I know that as a dog-lover I am susceptible to assuming that my dogs behave like humans. But anyway, read an judge for your selves:
-I brought home a bag of rawhide chew bones to my dogs (male Springer Spaniel and female Australian Shepherd; Buddy and Daisy).
-after explaining to both dogs that I was upset at their recent behavior (barking at guests), I gave each a rawhide bone.
Daisy kept pestering me for another bone; then I noticed that she had stolen Buddy’s bone! Buddy came to me, asking for another bone (which I gave him).
Eventually, Daisy had 4 bones by her feet-when I attempted to retrieve one (to give back to Buddy), she growled and showed her teeth to me!
Isn’t this greed (on the part of Daisy?).
So, the dogs show evidence of at least one (unpleasant ) human trait?
Or am I ded wrong?
I know that as a dog-lover I am susceptible to assuming that my dogs behave like humans. But anyway, read an judge for your selves:
I don’t know. I have a dog and I’d say he’s greedy, too. But he only has to compete with humans.
Wah?! “BAD DOG!! Wanna cookie?” This makes no sense to me.
No, it’s not greed, it’s the dog establishing (or it would seem, maintaining) the pack order. She is obviously the alpha in the house with the other dog second and you last. That is a completely unacceptable (and dangerous) situation, if you ask me. I used to have wolves and I can tell you if one of them had ever tried to challenge me, I would have knocked it into the next county. That’s just me, though, I don’t see animals as humans, I am more realistic than that and act as needed (on their level) to maintain a modicum of safety for me and my children.
I’ve seen it called “resource guarding.” What did you do after she growled at you? Did she get to keep the rawhides?
Showed her teeth? Oh HELL no. I raised my dog with nothing but praise and kisses, but my parents have a large 40 lb american eskimo dog who is greedy with rawhide toys. Whenever I gave out the chewies, occasionally she would steal them from the smaller dog. She tried that growl and teeth display with me, exactly once. I chased her fuzzy butt all over the house until I cornered her, knocked her straight over and took the bones, and pinned her until she started whining. She never tried it again with me, though she will still occasionally steal cookies from the smaller dog.
missed the edit window)
It is a type of unacceptable behaviour, and I would not tolerate it at all. It can be a really really difficult habit to break though. I would concentrate on making certain that she understands that YOU can take things from her whenever you like. That is the most important thing. Taking treats from the other dog will be nearly impossible to break unless the other dog decides to toughen up. Start by simply taking toys and other treats away from her for no reason at all. Just walk over and take it. Don’t go slow or try to sneak or she’ll get defensive or think it’s a game. After a few times of this she might start hightailing it once she realizes that you are going to take her things. Keep up on her and continue. Eventually she’ll get the idea that you can have her things whenever you like and she’ll behave with you.
Yikes! In no way is that acceptable. That dog needs a rewrite of her self-image, STAT!
Seriously, I’m with Litoris. That’s a dangerous dog, and you need to get her retrained, right away. She needs to learn that nothing, not the juiciest steak in the world that she killed and grilled herself, belongs to her. It all belongs to YOU, and if she asks real nice like, you’ll deign to give her some of it.
What if she found a tasty puddle of antifreeze or a box of raisins (raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs)? How are you going to get her away from it if any treats she finds are hers for keeps?
What if a kid (human) decides to grab at her rawhide?
To elaborate on what everyone else said (as well as my own previous post) – the dog thinks that she not you runs the pack. The advice Acid Lamp gave is some of the best – you make it known to the animal that you own everything and only allow her to have anything at your pleasure.
Look, I know it’s easy to start seeing your pets as little people – a lot of people do it. And a lot of people pay the price for it. When my daughter had to get stitches at the ER once (she had fallen while bringing a rusty paint scraper she’d found in the yard inside to the adults – talk about scary!), there was another little girl in there who needed major reconstructive surgery. Her parents had a “sweet angel” of a dog – a collie – who had mauled the little girl. The girl’s offense? She tripped over the dog’s food bowl and the dog “went berserk.” This is because the dog saw itself as higher up than the kid. Dangerous as all get out.
The only way to break this animal from thinking she is alpha is by taking everything away from her. Food, toys, everything. She gets fed – from your hands – only when you want her to eat. She gets toys only when you want to play with her and they are taken away immediately after – she snarls & you flip her to her back and pin her until she submits. Submitting is signified by turning her head – so long as she is looking you in the face, she is calculating her next move.
This may take some time, and require crating or locking her in a room apart from the other dog – or of course, you could train both dogs at the same time.
I don’t know if you have children or your neighbors have children, but the thing to realise is that most of the little kids that get mauled by dogs – it’s a family pet, not a vicious pitbull/rottie/hated breed of the month. It’s usually by dogs whose owners think of them as people who understand that the kids don’t mean any harm when they trip over the dog, or play with the dog’s toys, etc.
