Untrainable?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by MAA, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. MAA New Member

    I adopted my Tibetan Spaniel mix in January. She's approximately 24-30 mos. old. She is a good dog, but has does have issues such as resource guarding. She guards me from my husband, she guards our house from people that come, such as workmen or friends. By nature she is a guard dog and alarms us of anything unusual or if there is a person or animal outside. Today she bit the air conditioning work man when he was leaving the house (on the leg) then bit my husband on the thumb. Someone told me that she is herding when she goes for people as they are leaving, but never has actually bitten someone. I'm finding her guarding is worse since I got her. She also guards toys, bones, food from us and will growl and snarl so badly that it's scary. I tried taking the food away and feeding it to her piece by piece by piece which helped a little bit, but the bone and treat issue makes me not want to give her any treats or bones because she becomes so aggressive. She will hide a treat under my desk without my knowledge. When I go to my desk she will snarl and growl at me. The first time it happened I thought the dog was seriously disturbed. I was afraid of her. Later I found a milk bone wedged between my desk & the wall. The other issue is my dog is in love with my neighbor. When we go for a walk she can't wait to see her. She'll sit at her door and I'll ring the bell. If she isn't home, my dog will cry at her door. Once inside she won't stop licking her and jumping on her. We are trying to stop this behavior because she's totally out of control with the licking & jumping. When it's time to leave, she refuses to leave. We will get to the driveway and Chloe wants to go back. So she'll resist going home on the leash and I have resorted to carrying her part way home. It's like she's telling me she wants to stay at the neighbor's house. I don't know where to begin with my dog Chloe. I have run out of patience with her and feel like she is untrainable. I've been so good to her and she certainly has it made at my house. I bake her dog treats and make her dog food myself. She almost acts like nothing is good enough for her. I'm feeling like it's not a good fit lately. She came from a rescue shelter and now is at a hotel. She's very high maintenance. In, out, in out, and needy. Did I spoil her to the point of no return?
    If anyone wants to chime in here, please do. Don't hold back. Maybe it's me.

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Untrainable? No such thing! Lol.

    First of all, dogs are not capable of reasoning enough to act out in spite, or for revenge. Your dog is not misbehaving because "your house isn't good enough;" dogs simply don't think that way. Your dog just has some issues that will need some PATIENCE and lots of work. :) Don't give up on her. It's just a matter of working through it.
    If you KNOW you do not have the patience to spend the time she will need to get her through these things, then do her a favor and return her. (Not that I think she is like a pair of jeans that you bought that don't fit that you can just return to the store. Just that if you are 200% sure that you WILL NOT be able to devote the time she needs, then NEITHER OF YOU will benefit from keeping her in hopes that she'll "get over it.")
    However, don't give up on her if you care about her enough to work through it.
    Because her aggression is fairly high, I would recommend going to a professional---BE PICKY. DO NOT go with a trainer who uses aversive or corrective methods. Look for a trainer who uses positive reinforcement methods.
    Check out our classroom to get some basics taught that will help you in the longrun--the classroom does not cost you anything.
    Also, here are some links to threads here as well as books that will help you a great deal:

    http://www.dogtrickacademy.com/memb...other-dogs-to-come-around-us.3460/#post-23553

    http://www.amazon.com/Mine-Practica...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303615465&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Leader-Pack-h...702X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1303615530&sr=8-2

    Also look up Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. There is a DVD and a book. You would not believe how much this can help you. :)
    If you want things to work out with her, then you need to understand that you will need to devote a lot of time to helping her with these issues. I definitely recommend getting the help of a POSITIVE professional, along with looking into the books and threads I linked. These will all help you very much. I'm sure other members will have other suggestions for you as well.

    Best of luck to you, and try to be patient with her. You don't know her entire history, and she will need you to be patient, hopeful, and determined to help her with this. Feel free to post questions in the forums, or if you're just needing a little help staying focused. :)
    Welcome to the Academy!
    mewzard and tigerlily46514 like this.
  3. mewzard Experienced Member

    Tx has great advice.
    I had a thought that maybe you could teach/encourage her to take her bones/treats to one spot in the house. That way you will remove the possibility of accidently triggering a guarding situation. E.g her bed/crate and she only gets treats/bone there.
    Whats her general obedience like? Spending a few minutes a day teaching her basics like sit/down/shake a paw, would improve your relationship especially as you sound quite nervous of her (as would i be to be honest). If you are worried about her takes the treats nicely you could toss them to her so your hands are out of the equation.

    I don't think you *spoilt* her, you've given her love and affection - thats not a bad thing. She has no idea that you are different to other humans by making her treats or food etc. You are seeking a solution, thats not the action of someone *spoil* someone/somethign. You said her guarding -got worse- that means it was there before. She has many great new things and she needs to make sure that they aren't taken from her. You've had her 4 months of her ~30m... who knows what she had to deal with for those other 26?
    Does she guard when at your neighbours house?
    I would seriously find a POSITIVE professional (no shock collars or 'alpha rolling') to help you with this.

    Welcome to the forum too!
    One last thing to bare in mind (i don't know if you do or not but i'm just saying it)- don't scold her for growling - thats your warning signal...if she's told to stop growling any bite will just be done without a warning.
  4. sara Moderator

    I adopted a 6 year old dog with known resource guarding issues. I managed to get it out of him in a matter of weeks. First, I took away the bowl and any or all things that trigger the guarding (except me of course!) I hand fed him each and every piece of food, making him work for it. (sit, down, target hand, and then eventually other tricks) I eventually introduced the bowl back, but hand fed him out of the bowl. then started making him work for the entire bowl. he lets me pet him, stick my hand in the bowl, pull on his ears, and put my hands over his face. he's absolutely fine now (he used to attack anyone who went near his dish) I NEVER take anything away from him. He needs to be secure in the knowledge that once given, it will not be taken away.

    as to him guarding me, I never let him on my lap, or on the furniture for a couple of weeks. then I started asking for a sit or down before letting him up. I never let anyone try to pet him if I was holding him. I just put him down and told the person wanting to pet him to wait until he comes to you. He's great with strangers now... he used to try to attack people who tried to touch him near me.

    funnily enough, he never tried to guard his foster mom from me, I think he knew he was mine right from the get go.

    Another book that may help you is "Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog" by Emma Parsons.

    Good luck!

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