I own a nine month Rot. Recently he has started doing something new... When he is playing with this one specific ball, he becomes very possessive about it. There is no way anyone can take the ball from him other than me (even to play with him). Yesterday he even growled at me when I tried to take it away. I took it away eventually by distracting him with food. But I don't think it was the right way to handle the situation. I have known Rots to bully their owners and I can handle him. According to my research most sites say to have a firm hand. What does it exactly mean? I definelty don't want to hit him but need to maintain my authority. Any ideas?
I would take that ball away permanently, at least until you get the behavior under control. Then teach the "drop it" command and praise a lot. Also, I would google NILIF (nothnig in life is free) and stick to it big time.
Drop it and take it exercises are the best choices. Being confrontational is just going to make him want to protect even more. Asking for a "drop it" show something better like hotdog, as he drops the ball, say "take it" While hes takeing the hotdog grab the ball and then give the "take it" command and give back the ball. Do the exercise daily.
i agree with sue, I have a pup who is extremely ball possesive. and i trade either for another ball or a food. Taking the ball away and never letting him have it is not going to cure the behavior. possesiveness is not a dominate trait or a bullying tactis. it's fear. he is afraid he is not going to get the ball back. I have never discplined my pup for being possesive. i instead don't provoke the dog. I offer trades, this redirect the behavior. this changes the dogs additude towards you taking the ball.