Resource Guarding – Transcript

My name is Rhiannon and I’m a Canine Behaviourist and Training Advisor here at Battersea 

Today I’m going to take you through how to prevent your dog from resource guarding 

Resource guarding is when a dog becomes defensive in order to keep you away from a particular item or “resource” that they find particularly valuable 

The resource can be food, treats, a toy, or a place like a bed or a favourite chair, or even occasionally a person 

Resource guarding is a natural behaviour in dogs, but there are some things we can do to offer reassurance, and let them know that they don’t have to become defensive 

However if your dog is showing extreme resource guarding behaviour we would recommend getting in contact with your vet who can put you in touch with a qualified behaviourist 

To start you will need some treats 

The trick is to teach your dog that a person approaching is a positive thing 

As your dog is eating their meal calmly approach, drop some treats near to the bowl and then calmly walk away 

Allow your dog to eat the treats and then return to finishing whatever is in their bowl 

Repeat this a few of times over a couple of days always remembering to move away and let your dog eat the treat 

Over time you may see that as you approach your dog they look up in anticipation of receiving a treat 

This is a good sign and shows your dog sees people approaching as a positive thing 

As your dog starts to anticipate the treats you can approach whilst they are eating and drop the treats slightly closer before moving away  

Once they’re comfortable with you dropping the treats closer you can then step it up again 

At mealtimes keep back some of their food wait until they've nearly finished then approach and add another handful to their bowl 

Let them finish it completely then approach again and add a little more 

Approaching and rewarding will show your dog that someone coming close to them is a positive thing 

You can use the same technique to prevent your dog from guarding toys or chews 

When your dog is settled with their toy or chew place some treats down next to where they are lying  

and move away 

Give them the opportunity to move away from the resource and take the treat 

Approach them again and put another treat down nearby 

Repeat this as many times as needed 

Once your dog has left the resource calmly pick it up and put it away 

While using positive methods your dog will continue to associate you approaching their resource with nice things like treats 

If your dog is already showing some signs of resource guarding behaviour it is important to prevent this from becoming any worse 

The more a dog repeats a behaviour the more likely they are to continue doing it so it's important to get in there early and manage the situation 

Here are a few things to remember: 

Make sure all family members and any visitors are told never to approach or interrupt the dog when they have food, a toy or a chew 

As best as possible remove or hide any items your dog may steal to prevent having to confront them over guarding behaviour 

It is important that you never punish or tell your dog off for resource guarding as this could add stress to the situation and may make the behaviour worse 

When exchanging items with your dog put some food or treats down a good distance away so your dog has to move 

This will give you the time and distance to safely pick up the item 

If you can wait until your dog is in another room entirely that's even better 

Another helpful tip is to teach your dog the “leave it” cue 

This will allow you to ask your dog to leave whatever they are guarding in a safe and positive way 

Check out our “leave it” video on the Battersea YouTube channel or our website to find out how 

Remember every dog is different with their resource guarding and if your dog has bitten or is causing you concern we would recommend contacting a certified behaviourist for help 

Those are our tips on resource guarding if these methods are not working for your dog it's a good idea to contact your vet who can put you in touch with a qualified behaviourist to help with your situation 

If you’d like to learn more about how to teach your dog the Battersea way subscribe to our YouTube channel, visit our website, and follow our channels