Food Aggression and Fear of Noises

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by Flyingfree777, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Flyingfree777

    Flyingfree777 New Member

    @ Boxergirl.

    Thank you for the pharmaceutical references. Yes, a full panel was done and eyes are fine. My girl has never actually taken Ace. I read about it before I was supposed to give it to her. I didn't like the sound of it and it was a no go for me.

    This dog is actually logical in her fears. Meaning she experienced something that caused a fear. She'll try anything once. She just won't do something twice if there was a negative experience. I usually find a work around and then lots of training if the issue requires it. Like getting into cars ( she fell out of one when she was a puppy. The car was not moving, she is just is clumsy) . Ear cleaning and nail trimming. Etc.

    Fireworks set off next to her by some silly teenagers. Another dog stealing her food. A sudden thunder boom so loud it made me scream followed lightening strike that took out a tree in our yard while we were on the patio.

    There isn't a work around yet for thunder or fireworks.

    Every instance with her there is a logical reason. However, she can't add new things to the list and the old things can't get bigger and need to soften.
  2. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    logically if something scares you but your not harmed , and you continue to be exposed to it , are never harmed by it , you eventually become unafraid of it ..... likewise with a normal dog , desensitized ......... if you remain terrified of it , at some point it becomes illogical ........... i assure you what you are describing , for some reason , is not a logical dog ....... even so , if the dog hides under the bed shaking during thunderstorms , that's not going to get someone hurt and end her life , biting someone who comes near her when she has food will , because left to it's own end , that behavior will only expand ........ i have a dog right now that was a timid pup , i slammed his head in a car door when he was 2-3 months old , he was scared for all of about 2-3 more times getting in the car , he trust me ....... i don't need to socialize my dogs because they trust me .........
  3. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Regarding the resource guarding - I agree with Marke. That's the more dangerous behavior. Management is imperative, but I can tell you from experience that management will fail at some point. We're human and we make mistakes and it only takes a second for something bad to happen. I think addressing that issue will actually tie into the other problem behaviors you're seeing. I think that it's tied to fear and general anxiety. She sounds insecure. Not saying that it's anything you did. Some dogs are genetically inclined to be fearful/anxious. I have two of them and as much as I love them, it's a pain in the butt.

    Marke is also right that you need to really build her trust in you. You need her to look to you to see what she should be doing and to trust that you have her back in all situations. When a dog (or person) is phobic, that emotional reaction is so overpowering that they can't think or hear. A dog that is 100% obedient in every other situation will be unable to hear or respond to known commands. That's where the meds help. I can tell you that Xanax for my noise phobic girl helped her not bolt when we're outside. That doesn't mean I make her stay out there when it's thundering or there are fireworks. I don't. That, in my opinion, would be a breach of the trust she has in me. She's still afraid and it would be cruel to force her to endure that if she doesn't have to. But I'm no longer dragged back to the house. She can look to me and I can tell her that everything is fine and head back to the house - quickly, but not at a dead panicked run. When we get inside she's allowed to retreat to her room. That's our bedroom closet where I keep her bed. It's comforting to her and with the medication, she's no longer a drooling mess. She's still afraid, but not incapacitated by it.

    I strongly feel that you need a good behaviorist and trainer on board with you and I don't think you've found that yet. Medication isn't a quick fix. It requires time to start working and the right kind of training to go along with it. And you must continue training forever. You need someone to help you. Where are you located? Maybe we can help you find a professional in your area.
  4. Flyingfree777

    Flyingfree777 New Member

    What I meant by logical is that her fears are not random. Cause and effect. It isn't random. I don't want to keep defending my wording or asking for help.

    Thunder and lightening are on a constant loop where I live. My neighborhood is still recovering from hurricane Irma. So construction, nail guns, and big tress being taken down (big booms) happen sun up to sun down. Soon it will be thunder season again.

    @ Boxergirl, the med info is helpful and something I will look into with our vet next week when she comes out. Thank you! No, I don't believe meds are an instant fix but that can help soften and support a behavioral modification and desensitization program. I also understand the cycle of fear, the disruption it has on the brain, and the development of new nuropathways that results in a behavior.

