View Full Version : Toy/Bone Guarding?

1st June 2007, 11:59 PM
Oliver typically doesn't really play with toys or chew on bones/rawhide chews. I buy them and he usually sniffs at them then ignores them. But whenever my boyfriend's Lab comes over, Oliver races for his "things" and barks or growls if Colby even comes near them. If Colby chews on a rawhide, as soon as he gets up to get water, Oliver sees his chance and races over to get it and won't let Colby near it again. Like I said, these things usually lay around the house completely ignored! It's almost comical, but I don't like seeing that aggressive side of him come out.

What's the best way to handle this? I have been saying "No" and picking up the toy and putting it away but is this the right thing to do?


2nd June 2007, 12:03 AM
I should add that he never does this if I (or anyone else) tries to take anything away from him. I can put my hand anywhere near his toys and food bowl or even take a treat from him with none of these behaviors being displayed.

2nd June 2007, 02:34 AM
The thing to remember is that when Colby comes over to visit, he is coming into Oliver's territory, and whether or not Oliver wants to chew his toys, they still are his toys and it is the nature of a dog to be territorial. Personally I think the best approach is to remove the problem before it starts. When you know that Colby is coming to visit, just pick up all the items that are likely to cause a problem & put them away. Perhaps when Colby arrives you could give them both a treat each.

2nd June 2007, 11:03 AM

This is really normal behaviour -- think how toddlers behave over their toys when someone comes to visit! For most dogs this kind of guarding is not really resource guarding as a problem behaviour, but really a mix of protecting their stuff in their territory and also game-playing... but it can be risky gameplaying as it CAN trigger a fight. Jaspar does this -- my other two do not. But Jaspar likes to create disputes where there are none over items because for him it's clearly an entertaining game. Now and then it goes wrong and he and Leo get into an actual fight. So I know to be very careful with trigger items like chews. :thmbsup:

As always with dogs, the best approach is to prevent the situation happening in the first place -- as Caraline says, a visitor means it would be agood time to get things that might trigger any aggression up off the floor -- clear up the toys and chews. Then if you'd like try giving each dog a chew as a treat but well separated and keep an eye on them.

I just posted some links to info on food and resource guarding in the last day or two as well -- there are two documents on this in the behaviour section of www.deesdogs.com that are very good which I linked to.

2nd June 2007, 08:40 PM
Thank you. Great advice, as always. :)

Scouty girl
4th June 2007, 02:14 PM
It's the same at my house. I give both Scout and Breeze things to chew on. Scout will abandon hers and watch Breeze chew. If Breeze gets up Scout runs to get it and them she has both and she's happy. If Breeze comes near her she grabs them and moves.

I've tried switching in the middle of a chew, Breeze could care less which one she gets, but Scout that's a whole other story. She will just sit and watch her. She wants it all. It's like the movie 'Finding Nemo', everytime you saw the seagulls they were saying...Mine, Mine, Mine. That's Scout.

As far as the growling goes, she did do that a few times, I told her no growl and took it away and we had a 'little talk' about it. She hates our little talks, she just wishes I would take it away and be quiet, but for some reason I feel the need to explain it to her, even though she has no idea what I'm saying, it makes me feel better...LOL

4th June 2007, 02:19 PM
Thanks, Sharon. Isn't it funny how we talk to our dogs as though they can understand us?? I just found my self having a conversation with Oliver this morning as I was making the bed... :)