Professional dog trainers regularly address a variety of canine behavioral problems, and determine the most effective ways to correct them. In most cases, we can provide practical solutions to resolve most behavioral problems, including separation anxiety, fearful behavior and aggression.
Resource guarding is also a common problem, and one that our clients often request advice about. Correcting guarding behaviors usually requires the assistance of a professional dog trainer. And, as you might imagine, correcting any behavioral issue is much more challenging than preventing it in the first place.
Our experienced dog trainers have provided some helpful information and suggestions for addressing this pesky problem. You might be surprised to know that a dog’s owner can be responsible for inadvertently creating guarding behaviors in their pet.
What is Resource Guarding? Our Dog Trainers Explain
The most common manifestation of resource guarding is when your pet growls, barks or snaps at other pets – or people – who come near her food bowl or toys. However, your dog may also feel inclined to protect her preferred spot on the couch or her favorite resource, you.
These behaviors are rooted in the most fundamental canine instincts, when their wolf ancestors were forced to protect their resources or perish. Today, these behaviors most often emerge when your rules aren’t clearly or consistently enforced. Guarding can develop in those dogs who are most spoiled by their humans, or when you fail to consistently demonstrate your leadership. Remember, to create the best and most well-behaved canine companion, nothing in life is free for your dog.
Dog Trainer Tips to Prevent or Address Resource Guarding
The guarding of resources is a natural canine inclination and it may not be a problem, unless the behavior takes on an air of aggression. As dogs seek to establish their order in the pack, they often communicate amongst themselves and work it all out.
Dog trainers recommend that, when you first get a new puppy (or an adult dog), you take steps to prevent the development of guarding behavior. Teach your pet that humans are not a threat by offering a tasty treat while she’s eating or playing with a favorite toy. Teach your dog to drop any item on command, but especially those items she favors the most. Start this process with less interesting toys and work up to those with most-favored status.
As a preventive measure, you can separate your pets during feeding time or when you give them a particularly valuable treat. If any specific toys or items tend to cause a show of resource guarding, get rid of them. Don’t attempt to punish small incidents of guarding between dogs, especially if they quickly work it out between them, as this may exacerbate the problem. However, if the behavior elevates anyway, it’s probably time to seek the assistance of a pet training professional.
Meanwhile, maintain your daily training regimen and require your bet to display the obedience she already knows. Retain consistency and don’t overindulge your pet, or you may accidentally make the situation worse.
When Guarding Requires the Attention of a Professional Dog Trainer
Any unwanted canine behavior, should you be unable to resolve it yourself, requires the advice and assistance of a trusted dog trainer. Failure to address behavioral problems is one of the most common reasons pet owners surrender their dogs to a shelter. If resource guarding becomes too serious, you, other pets and children could be harmed, so don’t hesitate to contact one of our dog trainers right away.
Aggressively guarding resources is not a reason to give up on your pet. A professional dog trainer can work to correct these behaviors and help you with strategies to avoid further problems. It is important to consult a dog trainer who uses positive enforcement techniques, however, as this approach is known to be highly successful for guarding behaviors. All of our dog trainers specialize in using this effective, compassionate approach to pet training.
Innovative K9 Academy, serving Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities, offers a variety of professional dog training programs and boot camps. Our highly trained and experienced staff can also work on individual behavior problems and help y you restore order in the home. Contact us today to speak to one of our expert dog trainers.