Ace is a wonderful dog, but he has always had a huge problem of guarding his raw dinner from other animals. At one point it had vanished, and he was able to share a meaty bone with the cats. He's never guarded from humans, and I am very thankful for that. I've hand-fed him from the start, and I think it has paid off - I can pick the food right out of his mouth and he won't say a thing.

But now, his guarding against other animals is back full force, and what's worse is that his behaviour terrifies Lady. Border Collies are a sensitive breed, not in a weak way, but they pick up noises quite acutely and are definitely not one for tussling. Ace has never drawn blood or nicked skin when he gets into a scuffle, but the frequency of his losing control is going up at a scary rate. Before he'd only guard after he'd smelled and licked his dinner. These days, though, he is guarding from the moment he sees me heading towards the freezer where I keep the meat and bones. Ace becomes extremely anxious and starts to pace, panting, tail erect, and eyes wide open. I know that it's uncomfortable for him, too, to live in a state of near-panic when it comes to his food.

So, despite the tremendous benefits (in my opinion) of his raw diet, I have decided I'll be going back to kibble. Ace has never guarded it, as it's fairly low-value as far as food goes, and I hope that this behaviour dissipates entirely. I plan on giving both him and Lady raw chicken necks bi-weekly for tooth cleaning purposes, but I guess I'll be saying goodbye to the microscopic, odourless poops and possibly his utter lack of shedding.

But it's for the best. I refuse to live in a house where my animals are rendered unhappy or anxious. And kibble has come a long way, and I have a great supplier for my favourite brand. It's just so unfortunate to have to give up raw, when I had so much fun planning meals and keeping track of his figure!

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Comment by Ludi on October 20, 2012 at 4:46pm

Indeed. However I am noticing that Lady is uncomfortable with "Down" when Ace is in the vicinity, and I ask for my dogs to down while I am opening the front door (for their own safety). I needed to work on that since I do not enjoy artificially restraining the dog, which I feel impedes their natural learning process and self control. Not to worry, though. ZERO incidents today on our second day of kibble-only, despite working on the same exercise. Lady's training time throughout the day is done with Ace on a lead attached to a chair, so he can watch and not lash out like he tends to do in his wire crate. He did marvellously earlier this afternoon while leashed. I gave him several jackpots for being such a good boy!

Comment by Beth on October 20, 2012 at 4:23pm

If I am working with only one dog on training, I always crate the other.   Helps them understand they have nothing to be concerned about, and the dog I'm working with is better able to focus.

Comment by Ludi on October 20, 2012 at 9:11am

Thing is, about the raw guarding, Ace does it against our cats, too. I've been working around that by feeding Ace out in our apartment building's hallways but that doesn't stop him from pacing like crazy the time it takes me to get his food ready. If a cat happens to walk towards me while I'm carrying his food out to him, and he sees it, he is flooded with anxiety. Dehydrated raw dinners are not too popular here in France (yet), and the few pre-made places that do exist are not in my area.

As for treats, we have tried with Ace so many times to desensitize him to seeing other animals eat (anything). He's usually quite good about it. Yesterday evening was strange, to say the least. I can treat Lady directly in front of his nose and Ace will just wait for his turn to receive a cookie. But yeah, I guess something in his brain snapped last night and he was pushed over his threshold upon seeing her eat the cheese. :-/

Comment by Melissa and Franklin! on October 19, 2012 at 11:24pm

Maybe as he adjusts to a 2 dog household you can slowly re-introduce the raw food. Sounds like you are doing what's best for both of them right now and hopefully he will learn she is not competition as they grow together. Maybe you can keep the raw but do something like dehydrated or The Honest Kitchen which is raw based but you don't have to freeze it and its probably not quite as tasty. Franklin is on kibble and a zero shedding boy so don't lose hope as far as shedding goes! Lol. Good luck.

Comment by Beth on October 19, 2012 at 10:51pm

Ludi, for treating, I would try desensitizing him with very carefully controlled parallel treating.   Start with them some distance apart and gradually move closer.  You may already have tried it.  But it's just to get him used to the idea that her getting treats is a nice thing.

Comment by leslie on October 19, 2012 at 10:45pm
its just a corgi age thing.there just crazy for food kind of dogs:-D
Comment by Ludi on October 19, 2012 at 10:20pm

Thanks. I have tried all sorts of maneuvers but nothing works. Ace is whipped up into a state of anxiety the INSTANT he realizes what's going on (my preparing his food). I tried keeping him in the hallway while I got his food ready, but he would be in panic by the time I reached him. I don't know if he was visualizing the cats and Lady snacking on his food, or what it was, but it broke my heart to see my usual cool-as-a-cucumber boy become SO anxious over something as trivial as dinner.

Tonight while training Lady with some soft cheese on the OTHER side of the room, Ace suddenly snapped and became a snarling and barking mess. Ben had to physically restrain him to prevent him from charging Lady. I really hope I can undo whatever mental issues he's built up around food less valuable than his raw. Ergh. :-/

Comment by Beth on October 19, 2012 at 9:41pm

I know it's tough to change away from something you believe in, but the most important thing is that your dogs are both relaxed and happy most of the time.  You might also try feeding them on totally opposite sides of the room, if you don't already.   You are doing the right thing for your pets.  Jack will share treats or a bowl for licking, but none of the other animals can go near his own food bowl while he's eating!

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