Our Blog

October 2018
19: Concerns regarding flea/tick medication side-effects, harmful grain-free diets and cannabis use in pets
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17: Monthly Focus: Cancer Awareness - Lonestar's Story
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23: Bug bites and stings
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09: House-training your puppy
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21: Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer
14: Happy 10th Anniversary, Westbridge Veterinary Hospital
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01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
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10: Anticipated tick bloom
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22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
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14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
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25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
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01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
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December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
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28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
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07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
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22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
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02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
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26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
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20: Happy Smiles
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22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
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04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
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25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
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29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
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21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

Possessive Aggression in our Dogs

Posted: 2012-10-27

Dog possessive of bone.One form of aggression in our pets that often goes excused is possessive aggression, and it commonly manifests itself with puppies as it is passed as being ‘cute’. Possessive aggression may be directed towards humans or other pets that approach the dog when it is in possession of something that is highly desirable, such as a chew toy, food, or treat. The ‘cuteness’ quickly disappears when they are grown adults, or in the event that a person or other animal is injured. While protecting possessions is necessary if an animal is to survive and thrive in the wild, it should never be permitted with our domestic pets.

Preventing an unwanted behaviour is always much easier than treating it when it becomes problematic. It is crucial to instill good canine behaviours from the moment a pet enters your home. Teaching puppies when they are young that handling their food and ‘possessions’ such as toys results in a positive outcome will help deter possessive behaviours. Gently approaching your puppy while eating and removing the food bowl, while giving positive praise such as a calm soothing voice and gentle petting, will help create a positive experience with others handling their food. Exposing them to this repeatedly (while maintaining a gentle approach) will help to engrave the notion that they should always be tolerant to others handling their food. A similar approach should be taken with their toys, frequently taking possession of a toy when their interest is at a peak, and rewarding their tolerance.

For pets who have already developed possessive behaviours, it is essential to seek consultation from your veterinarian or veterinary behaviourist. Unfortunately, it is common for people to manage possessive aggression by avoiding their pet when they are involved with an item or object they protect. While the behaviour may seem innocent, it is often just a matter of time before someone is seriously injured. Friends, family or visitors in the household may approach a possessive animal not knowing of their aggression, and be bitten or at the very least frightened.

Treatment must first be directed at preventing possible injury. Confining or direct supervision of your dog may be necessary so that they cannot gain access to items that they may pick up and protect. This may necessitate preventing access to certain areas of the home to prevent access to such items. 1Dogs that protect their treats or toys should have them taken away, and access permitted only when alone in the crate or a confinement room. In fact, by giving these items exclusively in your pet’s confinement area your dog may learn to be more comfortable resting and relaxing in this area since it is a place where chew toys are given and where the dog is left alone. Highly valued items (e.g. the ones the dog is most likely to protect) such as rawhide bones should not be given to the dog. Of course if there are items that your dog might steal and then protect, you should keep these out of the dog’s reach by using sealed containers or keeping them behind closed doors or in areas high enough that the dog cannot reach. To prevent stealing and to teach leave, you should keep your dog supervised with a long leash attached to a head collar, so that thay can be prevented from wandering off, and immediately interrupted if attempting to raid a garbage can or pick up inappropriate objects.

Stay tuned next week for more information on handling food aggression specifically.


This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital) in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

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