Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

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Maverick
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Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Maverick » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:36 am

First off, I'd like to say that Maverick is making progress with dog exposure, working with a great trainer who's focus is bully breeds. :)

So he's done this every so often ever since he's been a puppy (7 months puppy). He suckles a soft/plush toy and "makes muffins" if you have ever seen a cat doing it. That's how he earned the nickname "muffin man", lol. Well I caught it on video tonight, as this hasn't happened in a while since plush toys get destroyed in seconds.

Anyhow please watch the whole video, it's just over a minute. He is very content when he does it, but as you will see he will totally stop if I touch him and invade his face space. He pulls his leg towards him as if he was guarding. Not on video, but I can take the toy and he doesn't growl or get too strong, just as if he's not ready to part yet.

It does make me a bit sad sometimes because the way he squints, it's like he was pulled from his mom too fast.
I guess my question is, what is this behavior? I'm not concerned that it's a bad thing, he is very content, but I have never seen this from any other dog. He sucks on it, not bites. He has made sopping wet coneheads on plush toys. I do take it away after some time, it's like he's in a trance.

I'm rambling, so thanks for watching, and please input is appreciated.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9ezShA ... e=youtu.be

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Amie » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:48 am

That "total stop" you noticed is called a freeze, and it's one of the warning signs dogs give that they are very uncomfortable with what's happening (ie, you touching him) Please don't pester him while he's doing that, and PLEASE don't let anyone else touch him then. It's not "as if he was guarding" - he's guarding. I'd look into Jean Donaldson's book "MINE!" to get some tips on how you can work with him to be more comfortable with someone taking that away from him if you needed to in an emergency.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby chinchi_&_chupa » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:49 am

^^This. And aside from you needing to be able to get something from him if you need to (should definitely work on that - it should be pretty easy with some treats) he's so freakin' cute! The guarding isn't, but I just want to kiss his little sucky face!!! My bosses dog Buddy sucks on blankets but doesn't do the hand kneading. I don't think you should worry other than the guarding. :inlove:

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Maverick » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:46 am

I just want to be clear, he doesn't not let me have it. I could grab it at any moment.
When I pet him on the head, he stops but he wags his tail and looks at me. Then he resumes as soon as I stop petting him.

This is what I am trying to get across, he lets me have it and that's not the issue. He does pull tighter though.
I am more curious as to why he does this to begin.

I will agree it's quite cute, and a rare occurance.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Maverick » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:47 am

As a side note, he never pulls in like that with any other toy at any other time - just when he "suckles" like this...

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:48 am

Whether he is currently letting you take it from him or not, the behavior he is showing in that video, freezing and giving a hard stare, is most definitely resource guarding. I would follow Amie's advice above and address it NOW, before it escalates, rather than waiting for him to "practice" this behavior and develop a serious issue.

As for WHY he is guarding it, who knows? Early development, past experience, genetics, poor socialization, nature vs. nurture. It doesn't really matter. What does matter is that it really needs to be addressed. Be thankful that he's giving you such a clear and early signal that he has a problem that needs fixing. Many cases of dog bites that report an "out of the blue" scenario start out looking just like this.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Maverick » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:57 am

That's the thing. Not sure how to work on it when he's not doing it.
Since he rarely does this, he rarely "guards" like this. It's confusing because I have dealt with dogs who truly guard toys and food, and he doesn't at all.

I'm not trying to downplay this - it does concern me because to me it feels like the start of something.
Perhaps his actions and how content he feels places this item at a much higher value? I can stick my head in his food dish while he's eating, ask him to out on any toy, etc. When he is doing what's in the video, muffins, is the only time he does this.

I will look into the recommended reading, but not sure how to tackle it head on if it's so rare. I cant' make him do this either, it's just his choice.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby jamielvsaustin » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:32 pm

Maverick wrote:Perhaps his actions and how content he feels places this item at a much higher value?

Based on what you're saying, I'd say yes, this is a MUCH higher value item for him. You don't need to cause the situation to happen to work on it. The two main things I'd suggest are: 1) Wait for it to happen and then work on it. I think the reading material provided will teach you how to work on it. and 2) PREVENTION! Don't allow him to have that item around people you think would intrude on his space while he has it.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Maverick » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:45 pm

Thanks for the advise.

The only reason I even demonstrated on video what he does is because I know he does it.
I don't bother him when he is doing it, the other dogs leave him alone, and he looks so peaceful so I won't take it typically rather I will redirect or get up and distract. Like last night, when I took the video, he did that for over an hour until I got up and it was time to trade toys.

I am just so interested in why he suckles to begin with, no one seems to have an answer and maybe there isn't one.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby HappyPuppy » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:33 pm

Making muffins ... LOL - we call that kneading dough!

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Maverick
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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Maverick » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:21 pm

Nice, I've heard that one.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby rgyoung777 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:26 am

He may be doing it as a form if stress-relief/self-soothing. I am pretty sure that when a puppy suckles/nurses, some very powerful, very positive hormones are released that generate strong feelings of well-being and contentment. Like a thumb-sucking preteen who didn't grow out of the habit (which generates the same feelings of contentment and well-being as nursing does), your Maverick may be returning to this behavior as a response to stress or anxiety he may be feeling. If this behavior is triggering the release of the same hormones associated with nursing (and judging from the look of contentment on his face in that video, that could well be the case), it would certainly explain why he is guarding the object he's suckling; something that makes him feel that good is going to have very high value to him, at least while he's suckling the toy. This would also explain why the toy only has that level of value while he suckles: if no hormonal release is triggered (because he isn't suckling), then he's not feeling those powerful feelings and so less is at stake when it comes to the toy.

This is, of couse, speculation on my part. If it seems like I'm anthropomorphizing, that's not my intention. Dogs, like all mammals, possess a limbic system and are thus capable of experiencing emotions.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Maverick » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:58 am

@rg

This is exactly where my thought process has been all these years. You articulated very well and this makes sense.
This does seem like the most logical explanation - and I am glad you could recognize the contentment in his eyes. It is definitely self soothing.

As a whole, he has confidence issues an he is fear based dog aggressive outside our pack (which we are making progress on) - so the fact that he carries anxiety and may be soothing himself makes sense too. Although nothing in particular ever triggers it in the house when he suckles.
I have taught him to redirect to his bone if a dog is barking outside for instance, and he get's very defensive, he will chew the crap out of the bone, in essence to work out his stress.

Thanks for the thoughts!

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Red » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:18 am

Good post, Rachael.

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Re: Making muffins and suckling on toy like a puppy? Video

Postby Mooresmajestic » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:47 pm

My ChiX does this. In her case, it is a lingering behavior (fortunately the last one that needs to ne worked on) from her previous home. She was basically locked in a laundry type room for 6 years, and socks became her only source of comfort/entertainment. The comfort turned into obsession which led to extreme guarding.


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