Do NOT Touch – Preventing Resource Guarding!

There is a long, out of date myth out there that you should touch your dog, put your hand in his bowl and basically “mess” with him while he is eating so he will get used to it. This out-of-date method actually is more likely to teach your dog that humans cannot be trusted around their food.

In my experience with many dogs with guarding behaviors, there is no quicker way to teach your dog NOT to trust you than to handle him and/or his food while he is eating. I have seen it backfire again and again! The reality is they do not like someone doing that any more than we would like someone repeatedly bothering us as we ate our meal.

Imagine you are eating fries at a restaurant and the waitress (or even your dinner partner) comes up several times and touches you or your food! You would not be happy and might even get defensive! Well so do dogs! Add to that – guarding is a normal behavior in dogs linked to survival. We guard what we consider valuable as do our dogs!

How to build trust and prevent problems: Believe it or not, it’s a SIMPLE behavior to prevent! How can you teach your dog to feel safe, trusting and share resources with you?  While your dog is eating or chewing a bone, approach and toss something much better like a piece of deli meat, tiny piece of human food or chicken.  Do this often especially when the puppy is growing up! In no time your dog will welcome and respond happily to your approach. Remember the waitress touching your fries? What is now when she approached, she brought you a FREE dessert! You would feel much better about her approach and would happily drop those fries even!

Later you can even call your dog away from the meal or item and offer him something much better! Your dog will not only feel comfortable with your approach but will be HAPPY to have you around his resources and completely TRUST you as his safe person not a bully that bothers him while he’s dining!

Again, with resource guarding a much better approach is prevention and build trust in the relationship instead of teaching your dog you can’t be trusted or are a bully!

Growling or challenges with a dog already resource guarding? Contact me to schedule a session!

Photo by cottonbro studio

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