Resource Guarding

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Postby Maryellen » March 30th, 2006, 12:50 pm

Does anyone have a dog or dogs that have shown resource guarding? Does anyone have a dog/dogs they got from a shelter/rescue that show resource guarding? How do you handle it? do you train to not resource guard? do you just not give the item?? post your training ideas, suggestions here.. ps- this is pertaining to all dogs, not just pit bulls

resource guarding in respect to food/toys/bones/ outside items like rocks/sticks/dead animals to humans and other dogs

resource guarding to humans and other animals as well...
Last edited by Maryellen on March 30th, 2006, 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Malli » March 30th, 2006, 1:05 pm

I'm just checking the definition, resource gaurding is when one dog has aggression to another dog over food, water, treats, toys etc, right?
whereas dominance related aggression is the same behavior only from a dog towards people?

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Postby Maryellen » March 30th, 2006, 1:08 pm

resource guarding items from humans, and also other dogs in the house.
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Postby Malli » March 30th, 2006, 1:10 pm

so, what is the difference between resource guarding and dominance related aggression? Is it the same definition for different terms?
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Postby Maryellen » March 30th, 2006, 1:40 pm

i really dont know.. there is probably 2 definitions, but i was more curious as to how people handled resource guarding from a basic standpoint, i should have been more specific..

i guess break it down to two catagories:

1. resource guarding of items /food/etc to other dogs

2. guarding items/food/etc from the human that the dog lives with

does that sound better??
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Postby rockermom » March 30th, 2006, 1:46 pm

From what I read resource guarding has many different levels which is why some do not refer to it as agression. Let me see if I can find the website that explains it.
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Postby mnp13 » March 30th, 2006, 1:47 pm

I think with humans it is dominance, with dogs it is rank.

If your dog is growling at you to protect it's food, the dog doesn't eat. Simple as that. Growls over toys, the dog doesn't get toys. When the dog stops being a jerk, the dog gets food and toys. YOU own the world, they don't.

The inter-dog thing we do artifically, just like we instated our own pack order with the dogs. Ruby gets what Ruby wants, the boys back off. When it is play, that's one thing, but getting snarky is different.
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Postby rockermom » March 30th, 2006, 1:55 pm

http://www.ahimsadogtraining.com/handou ... rding.html

This is one website which I had found helpful in explaining resource guarding and how to overcome it.
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Postby mnp13 » March 30th, 2006, 2:01 pm

Not bad, but I completley disagree with the dominance stuff. I don't think you should 'dominante your dog', but a dog who is resource guarding is telling YOU he is in charge,and I think that is dominance.
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Postby a-bull » March 30th, 2006, 2:29 pm

If a dog is guarding a resource from a human, and you take that item away, you will often make the behavior worse. By taking the item away, you reinforce the instinct that the item needed to be guarded. To remove a guarded item, I would swap out that item by offering something more enticing, usually food, and remove the guarded item very matter-of-factly. It should then get to the point where the dog is willing to give up anything to you because they anticipate getting something better.

As far as guarding food, I never took food away for guarding, because again, that can inadvertently reinforce the need to guard. I added goodies into the food bowl while the pup was eating, first chucking the goodies in, then getting closer and closer, to the point where I could put my hand in the bowl to add a goodie with no reaction---and maybe add in a pat here and there.

Resource guarding regarding other dogs or animals, I always put out multiples of every toy so that there is no way to hoard any one prized possession. There was a period where I removed all toys, because there was just too much jockying going on, then I reintroduced them---putting out multiples of the most boring toys first, then adding in the more exciting toys. I also leave the toys out all the time, to dull the excitement surrounding "toys."

My dogs can eat treats near one another, eat their dinner nearby one another, and neither will resource guard anything from each other or us any longer.

Both are rescues, one from a shelter at 11 mos., and the other at 9 weeks from an ACO/rescue. The 9 week old use to growl as a pup if you went near his food, now you could put your face in his bowl without issue. :)
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Postby a-bull » March 30th, 2006, 2:35 pm

houlabulla? wrote:http://www.ahimsadogtraining.com/handouts/resource-guarding.html

This is one website which I had found helpful in explaining resource guarding and how to overcome it.


That's a good article---thanks. :)

Resource guarding in shelter/rescue dogs is often just a survival instinct. Their whole world is a little kennel, limited toys, limited food and limited attention, with other barking dogs all around them.

