Very selfish/possessive of his food and toys

Posted by jinx
Oct 25, 2010
sorry for the super long explanation!

My puppy, a Yorkie mix, is about 4 months and he's is very possessive over his food and toys. He's always taking his toys and hiding them under my bed. If people try to take his food or toy while he's playing with it, he'll growl and sometimes, rarely snap at the hand (he's never bitten anyone, yet). My roommate also has a dog, a 1yr old maltese. My dog will always go after his toys and once he has it, if the maltese tries to get it back, my yorkie gets really aggressive towards him. Same with the food, my Yorkie always tries to eat the maltese's food. He knows if i catch him going for the bowl, he'll get reprimanded, so instead he always sneaks when i'm not looking. How do i get him to just stick to his own bowls? also to not be so selfish with his toys?

I've gotten him to not growl or snap at me, but still with other people he still growls, and is still aggressive with the maltese. If possible i'd like to try to teach my puppy to play fetch, but whenever i throw the ball he'll chase it, then once he has it, he'll just take it anywhere i am not. I've tried luring him with treats, but he'll just drop the ball in a spot out of my reach and come to me for the treat
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Oct 27, 2010
Hi jinx,

I think it is a good idea to teach your dog he shouldn't take other dogs' foods or toys. He should also learn how to share his own toys too.

When you feed both dogs, have your dog leashed and you will watch and correct him by pulling the leash when he tries to get to the other dog's bowl.

I don't know how you are reprimanding him when he does unfavorable behaviors but you should be really on top of it and be consistant. I would even make a situation where your dog gets to the other dog's toy. You might think it's cute that he hides all the toys under your bed but if you really want him not to do it, toss all the toys out in front of him and put them back in the basket. When he growls at the Maltese, tell him "No" in a firm voice and put him on time-out if he doesn't stop growling. If he stops growling, praise him and give him a treat.

Also, it is a good idea to have both dogs sit in front of you and give tiny treats alternately. He needs to wait for his turn. I have 3 dogs and a foster dog and they all wait for his/her turn and they would never ever try to take other dogs foods or treats. They all make sure the other have finished before they check one another's bowl to see if there is anything left (of course there is nothing left.

It is good to implement the rules when they are still young so start as soon as you can and let us know how it goes
Posted by KOPCaroline
Oct 27, 2010
Hey jinx,

I think MaxHollyNoahs ideas are good ones. Its important for your pup to see you interact with the Maltese and for you to do so happily, so your own dog learns to accept and interact nicely with the other. Learning to wait his turn for treats and food and attention could be key to getting your pup to settle down nicely.

Growling and other possessive behaviours should always be verbally reprimanded immediately, and further steps (time out, put in a kennel, put outside and tied up, whatever) should be taken if verbal correction doesn't stop the growling/bad behaviour.

You dont want to reward the bad behaviour in any way - no baby talking, no letting him get away with it every once in a while, and sticking to a routine of correcting the problem is best. Dogs learn by repetition.

With patience and a lot of repetition I think you'll be able to get your pup through this unhappy behaviour. Let us know how it goes
Posted by jinx
Oct 28, 2010
But the thing is, the maltese isn't my dog. It's my roommates and we do our own things with our own dogs. And for the aggressive behavior, whenever i do catch him growling at the maltese i do reprimand him with a strong no and he stops immediately and usually i just take him and his possession away from the maltese or my roommate takes her dog away. And feeding wise, we feed them in different areas at different time at our respective convenient times. I have a puppy pen for my puppy where i keep his food and toys and my roommate feeds her dog in the adjoining bathroom and usually keeps him there when she leaves him at home. When he knows i'm watching him, he won't go for the other dog's food, its when he knows i'm not paying attention he sneaks for the other bowl. My roommate has actually started putting away her dog's bowls away when he not actually eating.
And whenever i do catch him with the maltese's toy i always immediately take it away while saying "no" or "bad boy" so he knows he shouldn't so he always hides under the bed or takes it when i'm not looking now.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Nov 2, 2010
Hey again jinx,

Is your roommate willing to work with you on this? It might be a good idea to work together on training both dogs, not just your own, especially if you're planning to live together for a while. My flatmate and I made sure our 2 dogs were trained to respond to both of us, and to respect each other as equal members of the household. Any bullying activity, or toy snatching was immediately met with a "no" or "not yours", removal of the item, and the "offending" dog was put outside. You could try something similar with a time-out area for whoever behaves badly.

As far as sneaking toys and food when your back is turned, the best way to fix that is to remove the temptation. It might be a pain, but picking up and putting away toys in a box or cupboard, and not leaving food laying around (as you said, your flatmate is already putting the Malteses' food away) doesnt leave opportunity for your pup to "steal" them. If you do catch him in the act, try calling him to you, in a stern but positive voice (if hes scared of getting punished, he's less likely to respond), take the toy from him with a "no", and try giving him one of his own toys or a treat instead, a reward for letting go of something thats not his.
Posted by Kate-Jacobz
Nov 5, 2010
Hi Jinx,

You and your flat mate really do need to work together on this issue. Both dogs need to respect both of you and obey both of you.

KOPcaroline said, "If you do catch him in the act, try calling him to you, in a stern but positive voice (if hes scared of getting punished, he's less likely to respond), take the toy from him with a "no", and try giving him one of his own toys or a treat instead, a reward for letting go of something thats not his."

Remember that it is very important not to use the "Come" command to punish your dog or he will fear you and not go to you. I prefer going to the dog and taking the object from him by saying "No. Drop it." and replacing the removed object with an appropriate object/toy. This rewards him for releasing the inappropriate object/toy.

Many dog experts believe in feeding dogs away from each other. I place my dog bowls within a metre of each other and my dogs eat from their own bowls. If they do approach their mates bowl I will say no (using the dog's name) in a stern voice and the dog will leave the bowl of food that does not belong to them alone. The earlier you start teaching them not to touch the incorrect bowl the better.
Posted by kjd
Nov 5, 2010
Hi, jinx.

I think KOPCaroline and Kate have hit on the most important issue. You AND your roommate have to agree on the training. It sounds as if the roommate feels this is your problem and you should solve it without her help. Actually, if the dogs live in the same household, all the members of the household have to agree on appropriate canine behaviour and enforce the rules fairly. Both dogs should look on both of you as leaders.

See if you can get her to help,