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How to Help With Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is a term used to describe a dog concerned about others (people or animals) taking away items he values such as food, treats, toys, or even a favorite spot. This can look like a dog standing frozen over his item of choice, running away with his treasure, growling, or even snapping and biting. This behavior can be managed and a training plan set in place so that everyone in the household can interact safely in a stress-free way.

What To Do

  • Monitor your dog’s body language so you can gauge his comfort level when he has things of value.

  • Keep high-value resources picked up unless you are training.

  • When feeding your dog or giving him special food items, crate him, or separate him from the rest of the family to prevent any accidents. We want you to avoid any confrontations while the dog decompresses and you begin to gain his trust.

  • Be aware that your dog may try to guard other things that you are not expecting, such as a bed, crate, a particular person or random household item.

  • Begin training a positive leave it and drop it cue. Please contact the behavior department for steps on how to do this. You can make trading your dog for treats and new items into a fun game!

The management portion described above will be crucial to the training process. We can help you create a training plan to reduce your dog’s anxiety around resources. If at any point your dog snaps or bites, please contact us immediately for help.

What to Avoid

  • Do not grab items from your dog or disturb him while he’s eating. This will only further convince him that you are out to take away all his favorite things. If the dog has an item that he shouldn’t, offer him a trade of something much better. Toss a piece of cheese, hot dog or lunch meat to him

  • Do not yell or punish your dog for running away with an item, growling, or any other guarding behavior. This will only make the behavior worse. Instead, trade your dog for something he finds even better than what he has in his mouth and then work on your “Drop It” cue.

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