Trying to figure out a positive & effective way to stop TOPAZ from being so resourceful with toys & bones.
She doesn't care much about the old toys BUT if we get a new toy she grabs the toy & tries to keep my other dog away from it. If he even comes near her she does a low growl & if he gets closer it's loud & obnoxious growls. NO biting but loud scary growls, snapping & wrestling. There's no growling at me or my husband.
At first we removed the toy & (showing it's MINE) would only give it back when she calms down. Or we just rotate toys so she doesn't become attached to any one item. Then we use the spray bottle to stop any escalation.
Trying to reinforce the message that fighting is not allowed but also don't want them to resort to biting instead of growling. She's the same with bully sticks or rawhide so we don't give these anymore.
Anyone have any better ideas?
Sadly, I don't have a lot of advice for this problem. It is something that we deal with in a household of five basenjis. One of our girls is a lot like Topaz…and she usually just guards her space...but on a bad day she will launch across the room at our male. I can usually catch her starting her routine, and step inbetween them...sometimes just saying her name is enough to interrupt the behavior.
But as far as toys, we have to be very careful what we allow free access to play with. Some things are just too valuable to the dogs, and I don't expect them to share. We can have nylabones, and most hard rubber toys around...and we have a BUNCH of them...but anything more "special" than that is something they enjoy in their crates.
In some cases it is just easier to let the dogs sort out possession issues on their own...as long as there aren't actual fights happening. If one dog is saying "this is mine" and the other dog doesn't care...neither do I, usually.
Sometimes with possession guarding, if you take the item away, it just makes the dog escalate their guarding behavior. You could train the dog that is guarding, that as soon as the dog that triggers the guarding starts to move, call both dogs over for treats. Don't wait until guarder starts carrying on though..then you would be reinforcing that behavior. You want "guarder" to think, every time that dog starts moving, mom gives me treats. Pretty soon, instead of growling, she will run over to you. It should work...but I haven't done it with my dogs, mainly due to lack of inertia