I finally got to speak to the rescue. I don't have the option to return Briar right now even if I was sure I wanted to. The gal who runs it is leaving on a cruise tonight and not returning until Dec. 4. All of her dogs are up north right now while she's gone. I am leaving Dec. 2 and won't be back until the 9th. Since I was on the fence, I have decided to keep trying with him. Unfortunately he will be boarded when I am out of town, so we'll probably have to start over (again) when I get back.

We discussed what happened. I stressed that the bites I sustained were incidental to the dog fight, and not a result of any kind of human aggression. She has absolutely no intention of having him put down if I return him. We discussed his resource guarding, and she suggested a local vet who might be able to point me to a behaviorist. I'm on my own there but I will be contacting the vet and behaviorist to set something up.Today Briar spent more time in his crate, and he was tethered to me the rest of the time (he is right now). He's adapting to it just fine. He has been looking at me quite a lot when we are moving through the house, as if to ask me "what now?" so that's good. He's been getting lots of kibble from my pocket (when Roxy isn't anywhere near us) and so I think that's helping him pay attention. He also ate part of his dinner in his crate (the rest is in my pocket) and we'll be going on a walk later tonight.

So we're starting over, but I'm not 100% sure I'm keeping him. It will depend on the behaviorist's assessment, which may have to wait until after my trip given the holiday this week and my work schedule prior to that trip next week. I can actively manage this situation, though, and we can get to some serious work after he is back from being boarded. I'm thinking he may need another adjustment period first, but I'd like your suggestions there.
One thing that has come up today is that Roxy seems to be taking advantage of the fact that Briar is on a leash. She will play with him, and then run away, and then almost tease him just out of reach. Then they will play again, rinse, repeat. I like that they can interact and she can get away when it's getting too rough for her (I am telling Briar no when he gets rough and he does stop and look at me), but I don't want her to torment him. Is this just my perception of what is happening? Briar doesn't seem to mind, at least not that I can tell.

Other than that, today has been smooth sailing. I'm sure the walk will be tedious, not to mention cold, but I was barely ready to look at him earlier today, much less take him for a walk.
Tomorrow he will be alone for several hours for the first time since I have meetings at client sites. He'll be crated, though, and I think he'll do fine.
I'm very hopeful we can make this work, I just know that I do notnotnot want to deal with resource guarding as a long term problem. If we get the right help and do the right work, is it 'curable?'

Lynne
"Every once in a while, the tables are turned and we get to share our lives with an animal who takes care of their human." - Tara, rpdb
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Lynne (Email Removed) said in
Today Briar spent more time in his crate, and he was tethered to me the rest of the time (he ... quite a lot when we are moving through the house, as if to ask me "what now?" so that's good.

Sorry, that depends on how he looks at you and your relations with your daughter and Roxy.
Crates are good in this situation. Briar needs some time to sort out you while you're sorting out him. If he's comfortable in his crate, leave him in there while he's adjusting.

At this stage, I'd make tethering a reward.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Sorry, that depends on how he looks at you and your relations with your daughter and Roxy.

Can you explain this to me? I don't think I understand.
Crates are good in this situation. Briar needs some time to sort out you while you're sorting out him. If he's comfortable in his crate, leave him in there while he's adjusting. At this stage, I'd make tethering a reward.

How much time is okay for him to be crated? Same guidelines as for a puppy? Do you think I should only spend time with him/have him tethered to me when I am actively working with him?

Lynne
"Every once in a while, the tables are turned and we get to share our lives with an animal who takes care of their human." - Tara, rpdb
Today Briar spent more time in his crate, and he was tethered to me the rest of the time (he ... is back from being boarded. I'm thinking he may need another adjustment period first, but I'd like your suggestions there.

He may or he may not. It's very individual. But it isn't going to be a big deal if he does. It would be a refresher, not a complete starting over. If you are going really slow and managing him well now, what little steps you do are going to be cemented for him.
My daughter dances competitively. She has been working on her first solo dance with her teacher. She won't be able to work on it for a couple of weeks because of holidays. I noticed that today instead of the usual routine of refreshing the old moves and then moving on to a lot of new moves, she was doing the same moves over and over. I commented on it afterward and Anna told me that her teacher was having her take smaller new bites this week with more repetition because he knew she wasn't going to be away for a while.

He would rather have a few things cemented in her mind and muscle memory than take on more and then have to start over after the holiday because it didn't stick. Think of it that way. How can you manage the adjustments and starting over period in such as way as to have minimal readjustment after boarding? Most likely it will be more repetition of small chunks and more fun so that it makes a more lasting impression. Getting to be your shadow and never be in trouble (because you don't give him a chance) is a great start.
One thing that has come up today is that Roxy seems to be taking advantage of the fact that Briar ... this just my perception of what is happening? Briar doesn't seem to mind, at least not that I can tell.[/nq]If he's happy, then that's okay. I'd watch for signs he is getting annoyed or stressed, though, very carefully, so you can intervene before there is a big problem instead of after. Having him on leash will make any intervention more effective, though, so that should help. At the same time, I wouldn't want to let Roxy do that a lot of the time because there is some indication that stimulation such as that on your walk can mess up Briar's focus on you and manners as can issues with Roxy that you have not been able to see coming.

Since there is a potential for the interactions to be stressors even if they are also fun, I'd keep them to short periods with rest from interaction in between. Crate Briar while you play with Roxy (out of his sight, of course). Have Briar hang out tethered to you while Roxy chills in another room. Something that gives them some space just in case things are building with their time together that you are not good at reading yet. Just keep thinking that it is always better safe than sorry and slow and steady will win the race.
Other than that, today has been smooth sailing. I'm sure the walk will be tedious, not to mention cold, but I was barely ready to look at him earlier today, much less take him for a walk.[/nq]There's progress. It's not his fault. I work as a counselor and can't believe some of the messes I see daily. It really helps to get to know the people involved. They aren't evil, though many have huge problems that are causing huge problems for me and the school I work in. If I just looked at the behavior and the results of that behavior, I would hate them and hate my job.

