PAWS OFF! Resource guarding in dogs can be compared to what a toddler might do when other children want to play with a favorite toy or new toy. They may clutch the item in question and give the “That’s Mine!” vibe. Dogs may do something similar with their humans and objects that are dear to them. Since dogs can’t speak they may crank up communication by snarling, growling, vocalizing, and even biting to keep control of what they want. Many factors play into why they resource guard but you may be thinking what do I do? We’ve got some keys to prevention we’ll list for you.
- Feeding time should be a really happy, joyous occasion. Try dropping a yummy treat into their bowl while they are enjoying their meal.
- Make it a habit to pick up the empty bowl during the day and place a tasty treat inside and then place it back on the floor, all while he is watching you do so.
- Practice exchanges with your dog, when they have something they shouldn’t don’t rip it away from them, instead approach him/her with something they want more like a treat or favorite toy and trade it out.
- Don’ts: Never punish your pet for safe guarding this can actually make the behavior worsen or escalate the possessiveness over what your pet really wants.
- Signs of “Soft Guarding”: Soft guarding is a less aggressive form of possessive behavior. You may notice your pet turns their body away from you while chewing on the object or putting it under his paw. Start now to help create a new understanding for your furry friend of the coveted items. Start slow and from a distance and eventually we can change their emotions with correct timing and training. If your dog growls at your husband when he gets close to you because you feed and walk and provide primary care for your pet. Have your husband treat train and step in over time sharing that responsibility to work towards evolving that negative thought process.
If your pet shows signs of safe guarding talk to your vet, work with a trainer and work towards a more positive goal for you and your pet!