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Tuesday Training Byte: Dealing with resource guarding

About 3 weeks ago I took in a foster/rescue dog with some issues. Particularly he had some food and toy aggression and guarding. While he was crated, I fed him small liver Biljac treats through the crate which protected my fingers. I started with items that he had less interest in, say the tennis ball was less preferred than the plush squeaky toy. When he had the ball I would say drop it while holding on to part of the ball without tugging. With my other hand I showed him a little treat and said drop it again. When he responded I immediately gave him the treat and praise. I repeated this and by the third time he would drop the ball before I even asked. So I stepped it up to the squeaky toy he preferred. At the end, I offered back the squeaky toy and let him hold it while he cuddled on my lap. All the while I rubbed his face and would gently take hold of the toy without tugging and then release it. After a bit I said, Drop it again. When he did I made a big deal out of it. Next day I advanced to a butcher bone. I did not try to take it or even ask. I slipped the collar on over his head (bone and all) and proceeded to take him out for a potty break. I removed the collar again over the bone and put him in his crate. Day three was the test. He had the bone again and we did the collar and leash over his head while he held it. When we came back inside, I slid the collar off, and grabbed a few treats. I sat on the floor and invited him to sit on my lap. I put a hand on the bone and said drop it and immediately gave the treats and lots of praise. Day four was the same except I asked him to drop it when I had no treats. I would like to say he willingly dropped the bone, but he did not. I took hold of one ear and applied some pressure as I said drop it, and he immediately spat it out. Since then we have advanced to the words take it and leave it and he is doing really well! I randomly reward with treats, but not every time. He has learned to trust me enough to take his favorite bone or toy away, but I likely will give it back in a moment or give a treat. I make sure to never tease or pretend like I am going to grab his toy or bone. I start with gentle petting around his face while he has it so there is no desperate move to keep control of it. You can see his face is relaxed as I pet around his mouth and chest while he holds onto his bone.


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