NLDA Forum for Working Lacy Dogs

Barking, Guarding
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Author:  jtslush [ Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:37 am ]
Post subject:  Barking, Guarding

My pup seems to have food guarding issues, as well as aggression towards strangers even when I am sitting having dinner with the "strangers".

Any help?

Author:  Rachael Connally [ Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding

In most cases I think food aggression can be handled through dominance training, and now is a great time for you to train your pup while he's still young. He needs to understand that the food belongs to you and you're allowing him to eat it. For that reason, he should allow any human being to do whatever they would like to with it. One of the ways I get my doggies to be submissive at food time is making them wait for their food. Levi, for example, has to sit and then I give the bowl and tell him to wait for about thirty seconds before he can have his food. That way, he's calmed down a little and isn't so excited about eating. I would recommend just making your pup start by sitting, it's hard to get them to wait at first. After he sits, put his bowl down and let him start eating and then just hang around him and mess with his body and everything, stick your hand in his bowl if you can. But the second he growls at you, roll him on his back, belly-up, and hold him there for a minute or two sternly. Then remove the food and try the cycle again. He might put up a bit of a fight the first few times you roll him, but keep you hand on his upper chest and neck area and don't let him up till he calms down and remains calm for a little bit. Eventually when he becomes comfortable with you messing with his food and is no longer displaying aggression around you, allow another adult to attempt it. As part of your "pack" you pup needs to realize that he is not alpha dog and therefore is not in charge of anything at all. You allow him to eat because you want him to eat, not because he deserves it and definitely not because it is his.

That's just the way we do things at my house, feel free to try a different approach if you'd like. :) Hope I helped a little.

-- Rachael C

Author:  AmberLowMiddleton [ Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding

I agree with what Rachael said. I also want to say that the WORST thing you can do is to think "well, she has aggression issues, so I'd better keep her away when company is over". Socialization is SO important for a puppy.

Author:  jtslush [ Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding


This sounds like a relatively simple and effective solution for her food guarding.

Any ideas on her being overly skittish towards strangers? By strangers I mean friends of mine "strangers to her". She seems to be scared and constantly barks at them. This behavior just started about a week ago, not something that she has done from the onset.


Justin Slusher

Author:  AmberLowMiddleton [ Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding

The skittishness sounds like something that time and extra socialization would clear up, but I'd like to hear what others have to say.

I think Camo had a similar issue with one of his dogs...I only vaguely remember him telling me what he did with her, but it worked! I'll let him share.

Author:  Jim Browning [ Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding

The Operant Conditioning way to handle the skittishness with strangers goes something like this.

First get your pup to underastand the click/treat (C/T) relationship. You need a baggie of treats and a clicker, which is about $2 at Petco or similar stores. When the pup does anything at all you like (looking at you is a great one), click and then give a treat. Keep doing this, and you will notice the pup looking at you a whole lot, which happens to be a great way to help maintain control. That gets him focused on YOU and what you want. Gradually lengthen the amount of time the pup needs to look at you to get you to C/T. You will be amazed how quickly your pup gets the idea, and starts trying to figure out how to get you to click/treat.

Once that basic relationship is established (pup does something you like, you click, pup gets treat), you can start training other things.

Two important things:

1. ALWAYS give a treat if you click, even if you messed up and clicked for the wrong thing.

2. NEVER show the dog what you want him to do. Let HIM figure out what you want. Eventually, usually purely by accident, he will do something that you can reward and use to train the behavior you want.

In this case, when someone is around, you want to reward any hint of the behavior you want. If the pup looks over at you, then C/T. If the pup moves away from the guest, C/T. If the pup sits down, C/T. One of these things will happen enough for the pup to suddenly understand what it is he is doing that is being rewarded. When that "Ah Ha" moent occurs, it will seem like a miracle. The pup will start doing that behavior, knowing ot will get the treat. That's when you start lenghthening the time, distance, or whatever to make it harder.

This is a short explanation. If you want more info, read this article: ... ditioning/

or just ask!

Author:  jtslush [ Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding

Thanks Jim,

I will try this.

Justin Slusher

Author:  Jpepper [ Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding

My female had some serious aggression issues but has settled down a lot and I pretty much used the same method that Rachael Connally suggested. My male however has no aggression at all and never has had any. He also takes his time to eat and enjoy his food while Shelby just inhales her food everytime.

Author:  trapperchick87 [ Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding

Something that I did with my dog is get her out and around crowds, like the park or a rodeo. and I would just sit there with her with some treats petting her, hope it helps

Author:  Bluedog [ Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barking, Guarding

I think good advice is certainly headed your way....good luck and please report back what worked and what didnt.........

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