just try to take whatever Navi has just because she wants it (puppy behavior).
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:42 PM
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I think the above post is right on. Great post!!! This adult chi is giving the puppy proper warning in dog language. The puppy 'got it' and moved away.

My dogs are given bully sticks and some eat in their playpens with the door open. Sometimes they all are out together. Sometimes one decides she doesn't want hers, then she lays there and watches the other dogs, with 'her' stick nearby. After 30-60 minutes of chewing they are usually done. I pick up the sticks (I don't let them have them if they are really short) and put them away for later.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:28 PM
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Ours only get special chews and treats when they are in their individual crates. We pick them up when everyone is let out so there isn't any sneaking in and stealing from each others crates. "Boring" or basic hard bones and other toys are always bought in multiples and left laying around to share.


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Old 11-07-2012, 04:50 PM
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Well when we rescued our min pin she showed this resource guarding with her chews as well. And her "babies" aka stuffed toy dog. She would growl loudly if anyone walked NEAR the closet. Her fav spot to hide and chew or snuggle her toy. She would growl the entire time if you reached in to take or touch it. But never snap. I followed Cesar's advice from Dog Whisperer. I reached in, put my hand on it and had a firm grip without moving it whatsoever... until she released it. Which normally only took about 30 seconds. And then i took it away for a few minutes, and praised her and gave it back. She got MUCH better about her being this way. then along comes Mojo. Poor pup had no clue. She would take her chew, he would prance over, and she would growl and fuss. Mojo got the hint. He backed off. he dares not try to take it from her. As he shouldn't. I make sure he has his own plus an extra few laying around. Mojo is not a barker. He doesn't bark at all. Cept when she takes his chew or she has one he wants. He will start barking at her from a safe distance away. I just go pick him up, tell him NO and take him to where he can find his own. no bites or blood have been shed. But he learned to leave her alone. I dont expect her to give something up, or have something taken away, or treated any different than she was before Mojo came along. That would hurt her feelings. She growls at him the same way when she's had enough playing and she goes to hide under her blankey and nap and he comes and pounces on her. He backs off then as well. Dogs have to communicate somehow. Its dog language. She is never aggressive or hurting him. in fact if i fuss at him and he squeals like a drama queen she comes running to his aid. she has to sniff him and make sure he's ok. I laugh and tell her he's just complaining no body hurt him.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:00 PM
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All of this advice makes a lot of sense. It can be a little uneasy seeing such a sweet dog being a "dog" sometimes and speaking dog language. Sorry if that sounds completely silly, but it's true. I thought I was seeing some evil side to her lol. Glad to know its pretty much completely normal, I've owned dogs when I was younger (so, my parents owned dogs, lol) but usually only one at a time, so I've never seen multi dog interactions. This is why I come here! We can always learn more.

By the way, I thought it might be brought up about Maya poking her head in Navi's food bowl and I just wanted to mention that so you got more of an idea of things, though that happened only one time and yes spoiled Maya didn't know any better and now I lock them in while they're eating so that's not a problem.
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