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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So last night I get home from work and snowy greets me as usual, by running like a maniac towards me and wanting to play. We have a pretty good evening and then get ready for bed and I give him one last playtime before we turn in. So, I'm playing with my furbaby and all is well until he decides to eat something he's not supposed too....twice! - I'm usually very diligent about keeping the floor spotless to avoid such situations but with kids in the mix, plans and rules are often frustrated - With that said, I'm not entirely sure but I think the first time he got his mouth on a little piece of plastic from a clothes tag - the second, it was a little piece of papery box tape. Needless to say, I immediately felt concerned and therefore immediately but gently went for his mouth (both times) to try and pluck the foreign matter out. - I've done this before :blush: no problem.
Well this time, he attacked me - YES ATTACKED - both times. I swear, if he were a pitt-bull I'd have no hands and face this morning. He was growling angrily - like I'd never heard before, biting, you name it...it was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. :blink::huh::angry::smcry::shocked::confused: - I confess, I was livid but tried to keep my cool and calm him down. There was no calming him. So I let him hear my dismay and put him in the crate (probably a bad call right?) and about 1/2 and hour later I tried to reconcile but can you believe the little guy ignored me?!?!?!?!?
Where did my cute little baby Snowy go???? He looked so serious and sad. What in the world happened??
Did we just have a bad moment or is my baby a bad boy? Or does he not have the typical malt personality? I thought malts were sweet?? Or does he not love me anymore? Ok maybe I'm exagerating now and reading too much into this but I'm very emotional right now and my Snowy looked like the Tazmanian Devil last night AND my 80 lbs lab never ever did anything like that and he was glutonous and didn't discriminate against anything he could get his paws on.
I'm sad :crying:He actually punctured my finger.
Did any other of those angelic looking babies out there ever behave like this or am I the only one?

P.S. A couple hours later I let him out of his crate (he wouldn't leave it before then but I tried) and he was crying to climb on the bed with us so I let him up and he was his typical nippy nip self (trying to get out of that but it's him playing) And this morning he didn't want me to leave - kept following me. So I guess all's well but.....:huh:
 

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Resource guarding is very serious.

Jean Donaldson has an excellent book called Mine! you can order from dogwise.com

You need to work on this as well as the resource guarding in particular
Handling & Gentling | Dog Star Daily

While you get your plan together, don't grab things out of his mouth. Trade him a treat for the object and praise him for bringing it to you.
 

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awwwh i am so sorry to read this, but yes, you can correct this behavior ;) lil Snowy is still a young pup, so better start correcting straight away. I love the links that were provided here. Don't be sad (hugs) Dogs are smart and can learn really quick in a positive, encouraging, loving, fun way :D I am sure lil Snowy is the same ;)

hugs
Kat
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh boy.... there's a name for it?! and it's very serious?!?! now I'm even more sad and tremendously worried. How could this have happened??

Not that I feel the need to blame someone but could it have to do with the fact that he stays with my mom during the day when I work and she has her own way of "training" him? I.E. - I've tried explaining to her that she should just ignore it when he has pee accidents but reward the good behaviour but she's sort of old fashioned and thinks that this is not a good way so she either claps really loud to avoid an accident OR scolds him when he has one. I see that he stills runs to her to play but when she scolds or claps he goes to his little care bear couch and puts his ears down. It's really difficult to confine him for training purposes in her house too since it's an open space. I wonder if this human behavior is making him fearful and as a consequence more agressive. This has never happened before when I've handled his mouth. It was NOT a good thing to witness.

I've printed out the material on the links you both provided and will try this immediately. Hopefully my mom will cooperate when she's with him.

Iv'e gone on the link you provide for NILIF and have googled it. Is there an actual NILIF step by step guide out there or is it really just links that summarize what the program's about and suggest its use?

