Starting to see a bit of bossiness and resource guarding in new dog.

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Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Sun Jun 9, '13 4:28pm PST 
Okay, so Polly the Cattle Dog has been here 3 full weeks. She's very food motivated. She can be a bit pushy--like if I'm petting Gus she wants to push in--I don't let her do that and she will go lay down.

Polly and Gus still get along great--Polly could push Gus off her food, Gus will just walk away, but I don't let her do that, I call her away until Gus finishes.

They both take treats for doing behaviors, sits, lying down, go to place at the same time. No real problem there.

But last night a friend brought over her Boston Terrier whom Polly's met and walked with before. She barked at him the moment he came in, not like she was going to necessarily get aggressive, but controlling and in retrospect seems she didn't care for him being here.

My first instinct was let me put her in another room for now . .. my friend (whom I should know better than to listen to) says, no, they've met before and laughing--she just wants to herd him because he looks like a cow . .. why don't you give them all treats.

At first that was o.k. Gus and Polly did their routine and her dog hung back a bit. But when he came close to me after a treat dropped, Polly went after him, snarking angrily . .. "no, mine, mine!" I pulled her away and put her in the other room.

Of course, my friend thinks Polly is now a monster because she rehomed a female pitbull a few years ago that attacked her Boston while she left them alone together--at that point they had been living together a year and a half. (Although prior to that she had consulted an animal behaviorist, so I think there may have been more indication of a brewing problem than she tells . . .)

She thinks I'm an idiot to keep Polly, she's a ticking time bomb and she'll go after Gus one day based on her own experience.

I did notice Polly growl off another dog at the park today when she came up to where I sat on the picnic table--there were treats in my bag, which I'm sure had to do with it.

So anyway--two questions--can I expect this sort of territorial behavior that I'll have to manage toward any visiting dogs? And, besides not having treats around strange dogs . ... what else should I be working on to nip in the bud her resource guarding of me around other dogs?

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Sun Jun 9, '13 5:39pm PST 
A couple of things to remember:

Polly is not a "monster" because your friend got their feelings hurt that your dog didn't just roll over and play doormat to her dog. Don't let anything they said to you get your feelings riled, as they are wrong and have no right to tell you your business (especially when they do not know your entire situation).

Cattle dogs are tough, hardy, stubborn dogs. They are known for not often taking the "high road" in conflicting situations, and especially not for a dog who (from what you've said of her former situation) had it pretty tough in life. Possibly having a resource as valuable as food taken is a big deal to a lot of dogs, but take an already pretty scrappy breed and you're looking at a dog who isn't going to like some strange dog coming into her home and taking what she has obviously started to perceive as her resources away from her.

Has she displayed these sort of guarding behaviors with Gus? As in, actually snarking over food, not just the rushing to eat thing?

If she's fine with Gus/dogs within the household, then with other dogs, in the house or out, I wouldn't be losing too much sleep over it. Obviously manage the situation, don't leave or offer food when other dogs are around, and if you feel so inclined you can always work with conditioning her to be more accepting around other dogs when food is present.

But me, just personally here, this isn't anything I would expend too much energy on. Sally is a terrible RGer with her food, and my solution is to feed her in another room away from the other dogs. Ridley, too, is a situational RGer, mostly with things like raw bones. I "fix" this problem by giving his bones separate, or together with Mulder (who doesn't care about Ridley's things and doesn't bother him).

So long as I am in no way involved in the guarding, or people in general, AND the actual household is at peace... it just doesn't bother me.

tiny...but fast!
Barked: Sun Jun 9, '13 5:50pm PST 
If u are worried about Polly and food you can crate feed your dogs or feed in separate rooms and not give them treats together. Or if your 2 dogs are ok with eating together just don't give food with other dogs present. All the food aggressive dogs I know are only fed in their crates and they get treats in there as well. Its a better safe than sorry method.

Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Sun Jun 9, '13 11:05pm PST 
It would not bother me terribly. If a problem with Gus does erupt, I would just feed them separately. But offering treats together for behaviours is a good way to work it for now and will teach her some impulse control.

Welcome to the world of ACDs. laugh out loud

Barked: Mon Jun 10, '13 3:23am PST 
Rigby was very much like this when we first brought her home. The issue was that her aggression was directed toward Oz, whom we lived with at the time.
Never once has she acted this way toward Cobain.

What I found entirely helpful was taking a simple obedience class with a trainer experienced in the many quirks of "rescue" dogs.
By the end of the 8 week class, Rigby was sitting next to unfamiliar dogs with food present.
I'm sure in certain situations, she may revert to her old instinct, however she has come a long way in terms of the RG-ing.

