Have you ever noticed your puppy or adult dog’s behaviour suddenly change when you approach their water bowl, or favourite chew toy, and they start to protect their things like their life depends on it? This is resource guarding behaviour.
Resource guarding first emerged during a dog’s early days in the wild when they were feral and before they became domesticated.
It was a valuable instinct for feral dogs because it allowed them to survive on limited means in the wild. Protecting their food from other predators and animals was necessary and the norm of the day, and this is where resource guarding first came in to play.
However if you see resource guarding in your dog today- understand that it is a coping mechanism from his ancestors time, but not something you would encourage from a domesticated pet in today’s day and age.
Why Resource Guarding Behaviour needs to be tackled?
Experienced pet parents and and dog lovers know that when a dog is eating their food or drinking water from their bowl, it is best not to disturb them.
Even when it comes to playing tug, there is an equal pull and push and then somebody wins.
When you notice that your dog starts to growl, becomes agitated with sharing his things, and even snapping at some extremes, it is time to correct this behaviour.
When you notice it one or two few times with yourself and let it slide it is okay, but imagine if your dog does this to somebody else in your inner circle be it a close friend, toddler, or senior family member, then it is not okay anymore, and the issue needs to be addressed.
It is not a pleasant feeling to be living in fear of your dog, and worrying when is the next time he/she is going to get aggressive and even attack while protecting their belongings.
Chances are, you won’t know that your dog has resource guarding tendencies until they start exhibiting them. Resource guarding is not limited to any one specific breed or age group, it is a behavior pattern that can occur to any dog.
If your dog is already exhibiting some resource guarding behaviour, it is important to try and stop it from becoming any worse. The more a dog repeats a behaviour, the more likely they are to keep doing it, as a pet parent you need to be aware of this behaviour and see it for what it is. If not adressed it can become extreme.
If the resource guarding behaviour has already become extreme, it is recommended to contacting your vet who can recommend you a qualified professional trainer who will be able to help you address the issue safely.
How to go about breaking the habit?
The best thing you can do for your dog with resource guarding tendencies is to get help early through the guidance of a professional canine trainer.
Training your dog early is the key to tackling behaviour issues early on so that they do not tend to become a lifelong habit.
First and foremost rule out whether your dog’s sudden resource guarding and agressive behaviour is not a result of pain, injury, or a deeper medical issue with a trip to the veterinarian.
After ruling this out, prepare a training plan to help stop your dog’s resource guarding tendencies.
Fight this early to avoid future fearfulness.
When it comes to resource guarding one cannot simply ignore it, it is a serious issue that needs to be tackled early so that it does not lead to major and disastrous problems for you: the pet parent later.
We help a lot of our pet clients overcome resource guarding, reach out to us and we can help you in your specific case.