Mabel is a 3 year old female Cockapoo. She is a dinky little Cockapoo who is an absolute live wire! She is so sweet and affectionate when it is on her terms and very “puppy-like” in her mannerisms. Mabel has come into rescue due to resource guarding/biting and because her owners health condition meant she wasn’t able to give her the exercise she required which she felt was exacerbating the resource guarding. Mabel’s owner also had young grandchildren visiting which she didn’t feel she could trust her around following bite instances relating to her resource guarding.
Mabel bit her owners son a year ago and drew blood when he was trying to stroke her and has recently attempted to bite twice, One episode not related to her guarding space and then another when she did growl but lunged when her owner turned to walk away. Both times causing bruising to her arm but no skin broken. Despite trying with a behaviorist and keeping the behavior very well controlled She felt that with someone who has got the energy to train her and a lot more space around she could be so much better.
Mabel is a complex little one who doesn’t have any hugely obvious triggers but throws down with little warning very quickly when she decides to guard something. The annoying factor being that space is one of the things she guards and it’s virtually impossible to ascertain which space she will be guarding ahead of her doing so. Pre empting her behavior is not as easy as some of our cockapoos so the important thing is how it is handled rather than preventing it. (Although we do always suggest with any resource guarder not to leave things around the dog can have access to, tea towels, paper, food packets etc and to be very careful around high value triggers like food, beds toys.
Chews and long lasting things should be ruled out as they have high capability to be guarded and we recommend not allowing them on sofas and beds where they are level and higher to you due to the fact that they are more likely to go for your face should they lunge. They can also decide to start guarding the sofa whilst you sit on it. With a lot of space guarders they like to escalate from furniture to rooms so keeping furniture off the agenda helps hugely.
Mabel needs to learn that guarding something has the opposite effect of what she is trying to achieve. Should she start showing any sort of guarding behavior a slip lead must be quickly placed on her with a firm “no” and she must be removed from the situation and put somewhere else to calm down. If the reason for guarding was a physical object it can then be safely removed before she returns, if it is a smaller object she is holding onto then she must be offered a swap out for something of higher value and again removed from the situation. This may need to be repeated many times before it makes sense to her. Provoking, Caesar pinning and challenging a resource guarder will all end in you getting bitten. The trick is to deal with it calmly and swiftly whilst not reinforcing it and not exacerbating it.
Mabel has an eye condition that she was born with (the breeder didn’t notice) called nystagmus where her eyes constantly move a bit. Ocular tremors I believe is the correct terminology. This has been checked by a specialist neurologist vet in Bristol which included mri scan. It doesn’t obviously effect her and does not require medication, it won’t go away but is not likely to get worse. The vet was also asked if it could be affecting the recent resource guarding/aggression, he says not. She is however and incredibly sensitive dog and weary of sudden movements. She is affectionate but we always recommend calling her to you for a fuss rather than just diving on her as she does not like being taken by surprise.
Mabel really enjoys the company of other dogs and enjoys running around with them. She snaps to tell them when she’s had enough. She does get quite defensive around her food here with them and will guard her bowl but does not appear to have other triggers. It’s a shame because she plays beautifully and we think she would be like to share her home with another playful companion of similar energy level but alternatively could live happily as a solo dog. If she were to live with another dog she would need a home that is very savvy with body language and be able to deal with her potentially guarding her “stuff” from them, plus deterring her from doing so. She has not previously lived with another dog and ideally I think a dog free home with visiting dogs and friends to play with on walks might be a better option.
Mabel needs a home that is experienced with resource guarding and happy to continue with the training the rescue has put in place here. Due to the fact she has a bite history and a lack of warning signals we cannot accept applications from homes with resident or visiting children under 16. She is a sweet sensitive girl who has a lot to offer a home; we are certain in the correct home she will really flourish. Mabel will benefit from a home that is active; she loves to walk and when she’s regularly exercised her resource guarding behaviour improves dramatically. A tired dog is a happy dog we always say. She also would be a fantastic candidate for something like Cani cross or agility.
Mabel is neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. She will be Flea and worm treated and leave with a lead, collar and harness.
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