Pebbles: Resource Guarding Case Study
Most dogs have a protective streak within them. While this is an admirable quality for a dog to possess, we as owners must be careful on what we are teaching our dogs about protection and guarding. Sure, having a dog be protective on their home and family is great and desired by many dog owners! But the dog must understand to not take things too far—for instance, while there’s no issue with a dog guarding the home against an intruder, the dog must not treat a welcomed guest the same way. This type of guarding behavior is applicable to all situations, whether it is over territory, toys, food, etc.
Food aggression and resource guarding is a very common behavior problem with dogs. Some dogs might exhibit very little or mild resource guarding, such as blocking or standing by their food and water bowls. Some dogs might take it to a whole new level which can include growling, snapping, lunging, and even outright biting. This type of behavior normally stems from anxiety and a lack of confidence. Despite how mild or severe the dog’s guarding might be, it is crucial that is addressed immediately.
A month ago, I welcomed Pebbles into my training program. Before signing up with me, Pebbles was a dog that was always guarding of her water bowl. When first adopted by her owner Cristina, Pebbles would stand by her bowls whenever anyone came near them. After a month of living with Cristina, Pebbles started to become more vocal about her guarding, including growling at her owner! It was only a day before I was scheduled to meet Cristina and Pebbles that there was the first biting incident—Pebbles got a hold of Cristina’s hand as she was trying to fill her water bowl. Blood was drawn and Cristina had had enough.
While I wanted to communicate to Pebbles that her behavior was wrong, I also wanted to get to the root of the problem, which was clearly her lack of confidence. With my dog training programs, I want to eliminate any anxiety in the dog, as this is typically the culprit behind major behavioral problems. By controlling her environment and setting her up for success, we showed Pebbles how being calm and relaxed around her bowls brought great rewards for her.
Along with building her confidence, we had to work on Cristina’s communication and leadership with Pebbles. By strengthening this, Pebbles learned how to consistently follow her owner’s cues and commands, and ultimately find success and peace. To this day, there have been no problems with Pebbles and her bowls! Success is possible!
Even with aggressive dogs showing resource guarding, these behavioral problems can be solved, and they should be worked on at once before things could escalate. If you have a dog that is showing food aggression and resource guarding, don’t wait! Call 800-649-7297 to learn more about our reward-based dog training program, guaranteed to get your the results you and your dog need!