I just don't find resource guarding as troubling as the rubber hand does. :D
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » March 30th, 2006, 3:23 pm

From day one, we started teaching Inara it was no big deal for us to take her food/stuffies/kongs/etc away. We'd take them, maybe pretend like we were eating them, and give them right back. Now she doesn't even blink an eye if I stick my hand in her bowl or take something from her. She's really good.
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Postby pocketpit » March 30th, 2006, 4:12 pm

Resource guarding regarding other dogs or animals, I always put out multiples of every toy so that there is no way to hoard any one prized possession. There was a period where I removed all toys, because there was just too much jockying going on, then I reintroduced them---putting out multiples of the most boring toys first, then adding in the more exciting toys. I also leave the toys out all the time, to dull the excitement surrounding "toys."


While this is a good idea in theory and probably works for some dogs, it will not work for dogs that are resource guarding just beacuse they are dominant. My ex-roomate's Dobie bitches were just that - bitches! A toy could be clear across the room and they would have no interest in it whatsoever but let another dog even look as though they might be interested in it (and that included just walking by it) and they would launch an all out attack.
I would agree with your assesment that "showing dominance" to your dog is not the best answer most of the time but there is a time and a place for that sort of correction.
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Postby mnp13 » March 30th, 2006, 4:15 pm

Multiple toys don't work with Connor and Ruby. If he has a bone and she has a bone, she has been known to go and take his, put it on the floor, lay on it and continue to chew the one she had in the first place.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » March 30th, 2006, 4:33 pm

Tallulah would just pile them all. Her favorite saying is MINE!!!!!!!!!

She gets what she wants from Jack, she just does a drive by and swipes it right out if his mouth. :oops:

She is separated from Tess for this very problem. They would go at it over freaking lint. All you could see was Tallulah say MINE!!!!!! and jump on Tess's head, and Tess being a pit was game. No backing down there from either one, and I would have to break it up.

I handle things like a-bull suggested for food aggression. I would not put multiple toys out with my particular dogs.
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Postby a-bull » March 30th, 2006, 4:50 pm

My female is extremely dominant and I have encountered all of the above problems with her taking away toys, hoarding, etc. It takes a ton of time, working with them and their toys together, and giving commands.

I can now leave out a bucket of toys and although she will sometimes pull a toy from my other guy 'just because she can,' I respond to that behavior by getting another of the same toy and playing with both dogs.
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My posts are my own opinions unless otherwise stated. They are not necessarily correct for all dogs or all owners.
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Postby Maryellen » March 30th, 2006, 5:02 pm

i always have marrow bones and toys laying around.. i noticed when i would take them out rufus would steal them and get into a tiff with jesse.. with all the bones and toys laying around since i changed everything nothing is high value to them anymore, and if i introduce a new toy i get a few of the same and leave them on the floor.. rufus will however do the old whine whine whine while sneaking his paw toward a bone that sonny has.. yet with jesse if he walks over to her and she has a bone she gives it up right away to him, which i dont get, and if he has a toy/bone that she wants she will make these weird whining noises to us to get the toy.(which i dont do) so i am guessing rufus is the alpha with jesse on this stuff(which is always mostly new stuff, sometimes old stuff)..

as far as resource guarding with food, one wrong move and the bowl comes up and is done for the night.. but i am constantly putting my hands in the bowls, water and food, and i am constantly putting my hands in their mouths outside too...
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Postby pLaurent » March 30th, 2006, 6:09 pm

If a dog is guarding a resource from a human, and you take that item away, you will often make the behavior worse. By taking the item away, you reinforce the instinct that the item needed to be guarded. To remove a guarded item, I would swap out that item by offering something more enticing, usually food, and remove the guarded item very matter-of-factly. It should then get to the point where the dog is willing to give up anything to you because they anticipate getting something better.


I agree with this completely. My pit bull will let me take a bone from her mouth,but my last dog wouldn't.

I got him completely over it by letting him know that my hands anywhere near his food would result in him getting something BETTER than he had in his bowl. This resulted in him being very glad to see me mess with his food.

For a dog who is already guarding food or resources, depriving him of them makes him think he was right to guard them.
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Postby mnp13 » March 30th, 2006, 6:11 pm

pLaurent wrote:For a dog who is already guarding food or resources, depriving him of them makes him think he was right to guard them.


I guess I didn't communicate that well.

If you have a dog that growls when you get near his food, then hand feed. Teach him that good comes from you, not that you are going to steal the food and not give it back.
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Postby Marinepits » March 30th, 2006, 6:24 pm

a-bull wrote:My female is extremely dominant and I have encountered all of the above problems with her taking away toys, hoarding, etc. It takes a ton of time, working with them and their toys together, and giving commands.

I can now leave out a bucket of toys and although she will sometimes pull a toy from my other guy 'just because she can,' I respond to that behavior by getting another of the same toy and playing with both dogs.


Same thing works for me here -- Mac is very possessive of his toys, so we have multiples of every toy that survives destruction.
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