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Canine Behavior/My 4 yr.Wiem


QUESTION: She is spayed and 4 yrs. I adopted her from a family that raise dher from a puppy. I have had her for 6 months.  She is extremely loving and likes to be where I am. She holds her stuffed animal in her mouth and moves her front paws as if nursing. If she thinks I am going to get to close she growls at me and moves to another area. What is this about???

ANSWER: Hi Bridget -

Sorry you are having trouble with your new dog.  Is she only possessive of a certain toy or all of them?  How is she with her food and bed area?  I am not sure of the paw action, from the way you describe it I have never heard of "nursing" in dogs like a cat would knead a blanket, but it sounds like your Weim is exhibiting a resource guarding behavior.  Resource guarding is when a dog guards its valuables from other dogs or humans.  I have included a link with more information so you can learn more about this behavior and see if it sounds like what your dog is doing.  Good-luck.  Keep me posted.

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Lou Kiss
Lou Kiss  
QUESTION: "Lula" literally seems to go into a trance and her eyes get this glazed look and she starts getting tense instead of relaxed. Plus, she only does this with a stuffed soft toy. When she growled at me just for petting her when she was in this "state" I got worried, would she really bite me?!

She sleeps with me, my bed is her bed and when my grand children come over to spend the night we all sleep in my bed and she is fine with that. She is fine with the food bowl but has made it clear (kind of tense and lip raised) to my daughters dogs to not mess with her food bowl when she is eating. Empty food bowl not a problem. I don't feed her unless she is alone to avoid problem.

I have decided to put her favorite "object" which is a stuffed bear up when she starts this behavior after reading the article in the link you gave.

She is such a loving girl and brings me joy as I live alone and disabled. I just don't want to cause her to have bad behavior

She watches everything I do and follows me every where. When sleeping she has to be touching me. When I leave the house she seems to rest fine and does not appear to have any anxiety.  

I have never seen or heard of this before! Thank you sooo very much for being available as I was really stumped but this has helped me get to know Lula better.

Hi Bridget -

Yes. Any dog is capable of biting if the item she is guarding from you is valuable enough.  Talk to her previous family if possible and find out if they had similar problems with the dog.  If it is just the one item then I would just take it away and not give it back.  I would also try not to buy toys that resemble that one in size, texture, etc.
It could be that you are giving her too many privledges in her new home. Sleeping in the bed with the owner is a huge reward especially if she was sleeping on a dog bed or in a crate at her old home.  Be careful that she doesn't become "guardy" with the bed. (Shows teeth, growls when you try to take her off).
I want you to love and show affection to your dog, but it is important to give the dog rules and boundaries in the home (no getting on furniture, running wild in the house, inappropriate chewing etc)  otherwise they can develop negative behaviors such as resource guarding or be destructive in the home.
Best of luck with your dog.

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Jennifer Ganser, LMT, ABCDT


For canines I can answer questions related to behavior, obedience training, health and massage therapy (anatomy, health benefits) For equines I can answer questions related to behavior, barn management, health and massage therapy (anatomy, health benefits) I am not a veterinarian and it is not within my scope of practice as a licensed massage therapist or certified dog trainer to diagnose health conditions. Please contact your pet's veterinarian for illness related questions and emergencies.


I am a licensed massage therapist for people, horses, and dogs and a certified dog trainer. I teach group obedience classes as well as private lessons. I also work with horses and help barns establish good management practices.

Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) National Certification Board of Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

2009 - graduate of Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy 2010 - certified in canine/feline first aid + CPR by Red Cross 2012 - graduate of Post University equine program 2012 - graduate of Animal Behavior College Obedience program

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