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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18950
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have rescued a two year old Datchound very good with children

Customer Question

I have rescued a two year old Datchound very good with children but becomes visious with a ball and will not let it go please help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

How long have you had him?
Is he neutered?
Has he had any obedience training?
What have you tried so far to stop the behavior?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I had him14 months I got him nutured when he was 18 months old he has had obediance training and don well have tried distraction with other toys when he has a ball is the only time he is aggressive


 


 


 

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Helen,

Many dogs become obsessed over balls. In some cases, a dog will become very possessive of their ball and start guarding it. When this happens, it can cause them to be aggressive. This would be considered resource guarding as the dog considers the ball an important thing in its life. So this can be very difficult to correct and really should be addressed by an in person behaviorist.

However, there are thing that can be done to correct it. One thing is to try and teach your dog the leave it command. You won't start teaching this with the ball but with something the dog does not value so much. Perhaps a different toy. Remember to use a very high value treat for the reward. I recommend hot dog slices or liver slivers.
.
The following site goes over teaching the leave it command.
http://www.volhard.com/pages/leave-it-command.php

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

I also suggest that when you use the leave it command, that you take the item, reward the dog and give the item back. This helps teach the dog that just because you take it away doesn't mean they will not give it back. Some things of course, can not be given back such as bone but at least initially, give the item back. It makes the dog more likely to give it up if they think it will be returned.

You will need to work up to having him give up the ball. It will also help if you start back up daily obedience training. Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

When he obeys commands, it makes him a little more submissive. It helps him see you as the boss. As the boss, you own everything including his ball. However, lets not push him by demanding it. Use the leave it command to get the ball once he is doing well with it.

Before he learns the command, you need to keep balls away from him. Put them in a closet or out of site and don't bring them out. He may transfer his obsession to another toy, but that might give you enough time to work on the Leave it command.

Another thing you might try is attaching a leash and giving a correction when he growls at you. When he stops growling, reward him with a tasty treat but don't try and take the item he has away. Let him start seeing that just because you come near him when he has something like the ball, doesn't mean that you are going to take it away. Keep giving the short tug and firm NO of correction until he stops growling when you approach him. this helps him associate you coming close to him with good tasty treats and not just taking his treasures away.

As I mentioned this is a problem best addressed in person, but you can try these techniques and the leave it command and see how this works out for you. I'm also going to give you some sites on resource guarding though in many cases they focus on food aggression rather than toy aggression. Keeping him hungry before training helps since he will be more food driven.
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_ResourceGuarding.html
http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2002b/objectguarding.htm

It didn't happen overnight and it won't be solved overnight but it can be corrected with training and time. I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
.
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