Tonight we taught Chubbs how to Down and Stay. When we started, Chubbs was on a
hardwood floor, which was slippery, and he wouldn't lie down. We then brought a rug into the room and almost immediately he was able lie down. After practice he then gained the confidence to lie down on the slippery floor too. We were also able to walk out of Chubb's sight, something he could never do before.
TIP #1: GIVE-AND-TAKE
You can help prevent resource guarding in a dog who does not display signs of the behavior by teaching him a give-and-take game.
Start by offering him a toy that he likes (but is not extremely valuable to him). When he opens his mouth, say "Take it!" When he does, tell him he's a good boy, then offer him a treat.
When he opens his mouth to take the treat and drops the toy, say "Give," (or "Drop It" or "Trade," or "Share") and let him nibble at the treat while you pick up the toy. The nibbling part is important. If you let him eat the treat and then try to pick up the toy he will race you for it, which may actually encourage resource guarding.
While he is nibbling, slowly and calmly pick up the toy. Let him finish eating the treat, then offer him the toy again and say "Take It!" as he puts his mouth around it.
Practice several times a day, a few repetitions at a time. This game will teach your dog the very useful behavior of "Give" on cue. He will also learn that if he gives something up for you, odds are good that he'll get it back again, or something even better.
- Whole Dog Journal
TIP #2: RESOURCE GUARDING
So what do you do if your dog already resource guards? Although resource guarding may be a natural, normal dog behavior, but it's alarming when your own dog growls - or worse, snaps - at you over his resource. Resist your first impulse to snap back at your dog.
Instead, do this:
Shortly before I arrived for our session Romeo found a dead mouse in the snow and picked it up, so teaching him Leave It today was just a little late! But now he knows to look away from an object and earn a reward when he hears "Leave it".
Staig is a young, impulsive dog, so Leave It is an essential skill for him to learn. Not only will we use it in the house to stop him from taking things off of tables or counters, but it can also be used on a walk when he sees squirrels or other dogs. He's making such great progress.
Today was our final basic manners session with Ripp. We worked mainly on teaching him how to walk nicely on leash, including how to heel. We also played puppy ping pong to practice his come when called. He did so well!
TIP #1: CHEW ON THIS!
You can reduce the risk of damage to occasional ill-gotten items by teaching your pup to exchange toys for treats, using something he loves that he's allowed to have, such as a favorite chew toy or a food-stuffed Kong.
The key to this game is he learns that if he gives something up, he gets something better in return and he gets the original thing back as well. Two rewards for the price of one! Then, when he has a forbidden object, he's more likely to bring it to you to trade than to drag his prize to his cave under the dining room table for a leisurely chew. The rare occasion that he doesn't get "the thing" back won't be enough to overcome the programming you've done by playing the "trade" game with him frequently.
In order for this to work, you have to stop playing "chase the puppy" when he grabs the sofa cushion or some other forbidden object. This is often an attention-getting behavior; he's learned that grabbing "your" toys and dashing off with them initiates a rousing play session.
Here's what you do:
TIP #2: PLAN AHEAD BEFORE BRINGING HOME A NEW DOG
Living with multiple dogs brings a whole new set of challenges. Adding a second (or third, or fourth) dog means more fun, more love, more joy and more wonderful doggy companionship. But it also means much more from you: more time, more money, more energy, and more working through problems.
Pay attention to the type of dog that your dog "likes". While many puppies and young dogs play with just about anyone who will engage, mature dogs often have a few select "friends." Notice the personalities of your dog's friends. For example, pay attention if your dog generally does well playing with quiet females, but avoids rowdy adolescents.
When choosing a new dog, if possible, have the dogs meet each in a neutral location before making a decision. Pay attention to how they respond to each other. If your instincts tell you it isn't a good match - no matter how much you adore the potential new dog - keep looking.
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI