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Rusty the Collector

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Rusty, my red & white guy, has really turned out to be a very loving and sweet pup. He does have a little bit of dog aggression sometimes when meeting strange dogs for the first time (he never goes after them, but can be just a little bit growly). He has this compulsion, however, to "collect" things.


We bought this monster-size bed for he and Allie to sleep on, but there is only room for Rusty because he feels the need to have every single toy in the toy box on the bed at all times. If I put them away, the minute I turn my back he sneaks over to the toy box and puts them back on the bed. (I ended up buying a second smaller bed for Allie to use.)


If I give both dogs a treat of any kind, he waits until Allie sets it down or turns her back and then he sneaks over and swipes it and puts it with his. Or if I give them a frozen dog treat (Frosty Paws, or something like that) he always tries to get the one I give to Allie. He's not aggressive about it at all, he just wants whatever she has.


He also takes dog cookies and chew toys and hoards them. If Allie eats from one dish, Rusty wants to eat from that dish too. If she moves to the other dog bowl, he moves to that one, too. Allie is getting just a little bit tired of this and they have had a couple of squabbles recently. We always take back the item and tell Rusty "No, that's Allie's", but it doesn't even phase him. He just wags his tail and waits until the next time we aren't watching. We've gotten firmer over the last couple of weeks because he has become quite the hoarder. I have been feeding Allie in her crate this week because Rusty is starting to really bug her.


Any suggestions for curtailing this behavior? Like I said, he's not aggressive or snippy about it, but it's driving Allie crazy. Thanks. :rolleyes:

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At least he isn't aggerssive about it. It's kind of cute how he just tries to take it. Maybe he just likes to be with his toys in his bed? No one ever said he had to share his giant bed with Allie :rolleyes:


Black Jack kind of does the same thing. He'll get all his toys out and leaeve them on "his" bed for safe keeping.

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Sounds like some subtle resource guarding going on there. I wouldn't put up with it...ESPECIALLY the treat/food taking. Imagine if he tries that on some strange dog at the park or something one of these days, except the other dog is not as patient as sweet Allie....the outcome could be pretty nasty.


Try feeding them in crates, or making them eat on different sides of the room. Should Rusty try sneaking one of Allie's goodies, teach him to "leave it!" and/or that an unpleasant time out occurs if he doesn't listen. The toys doesn't sound like too bad of an issue, unless of course he is purposefully stealing them from Allie --and I don't mean in that playful 'keep-away' manner. This could aid you in future encounters with other dogs, or situations where you don't know the other animal is going to be as patient as your Allie.

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I would say it is definitely a form of resource guarding, but not the usual type. We've done the crate thing and he knows "leave it" and does -- if you catch him sneaking the items. :rolleyes: I really think he just feels the compulsion to have the items around him. He was in rescue in homes with 4+ dogs, sometimes with even more and they were bigger dogs, so I can understand the feeling he has to make sure he gets his share. We don't allow the taking of Allie's treats, etc. He lets the scolding just roll off his little back. He delights in having toys around him and Allie takes back the ones she is interested in. He also wants to be on the same side of the car, sit on her blankets, get petted when she does, be next to her in the backyard . . .


I have started taking them on separate walks, at least once a day so that Allie gets the time and attention she needs, and Rusty does, too. He loves Allie, maybe just a little too much.

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If the behavior concerns you and/or is causing problems, I would put away all the toys and only allow the dogs supervised access to them.


Same goes for treats -- treat time should be formal -- as in both dogs in crates for treats so no stealing can occur.


Rusty probably feels insecure (as you noted) so crating them both would take away the fear (unfounded, but nevertheless) that he will lose things to Allie. After a while, you may be able to relax the restrictions.


I leave toys out ad libitum because Solo generally isn't interested in them (except for The Ball, which he only gets when I play with him, because I am not a fan of having balls thrown in my face while I'm trying to sleep or do something else), but treats and chews are only enjoyed in a formal setting when I am there and they are supervised. This is because Fly is oblivious and will grab whatever she sees, and Solo does not care to have his things taken, and because Solo in his turn can be possessive, and will sometimes try to steal Fly's treats. He is usually unsuccessful because she eats faster than any dog alive, but I figure they both deserve to relax while they enjoy their things and the only way to ensure this is to supervise.

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