In the meantime, many thanks to both of you. Hope I can get this sorted out fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
awwwh i am so sorry to read this, but yes, you can correct this behavior ;) lil Snowy is still a young pup, so better start correcting straight away. I love the links that were provided here. Don't be sad (hugs) Dogs are smart and can learn really quick in a positive, encouraging, loving, fun way :D I am sure lil Snowy is the same ;)

hugs
Kat
Thanks for your encouraging words. But the truth is that my heart just sank when I read Ladysmom and JMM's posts. I want my little smiley snowy back. And I hope I can do just that and completely eradicate this new and surprising behavior. It sounds like a big challenge. To think, he's been so happy and good in general. The vet even complimented him when he went for his first check-up saying that most doggies his age squirm and fiddle while he was simply being an angel, as he worded it. I hope I can do this.

Hugs -
 

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This is a very common problem in pups that have not been taught good mouth manners or had a history of possessive behavior(typically evident amongst littermates). Young pups are very maleable. Changing their behavior is much easier than changing an adult with an established reward history for problem behavior.
The point is don't be complacent, be proactive.
Why don't you keep the pup confined when you are not home thus eliminating your mother's troublesome reactions.
 

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This is a very common problem in pups that have not been taught good mouth manners or had a history of possessive behavior(typically evident amongst littermates). Young pups are very maleable. Changing their behavior is much easier than changing an adult with an established reward history for problem behavior.
The point is don't be complacent, be proactive.
Why don't you keep the pup confined when you are not home thus eliminating your mother's troublesome reactions.

Jackie, is resource guarding more prevalent in puppies who leave their mothers too soon? Is it related to missing lessons on bite inhibition from their mom and littermates?

Kitkat, you need to stress to your mother how potentially dangerous this behavior is, especially since you have a young child. Even a Maltese can do some serious damage to a child's face.

I still remember the Maltese the receptionist in my doctor's office tried to get me to adopt a few years ago. Her sister was getting divorced and wanted to rehome this dog. She was four years old and described as "sweet and wonderful".

The receptionist ended up adopting her herself. The dog almost took her husband's nose off one night a few months after they adopted her because he accidentally rolled into "her space" in the bed while he was sleeping. A plastic surgeon had to put his face back together.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is a very common problem in pups that have not been taught good mouth manners or had a history of possessive behavior(typically evident amongst littermates). Young pups are very maleable. Changing their behavior is much easier than changing an adult with an established reward history for problem behavior.
The point is don't be complacent, be proactive.
Why don't you keep the pup confined when you are not home thus eliminating your mother's troublesome reactions.
Hi JMM - I'll try to be as proactive as possible. I don't want this to go on and hope to nip it in the bud.
Not sure in my case, I can keep him confined for that long. My work days are pretty long and he has to eat when I'm not around and that is why my mom takes care of him in the first place. + she's grown attached and also plays with him, cleans him after pottying etc. I'll try and convince her to cooperate with me but I don't know - may have to come up with a confinement plan afterall.

Many thanks for all the good advice. If you think of anything else, please keep it coming. I appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jackie, is resource guarding more prevalent in puppies who leave their mothers too soon? Is it related to missing lessons on bite inhibition from their mom and littermates?

Kitkat, you need to stress to your mother how potentially dangerous this behavior is, especially since you have a young child. Even a Maltese can do some serious damage to a child's face.

I still remember the Maltese the receptionist in my doctor's office tried to get me to adopt a few years ago. Her sister was getting divorced and wanted to rehome this dog. She was four years old and described as "sweet and wonderful".

The receptionist ended up adopting her herself. The dog almost took her husband's nose off one night a few months after they adopted her because he accidentally rolled into "her space" in the bed while he was sleeping. A plastic surgeon had to put his face back together.

Wonderful, we have a piranha in our midst. No expert but I'm predicting Jackie may post you are right.
The thing is that this was so unexpected. I've gone into his mouth plenty times before, I go into his bowl when he's eating to either add stuff, etc., I pet him when he's eating, and in general handle him a lot, wash his face, even clean his private parts after each potty - which should be really annoying to him. This was so random - well maybe it seemed like that to me. And now I'm so scared to go into his mouth again. But I suspect I'll have to do a lot of the swapping good behavior for treats before I attempt this again.
I wonder if the fact that I've allowed him on my bed for a few minutes each evening recently has something to do with it. I believe I read about this in one of the links you sent me. Like if you put him up high, he'll think he is the higher upper - or something to that effect. Definitely going to have a chat with my mom and read up on the material.
 

