Resource guarding

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


The Beast
Barked: Tue Dec 27, '11 2:57pm PST 
I really need some advice on Baby's resource guarding, I don't know how to deal with it and after hearing many different opinions I'm just confused and everyone in the house is starting to get annoyed and frustrated with her, while I'm trying to be patient with her, but now I'm starting to feel a little frustrated myself.

Once I have some advice I'm sure I can try to deal with this on my own and try to explain to the family what will be best for the situtation and everything.

Some people may reccomend a behaviorist, but they're really expensive and I doubt my parents will be up to it or even consider it.

Shortly after acquiring Baby she started displaying resource guarding issues. My parents are "old school" when it comes to dealing with dogs and haven't handled the situation as well as they could. At the time I was also younger and had no clue how to deal with dogs and I didn't even know of clicker or positive reinforcement training.

This is going to be pretty long and I'm going to try to give as much detail as I can.

Her behavior toward Chewy:

Her behavior toward Chewy is the most intense.

If Chewy has a toy she follows him around while giving him a hard stare with her ears pinned forward. Once she's close to him she will stand under him with her ears bck, hackles raised, and her tail twitches.

Chewy just ignores her and walks away from her, but she will continue to follow him and do that until he drops the toy or whatever he has. If he doesn't drop it quick enough she'll lunge for his face and try to snap at his chin.

If he comes into the kitchen she'll follow him around growling and try to block him off from certain areas.

If Chewy tries to come in a room she will growl and the growling will get louder and louder until she finally barks really loud and rushes at him. (That's what she does when she's on a bed)

If she's on the floor she'll walk over and block him from coming into the room.

If Chewy is licking his own food dish she'll stand there and growl and get louder until he backs off.

If Chewy comes anywhere near a bed or couch she goes berzerk. She'll snarl and get louder and louder.

Behavior toward Snoopy:

Snoopy gives Baby her space and Baby really doesnt bother him. She gives him his space and shares toys with him.

She's also known him since he was six weeks old so that may be why.

When she's outside of our home she is almost perfect. She listens she's people friendly and she plays very nicely with other dogs.
When Baby was playing with my cousins dog he had a ball and she ran to him pushed him away with her but and took the ball and everytime he tried to fetch it she would growl and snatch the ball before he could, but she didn't do anything else to him and I told my cousin to put the ball away because I didn't want the situation to escalate.

We do step in when she is behaving negatively but we don't know how to completely deal with it..I know not to punish the growling or warnings because eventually she'll skip the warnings all together and just bite.

Some people have told us to put her in a crate, but all she does is cry and then growl from the crate.

If you had/have a dog with resource guarding issues how did/do you manage it. What kind of routine did you get into them with and such?

I've also read it may be a good idea to switch everything around such as feeding areas and everything so she can't establish a "territory."

Thanks for your advice/help.

I'll try to give more info when I can and clear anything up that may confuse anyone when I have time, but my Grandparents just got here.

To be the best- that I can be!
Barked: Wed Dec 28, '11 7:29pm PST 
From your description this sounds more like bullying than resource guarding. Most dogs that share a house with multiple dogs have a pecking order where one is the leader. Being a leader is a not a bad thing it’s what makes the world go round. Without leaders the world would be in chaos. And that includes the dog world.
Right now your dog is not only controlling the one dog she is controlling the whole household. And from her point of view this is ok.
In her eyes she believes you approve of this since you have not put a stop to it.
So you now need to control the situation start by preventing triggers that bring on her reactions to the other dog. This means you need to physically prevent her from bullying Chevy.
Start with teaching her a place. If your dog does not know the down command teach her that first. And I mean when you say down she reacts and does it right away. It does not mean you tell her three or four times to down one time and she should do as you ask. If she is not doing this you have a lack of respect for the humans as leaders in the household.
Her place can be a dog bed or rug what ever where ever. Teach her to go on her place and lay down.
Start off by standing close to the bed or mat or rug that will serve as her place. Give her the command "place," and then use a treat to lure her onto her spot. As soon as all four feet hit are on the mat, praise her or if you use a clicker, click the clicker and give her a treat.
Once you have her going on her place without luring her she can not leave her place until you allow her to do so. If she gets off you put her right back on no anger no frustration. Simply take her collar take her back to her place and lay her there. And walk away repeat this every time she comes off her place until she stays there for a minute then go to her praise her and tell her a marker word to leave her place I use free.
Also use her place for different things don’t always send her there because she is being naughty or bullying Chevy. Send her there when nothing is going on its just place for her to go to when you tell her to.
Expect the process to take several months, as habits like this take time to change. You’ll probably see ups and downs in your female’s progress, but you’ll see improvement if you’re consistent. Good Luck!
Mary and spirit

The Beast
Barked: Wed Dec 28, '11 11:20pm PST 
Thanks for the response. I didn't have time to go into more detail, but Baby's behavior is more intense toward Chewy than anyone or anything else but, I still believe she has resource guarding issues.

She also guards us from other dogs if we are on the ground and the other dog comes over for a pet she'll growl. Or if another dog and her are sniffing the same object like a chair, she'll glare at them through the corner of her eye and growl.

A few months ago she was playing with my uncles dog and running around the house just fine THEN Baby jumped on the couch and the dog TRIED to jump up and continue playing Baby started snarling.

I do believe she is taking advantage of Chewy the most because of his laid back temperment and because he tolerates her, and when we are stepping in she obviously isn't getting it.

When she growls we remove her or take away whatever object she is guarding. If she is guarding something in my room I make her leave.

Just now as I was typing this Snoopy walked by the bed and she growled and walked to the edge of the bed to look for him and I went over and put her on the floor.

Also whenever she starts acting "negatively" toward Snoopy he just swings his butt in her face and the whole thing turns into play.

I am going to work on place though since it sounds like it will surely come in handy when she is getting stressed out or if someone comes to the door, etc.

But I was just wondering what if she thinks she can start guarding her place?

I don't want to make it sound like we aren't do anything we are sticking up for Chewy, but the whole resource guarding thing is making everything difficult because she is so possessive.

EDIT: She doesn't guard anything from us. I can stick my hand in her food bowl and she doesn't care.

Anymore responses are appreciated.

Edited by author Wed Dec 28, '11 11:30pm PST