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How do I fix toy and food aggression towards people and dogs with my puppy

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Hello I rescued a border collie pup last month and we've had him a few weeks so far he's 2 months and a crazy little pup he's been pretty good for a puppy until a few days ago he ran into my room and found a bone that belongs to my older border collie so I went to pull it away from him and he went crazy lunging and snarling and me. He's also done this to a friends dog a few treats fell on the floor and when the other dog started eating some he starting lunging and yiping at the other dog. How do I correct the treat/food aggression with him?

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Be patient. It is possible that he has had bad experiences.


Also, it is highly unwise ever to try to grab a toy or bone away from a dog you do not know really well; it will often trigger a bad response even if the dog doesn't have issues about those things. For the dog to allow you to take something away takes training, just like anything else.


I would recommend that you seek guidance from a good qualified positive reinforcement trainer in your area and take your pup to puppy classes. I would also suggest that you take rushdoggie's advice. That is a good website.


Most of all, to repeat: be patient. He is only a baby still, and needs to learn your rules. Train with kindness. Comapre the pup to yourself, when you were a little kid and feeling wild and maybe behaving in a way the adults did not like, and treat him the way you would have wanted to be treated when you were a kid. Calm intervention and kind redirection are the tools to use.

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One thing I've done to prevent/fix guarding issues is trading up. So offer a treat to trade for a toy or bone, offer the treat in a way that involves moving away from the toy/bone then when dog takes food pick up the item. I also make a habit of trading for items they can have and giving it back after I pick it up and look at it for a second. I don't want my dog to think I only take things away, so I make sure more often then not to give back the item if it's ok for them to have.


As far as food guarding start training a good leave it. So to start put a piece of food in your hand and hold out your hand with your fist closed. Let the dog sniff your hand and if they start hurting you by mouthing or pawing just turn your hand or slightly pull it back just enough to get them to stop. Don't say anything just wait until they stop for a second and then try to open your hand. If they try to get the treat quickly close your hand again and wait. Repeat until you can open your hand without the dog immediately lunging, then (even if they just stop for a split second) either use a clicker or a 'yes' marker word and give them a different treat (not the treat in your hand). It is also important to feed away from your treat hand or you may lose the treat in your hand too. So feed with your arm extended away from the food hand.


Then after it starts to be reliable start adding your command 'leave it'. So say 'leave it', open hand, if the dog leaves the treat use your click or 'yes', and give a treat.


You can then move onto the ground by setting food on the ground and covering it with your hand then slowly removing/returning your hand until it can be uncovered and the dog doesn't lunge for it. Then follow training method as described above.


Then once you have a good reliable 'leave it' with the other two games you can try dropping the treat, then quickly say leave it and cover it with your foot if the dog lunges for it. Then again follow training described above until you can drop the food and the dog doesn't immediately lunge for the food.


In the beginning it is important that you feed a different treat than the one you are using to train the behavior, because it will teach the dog that they can't have the food they originally wanted but they can have something else just as good and for less effort if they leave the other thing alone.


Using this method my dogs now will not even attempt to get food I drop on the floor unless I pick it up and give it to them. They instead look at me for permission to have whatever I dropped. This has been particularly nice when I'm cooking in the kitchen I don't have to beat my dogs to whatever I drop. If they do head towards the dropped food for some reason a quick 'leave it' works wonders. My dogs are fine with eachother if I drop something, but I have never tried it around a dog that has no training and will eat anything dropped on the floor. If possible I would avoid having treats or food on the floor with another dog that has no 'leave it' training.

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We had great success with Calypso. She started snarling at us at 9 weeks old and while she still has the very occasional hiccup, I am so happy with her behavior! It's late so I can't type up the whole process but I'll come back soon and provide details of what we did. Perhaps our experience could help you!

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Here's a list of comments from the behavioral trainer after she observed Calypso. Her advice really made a difference and we continued working on additional things afterward too.


1. More playtime and more stimulating toys. Not only does it keep the boredom away (bored puppies are destructive puppies...especially Border Collies), but it also helps to establish a trusting relationship between the pup and owner.
2. Exchanges - Trade the dog and give him something better in exchange for giving you the guarded thing. She advised us to do it by using bites of cheese, ham, other high value treats (preferably dog treats but some dogs need extra motivation), toys, etc. Throw the new thing a few feet away and PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE when he goes for it and leaves the other thing. Even if he eyeballs it first, he'll eventually catch a whiff of something yummy or get so interested that he can't resist. Don't snatch the guarded thing right away either, you don't want to be seen as a thief. Leave the thing entirely alone until you're able to throw the new thing far enough away that pup walks over to get it and you can calmly take the old thing. Keep at it, it could take a while for pup to make the connection (Cal kept bolting for the thrown treat, inhaling it or stuffing it in her face, and rushing back to the original object to guard both...because she's a stubborn beast sometimes).

Posting because I have a meeting and I don't want to lose the above...I'll add more in a bit!

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