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You were asking if this was a maltese thing and no mine has never done that. I'm fetching things out of her mouth daily and she just lets the item go freely. She play growls but has actually never growled at me. If I were in your shoes I'd take the advice of the first few ladies who commented because they know their stuff. Good Luck
 

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The fact that the dog growled but did not bite indicates the dog has some bite inhibition - they warned instead of just nailing you.
Where you are looking at the situation wrong is you are comparing your dog getting a very valuable item that you clearly want vs. a situation where your dog know what will happen (hands in food bowl have no indication of losing food). Value is an important concept. Your dog is more likely to guard a resource they view as valuable.
If you read the book Mine!, you will learn about the trading game and how the dog gets a lower value item and you trade it for a higher value item. It may seem crude, but dogs look at their world to see what's in it for me?

Possessive traits stem from nervousness - the dog is worried about their item being taken. Nervousness can be a genetic trait. If litter dynamics encourage this type of a trait, then it is more likely to be an issue later on vs. a breeder who notes this and makes a point to put a stop to it from day 1. Just because a dog has a genetic trait does not mean you are powerless to affect the behavior. We have extraordinarily powerful methods of changing behavior, even emotional responses. The important thing is to realize a dog's negative personality traits early to prevent bad habits from forming and teach alternatives.

If you don't already follow Patricia McConnell's blog, its worth a read. Its free and full of awesome information.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The fact that the dog growled but did not bite indicates the dog has some bite inhibition - they warned instead of just nailing you.
Where you are looking at the situation wrong is you are comparing your dog getting a very valuable item that you clearly want vs. a situation where your dog know what will happen (hands in food bowl have no indication of losing food). Value is an important concept. Your dog is more likely to guard a resource they view as valuable.
If you read the book Mine!, you will learn about the trading game and how the dog gets a lower value item and you trade it for a higher value item. It may seem crude, but dogs look at their world to see what's in it for me?

Possessive traits stem from nervousness - the dog is worried about their item being taken. Nervousness can be a genetic trait. If litter dynamics encourage this type of a trait, then it is more likely to be an issue later on vs. a breeder who notes this and makes a point to put a stop to it from day 1. Just because a dog has a genetic trait does not mean you are powerless to affect the behavior. We have extraordinarily powerful methods of changing behavior, even emotional responses. The important thing is to realize a dog's negative personality traits early to prevent bad habits from forming and teach alternatives.

If you don't already follow Patricia McConnell's blog, its worth a read. Its free and full of awesome information.
Hmmm...I need to get the book. Sorry to bug you again, but in the meantime, what is the most effective thing I can do, like tonight?
Just to clarify - he DID bite. I have an itty bitty mark on my finger but nonetheless still a mark.
 

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If he wanted to, he could have chomped down...some inhibition is better than nothing!
If he has something you want make a big fuss about how wonderful he is and trade him a super tasty treat for the item.
 

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O boy ! All pups are different and same in many ways. I'll add my two sense.
Definitely follow the links and read the books of the above links. Or even search internet a lot of good advise was giving to you here.
Also it definitely is a family thing all members have to be on the same page in training the little pup. Sounds like you have a little aggressive puppy :) but please don't panic it will get better if you ALL train on the same page.

My little guy did the same thing in the first couple of weeks I had him and boy is he an aggressive little guy. But all is turning out ok at 7 months now. I read read and read lol...

I would def. follow the above advise... As for containing you mentioned you have problems because of a big area. have you looked at play dens? I used play dens, bathroom with doors opened and gated on both sides. Also you mentioned crate please never punish using crate they love there crate for comfort and feel safe in there if trained correct. I keep my little guys crate in his den, bathroom or where ever he is and leave the gate open so he can come and go as he pleases."as he gets older and better he gains his freedom LOL" then if he needs a time out he goes in his den not crate for punishmnet :).

