Making Missy A Model K9 Citizen

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by southerngirl, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. southerngirl Honored Member

    Okay so Missy has a few minor issues that I would like to work on to get rid of. So I'll start with one and when Missy no longer does that behavior I'll go to the next.

    So first Missy I think is territorial or overprotective of me, my other small animals and small children. She growls and shows her teeth at Chase. Some examples are: 1. Chase will come in my room and Missy will follow him around blocking him, growling and showing teeth. She does not like Chase being in my room. Another is: 2. Chase was barking at my cat because he was on the table Missy got in between the table and Chase blocking him from the cat and growled at him. 3. My nephew fell asleep in my arms, Missy was laying at my feet. My sister helped me get up so we wouldn't wake him. Missy barked and growled at her, but did back off when I told her. Please help not only is it annoying, but I'm also worried.

    P.S. I can't work on it this week because I will be gone for a week. But I'm starting now so that I have a plan once I get back.
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  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    I'm back home. Please I'm open to all ideas and suggestions.
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  3. sara Moderator

    I didn't spot this before. Sorry! Basically when training a dog to quit being protective, you need to remove what she's protecting. If she's protecting you, move away from her, without saying anything, just walk away... it can be a bit of a dance lol. The other thing to do is throw a handful of food in the opposite direction of what she's guarding.

    As for your room... it might be a good idea to prevent free access to it for awhile. Only allowing the dogs in when invited. Make sure she sees you invite in Chase as well. Hopefully she'll learn that you're ok with him there. I'm sure others will have alot better ideas, but this is basically what I do with Ollie. He has those tendencies but I never give him anything to guard.
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  4. southerngirl Honored Member

    Thank You! Missy basically lives in my room because my dad doesn't like dogs so her being in my room keeps her out of the way it's her safe spot. But when she is coming in with me I will have her wait to be invited in. Is that okay?
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  5. sara Moderator

    Ya... it's fine. It just gives her a boundry that's yours to control... however it doesn't always work and you need to do ot positively so she's not concerned about it and is in a happy frame of minds
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  6. MaryK Honored Member

    Sorry I missed this thread, been catching up, after all that happened.

    Sara has given you excellent advice. Just move away and give Missy nothing to guard and yes, it can be a bit of a dance:rolleyes:

    Again with your room, invite the dogs in, I understand it's Missy's 'safe haven' but she does need to learn it's also Chases' safe haven too. No need to say to you do it all with love:)
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  7. southerngirl Honored Member

    Missy is now not allowing Chase in the hallway or bathroom. She tries to block him, she follows him and shows her teeth growling. Weird thing is she is fine with the puppy in my room.
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  8. MaryK Honored Member

    Oh dear! First, most dogs are fine with puppies (there are a few exceptions I had a GS who, whilst an angel out, wouldn't allow even a puppy in HER home). So that's possibly why Missy is fine with the puppy.

    With Chase and the hallway and bathroom, again you'll have to do the 'walk away' avoidance. I had the same issue with Ra Kismet and Zeus - Ra Kismet was VERY protective Zeus is a lover not a fighter but........ I had to move away or sideways between them.

    When did this start Danielle? Is it recent? Like since the puppy arrived? Or has this been a 'building up' issue?

    If you can pin point when it started, we may be able to get a clear picture of the 'why'. Which of course means the solution may be a bit easier to work on.
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  9. southerngirl Honored Member

    It's been building up. She used to just not let him in my room, than my bathroom(her water bowl and food goes in there) and then the hallway. Also I used to not allow Chase in my room because Missy wasn't fixed yet so he would pee all over my stuff and when Missy was in heat I had to keep him away from her.
    Chase pretty much ignores her. He is a happy go lucky dog. Sometimes he will walk into my room, smell everything and then leaves. It seems like he is saying to Missy I will come in here if I want.
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  10. MaryK Honored Member

    Had a feeling it had been building up. First, her water/food is in your bath room, so a bit of resource guarding could be happening there. I understand why you've got it in your room o.k.:) Maybe best if Chase refrains from going into your bathroom if that's possible - avoid any trouble etc.

    Initially it was a no no to Chase, perfectly understandable as he's entire and Missy on heat - yep been there know what it's like - male territory marking no respect for your stuff at all. However, that's given Missy the idea that having Chase in your room is forbidden, and of course, now she's de-sexed, he's coming in "Whoa! Hey Mom what's going on, how come he now comes in?".

    Does Chase react at all? Or does he just ignore her? Lucky you if he does, Zeus started to react back!

    If Chase is ignoring Missy and she's not physically biting/snapping at him, is it a situation where you too can just ignore it all? Are her lips curled right up showing the canine teeth or not showing her teeth at all when she growls at Chase? I know you're very sensible and would be 'right on it' if there was any possibility Chase could be harmed, but if he's ignoring Missy and NOT in danger himself, then possible just a quiet 'ignore the whole thing' may work. It's as if you're not getting 'fussed' about him wandering in, having a sniff around and leaving, so then Missy may take her 'cue' from your behavior.

    If not, then you will need to use the avoidance method and, if possible, only allow both dogs (I know that's very difficult for you to do) into your room when YOU invite them in and needless to say, keep it fair, one in both in:)

    I'll give it some more thought, am trying to get 'caught' up - we were without power for over 24 hours, got it back on again and then it went down once more for a few hours - so I'm way behind in all areas!!!!!!!!
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  11. southerngirl Honored Member

    Nope, not at all.
    She has snapped at Chase in the hallway. I just find it annoying that while Chase is in my room she is growling at Chase and I don't want her to actually end up biting him or the other way around.
    Yes, her lips are curled up so that her canine teeth are showing.

