We all like to have our things. The love for material possessions is one of humanity’s defining traits, so is it too crazy to assume that dogs feel the same way?
Indeed, there are many dogs who become protective and territorial in regards to material things that they form attachments to. This is known as “resource guarding,” and while it’s sometimes harmless, it can have negative consequences in certain situations. In this blog post, we’ll discuss resource guarding, the problems that it causes, and some starting points on how to prevent it!
The Problems With Resource Guarding
The first thing you need to know is that resource guarding appears in many forms. As a general rule of thumb, it is defined as a dog displaying behavior that’s meant to deter people from getting close to his “property.”
The thing is, the degree to which your dog is defensive is extremely variable. Some dogs will do nothing more than let out a low, harmless growl as they hold tightly to their object, while others might lash out violently, attacking their intruder with a bite.
For that reason, it’s important to understand why resource guarding can be dangerous — even though it’s harmless with some dogs, it can be a legitimate danger with others, and it would behoove you, as a dog owner, to learn the facts behind it.
Here are the biggest problems that can occur from resource guarding:
- It can lead to dog to dog aggression: If you’re one of the many people who have two dogs in one home, resource guarding can be a problem. While most dogs tend to form some kind of hierarchical “society” in your home, and while most dogs have some kind of favorite toy, resource guarding can be an issue when one dog is blocking something that they both want. Food is the best example here — when one dog fiercely guards the shared food supply, you have a big problem.
- It can lead to dog bites: Of course, when a dog is very fierce, he or she might be inclined to lash out at a human who gets to close. At best, this might just cause some mild pain. At worst, it could be a disaster that leads to injury. This is particularly dangerous for children, who are closer to the dog’s eye level, who could be bitten on the face or neck, which is a risk you just don’t want to take. Dogs biting humans is never a favorable outcome, especially if it’s a stranger who could press charges.
- It Can Create Bad Habits: If you do nothing to address your dog’s resource guarding, it could potentially lead him to form the same kind of attachment to other possessions. There’s no way to tell how bad the problem might get, so it’s good to get ahead of the problem with quality dog training.
The best possible thing you can to do address resource guarding is to hire a professional dog trainer. At Lupa K9, I have served countless clients all over the greater San Francisco area, from San Mateo, to Alameda County, to Marin County.
The important thing to know about dog training is that you need to have a trainer who understands that there is no “one size fits all” solution for dog training. Every single dog is exceptionally unique in its needs, and correcting aggressive behavior or bad habits requires a strategy that’s tailored specifically for your pup. I specialize in holistic dog training that trains your dog in a positive way, addressing the fundamental roots of the problem instead of just treating the symptoms.
Do you have a dog that has a problem with resource guarding, or any other kind of aggressive behavior? Contact me for dog training today!