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[QUESTION] Greedy dog

Vraag & antwoord 11 t/m 17 november 2007.

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[QUESTION] Greedy dog

Berichtdoor annemiek h » zo 11 nov, 2007 23:47

Hi Mogens,

My question to you relates to the behaviour of my dog and raw food.
I have a nearly 2 year old Labrador that’s been fed raw since she was 6 months.
Like many other Labradors she loves eating. So much that she swallows big pieces of meat and tripe in one piece and bones without crushing them at all. This already resulted in a really serious suffocation that we finally managed to remove from her throat by pulling out a piece (of at least) 3 kilo tripe in one piece. I now give her just plain pieces of meat and tripe in big parts but not so big that it could give problems.
Same with bones. I have the luck that I can get fresh game all year round and I prefer this above produced cow, sheep etc.. But the carcasses of hare, rabbit, pigeons, ducks and geese are all small in her eyes. I always close my eyes and hope it will turn out all right.
I had the hope that it would get better when she got older but I think it’s even worse now.
What I shouldn’t forget to mention is that she is also very possessive with her food. She turns into a vicious monster :twisted: as soon as she realizes she gets food. Nobody but me (she does growl to me)can approach or pass her or she will attack.
I usually ignore this behaviour and keep a good distance when she eats.
I must state that she is absolutely not aggressive in any way as long as there's no raw food involved.
Do you have any tips for me how I should handle these “problems”.

Thanks in advance,

Annemiek
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Berichtdoor Mogens Eliasen » ma 12 nov, 2007 05:40

HI Annemiek,

In principle, you have two options:

A. You can accept defeat, and avoid the problems

B. You can TRAIN her.

This goes for the swallowing as well as the protection behavior.

Most people choose A because it is easier.

But if you want a solution, then you need a plan.

As you know, dogs learn EXCLUSIVELY from WHAT THEY DO THAT WORKS FOR THEM.

Swallowing big pieces has worked for that lady. So has the possessive behavior.

Bad news first: For every ONE time you let her get away with rewarding herself for a non-desirable behavior, you cash in minus 5 in penalty points! And you get only ONE plus point for every successful training sessions....

EVERY MEAL IN THE PAST has been a reward for her, right? She got the food, didn't she? No, no discussing that then....

Now is the time for you to hire your bookkeeper or rocket scientist and find out HOW BIG OF A TASK is that training really....!

That was the time aspect of it. And we just discussed the issue of bringing you back to SQUARE ONE! We have not even touched what time and effort you need for the training itself....

But let's discuss what it takes to change that behavior. It takes that you have a way that you can APPLY CONSISTENTLY, which will allow you to solicit THE DESIRED BEHAVIOR.

Any ideas?

Well, 3 kg tripe wasn't enough. 5 kg might be... Or a goats head. Or a whole lamb leg.

Here is your challenge: Every single meal, for a time that is at least 5 times as long as the time you have had her, must you be prepare to do this, so that she CANNOT do what you do not want her to do, but she HAS to get her reward through a different behavior.

Can you manage that?

I won't blame you for saying "no".

The possessive behavior is worse, because that growling is a sign of MISTRUST - and if you, in that situation, for instance take the food away because you want to AVOID making the mistake of rewarding her for the unwanted behavior, then you trigger MORE MISTRUST. It is an evil circle that reinforces itself.

So, you have to focus on how you can PREVENT her from being rewarded, when there is food around.

One way it has worked for me in the past is this: serve the food in a pot you cover with a screen that makes it impossibly for her to grab anything - but she can both sniff and lick the food. Stay with her and train with her around the food! (Details will be in "Raw Food for Dogs", the new update that is coming in a few weeks). You CONTINUE till you get an acceptable behavior. THEN you remove the screen and use your DINNER command, so she can eat. Three years ago, I had a student at a summer camp course. It took him 40 minutes of obedience around that food the first day! Next day, the dog gave in after 10 minutes, and, at the end of the week, we were basically calling that problem a piece of history. Now, we both knew that he would have to start that training over when he came home. It helped A LOT that we did it under unknown circumstances. But you could do that too. Take the food along for training, and then feed after training, like this.

Tough? Yes.

Worth it?

YOUR judgment. But remember, you can NEVER revert to the old situation where she gets away with her threats! Every time you do that just once, you schedule another FIVE training sessions JUST TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE YOU DID!

So, it is OK, if you re-evaluate your answer! :-)

Your comments are welcome.

Cheers,

Mogens
Mogens Eliasen

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Berichtdoor annemiek h » di 13 nov, 2007 22:36

Hi Mogens,

Thank you so much for your answer and the suggestions you did.

If I’m really honest I think that “suggestion 1” is not really difficult to accomplish but to keep it up that long seems really hard to me, specially because I don’t like to give Coco “produced”meat. She gets fresh small game nearly every day.
I have been busy thinking it over all day… did ask somebody else to feed her, so I could watch her even better.
As soon as she catches a sound of the drawer where I keep the knives, or the lid of the container where the meat is defrosting, you see her body stiffens, she will start to shiver and her teeth will chatter. Completely overexcited, the growling starts soon after.
Every correction from my side from that moment on will raise (in my opinion) her stresslevel in a way that the situation can easily escalate.
Exactly like you mention: what she fears will happen if I interfere ( very happy that I didn’t listen to all the people that said that I should force her to accept that I’m in charge).
Therefore I’m going to start with the following plan:
I’m going to leave her food outdoors in a different place from where it usually is. I will take care that it’s not possible for her to see or hear what’s going on. I wil then let her outside again and it will definitely take her some time before she will come across her food and I’m really curious if the swallowing will be (a lot) less (and hopefully acceptable) if there’s no stress involved.
If that turns out the way I have in mind :wink: I will start with the training you suggested.
And OK if NOTHING works then the lambs wil be slaughtered! :mrgreen:

Annemiek
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Berichtdoor Mogens Eliasen » di 13 nov, 2007 23:09

Hi Annemiek,

Well, I am glad if you got some inspiration to deal with this problem. Actually, I believe the two are very much connected, so if you get a solid control over one, then you will also have much better chances at the other.

I strongly suggest that you add RAINING to that plan of yours - so you can get her attention going to YOU, not the food. It is basically the training of the DINNER command from "BrainWork for Smart Dogs" - which I am including also now in "Raw Food for Dogs", because I think this stuff is too important to leave to chance.

let us know what you get out of it!

Cheers,

Mogens
Mogens Eliasen

Editor of "The Peeing Post" - for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature as domesticated wolf: Sign up at http://k9joy.com/peeingpost

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