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Hi! We still have Rusty, the V we found on the road. He is doing fairly well, but there is an area that he is getting himself into some hot water. He has been resource guarding the bones we put down for all our dogs to chew on. There's enough for everyone, but of course it is dog nature to want the one "dog x" has.

When Rusty is chewing a bone or lying next to one, he is protective of it and growls a bit, but this behavior does not start the big fights, because only our rat terrier cares about Rusty's bones and he won't go after it. Now, where there is a huge problem is when another dog is chewing a bone and Rusty wants it. He will slowly approach and stiffen and stare at the chewer. Our lab could care less about this behavior, but when my son approached to give attention to Allie, that set Rusty off and a fight insued. I wasn't here for that one, but I was here for the next fight. Petey, the rat terrier was chewing and Rusty approached him in his intentional way. Petey noticed and didn't like it, so he growled a warning. This set Rusty off and they got into a knockdown, drag out. I got them separated and cooled off and took the bone away.

Now Rusty also guards his food bowl. He won't eat from the community feeder bowl, so we put down a dish for him with food, but the other dogs don't understand this non-communal way and eat from it. This makes Rusty peeved so he growls and protects his bowl. It's hard because we don't know what kind of training he had. When I catch this behavior before it gets ugly, Rusty responds very well and corrects fine. He very much wants to please us, but the last fight drew blood and I want to make sure I am doing the right correction so the behavior ends.

This is exactly what I do: When I see Rusty with his head and body in a straight line and intent on attack, I walk right over there, stand in front of him and do a quick, light jab (Cesar Millan style) in his side (not hard, but firm) and tell him no and sit him down. This kind of behavior needs to stop and hopefully, we will be able to keep him and get him neutered, which should help.

Another thing: tonight we noticed that he is petrified of rifles. My husband was moving his old WW2 rifle and Rusty zipped as far as he could from it and cowered. Maybe he was gunshy and was dumped because of it, or ran off during training because he was afraid of the gunshot.
 

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Is Rusty micro-chipped at all? No ID tags a Vet could recognize? No tattoo either? I find it a little puzzling.

I had a German Shepherd and once my friend asked me to pet sit his dog for 4 days. A lab mix, very gentle, easy dog. After some time together I noticed growling around food. The lab was the one trying to start a fight. I quickly separated them with a baby gate. They finished their meal separately but still able to see each other.
Next, I took them out for a long walk, during he walk I made sure they encountered other dogs similar in build. Since they walked together on one leash my dog and the lab were a team. By the end of the long, long walk they were good friends. No more growling around food either.

May take more than few long walks, and meeting challenging situations together will bring them close and eventually they will appreciate each other's company.
If Rusty is as scared of guns, perhaps his training had gone horribly wrong, what a shame, IMO.
 

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We haven't had a chance to check for a microchip yet due to our crazy schedules. I will run him to the vet next week for a visit. Meanwhile, I have decided to buy some good, nutritious canned food that I am going to mix with the dry food. I have a suspicious feeling that he wouldn't be resource guarding if he wasn't so dang hungry. Now that sounds awful, but we have been setting dry food down for him all day long and encouraging him to eat it but he will only eat it when he is to the point of absolute starvation and that just blows my mind!

V's are distinctly different than any dog we have ever had. Not a one would ever let themselves starve when food is right there! I must be patient while Rusty is in our care and he really must gain some weight. He is so thin and bony. There is no fat on him. I will have to keep you posted on this new tactic. :)
 

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Here is Rusty. He is way too thin, IMO, even for a vizsla! These pics are fairly good at showing his hip bones and spine. He will be soooo gorgeous when I am done with him! My hubby tells me I'm TOO good at fattening up the pets, so this should be a fun challenge for me!! :p
 

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OMG, you are so right, Shandroid... Rusty is way too skinny! That first picture really shows his hip bones sticking out. Poor guy! Are you're definitely not supposed to be able to see the individual vertebrae.

p.s. Apparently, he feels that the dry kibble is not actually edible. Good luck! I know you can do it.
 

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Hi Shandroid,
I've read some about resource guarding between dogs and it seems to be a very natural thing, and I would suspect that the fact that Rusty was taken from the street and didn't know when his next meal might play into it. I think prevention is key. In your case it's hard to separate dogs for feeding if your dog doesn't eat in one sitting. If you can feed him something that he'll eat right away (whether it's wet food, raw or cooked chicken, etc), you'll save yourself the anguish of whether there's going to be a fight over food. If your dog is engaged in a hard stare, you could try the use of a "blocking board." I read about that recently here:

http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/blocking-boards-as-a-tool-in-aggression-cases

I recently was dog sitting and didn't know what an appropriate punishment was for resource guarding between dogs and I read about first separating the dogs and having them both in a down stay (assuming you've been able to teach this already) and assuming a stern but quiet manner so that neither one gets your attention or approval. You don't want to favor one over another if they got into a scrap. You keep them far away from each other but so that they can still see each other (as long as one won't go after the other) and keep them there for a few minutes until half an hour. Then after you release them you can pay little attention to them for as long as you want depending on the transgression-- no praise, no petting, no approval.

I think walking the dogs together is a great idea, too, and in general, always reward polite behavior and not pushy behavior so that they see that the faster they act calm and polite, the faster they get attention.

Good luck!
 

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@Mswhipple: I'm not even sure the previous owners even fed him dry food, since he is fairly young and his teeth aren't all that great. Maybe bones are a new thing too, who knows. I have seen an improvement with him after I have been feeding him a yummy mix, but it will take time to fill out that skinny body. He's worth it though! :)

@laurita: I definitely have a dog right now, Petey, the rat terrier who resource guards but he is such a weiner that none of the other dogs pay attention to him. Rusty, being a starved dog, I think has a point of guarding, but it definitely isn't going to fly in this house. Every dog but Petey that we have is elderly and cannot withstand scraps with Rusty. They are ages 11, 10, and 16 to Petey's 4. I feel bad for Petey because he is now a bit fearful of Rusty because the last scrap drew blood and he is already a weiner. He really enjoyed Rusty before that. I blame myself for not feeding Rusty what he wanted. As time goes by, I am sure they will be good buddies again. Thank you for that link, that is a really good site! I have something I can use as a blocking board, and that is a great idea. Rusty's main goal in life is to please his people, so he will get it that that behavior does not make us happy, plus keeping his belly full! ;)

It is a bit difficult to walk the dogs together on leashes where we live, as we live in the country on a gravel road, but we do take them out and have them run together all over our acreage. I want Petey to play with Rusty again as they are close in age, but apparently, Petey is still a bit fearful of him. Rusty is also more apt to want to play with our 10 year old Scotty who is in no condition to play at all, as she is in poor health. She loves Rusty though and has from day one.

Hopefully, things will get a bit better soon. Rusty is very sweet, even if he still likes to chase our cats, and has a guarding problem!!
 
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