Also hope your teaching basic commands sit , stay , down....and LEAVE IT...

leave it is the big one and takes time to learn....
also someone mentioned trading treats for whatever is in his mouth. I been doing this for months and seems to be working right now.it's quicker than leave it when he has something he really wants '"like paper towel, or anything from the street :)"

ok I think you get the point patience pup will be fine just READ lol
better to do it know when there puppies,all you learned will make it easier for next puppy
 

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The fact that the dog growled but did not bite indicates the dog has some bite inhibition - they warned instead of just nailing you.
Where you are looking at the situation wrong is you are comparing your dog getting a very valuable item that you clearly want vs. a situation where your dog know what will happen (hands in food bowl have no indication of losing food). Value is an important concept. Your dog is more likely to guard a resource they view as valuable.
If you read the book Mine!, you will learn about the trading game and how the dog gets a lower value item and you trade it for a higher value item. It may seem crude, but dogs look at their world to see what's in it for me?

Possessive traits stem from nervousness - the dog is worried about their item being taken. Nervousness can be a genetic trait. If litter dynamics encourage this type of a trait, then it is more likely to be an issue later on vs. a breeder who notes this and makes a point to put a stop to it from day 1. Just because a dog has a genetic trait does not mean you are powerless to affect the behavior. We have extraordinarily powerful methods of changing behavior, even emotional responses. The important thing is to realize a dog's negative personality traits early to prevent bad habits from forming and teach alternatives.

If you don't already follow Patricia McConnell's blog, its worth a read. Its free and full of awesome information.
Jackie - I have nothing to add but have to say how amazing you are. Every time I read your answers to some behavior or training queries, it's like a big bell goes off. You nail it every time and make it easy for us to understand and really try to help our dogs. Just a big thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks everyone for all the great info.
I had purchased the book MINE and it just came in the mail. Skimmed through it last night and fell asleep - LOL. Can't wait to begin to read it. It looks really clear, good guide.

On another note, don't know if it's just wishful thinking but I believe he has gotten better...there have been no more resource guiding incidents since I posted. Of course it's probably to soon to give him such a vote of confidence but he's of course, gotten things we don't want him to get, in his mouth in the meantime - things I'm sure he's considered of high value - and we've managed to get it out w/o incident...sometimes even offering no treat at all but saying Leave It...which makes me joyful of course and hopeful.

Oh, to Volito - thanks for the suggestions about containing in a big space. I have an ex-pen but my mom's place is big but in a weird kind of way. There really isn't any space to put my big ex-pen in. I use it at MY house and it does make things much easier but it's no good at my mom's. Yes, crate never for punishing. He loves his crate in fact. I put him in there though, quite impulsively, - my mistake - when he did this as I was so thrown off and upset. Vowed to never do this again though as I find that crates are such a valuable resource when training. It makes things so much easier when your doggy loves his crate.
 

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Hi JMM - I'll try to be as proactive as possible. I don't want this to go on and hope to nip it in the bud.
Not sure in my case, I can keep him confined for that long. My work days are pretty long and he has to eat when I'm not around and that is why my mom takes care of him in the first place. + she's grown attached and also plays with him, cleans him after pottying etc. I'll try and convince her to cooperate with me but I don't know - may have to come up with a confinement plan afterall.

Many thanks for all the good advice. If you think of anything else, please keep it coming. I appreciate it!
Hi, I'm Buckeye's "mommy" and I don't post that often but I just wanted to say that since my hubby and I work during the day, I purchased an exercise pen for him to stay in while we're out. It's pretty roomy for a toy dog....I put his food in it at one end, and his pee pad at the other, along with his favorite toys, blanket, etc. I set it up on my kitchen floor. I turn the tv on (so he's not in complete silence all day), kiss him bye, bye and I'm off. This works so much better as I used to leave him in my bathroom. This way, he has room to play, sleep, etc., and I am comfortable because I know he's safe and can't roam all over the house and is not confined to his small crate all day. Just my two cents in case you do decide to confine your little fluff. :)

By the way just to clarify in case you're not aware...an exercise pen is wide (opens up to perhaps an octagon shape I would say), with high walls - like a cage so they can easily see through them (some walls are higher than others...made for different dog types). There is no cover so it's very open and in my opinion, gives them the illusion that they aren't confined as much as in a crate. You can use it outside as well.
 
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