    Yes, I can and will ignore it and will. Thank you.:)
    Wow that sucks not having power for that long. It can be fun not to have power(me and my fam. play board games), but a pain too.
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  12. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I just saw this thread too - I had totally missed it. I'm wondering .. just wondering .. and it may not work .. I'm wondering if you removed Missy from your room when she growled - put her outside your door (into the hallway?) and closed her out for maybe 1-2 min, then opened your door and invite her in, and try again .. and again ... you get the idea. She growls, she goes out to the hall behind a closed door for 1-2 min (away from you and Chase). Rinse, repeat. Yes, your family would have to know what was going on, that you were doing a training exercise with Missy, that's why she wasn't in your room for a few min, etc. But - yes, she's guarding you, your (HER) room, your (HER) bathroom, etc from Chase. Removing her from what she wants the most (you and all her possessions) when she growls may get the point across to her fairly quickly - you control the resources, and when she acts like that, she gets removed. She acts politely, she gets to stay. If/when you can catch her being calm when Chase is in your room, even for seconds, be sure to toss her treats and praise her big time. Let her know that her calm behavior when he's in there is exactly what you want. Reward what you want. I'm not so sure ignoring what you don't want is the best thing in this case - cuz she's getting to practice bad behavior (resource guarding). And I don't know if what I suggested will work, both with your house and your family (and with Missy) - but thought I'd toss it out.
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  13. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I could be totally wrong, but is there a danger that Missy might stop growling if she is being punished for it, and then go straight for the bite? I've read many times warnings not to punish a dog for growling, as it is their "yellow light".
  14. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Not suggesting Missy be punished at all, nothing should even be said to her - she should just be removed for a minute or two. Missy won't fear anything will happen to her, she'll just wonder what just happened? And why? Punishing a growl - telling a dog NO! using a choke collar to 'correct' it, hitting a dog when it growls, etc, can absolutely shut it down to where they'll just stop growling and go directly to biting. But removing a dog from it's resources when it acts inappropriately is telling the dog you act like that, you don't get to be with us. Missy would basically be getting a 'time out' for a minute, for inappropriate behavior.
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  15. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Sorry, I was using the term "punishment" as defined as something that makes a behavior less likely to be repeated, not in the sense that it would make the dog fearful. Isn't a "time out" a negative punishment? I just thought that it was wrong to teach a dog not to growl as they are then more likely to bite without warning first.
  16. southerngirl Honored Member

    Thanks Jakienmutts that sounds like it could work. I'll try that out today.
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  17. jackienmutts Honored Member

    My Alfie, as social and as dog and people friendly as he is, tends to be on the "guardy" side with me, when other dogs enter the picture (as in a dog park, walking with the dog group, etc). He LOVES being in the company of other dogs, but doesn't want them around me, and will raise his lip, sometimes growl, body block, etc. (altho no problems here at home with Makena). Then he takes it a step further. If he then becomes attached to one of the people (gets to know them well over time and really likes them), he'll even do that with their own dog - body block, etc. and put himself in between them and their own dog! I noticed him start doing this when visiting a friend's house, we were all outside, and he starting driving their dogs off into the yard (thank heavens they were very good about it) - and I finally had to leash him.

    Being a GS, I know they have protective tendencies and didn't want to make this worse and sought help from the trainers at our facility. Two of the best recommended removing him from what he was guarding - me, his friends, etc - and then trying again. And again. And again. He's gotten much better, altho still does it occasionally. He's a work in progress. He's never fought, snapped, bitten, etc. It's never gotten worse, and in fact, he's gotten more tolerant. It's taken a lot of work, and in some cases, I can't "work the problem", depending on where we are - sometimes I just have to keep on moving (like at a dog park - I just keep on walking, always stay a moving target), that way, he can't focus on me and another dog at the same time, and he'll lose interest. When he sees me petting another dog and does nothing, he gets treated and praised heavily!! He's come a long way, but still has plenty of room for improvement.

    Will this work for every dog? I doubt it - since not everything works for every dog in every situation. But it may be worth a try since Danielle, Missy, and Chase are in a very confined space. And if Missy can be gently removed immediately every time she "acts inappropriately" and isn't allowed to be with Danielle, it will give her a minute or two to think about what just got her removed. On the flip side, she needs to be told how fabulous she is when she does allow Chase to wander in - even for a few seconds.
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  18. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Wanted to add one more thing to my post above - I've never "corrected" Alfie for being "guardy/protective", meaning, I've never told him NO!, I've never given him a 'leash-pop' or collar correction (he just wears a buckle collar) when on leash, I've never given him any kind of "punishment" in that kind of sense -- only removed him from what he felt valuable enough to guard (me or other humans). Thankfully, nothing else is of high enough value to him, he's great with toys, food, treats, etc. I guess he just loves his people a little too much. :love: (So thankful that's really his only issue - things could be much, much worse!).
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  19. MaryK Honored Member

    Jackie, you've said exactly what I was going to say, 'remove Missy quietly from the room(s) in question for a minute or two'. Sorry Danielle I didn't get back sooner, but Jackie has really explained it well. It's not punishing Missy, it's a safe way of 'ignoring' her behavior.

    Also, you could try 'calming signals' licking your lips, yawning etc. but I've found that only really works when you can be face to face with the dog, and from personal experience only if they're not overly aroused.

    I did ask at Leaf's school (which is strictly Positive Reinforcement Training Only) and they basically gave the same advice as Jackie (I'd read your post replying to my questions in the email update). As she's raising her lips when growling then it's a bit more heavy duty than just a soft warning growl, and does need to be stopped, otherwise it may escalate.

    And of course, as Jackie has said, loads of treats and praise when she accepts Chase in your rooms without resource guarding you and HER rooms.

    Keep us posted Danielle
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