Behavior & Training > Help needed with resource/person guarding rescue


Barked: Sun Oct 7, '12 4:24pm PST 
Hi all! We recently adopted a Belgian Malinois cross from our local high kill shelter. "Baylor" is practically perfect in every way...but one. When he first came home he was very, very protective of his food. Not from his people, but from our cat. He has since learned that food is a regular thing at our house and has mellowed out to the point that he lets the cat sniff his food bowl without raising an eyebrow. He is still very protective of toys and his home in general when it comes to other dogs. We have a good friend who walks him during the day with her dog. They get on great so long as "Olive" doesn't find one of his toys.

All of this is kind of to be expected when dealing with rescues. He came to the shelter with his parents (mom was a malinois and dad was a chow/mastiff). He was clearly bottom dog, and quite underweight and I think a lot of his possessiveness is actually a manifestation of his insecurity.

The biggest issue we had was today - and I was hoping some of your more experienced folks could help us. I have been taking Baylor to the local dog park to socialize him and let him play with other dogs on neutral territory. It's been a great thing for him, until today. My 7 year old son was with us, when another dog came up to my son and jumped up to give kisses, Baylor came galloping from the other side of the park and attacked the offending dog. I managed to pull Baylor off and apologized profusely to the other dogs owner (who was very cool about it).

On the one hand, I appreciate that Baylor was protecting "his boy", but the protection was totally unneeded and unwarranted.

How can I help Baylor feel secure in his new home while also teaching him that this over-protective behavior is NOT socially acceptable? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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