Good luck in correcting the situation, if that’s what you choose to do.
I’m not an expert, but there are a lot of trainers who say people should not do alpha rolls.
I know other trainers are fine with it, but **Ralph ** could end up getting hurt trying this, especially considering the current state of his relationship with his dog. The problem is something that should be taken care of asap, though. I, personally, would look into getting some professional training.
You can obtain the same result safely by using your knees and shin like a cowcatcher on a train. Just bulldoze her out of the way, or catch her by surprise and knock her straight over. Dogs have a hard time if you broadside them and they fall right over. Don’t kick, just shuffle her hard enough to knock her off balance. You can reinforce your position by making her move throughout the day. You don’t NEED a reason to do it, just kick her out of her place, take her things, and most importantly, ignore her. She will learn that your good will is of the highest priority, if she wants her toys, food, and affection. NOTHING belongs to her. Not space, food, favorite toys. Couple corrections with simple commands. When I move my dog she gets a warning first : “Nenna, you are in the way”. If she fails to move, she gets bulldozed. While I’m moving her I repeat the same phrase more sternly. 4 years later, she almost never fails to scoot when I tell her she is in the way, and automatically defers space and toys to me.
To echo what others have said, your dog thinks she’s the boss of everyone in the house, including you. Being the boss over the other dogs is not a problem. Being the boss of you is. Alpha rolls of dominant dogs can get you bitten in the face. Instead, consider trying “Nothing In Life Is Free.”. The basic premise is that the dog doesn’t get anything she wants until she does something you ask first (such as a sit), and it’s a non-confrontational way of establishing that you’re the boss.
You should also find a good dog trainer or behaviorist in your area and get advice from them. Usually your vet can give a good referral.
The one and only time my old dog Gizmo growled at me was the first time I gave him a real bone and then tried to take it back. I knew he wouldn’t bite, though; he’s actually a pretty docile dog and this was the first growl EVER at a person. I took the bone anyway, then put him through all his obedience work, especially sits and downs. I gave him the bone back, took it away again (no growl this time), and put him through his paces. Did this a few more times, and the growl didn’t happen again. Then I let him keep the bone for a while. The only other time he got pissy with me was when I got a new dog, they both had rawhides, and I took them away from both. The lesson I wanted to teach him was they everything belonged to me, and anything he had was because I loaned it to him, and I could take it away at any time, and he had to give it up without complaining.
Until you can get the food guarding under control. I’d suggest giving them rawhides only when they’re in crates or in rooms that are gated off, separate from each other And even once you get it under control, it’s good to have more high-value items (whatever they are - bones, rawhides, pig ears, etc) then there are dogs by at least double. So two dogs = 4 rawhides out.
Ralph- you may be tempted to think everyone else’s advice in this thread is overreacting. Please don’t- you’ve got a potentially dangerous situation with a dog that thinks it’s the boss. Seriously, you need to reestablish yourself as pack leader, and one of the rights of a packleader is that you can take anything from your pack, at any time, without getting any backtalk. That your dog growled at you for taking his food is a serious sign that he thinks he’s alpha.
I alpha rolled all of my dogs, but I did it when they were young, to get the idea in their heads right from the beginning that I was the boss. I wouldn’t do it with a dog that already thinks it’s alpha- that’s a good way to get bit. Porcupine’s advice is a good place to start.
I don’t know if this is necessarily the case. I have had mostly multi-dog households for most of my life and I’ve known plenty of dogs who, while being unchallenged head-of-the-dogs in all other respects, would allow subordinate members to steal food from them without response. I’ve also known dogs who, while meekly accepting their subordinate status both to me and to the top dog in all other respects, would stubbornly defend food items. Some dogs just have a higher “food guarding” drive than others.
But Daisy does need to learn that her “people alpha” can take things away from her at any time.
[minor rant]You know, I really wish they’d stop calling them “dog trainers”… They’re not there so much to train the dog. It’s the owners who get trained. (And the good thing is, in theory, once you are trained how to think like a dog, you don’t need the training for subsequent dogs.)[/minor rant]
Whether daisy thinks she’s the boss or has strong food guarding tendencies, I would definitely recommend training. Baring teeth at a human is a strict no-no.
As for the question in the op, sure, it’s a kind of greed. She wants all the treats for herself. Couldn’t tell you why.
“concentrate on making certain that she understands that YOU can take things from her whenever you like.”
“Start by simply taking toys and other treats away from her for no reason at all. Just walk over and take it. Don’t go slow or try to sneak or she’ll get defensive or think it’s a game. After a few times of this she might start hightailing it once she realizes that you are going to take her things. Keep up on her and continue. Eventually she’ll get the idea that you can have her things whenever you like and she’ll behave with you.”
