Guarding and Resource Aggression by Toronto Dog Trainer
Resource guarding is a pretty common behavior with dogs. Some dogs will stand by their food or water, guarding it from other dogs or people. If you try to pick up one of your dog’s bones or toys, and he/she snaps or growls at you, that’s a sign of resource aggression. Whatever level your pup is taking his/her’s guarding, it is definitely something you should be concerned about, monitor, and probably seek professional training for.
As part of my training programs, I always want to make sure I have all the facts I can gather, and learn more about my client, the dog’s behavior problems, and what the goals are for training. Before signing anyone up or beginning any training, I always make sure that I meet my client for an in-home initial consultation. This is where I can see the behavior first-hand in the dog’s most comfortable environment, discuss with the owner in-depth about what needs to be behaviorally accomplished, and this is also where I assess the situation, determine the best course of action, and allow the owner to make the decision to move forward together.
With all my training cases, I always want to make sure I have all the necessary information and history that I can get. I especially want all of this for my severe aggression cases, whether it’s aggression toward other animals, children, over resources, etc. To explain the behavior, a lot of people with aggressive dogs tend to assume that the dog might have experienced severe trauma in the past. This could certainly be the case, especially with dogs that have had previous homes that we know nothing about, but that is not always the cause for aggression.
When it comes to specifically resource guarding and aggression, the dog may simply be exhibiting his/her’s dominance over a specific item or territory. Whether it’s with another dog, a visiting guest, or even the owner, the dog guards and displays aggression because it is insecure and does not quite trust anyone to come near their resource (ie: food, water, toy, treat, bed, etc).
What also could be accompanying that insecurity is lack of obedience and structure from the dog, which is typically caused by inconsistent and insufficient leadership from the owner. While many dogs can very dominant with other animals and people, there is no need for US as owners to dominate them. We can easily teach them appropriate behaviors without instilling fear or making ourselves “alpha”. Leadership and dominance are not necessarily the same thing. We can still lead a dog to better behaviors without dominating them!
Aggression cases are always tricky and delicate, which is why I always want to follow a reward-based protocol that keeps the training balanced, and actually teaches the dog how to make better choices without fear or bribery being involved. Leaders do not scare the dogs, nor do they try to weakly negotiate with the dog. The consistent leader shows what is inappropriate behavior, but ALSO shows what is the appropriate behavior and how it is such a rewarding experience to be a calm, obedient, and happy dog!
Resource guarding and aggression should not be ignored. With my Toronto dog training program, I show the owner how to empower themselves as a successful, assertive leader, and to positively teach the dog how to make the right choices. Keeping the training regimen and methods reward-based allows the dog to see both ends of the good and bad spectrum, and they learn how to build (or in many cases, rebuild) their trust and respect for their owner. I believe the most successful training gets the behavioral problems eliminated, but also strengthens the bond between owner and dog!
For any questions about my training programs, or if you are interested in enrolling your pup with me, give me a call at 800-649-7297!