Resource guarding is a proprietary and survivalist reaction of dogs from perceived threat that is embedded deep within their genetic programming.
But it is considered dangerous behavior in a domestic environment where food, toys, and other creature comforts are in abundant supply.
These are the common signs that your dog is resource guarding, in order of severity:
- Fast eating
- Stiffening up
- Air Snapping
Four basic guidelines are provided below to begin the gradual process of teaching your dog to share through the combined methods of desensitization and counterconditioning in patient repetition. Consult with a professional beforehand, and do not hesitate to rope one in if it becomes necessary.
Prevention And Consistency
Prevention manages resource guarding, and consistency modifies the behavior. Keep the environment predictable by removing all potential guarding triggers such as food bowls and toys and controlling how they are used.
Using Treats Around Food
This is a two-step process that aims to change how your dog feels about someone approaching their food. Use treats around their food bowl before gradually decreasing the distance between you and their food.
Changing The Feeding Routine
Make meal times less predictable and a more positive experience by moving the food bowl to new places several times a week. Using a food dispenser can also break up the routine and help your dog form new associations around their food.
Games Around The Food Bowl
Help build confidence and trust by initiating play in different areas around the food bowl so that your dog eventually becomes comfortable with people coming and going around the house.
Feature Image Source: Pixabay