CHRISTMAS AGGRESSION

I had planned for the first few posts on this blog to be about things that have happened in the past 2 years, to catch the readers up on how I got to where I am with Tippy.  But, I find that in trying to do so, I am missing out on some of the current things that I would like to write about.  So, I am changing my strategy and will write about current events, interspersed with history necessary to explain the story at hand.

For the last couple of years, I have gotten Tippy a gift for Christmas and wrapped it for her.  This year, I was so busy and so focused on the humans in my life, that I neglected to get her anything.  So, I decided to wrap up one of her favorite treats and let her open it….a nearly empty jar of peanut butter.

Tippy opening her gift

(I have a video which is really cute, but, as a novice, I have yet to figure out how to get it onto the blog.)

Tippy eating the peanut butter

(That red nose is the lid of the jar before I opened it up.)

Usually, when I give this to her, she will wallow the jar around and lick it until the label comes off.  When it does, I get it and throw it away, so she doesn’t eat the paper.  Then, when she had licked the jar as clean as she can possibly get it, I get the jar and throw it away also.  So, imagine my surprise when I went to get the label off yesterday and she growled and barked at me!  She has been “food aggressive” before, but only with meaty bones and dead animals.  Not her peanut butter.

So, I took it from her.  Later in the day, I tried to give it to her again, but in a gradual manner, where I would let her know that it was mine and she had to give her distance until I told her it was okay to get it.  This worked great, until I let her have it and then went to pick it up again.  She growled, nipped, and ran away with it.  I had to get my old tennis racquet to use as a shield while I picked it up and put it away for the day.

I don’t know if it was the energy in the house yesterday….my mom and dad were here and they spoil her rotten, or if it was the full moon, or something else all together.  But, I tried it again this morning….just gave it to her, petted her, took it away from her twice, and she just looked at me in anticipation of getting it back.  No aggression at all.

Other than this minor episode, we had a great, rainy Christmas day.  Tippy and I hope all of you also had a wonderful day and were able to spend some quality time with your family and friends, both human and animal.

UPDATE:

I have been working with Tippy on her aggression when given a high value food item.  I have started randomly taking food away from her when she is eating it and then giving it back, if she doesn’t growl or nip.  She is smart, so my thought is, she will realize that if she lets me have it, she will get it back.  That way, if she ever does get into something I don’t want her to have, she will give it to me.  I just won’t give it back.  I haven’t tried this with a meaty bone or a dead squirrel yet, but I did have the opportunity to test her with another peanut butter jar.

20160129_140926

When she first started with it, I took it from her.  No problems.  I waited until she was about 2/3 through and tried to take it again.  She didn’t growl, but grabbed it and ran.  Instead of chasing her, I said, “Un uh, Tippy.  You get back here with that.” and, to my pleasant surprise, she did.  She turned right around, came to me and, when I reached for the jar, she very politely let go so I could take it out of her mouth.  Needless to say, she got it back and enjoyed it to the very last lick!

Advertisements

THE FIRST FEW MONTHS

I decided to name her Tippy Bleye, because she had a white tip on the end of her tail and, of course, the one blue eye. She goes by Tippy.

Tippy_01

I’ll be honest in that I got a little more than I bargained for. One of the reasons I adopted her, and not her sister, is that she was not as rambunctious. I really wasn’t looking for an overly active dog. Well, was I in for a surprise when I realized that she was only sluggish because she had a bad case of worms. Once those were taken care of, the games were on!

The fact that she had so much energy soon grew on me and wouldn’t have it any other way. I loved to see her do what I called her puppy runs….where she would take off running at full speed, run around in circles, try to change directions suddenly and wind up turning a cartwheel, and then doing it all over again.

One thing she did that I didn’t like, was jump on me and anyone else who came to visit. Her little claws were sharp and I wound up having to keep Band-Aids and hydrogen peroxide by the door to treat my daily wounds. I must have looked like I’d been in a fight most days.

My first try at getting her to quit jumping was to bop her on the head with a rolled up little magazine every time she did. (I didn’t bop her hard, so there was no pain involved..just wanting to get her attention and know that that was NOT an okay behavior.)  It wasn’t long, though, before this is what I found when I came out into the garage.

She heard a tractor, but looks like she's saying, I ran that bad dog away_01.  lol

I figured if she was smart enough to tear up the magazine, I was smart enough to try something else. So, that was the end of the head bopping. Eventually, I hired a dog behaviorist to help me get her jumping under control.  I found that a lot of it had to do with my body language and energy.  I was finally able to return the Band-Aids and hydrogen peroxide to the medicine cabinet.