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My beloved 16 month old cockapoo has bitten me 3 times over the passed week. This is always when he’s been asleep, I’ve gone to stroke him, or he’s been startled - if I’m close, he will bite me. He almost realises what he has done when he awakes properly. This is making me really nervous to go near him at all! Is anyone else experiencing these issues? I have contacted a trainer & waiting for their response.
 

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It’s so upsetting and worrying when they act out of character so I can understand you feeling nervous. It may be that your boy is a bit more on edge due to even slight changes to routine due either to the festive period or to covid restrictions or it could be that he’s been getting slightly longer walks or more mental stimulation meaning he is sleeping more soundly. That said it’s something that we are really strict with in our house ‘let sleeping dogs lie’. I’ve just had a similar conversation with our two boys about respecting the dogs space and not trying to stroke when they are sleeping. We have one dog who is not bothered at all by being stroked, but one rescue who is very sensitive to touch so we always try to be careful. Through having rescue dogs in the past we’ve found that avoiding stroking the dog when they are asleep helps to avoid fear responses like you’ve experienced and waiting until the dog is awake sets the dog up for success. Hopefully this would also reduce your own anxiety around stroking him as we all know how lovely our poo snuggles are ☺
 

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It’s so upsetting and worrying when they act out of character so I can understand you feeling nervous. It may be that your boy is a bit more on edge due to even slight changes to routine due either to the festive period or to covid restrictions or it could be that he’s been getting slightly longer walks or more mental stimulation meaning he is sleeping more soundly. That said it’s something that we are really strict with in our house ‘let sleeping dogs lie’. I’ve just had a similar conversation with our two boys about respecting the dogs space and not trying to stroke when they are sleeping. We have one dog who is not bothered at all by being stroked, but one rescue who is very sensitive to touch so we always try to be careful. Through having rescue dogs in the past we’ve found that avoiding stroking the dog when they are asleep helps to avoid fear responses like you’ve experienced and waiting until the dog is awake sets the dog up for success. Hopefully this would also reduce your own anxiety around stroking him as we all know how lovely our poo snuggles are ☺
Thank you, Dig! We’ve had him since 8 weeks & he’s never showed any aggressive behaviour like this (apart from the spout of resource guarding). This was on Christmas Eve with lots of excitement and again straight after, we will await the trainer & see what happens.
 

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Many dogs wh9 resource guard are also prone to anxiety so the combination of change of routine and general stress levels could be enough to cause the problem and like Dig so wisely says leave sleeping dogs well alone and this may mean encouraging them to settle somewhere other than next to you. I would also suggest a full health check just in case of any health issues which may be contributing.

I hope things settle down now.
 

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I think cockapoos tend to have this trait! my do is now 18 months and started to growl and then snap and now bites! I am talking to a behaviourist tomorrow but I think it is a combination of fear, anxiety and resource guarding. He is a spoilt dog and he thinks he rules the roost! There lies the problem. No more sleeping on beds or couches! He has a leash on all the time in the house so we can put him into timeouts (2 min max) when he growls or bites. I spoke to his brothers owner and he is also displaying the same behaviour.
 

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I think cockapoos tend to have this trait! my do is now 18 months and started to growl and then snap and now bites! I am talking to a behaviourist tomorrow but I think it is a combination of fear, anxiety and resource guarding. He is a spoilt dog and he thinks he rules the roost! There lies the problem. No more sleeping on beds or couches! He has a leash on all the time in the house so we can put him into timeouts (2 min max) when he growls or bites. I spoke to his brothers owner and he is also displaying the same behaviour.
Out of interest is his brother the same sort of age? I assume from the same litter? The trainer told me that this age would be particularly difficult!
 

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I think cockapoos tend to have this trait! my do is now 18 months and started to growl and then snap and now bites! I am talking to a behaviourist tomorrow but I think it is a combination of fear, anxiety and resource guarding. He is a spoilt dog and he thinks he rules the roost! There lies the problem. No more sleeping on beds or couches! He has a leash on all the time in the house so we can put him into timeouts (2 min max) when he growls or bites. I spoke to his brothers owner and he is also displaying the same behaviour.
Just to say as someone who took on a dog who resource guarded and bit when she was just under 18 months it is resolvable with training and consistency, but putting a dog in a timeout for growling and biting is not a method I would use or suggest. If you consistently tell a dog that growling is wrong they will no longer growl but will still feel unhappy about things so you are making a bite more likely as you are removing part of their communication.

Dogs can be trained and learn the rules and to follow them without this sort of approach and for many dogs who resource guard they are actually quite worried dogs at heart who fear the loss of the resource and this sort of method would increase the worry and ultimately increase the guarding.

For the record my former guarder now sleeps on my lap, bed and sofa, gives up things quite happily (mostly) and if she growls about something I listen to what she is saying and try to respect her views and opinions too.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just to say as someone who took on a dog who resource guarded and bit when she was just under 18 months it is resolvable with training and consistency, but putting a dog in a timeout for growling and biting is not a method I would use or suggest. If you consistently tell a dog that growling is wrong they will no longer growl but will still feel unhappy about things so you are making a bite more likely as you are removing part of their communication.

Dogs can be trained and learn the rules and to follow them without this sort of approach and for many dogs who resource guard they are actually quite worried dogs at heart who fear the loss of the resource and this sort of method would increase the worry and ultimately increase the guarding.

For the record my former guarder now sleeps on my lap, bed and sofa, gives up things quite happily (mostly) and if she growls about something I listen to what she is saying and try to respect her views and opinions too.
Thanks 2ndhandgal!
out of interest, what methods are you using for resource guarding & the snapping?
 

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This is the absolute bible for dealing with resource guarding Mine!: A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs: Amazon.co.uk: Donaldson, Jean: 9780970562944: Books

Basically the dog needs to learn that you taking things from them is good not bad, so adding things to their food bowl when eating, teaching them to bring you things, taking low value things from them very briefly, giving them a tasty treat and then giving them the item back. For a boy like yours who has had a problem being woken I would not be letting him go to sleep next to me so would be encouraging him to settle on a nice comfy bed of his own and rewarding him for that. Lots of resource guarders also have issues being handled and Molly certainly did but we have worked slowly and carefully at her pace through this and she is quite happy to be handled all over and cooperate with things like drying, clipping, tablets and eye drops, although due to joint issues she is not too keen on her legs being handled too much as they are sore.
 
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