MemberAugust 2, 2011 at 4:01 pm270
Thank you for responding, Teresa.
Your suggestions are superb and will be invaluable to individuals who are having dental care issues with their best buddy.
Sadly, my dog was in a shelter for so long that he quickly becomes overstressed when confined in a crate (I’ve tried medium and large) and I have not worked to remedy this problem yet. Sometimes, you just have to pick your battles and prioritize behavioral issues in order of importance or the job just might seem bigger than you are! 🙂
Secondly, when I have provided him with any type of chew (pig ear, bully sticks, rawhide), he is so stressed over having it in his possession and guarding that he won’t even chew them. Basically you provide him with the object, he eagerly takes it and moves away from you, usually somewhere in which he can best defend his prize (a wall to his back or in a corner). He lays with it between his front legs, with his head over it or his mouth on it, with a very stiff body posture (sometimes I would see his muscles trembling). Of course, prior to giving it to him, we are isolated from all living things and I have plenty of high value trade ups (cooked liver and chicken) and he has been leashed. We usually perform this in the laundry room (floor space approx 12’x12′) and in the beginning, I remained as far away as possible, I have discovered he is less stressed if I squat or sit in a chair rather than stand. He is usually very vocal for the first few minutes and his face and eyes are unrecognizable (expressions make him look like a totally different dog). After he calms down some, he will usually relax his hold on his prize but it remains between his legs and under his chin, when not in his mouth (at all times); now he will stop growling so long as I do not move in his direction or I do not attempt to talk to him. I have discovered that leaving the room is not an option because he relocates by the puppy gate with his prize and will attempt to stand his ground so you cannot get back in, (I have not tried to leave the room since this first happened). The results were even less desirable when we attempted this out in the yard, and since I can only assume the vast openness contributed to the higher level of stress, I have not revisited this exercise outdoors again. Since I could not chance leaving him alone and having him hide it, which might result in an attack on my other dogs later when someone found it, I have not left him alone in the yard to even know if he would eventually consume it.
Now, this all sounds like a bad and maybe hopeless situation, but he has made much progress because he does not constantly growl (as he did initially throughout the exercise) and he will now abandon it for the high value treats I mentioned previously. His body posture will relax and the demonic eyes soften some and I don’t notice the trembling anymore. I am also able to be closer to him while he has his prize, by slowly over the course of time, being closer when I initially give him the item. I still do not talk to him, except when I am letting him know about the trade ups when we are nearing the end of the exercise and he willingly comes (maybe a little slow) and does not growl as the session ends.
Even though this was originally a discussion about dental care in the health area of the forum, maybe it seems more like I should have posted to the aggression/rehab area??
Thanks Teresa, your ideas about dental issues are wonderful!