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Thread: Possessiveness?

  1. #1


    Toy Possessiveness:
    I have two Australian shepherds. One Male that is a year old and a two year old female. They have never attacked anyone or anything over toys or food but I am afraid that they are beginning to be possessive over their toys.

    At the dog park my one year( the same one who is a little reactive on the leash, but is getting better) old will find toys and play keep away with all the dogs. Then he will take it and lay down with it. When another dog comes by him he will get really still...almost like he is telling the dogs to stay away. Sometimes he will show his teeth, sometimes he will slam his paw down on the toy and then look at the dog challenging it.

    He also goes to visit a friend every now and again. When he visits the other dog and him with play and mouth each other, which is pretty normal from what I understand. But my dog will hoard all of the toys, he will collect them all and put them around himself, and then protect them.

    Both of the dogs are possessive with the bones that we have at home. We have at least one bone around all the time so that they have things to keep themselves occupied with. If one of them is chewing on it and then leaves to go do something else, if the other even walks by with no intention to take the bone, the one that was previously chewing on the bone will sprint to the bone and put it in their mouth and look at the other dog with a still stare like saying " it is mine stay away."

    Like I said before, neither of them have attacked each other or another dog. I just think that they are developing bad habits that could be worse if I don't stop it now. Neither of them will growl at me if I claim or take their food or toys, so they are respectful of me and other humans but other dogs is what I am afraid of.

    I have a feeling the reason why my one year old is worried about his toys is because the two year old when he was little and even sometimes now will take toys away from him. I correct it most of the time, but I find it hard to determine if they are playing or she is trying to take it from him.

    Any tips to prevent my two dogs from escalating their possessive tendencies? What should I let the dogs do and not do at home?

    Dog park question:
    My one year old likes to grab my two year old's collar whenever the two year old gets excited. Then he will start playing with her, play growl and kind of mouthing. They do this at home and it is just playing but they can get a little vocal. When we are at the dog park when he does this and they start playing it gets the attention of other dogs and people. The dogs get excited and it gets everyone is a tizzy. Even though they are playing I feel like everyone thinks that they are being vicious. I try my hardest to keep him form biting her collar but he wants to do it every time she gets excited ( I throw the ball or frisbee). Any goo tips on getting them to stop? Should I let them play like that at home?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Well, I have two Aussies as well (one is a mix of something). But as far as the possessiveness, I don't seem to have that problem. Taggart (the almost 10 month old mix) will take toys away from Zoee (the 4 year old pure bred) all the time. She lets him so I don't stop him. He is not possessive of the toys though. Of course I've only taken him to the dog park once, but he's been at my brothers with three other dogs (besides Zoee) and I think things went fine.

    And the part about them playing. LOL That sounds exactly like my two when they play. They sound like they are tearing each other apart, teeth showing, rearing up on their hind legs and everything. Zoee learned this from my brothers dog, but its just playing. Again, they've only been to the park once and didn't even play together really. But that was not long after I brought Taggart home. I will try it again once the weather dries out.
    Suggestions on the "rough" playing would be to teach them to stop when you tell them at home (that may not be the right choice though, I don't know). That way when you are out at the park you can tell them to stop so you won't draw unwanted attention from other dogs or people. I know that when other dogs get vocal at the park all the other dogs come running to see what's going on. Just like in high school when there was a fight everyone swarmed around to watch. LOL

    Hopefully others will give more suggestions for you. I'm not much help. Sorry.
    Our goal in life should be - to be as good a person as our dog thinks we are.

    Thank you for the siggy, Michelle!

    Cindy (Human) - Taz (RB Tabby) - Zoee (RB Australian Shepherd) - Paizly (Dilute Tortie) - Taggart (Aussie Mix) - Jax (Brown & White Tabby), - Zeplyn (Cattle Dog Mix)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Blog Entries
    Are both your dogs neutered? Maybe there is a hormonal issue causing dominance? I have owned both a male Australian shepherd & a female. We now have found the neutered female showing dominance toward our Australian Cattle Dog. She is two years old & we have had her since she was 8 weeks old. She will wait for him to come in through the door from outside & growl & snarl. I have to contain her by her collar. The male Australian Shepherd I had years ago never growled or snarled at anyone. I had an Australian Cattle Dog bitch that would sit on cats & take the other dogs toys & place them under her so they could not play. I have found the female dogs over the years to be dominant even after they were neutered. Maybe it has to do with the breeding & bloodlines?

  4. #4
    I am really getting frustrated, Dash (my male) snapped at a dog at the dog park today over a toy. I just don't understand how he is fine at home but when he gets with different dogs he gets mad when they try to take his toy. He will never take a toy from a dog just watch it until it is given up, but he will never take a toy from another dog. If someone has any tips I would greatly appreciate it, I am lost. I hate having a dog that is hard to trust, or so I think. He bears his teeth at my female at home and it just means play they have never gotten into a fight. When he is at the dog park I always catch him and make him give up the toy when he does that. Am I over reacting? Is he feeling that I am nervous that he is going to do something? I see other dogs at the dog park that can play keep away and be ok, why can't mine, what did I do differently? Then again I see some dogs that will do exactly what he does but the owners don't do anything about it.

    They are both fixed. The behavior that my female shows ( scared of a lot of things, she will only bark not bite or be aggressive, ) I think stem from the breeding. I was very naive when I got my first one and I believe that I got here from a puppy mill and she was younger than they said. My youngest, the male I got from a very reputable breeder. The only thing I can think of is that his dad was a little aggressive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Northern California
    Breeding aggressive dogs is the single most irresponsible thing a breeder can do. This topic hits home, and it hits home hard for me. Rehabilitating aggressive dogs has become a passion of mine, but it is my belief that genetically-based, inappropriate aggression is one of those things that can and should always be eliminated from the gene pool. If your male's father was aggressive, I would contact his breeder and see what the behaviors of the rest of the litter look like. Sorry to go on a tirade, but aggression just hits my heart hard. I've dealt with many people's frustrations on top of my own heartaches, and aggression is not worth this emotional pain. And, believe me, aggression is as stressful for the dog as it is for the owner. I feel for you, as it does get incredibly painful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dariesh View Post
    When he is at the dog park I always catch him and make him give up the toy when he does that. Am I over reacting? Is he feeling that I am nervous that he is going to do something? I see other dogs at the dog park that can play keep away and be ok, why can't mine, what did I do differently? Then again I see some dogs that will do exactly what he does but the owners don't do anything about it.
    Here's something that concerns me. He's guarding the toys because he doesn't want them taken away. But when he growls to signal his reluctance and fear of the toy being taken away, you say that you take the toy away. IMO, that would only make him more likely to guard the next time because he knows that you're going to take away the toy. To combat this, I would use a form of "trade up". Every time another dog approaches him to take the toy but BEFORE he feels compelled to growl, immediately give him a better toy while simultaneously handing the old toy to the other dog. Conversely, you can immediately hand him a delicious treat while simultaneously giving the toy to the other dog. You want him to enjoy giving up his toys to other dogs, not dread them. Good luck


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