Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuesday Timber Training Talk

So I have been doing a lot of "training" with Mom lately.  I think SHE is doing pretty good.  She seems to learn very quickly.  She feeds me my meals on time, takes me for nice walks, plays with me, and gives me lots of tummy rubs and ear scritchies. In exchange, I am doing marvelously with sit, stay, down, paw, and leave it.  I am making great strides with potty training, just the overnight issue of mostly dry nights and an occasional wet night.  

She says she gives me very good marks too, except for one thing.  I am going to let her do the talking now.

So a while ago, we mentioned that Timber had an issue with some guarding of a few of his toys.  There are only four toys that seem to be HIS treasures.  Now all of these four toys are pre-Timber, well-loved and enjoyed by both Lightning and Misty (and even Angel Ciara).  So they are not new, not HIS.

A silly fuzzy turtle and a nubby-textured dinosaur.

A crinkly critter that might be a dog with wings?  and Sneaky Snake.

The turtle, dinosaur, and snake have/had squeakers, and the critter has crinkly paper inside.  The turtle and dinosaur have recently been de-squeaked by Timber.  But the high level of interest is still there.

We also have many, many more toys with squeakers and crinkly sounds that are very nicely shared by Timber, Misty, and Lightning, like the four shown above. For some reason this snake doesn't seem to have that same high level of "mine" appeal as Mr. Sneaky Snake.

A blogger friend who is an excellent trainer and "reader" of dog behavior gave us some ideas for working with Timber to try to prevent this "guarding" behavior from going any farther.  It is a minimal issue now, but we don't want to see it escalate.  One of the things we have been doing is to only let Timber have these special toys when he is away from the other dogs.  During that time, we let him have one or two of the cherished toys and we do a lot of trading, toy for a tasty treat, over and over.  There has never been a problem for us to take ANY toy from Timber, even the ones he guards.  He just doesn't want Misty (or Lightning) to have those four toys.  He truly loves his time with these toys. They keep him very busy even with the repeated trading with Mom.  We were thinking that maybe now that he has desqueaked them, he would have less interest.  But as soon as he sees Misty in the other room, he goes under the table and very steadily keeps his eyes on where she is.  We are also reading a book reconmmended to our blogger friend by another dog trainer. The book is called "Mine: A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs" by Jean Donaldson.  The book has a lot of very good information but seems to apply mostly to dogs guarding from humans rather than other dogs.  We are still gaining a lot of insight into the whys of resource guarding and will adapt the suggestions to our situation.  

Meanwhile, we wondered how Timber would do if we introduced a new toy to the pack.  In the video you can see Misty and Timber enjoying their new pink piggy (with crinkly stuff inside) with Lightning watching the two sillies.  What you see in the video is typical of 99% of Timber's playtime with Misty - no guarding whatsoever.  There must be something very magical about his four "mine" toys that makes them different from all the others. We were very pleased to see that he reacted extremely well to a new toy.

Timber and Misty had a lot of fun with Pink Piggy, and it even appears that Misty took the lead role.  She even tried to engage Lightning who was too busy with his bone.

See, I really AM a very good boy, and I love to play with my packmates as long as I can have MY special toys alone:)

It may turn out that the toys in question may just have to be discarded. But if you have any other ideas, we are more than open to suggestions.

No, no, no, Mom.  Don't throw them away.  Let's keep trying.

Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber and Mom


Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

Haven't run into that problem...though scotties don't really play with toys much. Funny that those four toys have that 'something special'. Sounds like you're on the right track, though. Hopefully, he'll outgrow it.

Mark Muller said...

that was very cute... I loved how she tried to include her bro into the game ;o) do you think she is on the way to become the leader or ist it still lightning who rules the sibe-kingdom?

Kinley Westie said...

We don't really know - me and Brinley like toys, but we've never been too possessive. Whitley and Finley used to really get into it over toys - da mommas had to watch dem carefully.

Anonymous said...

Looks like pink piggy was a BIG HIT.....and apparently is a "share" toy instead of a "mine". Don't really have any ideas for the issue with those four SPECIAL toys Timber guards from Misty but it sounds like things might just work out on their own in time!

Hugs, Pam (and Teddy too)

Molly the AireGirl said...

That pink piggy looks like a superfun toy! Your mom is right on top of this guardie business Timber!

Madi and Mom said...

Oh my word what an interesting issue w the old toys that are well seasoned with pack scents but Timber seems to think they are only his!! I like the alone time idea but if new toys create peace and sharing I would probably toss the older ones. But then I'm a cat owner so take my advice with an itty bitty kitty grain of salt.
We loved the piggy video. MOL using Lightning as a jumping challenge

Timber well done on your training of Mom
Hugs madi your bfff

Julie said...

Isn't that curious, I wonder what it is about those toys that makes then soooo special to Timber, although I have to say Timber, great choices they are excellent toys!
Loves and licky kisses
Princess Leah xxx

Momo and Pinot said...

