What to Do in the Meantime

Management is always the most important step in preventing resource guarding incidents.

Here are a few simple ideas for ways to manage and prevent until you’ve completed the program and have every confidence that your dog feels secure and is not a high risk. 

Some forms of management will be temporary and others will be permanent. 

RESOURCE / CONTEXT

SOLUTION

Dog guards food bowl from people

Place food bowl in crate or in a room away from family members and guests

Dog guards high value bones/chews from other family dog

Do not not leave high value bones/chews around. Give dogs their own bone/chew in separate areas or crates with a baby gate, exercise pen, or a door between them. Pick them up when done

Dog guards his own toys from other dogs in the dog park but does no damage when warning them off

No intervention needed if it is non-injurious and does not translate to other dogs’ toys. 

Otherwise, refrain from bringing toys to the dog park. 

Dog guards “found” objects on walks (sticks, wood chips, bones, garbage, dirty kleenex).

Train your dog to wear a head halter and/or basket muzzle to better manage access to these items.  

Dog guards “found” items in the home like toilet paper, dryer sheets, hair elastics, socks.

Keep bedroom and bathroom doors closed to prevent access. Use baby gates to prevent access if whole family is not on board. 

Dog guards bed from partner at night or children in the morning.

Disallow the dog to sleep in your bed or room – set up a comfortable sleeping area for your dog away from your bedroom

Do we WANT to have to do these things? No. Everyone wants a free and easy life with dog. Do these small changes make a huge difference during training and beyond? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. 

Our next task is to look at lowering the general stress level for the dog. This is called a Cortisol-Vacation:

Get creative in ways that you can prevent your dog from accessing the resources they guard rather than being reactive when they find the resource and guard it. This is half the battle!