Helping a Pembroke Welsh Corgi Stop Resource Guarding the Husband

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 4, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we were called in to help a 3 year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Chester who has a resource guarding problem; guarding the husband from the wife.

Chester was a little testy when I arrived for the session so I opened the door a crack to give him a chance to sniff my leg. After sniffing a bit, he settled down so I came in and waited in the doorway for him to give me a deeper sniff. This is a polite way to enter a house for dogs.

I chatted with the guardians for a bit about the problems at hand and his daily routine. I learned that he blew out a knee a while back and was a little stiff when he first gets up. This may be related to an outburst he had at the end of the session when the guardian reached to touch a paw.

I failed to mention this to the guardians but they may want to try giving Chester Cosequin to help with any joint pain that may have developed as a result. It usually takes a week or two to kick in, but many dogs benefit from this supplement.

Just like humans, dogs can get cranky and sensitive when in chronic pain or discomfort. If this is the case with Chester, alleviating the pain may help him be less reactive to that kind of touch.

I spent a few minutes showing the guardian a positive dog training technique that can help Chester feel comfortable with the humans touching his paw. I knelt on the floor next to him, touched the tip of his closest paw with my finger, then gave him a treat. This sort of interaction helps the dog build up trust in the human and conditions them that touching of paws is nothing to disagree with.

The next step would be to touch slightly more of the paw or use two fingers. The idea is to go slow and repeat a step over and over until the dog is completely comfortable before moving to the next step.

To address Chester’s resource guarding behavior, I showed the guardian how to use positive reinforcement to help him with this issue.

Stopping Resource guarding in dogs is actually pretty easy, it just takes a lot of receptions and patience. Chester did not show any aggressive behavior while resource guarding while I was there, but that doesn’t mean anything. Resource guarding can be an intermittent behavior which adds to the confusion many people have with this relatively common dog behavior problem.

Because of the resource guarding, the humans had started to get rather gun-shy and its probable that this is the source of some of the other behavior problems I observed in the session.

To help with some of these additional issues, I recommended a few things for the wife to help improve her relationship with the dog:

  • Walk Chester at least twice a day. Being in the outdoor environment with wide open area, various stimulus and forward movement will all be beneficial.
  • Hand feed him for the next month. For the first week, simply feeding him in small handfuls. The next step would be to touch his flank or rear hip as he eats the food in her hand. Once comfortable with that, she can start petting him there. Once he is comfortable with that, she can start moving her hand a tiny bit closer to his head. This needs to be a very slow process (only moving more when he has had 3 meals with no tension, stiffness or reaction from the touching or petting) so Chester doesn’t even notice she is moving closer to his head.
  • Teach Chester new tricks or commands when the husband is at work. Instilling new skills in the dog will help boost his self esteem and deepen the bond between the two.
  • Toss a treat at Chester any time she moves about when the husband is nearby. This will help develop a positive association as well as help if he is inclined to resource guard.

By the end of the session, Chester was wiped out. This is probably part of the reason he reacted when the husband tried to touch his paw. But the tip I mentioned earlier can help fix that dog behavior problem easy enough.

To help the guardians remember all the other dog behavior tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video. You can check that out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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