    I agree about the food agression. Hence asking for any suggestions about building trust, her confidence while she is subjected to constant booms, and the food aggression. I am aware that it is a problem. I'm not a stupid person or an inexperienced dog owner.
  5. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I'm probably the worst person on this entire forum for picking at words. In an online forum all we have are words, so clarity is of the utmost importance. I don't think anyone has insinuated or treated you as a stupid person. I think both Marke and I are really trying to help and it's difficult to judge tone from the written word. Please don't take offense or feel defensive. You have to understand that it's really dangerous to give training advice over the internet. We don't know your experience or how skilled you are at reading body language and we haven't seen your dog. There are also a lot of lurkers reading that may be less skilled than you that would try things and be put in danger. I'm sorry to harp, but I'll ask one last time if you'd care to share your location so we can try to help you find better professionals versed in behavioral issues than you have already tried. Also know that most vets don't really know that much about behavior. That's why you need a specialist for that. Irma impacted a large area, so without you sharing your general location there's no way to really help you find a professional, if there is one in your area.

    There are books that may be helpful to you, but then again they may not. It would take some time to compile a list, but I will do that if you're interested.

    I also wanted to say, as a parent and someone that has been a child care giver while also fostering rescue dogs, that it's equally or even more important to make sure you teach your child how to interact (or not interact) with the dog. All dogs. I know you say that they are separated. I'm telling you that management always fails at some point. Always. When that happens, your child needs to know exactly how to behave in any situation that arises. They're never too young to start learning.

    I'm very sorry you were impacted by Irma. I hope that your damage was minimal and repairs are going swiftly.
  6. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    You don't know how rare it is to hear this. You're spot on. Most people don't understand the role of medication combined with behavior modification at all. Hearing this, and knowing that you are willing to learn and be an advocate for your dog (not using the ACE showed that) puts you at an advantage for dealing with these issues. I hope you stick around. I'd sure like to hear a great update about your dog.
  7. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    This thread just proves that I (we) really need to listen, ask questions and offer lots of information in these kinds of situations (and many others)... and withhold judgement, since there's always more to the story than we get in short blurbs on a forum!

    I was ready to suggest the dog may just be better off with a new family, since she can't be part of your family WITH the toddler... I think her being separated from you and the toddler for much of the day (which would seem logical, if you spend lots of time with the toddler, and the dog isn't allowed in the same room) is, basically... cruel. But... you say she can see and talk with you, and based on the rest of this thread I'm willing to entertain the idea that being with you is what's best for the dog - but, I'm still going to throw that out as an option - sometimes finding a new home can be the best thing for the dog and the humans.

    That aside...
    My views changed when you said:
    "She has only snapped at me 4 times. Twice at the pug over food and once at the cat. The cat won that fight.
    After she snaps she backs off and sits down and immediately becomes very submissive."

    This sounds much more workable... still dangerous and in need of support... but workable.
    Then I go back to your original post - where you mention she's a low-confidence dog... and you're not comfortable using treats due to food aggression...

    I think food aggression and being able to use treats are different things...
    Food aggression is "MINE! I HAVE IT, DON'T TAKE IT"
    Treats should be "may I please have one of what you have??"

    A dog that sees treats in her human's hands as "MINE" is coming from a VERY different place... and I don't get that as being where your pup is...
    Especially when you add to that the mindless snapping with quick remorse....

    My recommendation would be teaching her Impulse Control.
    There are lots of ways to teach Impulse Control (via a quick internet search)... you'd have to find a method you're comfortable with.
    Have you ever used clicker/marker training with her? That might be a good option. The treat reward is removed from the marking of the good behavior, which can help save your fingers from inadvertent snapping as you get started. You can 'click' and then just drop treats on the ground for her to slurp up... so no finger involvement.

    If you can't use treats, what motivates her? Praise? Toys? Where is her "happy place"?
    With all the change between family members coming and going and the toddler and the move... she might need to reconnect with her happy place. If that was long walks with you before baby... can you find time, maybe one a week or 2x a month to get out for some of those again? Does she love a hike in the woods or a place to swim? Just time to snuggle? or a game of chase?? Just tossing out some ideas...

    What about controlled games of Tug? (where you can ask her to grab & pull, and also to release the toy on cue?) Denna LOVES tug...
    Tug is a great game for building confidence... if she listens and will give it up when you ask, you can also let her win a few rounds... but only a few (until she earns it by not being a nasty girl around food). :)

    Please keep us posted on what you're trying, what's working, what's not.
    If you need a place to rant or unload, we're pretty good listeners here for that, stuff, too. :)
    I hope you can get your girl to relax and let go of her demons, so she can be a complete part of your family for years to come.
    Jarena likes this.

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