Author Topic: Resource Guarding  (Read 17278 times)

Bers

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Resource Guarding
« on: March 15, 2007, 01:11:07 PM »
I just wanted to bring up a subject that should be a major concern for anyone with a dog. Resource guarding is when a dog becomes aggressive over his resources. Dogs can guard against other dogs, or can guard against people who try to take things from them. Resource guarding is a major cause of dog bites to children. Unfortunately, once a dog bites to protect his resources, he is more likely to continue doing so as it is usually very effective.

The good news is that you can correct and even prevent this habit by some fun and simple exercises that your dog will enjoy. He won't even know he's being trained! 

Starting as soon as you can, and preferably when a dog is a puppy, you should practice taking things from him in a non-threatening way, and then returning them to him or trading him for something as good or better. If your puppy is chewing a favorite toy, take that opportunity to approach him and trade for a piece of treat - make it a high-value treat so he feels like he got a good bargain. Then, give him a pat, a "good boy", and give his toy back. He just learned that when you approach him and ask him to "give it", he not only will get his toy back, but in the meantime he'll get a tasty snack.

After you have fed your dog, make a practice of petting him while he eats, moving your hand cautiously toward his neck/face. If at any point he stops eating and becomes still, this may be a sign he is about to bite - use extreme caution. If he continues to eat without concern, then try putting your hand in his bowl and dropping a few tasty treats. Practice taking the bowl up and then giving it back again with a treat inside. He'll soon learn that when you reach for him while he's eating, something even better will appear. Let him know that he has no need to guard his food from you. You can also feed the dog by hand, one kibble piece at a time to teach them that you are the source of their food and to teach them to have a soft mouth when taking things from human hands.

Never chase a dog or puppy and try to forcefully remove an item from him, as it only makes him more determined to keep the treasured object. Instead, if your puppy takes an item he shouldn't have, then get something to trade for it instead. He'll quickly see the benefit of trading a dirty sock for a piece of chicken, and when you do the trade say "give it" as you take the item. While your puppy is young, 9 out of every 10 times that you take something from him you should return it or replace it with something better. When Koda was a puppy, if I ever needed to take something away from him, as long as it wasn't immediately dangerous to him, I would take it and return it several times before finally trading for a toy or a treat.

Once you lay the groundwork for this, you can have other people in your family and even people outside of your family practice, depending on how you want your dog to behave. Make sure to include children in this, under close supervision only, of course. Don't forget to do refresher courses on occassion, dogs have a tendency to forget things they don't practice regularly.
Amber


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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2007, 01:35:53 AM »
I started training winston not to guard his food/treats when i first got him, every time he would eat i would periodically go over and pet him, put my hand in his bowl, pick the bowl up and put it down. etc... also, i found if you move cautiously, and instead of having a commanding i am the master heir to your movements they will get more defensive, but if you go in with a reason, and a "im going to do this" heir, then alot of times that helps. its not the dogs decision whether to give you the food or not, its yours.

another trick that they dont know is training, is to take a milk bone, or some other treat that will take the puppy a little longer to eat, is to put it on the floor, let them taste and start to eat it, then put your hand over it, let them sniff, and when they back up just a little give it back to them and say good boy, doing this repeatedly gets the "if i let him touch my food, i still get it back" imprinted on his/her brain.

another reason why a dog may resource guard might be not enough food, is your dog hungry after the meal on a normal basis? if so they may think that if you take it they wont be getting it back, so letting the dog have his meals when he wants through out the day will help this also.


just adding on to what bers said, hope you dont mind =)
Winston - brindle boxer/bullmastiff 20 mths - 80 lbs
Rosie - brindle pitbull/lab 13 months - 40 lbs
Stinky - white/brown irish wolfhound X 13 yrs - 60 lbs

Bers

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2007, 08:36:32 AM »
I don't mind at all, I think you added some great points. Thank you! :)
Amber


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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2007, 08:55:55 AM »
Good information.  Thanks
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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2007, 07:47:12 PM »
All well-said info. I've always done this with my dogs. It works wonders & it's a must! The less possessive/guarding a dog is, the better!
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dogs4jen

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2007, 07:20:43 PM »
I did this with ours too, and it's always worked great.  It's worked so well with ours that I forgot once that other dogs aren't so well trained.  One time we were dog-sitting a couple of dogs and I reached down to get something near one of them (a cocker spaniel) and she just about took my hand off.  She didn't do any damage, just scared the heck out of me! 
Jen

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2007, 12:43:24 PM »
I did this with Keenan so he's never been protective of his things. He shares toys, food, water, etc with other dogs, people, even the cat!

I did rescue a dog that had some food aggression and we worked with her to overcome it. I would sit with her when it was dinner time and she had to sit patiently to get a small handful of kibble, which I fed out of my hand. After doing that for a while, I transferred the kibble to her bowl and continued sitting right next to her while she ate it. If she displayed any aggressive behaviors, it was right back to eating out of my hand. She also had to do tricks and stuff for that food so she understood that nothing is free. It helped immensely and she was "cured" of her food aggression within two weeks.

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2007, 01:55:55 PM »
I have had Precious for 3 weeks today.  Yesterday, when she was eating her biscuit (and crumbling it on the floor) I was going to pick-up a piece from the floor and she lunged for it.  Not for me, but for the biscuit.  She has no problem if I pet her while she eats.  I am going to have to start working with her on letting me handle her food while she is eating it.  I don't want anyone getting hurt if they mess with her food.  I think it might be because she was starving when Chris took her from her home.  She is a little piglet when it comes to food.
Joyce

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2007, 02:12:24 PM »
We had this same problem with Zeus right after we rescued him.  Lot sof NILF and I would hand feed him to let him know the resources come frommy hands and that's where they belong.  He is super good now.
Vicky

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2007, 02:14:47 PM »
Great to know.  I'll let you guys know how it goes.
Joyce

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2007, 02:20:33 PM »
There were some really good links on here for NILF.  I also have a NILF link on Bugsy's blog if you want to check it out.
Vicky

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2007, 03:34:35 PM »
There were some really good links on here for NILF.  I also have a NILF link on Bugsy's blog if you want to check it out.
Thanks for the link.  I reviewed it and am going to start with Precious at tonight's dinner.
Joyce

Bers

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2007, 05:21:47 PM »
Good luck. It sounds like she has a mild case, should be reversable with some work. She just needs to figure out that food is not going to be scarce and that you are not going to take her food away from her.
Amber


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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2007, 09:48:25 AM »
I started sticking my hand in her food while she is eating.  She eats faster (gobble, gobble) but doesn't go after my hand or anything.  I think she just needs to realize she is going to get her food.  She might have memories of not being fed from before.
Joyce

Bers

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Re: Resource Guarding
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2007, 04:29:11 PM »
The real warning sign is when they stop eating and go still. That's your cue to move away quickly and go back to a place that is more comfortable for them.
Amber