“She needs to learn that nothing, not the juiciest steak in the world that she killed and grilled herself, belongs to her. It all belongs to YOU, and if she asks real nice like, you’ll deign to give her some of it.”
“She gets fed – from your hands – only when you want her to eat. She gets toys only when you want to play with her and they are taken away immediately after – she snarls & you flip her to her back and pin her until she submits.”
“You don’t NEED a reason to do it, just kick her out of her place, take her things, and most importantly, ignore her.”
“But Daisy does need to learn that her “people alpha” can take things away from her at any time.”
Just…jeez. That’s a hell of an attitude to take toward, and way to treat, an animal you claim to have affection for. If you want to play God you should download some Sims. If you want to totally dominate another living creature and just act arbitrarily toward it as you please, you should hire an escort and make arrangements to do it that way.
Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have dogs.
I quite agree. People who treat their dogs as if they were humans shouldn’t be allowed to have dogs. Makes the dogs anxious and miserable and sick.
Dogs who are lovingly dominated feel safe and secure and have far less behavioral and anxiety related health problems. Dogs don’t want to proclaim their individuality; they want to know that someone’s got things covered and they don’t have to worry about a thing.
Dogs are animals, not people. They do not think or behave like people. You can have affection for your dog but never, ever expect it to behave like a person. It is not a person, it doesn’t think like a person and if you start treating it like a person you could be creating a dangerous situation. As the hopefully more intelligent being in the human/dog relationship we need to understand this and understand that we need to deal with the dog in a way that they can understand. Dogs understand the pack order and all humans in the household need to be above the dog in the pack order, this is the only safe way to live with an potentially dangerous animal in your home.
Any dog is potentially dangerous, even if all it’s capable of is giving you a few little puncture wounds, you would be doing it a disservice by allowing behaviors that could cause it to bite someone. All it takes is for it to bite someone twice (sometimes only once) and get reported to the authorities and your dog is taken away from you and killed. As the person that took responsibility for the dog you owe it to save it from such a fate. If you love your dog you make sure it is properly trained and not a danger to itself or others.
Dogs are dogs. Dogs are not people. The cognitive function of a dog is extremely limited. They neither understand, nor appreciate being treated like a reasoning human being.
An alpha dog in a pack will indeed rule as a petty dictator and it is cruel and potentially dangerous to act otherwise with your pet. Not that every animal needs constant reinforcing of who’s the boss. Some are pretty much born submissive and never become an issue at all. Others need only the very occasional reminder.
But if you have a willful, assertive individual, it is much preferable to dominate them than risk them getting the mistaken notion that they can take matters into their own paws. That’s how “accidental” bites occur and perfectly decent animals get put down.
Edited to add: Stupid slow fingers :D.
I don’t even let my parrots think they are dominant. (Totally different training methods) Social animals feel better when they know who is alpha, they can relax and know where to look for instructions/danger signs/praise. If they think they are alpha, They stress out; they don’t understand how to obtain food, safety and warmth in this complicated world, and can get abusive like any anxious, over-promoted human can.
Dogs are not People. My dog Sienna, or Nenna for short , Is about as close as you could get. Part of a throw away litter she was raised without the benefit of a nursing bitch. From roughly one week old, she was fed by bottle. She was socialized with other dogs, cats, small animals etc, but still always prefers the company of humans. She was, and is still, talked to constantly and has scored high marks on her intelligence and canine good citizen tests. She is called a “joy to have around” by the groomers; where she is often allowed to wait to be picked up outside of a kennel since she is so well behaved. She has a vocabulary of nearly 50 words and commands, and can understand and perform sequential commands as well.
She is still a dog.
I have NEVER treated her cruelly. She has never been spanked, and only yelled at twice in her life, both times for running away and not listening to the dog sitter’s commands. I understand that she is not always in command of her responses to a situation. I understand that unlike a small child, she could potentially hurt someone if she was to throw a “temper tantrum”. In daily life she is corrected maybe once a day, if that. By now, she simply knows what is expected of her in regards to her behaviour. Her toys are hers, unless a human wants them. You HAVE to be arbitrary in the training because you can’t explain to a dog WHY you need that toy. If she tears a hole in her soft toys I need to be able to take them before she chokes on the stuffing. I need to be able to take food items from her if they pose a threat. I need to know that she can conduct herself properly with guests, small children and other animals. This means she has to KNOW that I am the boss, and she needs to look at me for confirmation.
Training is not the same thing as cruelty. She doesn’t slink, or hide when she is corrected, there is no fear there. Usually she runs over and presses her forehead against you until you give her a pat or a hug. She knows at that point that all is forgiven and bounces off back to whatever it was she was doing. She is a confident, happy, polite dog.