Awwww, Timber is growing up so fast! I Pinot love toys!

Momo & Pinot xo

Millie and Walter said...

We can't offer any more advice than what you've already gotten. According to our pawrents none of our Angel Sisters had any issues like that. As long as Timber is good with the new toys it might be wise to permanently retire those toys he is possessive of.

KB Bear said...

I am really glad to hear that the behavior hasn't spread to other toys. I think that, if I were you, I'd keep doing what you're doing but keeping the other dogs completely out of the picture. Play your trading games etc, just so that Timber doesn't invisibly slide toward resource guarding with you or other kinds of resource guarding. Wait a couple of months (seriously, put it on your calendar for a month or two from now) before having another dog even nearby (but contained). If Timber still shows this behavior, then put it on your calendar for another month later to try again. I'd make sure that the other dog is very clearly far away and very clearly not able to get to the toy so that introducing that other dog doesn't intensify the behavior.

You may end up having to put those toys away whenever the whole pack is out and about for a long time until Timber matures in this regard. But don't throw them away! It sounds like you (just like me) value those toys because of their history with your pack. My guess is that Timber will eventually mellow in this regard.

We had a Lab, Astro, years ago who had seizures when balls were around (he loved balls too much). We are still finding all the balls that we sequestered in that phase. However, they are now out for our current pack to play with. I smile as I remember how many of our departed dogs have played with them. I'm glad that we didn't throw them away.

Sue said...

I wonder if those four toys smell different to him. Have you tried running them thru the washer a couple times to remove any special smell?

Mama and da DB Boyz said...

Sounds like you have gotten some great advice! Fortunately, we haven't had to deal with this issue. While Jakey is our only real toy guy, he'll let Rosy just swoop in and take whatever she wants. Of course, she just want his attention and she promptly forgets all about the toy once the game of taking it away is over :-).

stellaroselong said...

It sounds like you have gotten lots of great advice. Our problem at our house is more food aggression on stella's part from day one, so she always eats alone, now maggie is the toy stealer here and only from stella. We try to stop it but truthfully maggie usually wins. Timber is such a doll. deb

Marg said...

Gosh that is very interesting. I have multiple dogs many a time but my dogs had all their fun outside helping Mom with the chores. They really didn't have any toys. That is good news that Timber is willing to share the new toy. My opinion is to put the toys away somewhere and maybe Timber will get over thinking that they are only his toys. That is a hard one. Did Timber have siblings??? You all have a great day.

The Daily Pip said...

I sure wish I had some advice for you. I have only always had one dog and neither Pip nor Ruby were ever very interested in toys anyway. Sounds like you are doing everything you can and maybe you are right, "the mine toys" will eventually have to go away.

Brian said...

That is a toy mystery fur sure and I hope you figure it out without tossing them!

Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song said...

It sounds like you are doing a great job. Maybe you could set the toys aside for a period of time and them try to reintroduce them at a later time.

The Army of Four said...

Our mom thinks you're doing all the right things. Maybe give it more time before letting him have the special toys when Misty or Lightning are there? But do try!
I know for a fact that Sneaky Snake is very special.
Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Idaho PugRanch said...

It sounds like you are getting some good info on this. Mabel has favorite toys but Hazel does not have much interest. When Hazel does get playful with one and one of us starts to play with her Mabel will try to take the toy away. We have to play two handed to keep Mabel busy so Hazel gets her play time too. It may take some time but we are sure you will figure this out
Hazel, Mabel & Mom

The Florida Furkids said...

Hi Timber!! It's great to meet you!!

Thank you for the thoughtful and kind comment you made on our post about our Daddy and for the lovely card. We know he's an Angel smiling down on us but we are heartbroken.

The Florida Furkids and Mom Sharon

BeadedTail said...

We hope the toy thing works out. There must certainly be something special about those four toys. The pink piggy is cute though!

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Bibi-Chan, Gen-Chan, Vidock, Violette said...

As Tommy is an only dog, we don't have any interesting input. The only time he interacts with other dogs over his toys is when Fernant is over, and Fernant does tend to want whatever Tommy is holding on to. Fortunately, Tommy is pretty easy-going and , aside from the occasional warning growl, doesn't really care.

You clearly are a good boy, Timber, and you have a wonderful family to teach you how to grow up into a real gentledog!

Jeanne Pursell said...

We have never heard of that particular type of guarding before but guess Timber REALLY likes those four toys! Sounds like you are working it out...and we are pretty sure that he doesn't want you to throw the toys away. :( Pink Piggy was a HUGE hit!! Love the video!

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Such a good boy

C.L.W.STEP said...

In my house, the squeaky toys are always MINE! Miss Ginger never paid any attention to them. Joey dog would occasionally sneak one but he would just nibble on it. But I have an all-out squeaky toy obsession!

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Huskies622 said...

Kiki here! Sometimes our mom has to put away my toys when other dogs come over to visit. Nala doesn't play with toys, so no issue when it is just the two of us. We think your mom is doing it right!