I'm not sure how to deal with taking away something from my pup when I think he should no longer have it. Any suggestions?
I'll try to keep this short.
I have read your article on Dealing with the Dominant Dog and wanted to clarify one thing before I work on this with my pup again.
I took him to a friend's house to socialize him. He found a rawhide strip and having never had one before went to his crate, which I brought with us, to chew on it. I don't let him play with toys at his own leisure at home. After about ten minutes I decided he had had enough and reached in to take it away and he growled so I immediately pulled him out, cause he was facing the back with it, and took it away and said NO firmly. I knew you had information on this topic so I decided not to get into another situation at the friend's house and took a rawhide strip home with me to try again after reviewing the topic.
For clarification, I'll make him sit and down, give him the rawhide, stay with him and praise him calmly, let him chew for ten minutes or so, then should I tell him to drop it or just take it away? If he growls again should I correct him by lifting him by his cheeks, hold and stare in his eyes as described and say NO!? He is not an extremely soft or hard puppy when it comes to corrections, very middle of the road.
This is the first dog I've had on my own and I want to avoid as many mistakes as possible. I've taken training very seriously, watched your videos, read your articles, and listened to your podcasts as well as gathered info from other sources and I feel your techniques make sense to me as well as the dog. I appreciate the info you provide in so many different aspects of training.
At 14 weeks your puppy is still trying to find his niche in the pack order. He will constantly test and try things to make sure you are still in charge. How you handle this can make or break your lifelong relationship.
I would teach the puppy that you are fair, and when you give him something it is his to have. If you need to get it away from him, teach him to trade you for something like a piece of tasty food. This encourages trust and willingness and he will know that if you take something away, there is something in it for him.
I have a puppy that is just a couple weeks older than yours and this is how I work with him when I want a toy or bone that he has decided to become possessive of. He is now willingly bringing me things, instead of trying to run off to avoid giving up his “prize.” Choose your battles with your dog and remember at 14 weeks he is not being dominant, merely doing what worked for him when he was with his littermates.
I will add that this was your mistake, because your puppy should not be off leash when he is out of a crate. If he is on the leash you would have prevented the whole thing from happening.