Training a Shiba Inu to Stop Resource Guarding Locations and Items

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 7, 2017

For this Los Angeles dog training session we worked with five-year-old Cosmo, a Shiba Inu who is not a fan of children who move quickly and sometimes displays resource guarding behavior.

Often times, the most reactive dogs are those that are insecure. Cosmo showed me some insecurities as soon as I walked through the front door; barking while backing up and keeping a respectable distance between herself and the door.

Unlike most of my LA client’s, Cosmo’s guardians had incorporated some structure and had a few rules in place. Many of these rules required the dog to sit and wait for permission to eat food, go through a door, etc. As a Dog Behaviorist there are often some of the first things I suggest people start to practice so it was great to see people who were already ahead of the pack.

When I sat down with the guardians, we discussed the importance of rules and structure as well as ways to reward desired behaviors and disagree with those that were unwanted.

Because the guardians had done such a great job of teaching Cosmo to sit prior to getting what she wanted, many of the things I suggested should be very simple to implement. Petting with a purpose and passive training will go a long ways towards helping shift the leader follower dynamic in the home.

We covered a couple of other smaller dog behavior problems before we headed upstairs to the place that Cosmo most frequently resource guards.

The dog had started using the space underneath the human’s bed as it’s safe place. While I am always a fan of giving a dog a safe place to retreat to, the family has a new toddler in the home and Cosmo recently nipped a younger relative which is an obvious concern for the humans.

The area Cosmo was guarding was on the floor in front of the bed as well as on the bed itself. Because the height that a dog sits that has a correlation to it’s perceived rank or authority amongst its peers, I strongly recommended that the guardians ban Cosmo from the bed for the next month or as long as these problems are occurring.

I also suggested that the guardians change his safe place to a kennel on the main level of the home.

When a family has a dog who isn’t a fan of kids and kids in the home, I like to take a kennel and position it so that the ¬†door is facing the wall instead of facing the room. I strategically position the kennel so that its next to a wall on the side creating a bit of a corridor so that only the dog is able to access the entry to the kennel.

This way, once the child is starting to move about, the dog has a safe place to retreat to that the baby cannot access. Because the guardians did not have a plastic kennel in place at the time of our session, I showed them how to train a dog to go to a specific location with a simulated dog bed on the floor. The gardens can use the same technique, but with a different command word, for the new dog kennel.

Once the guardians have practiced this technique enough, they should be able to direct Cosmo to go to the kennel anytime that she start displaying any warning signs; licking her lips, freezing in place, fast breathing, holding her breath, staring at the baby (often with a lowered head), hackles up, ears rotated up and forward, etc. If the guardians take note of these communication from the dog and immediately intercede, they should be able to head off any potential problems before they actually occur.

While resource guarding certainly appears to be aggressive behavior, technically it is not. This is because once the dog is removed from the area or the object that it is trying to guard, the resource guarding stops immediately.

I spent the next several minutes going over a technique that I like to use to stop a dog from guarding a resource.

Once we finished up with the resource guarding tips, we went back downstairs and I showed the guardians how they could use counterconditioning to stop the dog from barking whenever the doorbell is rung or someone knocks at the door. This link will take you to a video that explains this concept in detail.

Because Cosmo is not very well-versed in terms of commands and tricks, I suggested that the guardians go to YouTube and look for eight simple dog tricks or commands to teach her. By boosting her confidence through the acquisition of new skills, the guardians can help Cosmo feel less of a need to act out.

One of these should most certainly be the stay command. You can find an in depth tutorial on how to train a dog to stay with this link.

Because one of Cosmo’s guardians had been spoiling him for years, it’s going to be a challenge for her to start adding structure and consistently enforcing rules and boundaries. However, this will be great practice for when the families daughter gets old enough to start asking for things that are inappropriate such as chocolate cake for breakfast, LOL.

Consistently enforcing the new rules and boundaries, disagreeing or rewarding the dog within three seconds, counterconditioning so that it no longer reacts to knocks or doorbell rings along with using positive dog training to get Cosmo to stop resource guarding should put these problems to be bed for good.

We wrapped up the session by filming a roadmap to success video in which I covered the highlights of the session and the dog training tips and suggestions I shared with the guardians.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorized in:

This post was written by: David Codr

Follow Us via Email