Won't Let Anyone Near His Favorite Toy

Posted by sisterpat
May 2, 2012
Hi: I have a year old Westie who has a little teddy bear that he loves. He sleeps with it and carries it around at times. Sometimes he will bring it to me to throw and fetch, but other times, usually in the morning, he will be sitting with it and if I come near him to pet him, he tries to bite me, obviously guarding the bear. Any suggestions?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
May 9, 2012
Hi Sisterpat,

Have you practiced "exchange games" with your Westie?

If you haven't here is what you need to do. Start with a lower value toy for him. When you are playing with the toy with your pup and he gets excited and tries to pull the toy, show him a treat by saying "Give it to me" once he releases the toy to eat the treat, take it. When he finishes the treat, give the toy back to him and repeat the whole thing. This way, he will learn two things:

1. When he releases whatever he has, he will get a treat
2. Even he gives the toy up, it won't be the end of the game since the toy (and your attention) will come back

Once he learns this game, play it with his favorite Teddy Bear, but not first thing in the morning since it seems to be the time he guards the Bear the most. When you feel comfortable and you get a good response from him, you can try to make him trade his Bear with a treat in the morning.

Also, get another Teddy Bear and have him start sleeping with a new one. It is like when a baby gets too obsessed with a baby blanket so that you cannot wash it unless you have an alternative blanket that your baby loves as much Good luck
Posted by KOPCaroline
May 16, 2012
Hi there,

I think MHN's advice is great - I definitely second it!

You might also think about taking the bear off your dog for extended times. Try hiding it every other day, so he gradually (hopefully) becomes less obsessed with it.