Resource/territory guarding???

Hello all! We are looking for some advice on one of Charlie's less desirable behaviours 😞 (BTW, Charlie is a 6-month-old basenji-pug mix. We've had him just over 3 months. He was neutered a few days ago.)

Whenever my husband is kneeling down and rummaging around at ground level, Charlie has been perking up, rushing in his direction, snarling, and grabbing at his arms and/or legs - whatever's closer. It doesn't seem to matter what Charlie is doing at the time, or where the action is occurring, or what my husband is rummaging through. The other day, my husband was in the guest room where Charlie hardly ever spends any time. Today, he was in the kitchen, getting something from the bottom cabinets.

This has been occurring more frequently in the past week or so, although we can see roots of this behaviour in his earlier months with us. For example, if we spilled some kibble, Charlie would rush to pick up as much as he could before we got to it, but he wouldn't growl or bite.

Our approach so far has been to try to avoid situations that we think will trigger him. Also, we've both been reprimanding him with a stern 'eh' when he snarls - which usually gets him to pause. Today, I got him to sit-stay, and then fed him treats while my husband was rummaging at ground level. Tomorrow, I'm going to look into getting a behaviouralist to advise us. In the meanwhile, do any of you have any insights or suggestions for us? We would really appreciate it - it has been really disheartening to see this kind of reaction from our pup!

(Here he is in one of his sweeter moments :rolleyes: )

attachment_t_2624_0_charlie_20071201_162.jpg

I *think the growling etc during the rummaging behavior *might be play. It is hard to know without seeing it. But I have had pug clients that did that behavior lunging, growling at their people's feet, trying to get them to play… as startling as it sounds! Often a human being on the floor is a clear invitation in the dog's mind to crazy play time.

And the trying to eat faster after spilled food *could be a precurser to resource guarding...but maybe not. A lot of dogs innocently do this....

I like what you are doing by having him sit and get treats while DH is rummaging...perfect traiing plan. Work on exchanging objects with him for treats, if you are concerned that there may be some resource guarding.

A behaviorist would be a great idea...just make sure you get someone who respects independant thinking dogs...and uses mainly positive reinforcement training techniques. Good luck πŸ™‚ He sure is cute!

And keep using the sit/stay. It would be great if your husband could be the one to enforce the sit/stay with the rewards for the correct behavior. If he can do the "eh" to get his attention or better yet right as he is getting to him… and the he puts him in the sit/stay with the treat, that might help. Also, who feeds him in your house? Try changing to your husband feeding him... bumps him up in the food chain to the dogs point of view....

I can't help with the behavior – sound like you already got great advice anyway -- but my! oh my! What a cutie you have !!!

Could it be his age? He is trying to move up in the pack family?
Have you had him into any training/obedience classes?
I really do believe these classes help give you and your dog a way to interact with their humans.
I would be interested to hear what the pro has to say re this behavior.

Thanks, all, for your great advice! We will work on the sit-stay with treats while DH is rummaging. We'll also look into classes and a behaviouralist for Charlie.

Hmm, I hadn't even considered that Charlie's behaviour might be an invitation to play. Typically, he either brings us a toy and drops it at our feet, or starts play bowing and nipping when he wants to play with us - but that's if we're just sitting around and he wants attention.

He is a resource guarder when it comes to his rawhides and pizzles, so we are working on object exchanges (using Jean Donaldson's protocol in her book "Culture Clash"). He was doing really well, then had a set back (after a few days without practice exchanges), and we recently started from square one. He is almost back to where he was - dropping his rawhide on command and allowing me to take it. I will definitely keep this up!!

Thanks again for the input!! I will post again with updates πŸ™‚

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Yay! Perfect resource! Keep up the good work!

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