View Full Version : Question about "resource guarding"

10th June 2006, 04:33 AM
Every now and then Byron (11 months old) gets possessive of a chew bone or something he's gotten hold of that he knows he's not supposed to have, and he'll flatten his ears and growl when approached. I've tried bribing him with a treat but he still remains agressive (sometimes snarling and snapping) about protecting his "prize". Otherwise he's a very gentle and non-agressive.

Any suggestions on how to handle this?

10th June 2006, 02:26 PM
You are on the right route -- but do your approach a little more formally and in situations where he also has other items -- a toy for example -- that isn;t so important to him to guard.

The basic idea is to have him be relaxed about letting you take things from him.

So use a high value treat like bits of liver, cheese or cooked chicken. If he has a toy he is chewing on, show him the treat on a flat palm and when his interest goes to the treat, gently pick up the toy and praise him while letting him have the treat. Then return his toy to him. Repeat this a few times. Now do this as well when he has a treat like a chew you know he will not want to give up (unless this is something he was never supposed to have in the first place).

The idea is not to make him feel you will take the item away, but to trust that you have the right to pick it up and that you will then give it back, so he isn't inclined to hoard and protect. You can also use this approach with his food bowl -- offer him the really luscious treat as you lift the bowl, let him have the treat and praise, then return the bowl.

You should also teach him a drop it, and a leave it command. Leave it is for items you NEVER want him to pick up -- whereas drop it means just to drop the item at that moment. In the case of his guarding, the drop it command would be appropriate to use. If you don;t want him to get the item in the first place and see him going for it, then 'leave it' is appropriate.

13th June 2006, 01:23 AM
Karlin's advice is right on. Our Murphy was a big time resource guarder when we purchased him at a year old. The breeder had taken him back from his first owner because of his issues. He is a very sweet dog but would suddenly decide that an object needed to be guarded with his life! First thing we did was have his thyroid checked and that was OK. Then we worked with a trainer who had us do many excercises with him.

He is 1000% better. There is also a really good book called MINE by Jean Donaldson http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB740 taht is very good! Good luck. PM me if I can help.