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.
(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.)
(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.
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.
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!