(by Louise Thompson Accredited Animal Behaviour Consultant (ABC of SA ©®™)
Your puppy or dog should never be permitted to own his own toys or have exclusive rights to his own possessions.
This DOES NOT mean that he should not have doggie chew toys left lying around in the garden and house to vent his teething frustration on – he must! What we are talking about is his favourite toy or special toy. Many dogs become seriously attached to certain items and aggressive possessiveness can result from this.
If your best friend becomes “hooked” on any play object, it should then be permanently under your control. The special toy would only be brought out at YOUR INVITATION, and played with ON YOUR TERMS ONLY. Thus you must decide when to play, and with what to play with, and you must decide when to end the game!
At the end of each game (that you have initiated and ended), the toy must be taken away from the pup and put away, until you are in the mood again. Do not let him demand to play with the toy, all decisions must be yours.
Remember to be a good pack leader the owner must be a clear decision-maker. From the dog/pups point of view, you as the leader must be the one who makes all the decisions. The leader of the pack is also the one who claims the ownership of valuable commodities and resources.
The pup must view you, who, as the leader have been very generous to initiate play with the pup. (Only the higher status animal in the pack would do so) and at the end of the game the to is put away until the next time you - as pack leader initiate plat when You (not the dog) are in the mood! (10 minutes / 10 hours it does not matter)
Practice taking toys and other objects out of your puppy’s mouth with the command “Leave”. As pack leader you should be able to remove any item from your pups mouth at anytime that as leader is your privilege!
DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE OBJECTS/BONES/TOYS FROM UNKNOWN ADULT DOGS UNLESS YOU ARE CERTAIN OF THEIR REACTIONS – ESPECIALLY WITH UNKNOWN DOGS!!!
Remember there are no medals for bravery!
TAKING THE BONE/CHEW AWAY FROM THE DOG:
Start as you mean to go on. Ideally from a very early age the dog/pup should have taught that you as a status animal in the group, own all things in life, and should have been able to remove anything from the pup.
If this is not the case and your dog/pup exhibits any form of negative behaviour, such as growling at you when you want to remove the bone/hoof/toy from him, do not become confrontational!
Aggression from you will be met with more aggression from the dog.
Stay calm, and be a good role model. Try to think of logical alternatives to get your own way, for example: - Offer the dog/pup an alternative treat, and then you can “Trade” the prized item for a treat.
Beware of getting “heavy handed” with an older dog who might well misinterpret your actions and take you up on what he sees as the challenge, or acts in what he sees as his own defence!
As with all toys, bones and hooves etc, all children should be under strict supervision at all times.
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