But when I realize we are all just trying to get our needs met the best way we know how, it's easier to take some walks, take one day at a time and be able to look them in the eye and mean it when I say I'm glad to see them even though I am by no means delusional about the ways in which I am not so glad to see them.
Tomorrow he will be alone for several hours for the first time since I have meetings at client sites. He'll be crated, though, and I think he'll do fine.

I'm sure he will. Very smart to leave him crated while you are gone. That's another thing in Briar's favor if he is fine in a crate. Not all dogs come that way.
I'm very hopeful we can make this work, I just know that I do notnotnot want to deal with resource guarding as a long term problem. If we get the right help and do the right work, is it 'curable?'[/nq]It's like many human behavioral issues. Sometimes they are cured and sometimes they are just managed. It doesn't really matter whether he is cured of his impulse to guard resources or whether he just learns he can't indulge them, does it? As long as you aren't breaking up dog fights, that's probably all that really matters to you. As for whether he will always guard resources, no one can say at this point. But you also have to realize that not all resource guarding is the same.

When you say you don't want to deal with it long term, are you talking about any at all or just to the extent and with the consequences that you are seeing now? It doesn't seem to be a big deal to me to give chewies in different rooms if the dogs don't share. I have been lucky in that the ones I have been able to get my dogs who had to be separated under control, but it wasn't a big deal before that time to treat them separately. Dog aggressive and not able to be together at all unsupervised was much more draining, but you aren't seeing that.

So I am assuming that your intense aversion to resource guarding has to do with how it is playing out now and not all resource guarding. Would you be okay if the dogs were great together and with the family but you just had to give them their bones in separate rooms and/or feed Briar in his crate? If not, what is the thing about that that makes it a deal breaker?

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
Crates are good in this situation. Briar needs some time to sort out you while you're sorting out him. If he's comfortable in his crate, leave him in there while he's adjusting.

Rereading, I'm not describing this in the way it plays out in my mind. Fast forward to the next poster.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Would you be okay if the dogs were great together and with the family but you just had to give ... and/or feed Briar in his crate? If not, what is the thing about that that makes it a deal breaker?[/nq]I'm concerned that resource guarding may be a problem for our lifestyle. What I mean by that is we spend a lot of time with other dogs in various situations; in our home, in other people's homes, in cars, in the woods, in yards, etc. I can think of at least a hundred and one situations that come up routinely that would be a huge problem for a dog who resource guards. There will be times when I won't be able to manage the situation, such as when a climbing partner is feeding his or her dog at the cliff or sharing a bite of pizza at the campground, etc.

We don't leash our dogs in most of these situations. One of the great joys for climbers' dogs is the freedom to romp in the woods with us, untethered. Is this something that I'll never be able to do with Briar?

I guess the better question is this: no matter how effectively I am able to teach him that he is not allowed to act on these instincts, will he ever be able to be fully trusted?

Lynne
"Every once in a while, the tables are turned and we get to share our lives with an animal who takes care of their human." - Tara, rpdb
Lynne (Email Removed) said in
Sorry, that depends on how he looks at you and your relations with your daughter and Roxy.

Can you explain this to me? I don't think I understand.

I meet many new dogs and do my best to integrate them into my household when their owners choose to use my daycare.

Tonight an American Bulldog come for an interview and I used Friday, a short-hair bigot, to check him out. Friday was reserved, but generally good with Chico. Friday only had an issue when he was greeting Chico's mom and Chico wanted in. Friday was being selfish.
My aside aside, it's possible that your new dog is looking at you as his own, even after this short a time. This can be a good thing and used to advantage.
Train him, one-on-one, away from Roxy and build his confidence.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
I'm concerned that resource guarding may be a problem for our lifestyle. What I mean by that is we spend ... to romp in the woods with us, untethered. Is this something that I'll never be able to do with Briar?

Apparently this dog's only issue is around food? It would be a major kink in your lifestyle to work around that if you needed to? (not that you would necessarily need to once he's trained - it depends)
I guess the better question is this: no matter how effectively I am able to teach him that he is not allowed to act on these instincts, will he ever be able to be fully trusted?

All I can think is that it is a good thing our dogs don't expect us to be as "perfect" as humans frequently expect them to be. BroomSandy
Sorry, that depends on how he looks at you and your relations with your daughter and Roxy.

Can you explain this to me? I don't think I understand.

I'd be concerned about the possibility of Briar getting the idea that you are his, and the he can resource guard you against other dogs/people.
This is one of those situations where in-person eyes are vital. IIRC you described Briar and Roxy playing while Briar is tethered to you, and that Roxy seemed to be baiting him. I wouldn't allow that, period. My experience is that when dogs play, they can quickly get overly stimulated, which can turn to snarkiness. This is another instance where allowing them to play while Briar is tethered could potentially be providing the fuel for another fight, only this time, over you instead of over a bone or toy.
I'm not saying that's what's going on, but the potential may be there. Until you can get help from a trainer or behaviorist, I think it's best to make Briar work while he's tethered, and let him have free time in his crate or in a secure area, away from Roxy. They really don't need to play with each other right now, and allowing them to continue doing so could do more harm than good.

Shelly (Warning: see label for details)
http://www.cat-sidh.net (the Mother Ship)
http://esther.cat-sidh.net (Letters to Esther)
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