Why Dogs Resource Guard

Most dogs, to a certain extent, practice some type of resource guarding. For instance, if your dog hovers over their food bowl around dinner time when your cat strolls by, that is a form of resource guarding. Or perhaps your dog uses their entire body as a barrier, blocking another dog from reaching your affections. That is a small example of resource guarding. Or maybe your dog will growl and even snap at another dog if the dog approaches them while they’re drinking water out of the communal bowl at the dog park. That is big example of resource guarding.

dog training in placeThe first example listed doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? The dog isn’t exhibiting outright aggression, just protective behavior over their food. The second example isn’t that terrible, though it may be annoying and construed as just simple jealousy. The third example is usually when our professional dog trainer gets phone calls from owners — where a dog is starting show real aggression over a resource, through barking, growling, snapping, or even attacking and biting.

While the third example may seem the worst, the first two examples might be precursors to something bigger like the third behavior. Some dogs will show possessive or jealous behavior and for the most part, it will be harmless. But for some dogs that show seemingly innocent resource guarding behaviors, if they go uncorrected, these dogs may decide to take their guarding to a brand new level.

Resource guarding is usually a sign of some insecurity and confidence issues. Many dogs that come from shelters tend to have some resource guarding (of varying levels) due to the environment they were exposed to and grew up in. Dogs that were neglected and starved may be extremely possessive and protective of their food, water, bones, toys, etc., because of their deprived lifestyle beforehand. Some dogs will demonstrate resource guarding as a way for them to demonstrate their dominance, as they try to assert themselves as the pack leader.

Regardless of what your dog may have gone through prior to adoption, resource guarding can still be corrected. If you consider that confidence issues may be causing resource guarding, then building up the dog’s confidence can help eliminate your problem. If it’s more of a dominance issue, we can communicate to your dog that the leadership role is with YOU, the owner, not them.

Our in-home dog training programs are not only designed to instill obedience and address behavioral problems, but it is about improving the dog’s quality of life through confidence and basic skills building. Owners will learn how to set their dog up for success, where they can understand their place in the household and family, and help their dog achieve behavioral success and happiness. We want to train your dog to be obedient, but it is our goal for the dog to be happy and confident as well!

If your dog has any type of resource guarding that you’d like to correct, contact us today! Call us at 800.649.7297, or e-mail us using our contact form!