Monday, 21 May 2012

Treat Protectiveness in Puppies - A Case of Food Aggression? Part II

We had our first exercise in providing Charlie with a highly favoured treat and asking him to give it up. My strategy, because he had initially growled at my son when my son tried to pick him up when eating a treat, was to have my son deliver the exercise, but as we got underway I soon realized that he would not be able to handle the situation even with me by his side. I decided that I would complete the initial training and when Charlie was successful at giving up highly desirable items I would have other members of our pack practise the willful give up. So we gave Charlie the treat and he immediately ran to find an area where he could enjoy (my first mistake was not leashing him before, as he gave us a cat and mouse game in order to be in a position to request the treat). I followed him to the spot, got a hold of his collar and asked him to give. He continued to gobble. I took the end of the piece at which time he hastily tried to tug to keep to himself. When I got the piece I told him "Good boy, Give". I fed him the liver snap and then gave him back his treat and continued to stay close watching him eat. I repeated another several times with the remainder of the chew treat until the chew was complete. I performed the task again with another whole chew and by the end of the 2 chews, there was a definite less frantic way about him as my face sat close to where he was eating and he remained in the same spot while eating rather than finding a secure spot. I will continue to train in this manner until he knows he must submit when commanded. Subsequent training will ensure Charlie is leashed so he cannot not depart with the treat; will reinforce "gentle" retrieval from and to my hand (he is in a haste to get the favoured treat so tends to hurriedly and haphazardly take and chew making an accidental bite a possibility with my hand); will practise willful giving up and return of the treat.

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