As for the friend, is she not familiar with what the APBT was originally bred for? Could that possibly had simply been a result of genetic instinct with that dog?
While ACDs aren't known for being overly tolerant of other dogs, they certainly weren't bred for the same instinct as an APBT. shrug
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Mon Jun 10, '13 6:37am PST 
I don't think Polly has snarked at Gus whatsoever over food--just tries to beat her to it, if there's a chance. Gus is so non-possessive though, she gives up toys readily to other dogs, lets you take food right out of her mouth . .. she's pretty tolerant and easy going. (They're both sleeping practically on top of each other on the bed right now.)

I have been taking Polly to beginning agility--since it's all basic stuff on leash, we're all in the ring together, not right on top of each other and she has been doing pretty well focusing on the task at hand and not worrying about other dogs.

She's made great progress in not getting overly excited when we see other dogs on walks--she started out being beside herself, "Oh my god, dog, dog . .. must go investigate!" barking, jumping and being revved up being restrained. After a few sessions of being treated for looking at them but checking back, now she's just vocalizing a little bit and immediately checking in for getting a treat and moving along. She's a pretty smart girl!

Although, I couldn't convince her that the giant concrete multi-colored turkey we encountered today was harmless! She got her hackles up and growled and barked--that thing is just NOT right! laugh out loud Gus was highly dubious the first time she saw the concrete animals too . ..

My friend with the pittie--eh, she blames the fact the she was a female as much as anything . .. she was dubious about me getting Gus or having her around her dog at first .. . . "female dogs all have dominance issues . ." she said. Gus wins everybody over though, she's a clown and total schmoozer.

I don't know the source of the conflict between her two, but I've had a couple of ideas--he was always trying to hump her, she recently told me on walks, he would just latch on and she'd walk off with him on her back--she said it was ridiculous and there was nothing she could do about it . .. (right.) She was a people sweet, very velcro dog AND horribly under exercised . ..

And since she sought the animal behaviorist and felt there were dominance issues, I'm guessing she must have seen some kind of conflict before the incident. The behaviorist told her that she needed to assert authority by making the dogs sleep on dog beds, not in her bed. But since the BT was her baby, she only made the pittie sleep on the floor and continued to let the BT sleep in her bed. The attack occurred sometime after all that. But frankly, even though she put some good gashes in his neck, she probably could have killed him if that was her intent and she didn't . . . I'm not sure why my friend even got the pittie to begin with--def. not a good breed match for her.

That was all before I had a dog, so I didn't know much at all about dog behavior then . ..
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Tue Jun 11, '13 5:38am PST 
Grr.. . Was out walking dogs yesterday afternoon and stopped by dog friendly bar where my roommate works. Was there for a little while and the girls were peaceful, chillin out. I was giving Polly treats for not reacting to things going on out the window.

Then my friend walks in with her Boston terrier, to work on her ipad because her internet is out at home. Polly does a low suspicious growl at him, but then sniffs and is o.k. Just to be safe I keep the girls at a distance.

Then some people walk by with a dog and Polly goes off barking--I'm out of treats, so I take her to the other room. In the meantime friend is going off, like "please, omg, SHUT UP!" as if she's never heard dozens of other dogs have the same reaction and this is especially psycho. I buy some pork rinds and go back to doing calm behaviors for rewards and Polly settles down.

Then I offer my friend some for her dog. Mind you we're still at a distance and I have them both by the leash, and she says "As long as she's not going to tear his face off!" naughty

I decide in the interest of harmony I'll finish our walk and take the girls home and come back to finish my beer.

So while I'm gone she asks my roommate, "Wouldn't you agree with me that's just a heartache waiting to happen?" Grrr. grrr.

While I don't have total confidence in what I know--my instincts tell me Polly's issues are very small and workable, esp. with the progress she's made in the only 3 weeks she's had of any sort of training her life. I've been eating and breathing dogs for the last four years that I've had Gus, been taking classes of various sorts almost non-stop since I've had Gus, thus been exposed to all sorts of behavior problems people including my instructors work with their young or new dogs. I have a great support system in my instructors I can call on at any time . .. as well as the experience fellow Dogsters share.

Of course none of this is relevant, as far as my friend is concerned it's written in stone---I've got a "psycho dog" who is going to kill or maim someday . ..naughty

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Tue Jun 11, '13 6:50am PST 
Boot the friend, keep the dog way to go
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Tue Jun 11, '13 7:08am PST 
Ha, ha, thanks, Mulder, I'm actually beginning to feel that way! laugh out loud

In spite of my rant, she has her good points, she's just a bit melodramatic and blind especially when it comes to "her baby". I can even understand her paranoia after her dog got hurt by the other, that would make one emotional.

I've come to realize a lot of people tend to think they're dog behavior savvy just because they've owned dogs, but can't reflect on what happened or why or how it can be worked on.

The frickin' so-called dog behaviorist she hired advised her that the best course of action was to put the pitbull down after the attack! eek

Fortunately for the dog, my friend had more heart and conscious than that and called pitbull rescues and the rescue she got her from--I went with her when she dropped her off -- she felt terribly guilty and like a failure and was bawling her eyes out. They found her a new home as an only dog with a guy who adores her.