Dogs who guard their food (or other resources such as bones and toys and even people) are a danger to anyone coming near. Although it is NORMAL dog behavior (and often manifested by stiffening, staring, growling or snapping), we must teach our dogs not to do it. If your dog guards her food from you, rest assured she does not see you as her leader.
With some work, you can change your relationship with her and extinguish this dangerous behavior. You should always be able to take anything away from your dog, even if it’s food, and even if it’s already in her mouth.
Prevention is ALWAYS better than correction.
To PREVENT food guarding, there is some simple stuff you can do with your puppy so this dangerous behavior never starts. I’ll explain in a second.
With an older dog who is already guarding her food, it’s tougher but doable and I’ll discuss that too.
Dogs Sniffing People - Part 2 (see below for part 1)
Last week I wrote about dogs' desires over-riding a guest's right to personal body space.
"It's her nature to sniff your crotch.
Please feel free to sniff hers."
Yep! That IS a sign some dog owners proudly display!
(To be honest, maybe I'm weird, but I don't really like dogs sniffing my crotch and... I'll pass on reciprocating, but thanks anyway.)
I wrote about how Jetta had been trained to go to - and stay - on the couch or in her bed when a guest came to visit.
Once the visitor was in and ready, he or she could approach the couch (or bed) to pet Jetta, who was THRILLED but STABLE in staying put unless invited to "Come say Hi."
And I teach this to my students. BUT... there's an alternative I failed to mention. So here it is!
LOVE your FABULOUS tongue!
Does your kid have one of these rubber tongues? Jetta had one. It was so fun to take her shopping with her tongue "hanging out." The part she holds in her mouth is ball-shaped and easy to hold. Got lots of laughs when we were out and about! And of course, Jetta was so PROUD!
Have you ever seen a sign like this at a dog owner's house?
Umm... not very hospitable, is it? In fact... it's hostile, right?
I actually have seen signs like this at people's houses. Not at any of my students' homes, but at other dog enthusiasts' I've know thru dog training clubs, etc.
Jetta is gone now, of course, but when someone came to my home, she quit barking when I told her to, and she jumped up onto the couch or into her wicker basket, depending on which I pointed to.
(BTW: That was HER couch. I bought that couch FOR HER. She did let me sit on it with her though. LOL)
Then, when my guest came through the door, she stayed on the couch or in her bed. (And this is what I teach to students, too, of course.) When my guest was READY to see her, either he or she would approach the couch to pet her, or I'd call Jetta off the couch to say hi.
This person has a right to not interact with a dog if he or she doesn't want to. And even if they don't like dogs, that doesn't make them a bad person and unwelcome in my home.
BTW... if you've been reading my newsletter for awhile, you know that in 2007 I went on trial for a crime I did not commit. (And yes, I had eye witnesses and was found not guilty in a jury trial.) A woman in Salem named Billy Jean Peirce lied to the police and told them I sic'd Jetta on her. A cop came to my door - POUNDING on my door! - to serve me a summons to go to arraignment.
I opened the door to see him with his hand on his gun, asking if my "dogs" were contained.
Jetta was loose, but assigned to stay on the couch and be quiet. LUCKY! Lucky she was trained and stable. Cops often kill dogs who rush them! And a DOBERMAN??? Bye-bye doggie.
But I digress...
When a guest comes to my home, I want my dog to control herself.
People have a right to their own personal body space.
75% of Raffle Entrants Complained About Barking and...
A Barker WON!
Let's do it again! Enter now for February 15 Drawing!
A barker won. What a surprise! Here's what Joanne said when I asked how I can help:
I have 2 Doxies: male is 3 yrs; female is 7 year. Both are rescues & both bark although not always at the same time, The male howls too.. They can see the street from the front door and if a person or person with dog walks by they go crazy & can't seem to stop themselves even after no one is visible anymore. Same with mailman; UPS trucks.
I have moved their beds so they can't see out & it is quieter, but does not stop.
So... we will work on it! She is setting up her lesson soon. Let's make the house quieter and the dogs happier.
Congratulations Joanne! Looking forward to working with you and your kids!
Snickers, who I trained by phone years ago... 11 years old now. Good girl Snickers!
Guess What is the #1 Complaint
of Raffle Entrants?
About 75% of the people who entered my raffle
for a free lesson want me to help them with...
All kinds of barking.
Here's the question I asked raffle entrants:
If you win the lesson, what would you like me to help you with?
Some of the answers:
"Barking at passing dogs."
"He sees another dog and barks uncontrollably, all while huffing and puffing."
"How to get our dog to stop barking and growling at everybody walking by our house!"
"My barker who barks at everything, including leaves and who taught my other dog to bark."
"Our dog barks at everything, including cars just driving by our house."
"Barking!! I do not mind if warning me of danger but one barks at everything, including falling leaves, and so our other one joins in."
"My corgi is very jealous of my border collie and barks at her. She barks at moving things like bikes, the quad, car, etc."
"I have a barker who rushes through the house barking at anything that goes by.... driving me crazy... would love your help with this!!"
And... "MAKE HER STOP BARKING."
And it gets worse... And people do this... Gets people hurt and dogs killed...
Pic from The Denver Post: Having Pella with them on the stand can help children feel safe and that they are not alone when testifying, often against their abusers.
My Doberman, Dancer, and I used to do trick shows at nursing homes.
Afterwards, I'd take her up and down the aisles letting everyone pet her.
On one visit, a man was petting her and talking, talking, talking to her... didn't say a single word to me, or respond when I addressed him, but he talked NONSTOP to Dancer!
When Dancer and I moved on, one of the staff came up behind me and whispered that he had not spoken in 6 months.
Wow! The power of a DOG!
In Colorado, there is a Labrador, Pella, who helps children (victims and witnesses) testify in court. Pella lends her doggie talents in about 100 cases per year, comforting kids so they feel safe in a scary environment, often facing their abusers.
From the Denver Post:
The teenage girl walked into Sungate Kids child advocacy center in Greenwood Village and refused to speak to anyone, including her own mother.
Another family member had been accused of sexually abusing her — the kind of case employees had seen countless times before — and the girl was deploying the best nonverbal defense she had.
“She was curled up in a ball in her chair, and she had her head down and her face covered by hair,” said Amber Urban, criminal investigator for the 18th Judicial District in Arapahoe County. “I walked out and introduced myself and said, ‘Do you like dogs?’ And she looked immediately up, wiped the hair from her face and said, ‘You have a dog?’ ”
Pella, a brown-eyed, Lab-Golden Retriever mix, trotted into the room and calmly sat in front of the girl. From then on, she spoke regularly with Urban, giving her crucial evidence that was used to secure a conviction.
Chris Gallo remembers a similar scene — except with a 5-year-old girl who needed to testify in court against an older, trusted family member.
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