The first question to ask your-self is, what is resource guarding? In dogs, resource guarding is known as possession aggression, which is a behavior a dog will display when wanting access to keep a high reward item. Resource guarding can be displayed in many levels depending on what the item is. Dogs can feel the need to guard food, beds, toys, bones, spaces, and even their owners. In most cases this is something that can be stopped immediately if caught early enough, but the severity of each case is always different.
What does Resource Guarding look like?
In most cases, dogs will give very prominent warning signs that something is not fitting well with them. Some of the signs to look for are:
- Stiffening up and stopping what they were doing.
- Intense staring at whoever is approaching.
- Low growling, snarling teeth, or lunging.
- Air snapping, or biting.
- Using their body to block the item.
What Causes Resource Guarding?
Dogs can start to show signs of resource guarding for many different reasons. Some can do this if they are scared and insecure about whatever is approaching them. Sometimes, a change in environment can set a dog off like new people, a new dog in the house, and even kids. Some dogs resource guard because they think it’s a competition of who can have the resource. Other times dogs just do not want to give up whatever item they have.
What can you do to fix it?
The first suggestion would be to hire a professional dog trainer! Call a trainer and explain the problems at hand before it gets to a point of the dog actually biting. If it’s a mild case or a puppy that is starting to show signs, you can try eliminating the behavior by trading food. Since food is a necessity for dogs, by showing them if you give me said object ill trade you for a yummy treat, some dogs will start to understand. Also, learn the body language of the dog and what it means. Don’t push your dog, if they are getting frustrated, it is best to end the session and try again later so they have a positive experience.
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