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I have a question a out growling and protectiveness. I read the other post about dominance and Pacer does those things but he sometimes takes it way further. This only happens when we give him a special food treat. For example, he used to do it when we gave him a pig ear and last night we gave him doggy ice cream and it was the worst I have seen. He will start to growl when he senses you are near him and if you go to pet him he wil growl open mouthed and turn to glare at you. If you dare reach your hand any where remotely close to his head you might lose a finger. He is only 15 weeks and I cannot have this develop into a habit. I did notice last night that his tail was tucked the whole time he was eating his ice cream. What should I do to get him to stop this behavior? Like I said it only happens with a special food treat. He doesn't do it when playing, ever. Help!
 

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In my opinion, this is an issue that you need to get ahold on very quickly. He cannot be allowed to continue to resource guard food or treats.

At 15 weeks old he should still be pretty easy to physically control, and this is what you will need to do. You will not be trying to hurt him, inflict pain or punish him with the following method. It may take two people.

From now on make him eat every treat from your hand, while you hold onto it. Don't let it go. You will be holding onto the treat with just enough of it exposed to allow him to nibble on it. During this exercise you will be continually taking the treat away from him and giving it back. Nibble, remove, nibble some more, take away, etc..... If you have to, use his collar to stop any snatching or lunging, and any aggression, growling etc. should be corrected by taking the treat away, and putting him in his crate for a time out, and beginniing again after 5 or 10 minutes.
Every time you remove the treat from him, give him the command "out" first, and then take the treat out of his mouth. Pet him and tell him good boy,and then give it back. The end of the exercise is that he has either eaten the treat from your hand, or he has yielded the treat willingly during the course of the lesson. He has to be allowed to have the treat in the end. It will be under your conditions, but he must get it.
You may have to clamp your hand over his muzzle to limit the amount that his mouth can open, and protect your hand, so watch for that.
Remember though, Don't hurt him, or it will have a negative consequence. He may become more assertive,and not less.
You are trying to instill in him that he doesn't have to be threatened by you taking his food away, and he doesn't have to fight you for it.
Later on the lessons may get a little more physical, but at 15 weeks this is where I would start.

As an aside I had to correct this behavior once before with an 18 month old dog. In about 5 seconds he got dumped out of his crate, upside down, and before his feet got back under him he was bounced off the stove, the refrigerator and the kitchen cabinets. We then started the lesson I outlined above. It was a little unnerving dealing with my best buds teeth.
Where "Cujo" came from that night, I have no idea.
 

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I experienced this to a degree with two of my dogs, not necessarily with snacks but when they were eating. It was something I immediately devoted time to work on. I started out with just standing next to the dog while she was eating and she would growl because I was too close. I just stood there close to her and after a few meals she had gotten used to me being there. Then the next step I did was to lay my hand on her back while she was eating. That started the growling again but after a few meals, it stopped. Then I put my hand on the edge of her food bowl while she was eating. I didn't attempt to move it from her, just had my hand there. Again, growling in the beginning that went away after a time or two. We slowly built up to the point that I can take her food bowl away mid meal without a growl at all. I did the same with my boy with the same result. Hope you find a method that works for you!
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. We are going to start working on it right away! He used to do this with his kong but we started holding onto it and then taking away and repeating. He doesn't do it when he is eating his food (I could stick my hand in the bowl and be fine), just when he is getting a special treat. What do you think causes this? When we give him a small treat he doesn't do it then either, just when it is something bigger (pig ear). He is otherwise your average vizsla puppy!
 

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Who knows what goes on in their heads at times. With my dog, the one I referred too, he had never before given a hint he would do that.
I had done everything I could possibly think of from 7 weeks old to condition him to never snap at food. At 18 months old, or so, he went bonkers over a prime rib bone. I'd taken cubes of steak out of his mouth many times prior to that nite. Taken food from his bowl while eating, anything I could think of.

Point being is that you recognized it very early in his life, and hopefully the more kinder gentler method 3Vizslas used will more than suffice. It was pretty unnerving doing it with an adult dog, but it had to end very quickly. He first went for my wife, then me. :eek:
 
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