Monday, February 7, 2011

Resource Guarding Behavior in Dogs - Prevention

Getting a new puppy is an exciting and fun time in any home. Taking precautions in any new relationship is appropriate - especially when your new addition speaks a different language than you - DOG Language!

One area of our focus towards new puppies and dogs of all ages too - is preventing unwanted behaviors from taking place.

When dog resource guard they are guarding what they consider to be a valuable resource. Such as toys, food, people, areas, cars, chew toys.

How we can prevent this behavior from becoming a problem is teaching your dog that you are not a threat around these items. How we do that is easy - with each resource there will be formula to adhere to - here is an example of food bowl exercises....

Moving the food bowl

While your puppy / dog eats - hold the bowl with your hand. Keeping the bowl on the floor

Place a tasty treat next to the bowl with the other hand - something yummy like a small piece of cheese or hot dog. When your puppy or dog goes for the tasty treat - pick the bowl up and return the bowl back to them once the treat is gone.

Repeat this 5 - 10 times without much time delay before returning the bowl.

Progress to picking up the bowl prior to offering a treat distraction.

After a few sessions of this game. Your dog will understand that their bowl moving away means that a tasty treat is on its way!

Treats in the food bowl

As a puppy is eating dry kibble from their bowl, quickly put your hand in the bowl and drop in a tasty treat. Chicken, cheese, hot dog... etc.

Allow your dog to enjoy what you have just given them and to return to re-investigate the dry kibble to check for more treats, and to start eating again.

Repeat by dropping a treat quickly in their food bowl.

Repeat several times.

Your dog with soon love to see movement and hands around their food bowl!

The walk-by

When your pup is eating at their food bowl - ask friends or family members to walk by - as they do - you place a scoop of canned tasty food into their kibble.

Repeat a few times so every time someone comes near their eating area - a tasty spoonful of canned food is added to their dish.

Your pup will love to see approaching people - their attention will be waiting for the tasty spoonful to show up.

At the next mealtime - have a friend or family member walk up to your pups bowl and serve up a treat into their food bowl!

The slow service counter for dogs

Place your dog's meal allotment kibble in a bowl on the counter and give your dog 1 kibble into their bowl on the floor.

Leave the dog to wonder where the rest of their food is - ignore them for a few moments - then return to offer them their next order.

Proceed to pick up their food bowl and add one more kibble. Ask the dog to do something for this - like sit and then give them their bowl back.

Repeat until they have had their entire meal - teaches patience and to chew their food too!

Any questions or concerns regarding your dog's behavoir around their food or any guarding behavior - please contact a professional for an assessment immediately!

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