Insecure About Posession

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by ambara, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. ambara Active Member

    When Rohan came to live with me, he was really bad about stealing stuff and chewing them. I think he's previous owners chased him whenever he had something he shouldn't and probably punished him when they caught him (though I'm 100% certain he hasn't been abused). So while Rohan has never been at all resource aggressive, he is very very insecure when he has something. He is so worried that I'm going to take he's toy or whatever away from him that he can't really relax and runs away if I make any movement towards him.

    I started to teach him 'leave it' but that's not going so well, also I always give him something better if I take something away from him and of course I never ever chase him. He's gotten little bit better especially after we started playing this game where I throw him a toy and than start playing with identical toy -> he comes to see what I'm doing and joins the game so he gets that toy and I go and get the one he discarded. Now he brings me those toys to play with which makes me super happy but he only does this with the toys we have already practiced with. With new things he is just as skittish as he was in the beginning. This really bothers me because I'd like him to trust me with he's resources. I'd really like him to be able to just lay down and chew the stick he just found even if I do walk by him (or just looking at him makes him bolt).

    Any ideas on how to improve he's trust with me would be super appreciated! Also I'd love to hear about any experiences similar dogs and how/if they have gotten better?

  2. jackienmutts Honored Member

    A few questions - then I'll ponder an answer. How old is Rohan, and how long have you had him? And I'm assuming Rohan lives with the other dogs pictured above (Max, Hauru, and Avallon) - how is he with them? Skittish also, or is he ok with them? I'll wait and see what you say - then respond.
    Dodge likes this.
  3. ambara Active Member

    He turns 1 year next Saturday and I've had him for almost six months. I suppose it's a relatively short time but most of he's other issues have been already fixed or at least show major improvement so I feel like I should do more work with this one. Yes, he lives with the other dogs and I do think he is better with them, more... normal. He doesn't want them taking he's stuff either but he doesn't overreact the way he does with me and think that every single move or look is an attempt to take things away from him.
  4. charmedwolf Moderator

    Could I suggest teaching a bad dog retrieve?

    I used this on my Boxers Isis and Jinx. As Isis likes to steal socks from everywhere even feet and Jinx like stealing shoes. Now, if they do take them they usually bring them back to me instead of running off.
    Dodge and jackienmutts like this.
  5. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Good suggestion by Charmedwolf - I like the exercise, it really goes into detail, step by step. You may want to start working thru that whole thing, it sounds like a good idea.

    Another thing you may want to do with Rohan, since you said just looking at him sometimes makes him want to bolt, is .. have you ever worked *on leash* with him at a "look at me" command? Just him and you, working at making eye contact? He looks at you, click/treat. Just sessions on that - eye contact, treat. Eye contact, treat. No sudden movements, just be relaxed, eye contact, treat. If I'm understanding your description, it sounds like maybe he needs to just plain ol' relax, period - no? You might also try just *not making eye contact with him* but tossing him treats when you walk by him just during everyday life around the house, so he starts seeing you as the source of everything good, not as one who might take stuff away. He'll start paying more attention to you, watching for you, hmmm, if I stick around her, no tellin' what I might get! Try different things like that and see if, over time, he starts seeing you differently.

    He's still young, and altho 6 mos probably sounds like a long time to you, if he had other issues too, and those have been resolved, it sounds like he's really making progress and you're doing a great job! Just give him time and patience and keep working with him.
    Dodge likes this.
  6. ambara Active Member

    I'll definitively try both the retrieve and tossing treats! We have practiced eye contact as a separate thing for obedience training so that's something he knows quite well. I should say that he isn't normally a shy dog, he's actually quite rowdy and... I'm not sure how to say it in English but physical maybe? He likes to slam into me and that sort of thing and I've had to teach him that people aren't bowling pins ;) Only if he has something he likes he becomes wary of people. Teaching him to relax more is a good idea too, he's pretty hyper so it could help in different areas of our life as well.
    Dodge likes this.
  7. IceGirl Well-Known Member

    Mine used to be much like you described Rohan, only he wasn't really shy, he just didn't like his toys being take away (well he still doesn't like that but he is much better now:)). I simply played a little game of exchange with him, much like you described above. I had 3 toys, one was behind my back, one in my hands and Aske had the last one. Then I offered him my toy and he dropped his. I picked it up, put it behind my back and then again offered him a toy, this time the one that had been behind my back. After a while I started picking up his toy before I gave him mine, but I did show it to him. In the end I took his toy and only then reached behind my back to gave him one of the two toys I had there. I played this maybe 2-3 times and he was much better after this.

    Also playing fetch might help. Maybe you can play with two toys in the beginning, to make it easier for him to drop the toy :)
    Dodge likes this.
  8. laramie Experienced Member

    Concerning him running when you look at him, try running away in the opposite direction while making lots of noise. I don't know if this will help, but he may become so interested in you that he drops his toy and comes to investigate. Also, about trusting you with his resources, try having him sit and wait before feeding him. This shows him that the good stuff comes from you and doing what you say. Also consider teaching drop it. If not now, then eventually because it shows that him giving you some (a toy) gets him a reward.

    Hope this helps!
  9. ambara Active Member

    Thank you again for the replies! All tips will certainly be put to use :)
  10. ambara Active Member

    It's been just few weeks since I wrote this but Rohan is already doing better. He sometimes brings he's toys near me and than chews them peacefully :) The other day he stole my mom's slipper (from her hand, naughty boy!) but brought it straight back when she asked, not even the slightest hint that he was going to run off with it. He's still a bit skittish if I lean over him or make sudden movements which make him think I'm about to make a move on he's toy but that's getting better too. And if instead I crouch down and wait for him bring the toys to me he's just happy to try and initiate tug games. In fact I'm sometimes being showered with dog toys when I'm trying to do something that doesn't involve him :D

    I think the biggest change has been that I've been throwing treats / other toys (he prefers toys over food) to him whenever he has a toy and I'm walking by, like Jackienmutts suggested. He's a greedy little dog so he got the idea very fast. I've also implemented all of the other suggestions too so I guess it's not that big of a surprise he's getting the hang of it! There's still work to be done but I'm so happy he's finally starting to show improvement.
    IceGirl likes this.
  11. aijing2011 New Member

    Also consider teaching drop it. If not now, then eventually because it shows that him giving you some (a toy) gets him a reward.
    Landmark Hotel Beijing

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