|Barked: Tue May 8, '12 9:31am PST |
|Keep in mind, resource guarding CAN be worked on, but it is a long process that takes a lot of time and patience to do(you can't just drop a dish in the crate and be done with it). That said, if you know you can't handle it, or can't work on it, that is YOUR decision and you have every right to make it and I fully understand you not wanting to put Ava in danger either of a dog fight.
My foster dog Beau had a lot of resource guarding problems. He'd guard the couch/bed/furniture he was on, his food dish, toys, chews, crate, etc. He even guarded from Charlie and ONE fight did break out at one point thanks to people tossing treats over my fence. And the biggest problem? I found out AFTER I took him on as a foster.
The number one thing I started off with working on was trust. Earning his trust and helping him to trust me. All good things brought treats. I never invaded his space. I let him come to me, always, for any pets or affection instead of the other way around. I exercised the heck out of him. I did everything I could to make it so that I was amazing and he wanted everything to do with me. Then I started working on his resource guarding AFTER. Initially, I kept him and Charlie separated. During feeding time, I had them in different rooms, then slowly built them up to being in the same room, but tied to opposite sides of the room.
I kept everything under Beau's threshold and built up his threshold so that I could eventually sit next to him with my hand in his food dish without any reaction. But this took me MONTHS of work and I still never fed him and Charlie together - just had them eating their food at the same time in the same room. But it got to the point where he was fine with people being around his dish and that was the biggest thing of all. I never let him on furniture, so he couldn't guard that. He was leashed most of the time he was with me to prevent such things from possibly happening. I'd ask him to go into his crate and instead of closing the crate door, I'd toss him treats, then walk away and take a break and repeat. I built it up to being able to put stuffed kongs in his kennel before he entered so that I could get the door shut behind him so he didn't feel the need to snap at my hands and remove the empty kong later without reaction. He stopped guarding his crate.
I was the first and only foster parent that had ever had him previously WITHOUT ever being bit by him. If he had ANY signs of getting stressed, tense or upset, I backed off and left him alone. I taught him that barking to tell me to back off was better than snapping or biting. I learned what his triggers were and what he was okay with. Did I get snapped at? Twice. Only with his crate, and only because I had never been told he guarded his crate too. I only knew he guarded his food, which he never got in a dish anyway.
Working with this puppy will take a lot of time and patience. And in a puppy so young, I'm amazed. But it CAN be worked on. Can she ever eat side by side with the other dogs? Probably not. But you can work it up to her being okay with you being beside the crate while she eats. Professional help is your best bet, especially with positive reinforcement. I used quite a few of Dr. Sophia Yin's techniques for getting Beau okay with me around his food dish and her clips helped a lot with that. Learning WHAT behaviors to watch for as warning signs helped even more than that.
Rehoming her IS absolutely an option if you don't feel safe working with her. Working on it is entirely up to you and whether or not you have the time, patience and ability to do so with the guidance of a professional behaviorist/trainer. Don't try to kid yourself if deep down, you know you can or cannot. Only you can make that decision and being honest with yourself and the dog will be better for both of you in the long run.
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