Great Tips to Stop a Little Puppy from Resource Guarding

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: August 13, 2017

Oliver is a four-month-old Havanese puppy who lives in Omaha. His guardians set up a puppy behavior training session to help Oliver stop resource guarding and stop pulling on the leash.

After arriving, I gave Oliver a bully stick to chew on since I knew that the guardian’s primary puppy behavior concern was his resource guarding. Bully sticks are an excellent option for puppies during the teething process and are high value items for dogs. I learned that Oliver will guard any item that he considers to be high value such as toys and bones.

In the past the guardians had attempted to take-away items from Oliver, which over time encouraged him to start guarding objects that he had possession over. Oliver’s barking and growling intimidated his new family, which taught Oliver that barking at his guardians would lead to him keeping whatever item he had. In order to change Oliver’s attitude towards his guardians taking items away from him, we used Counterconditioning and a switching technique, which you can watch in the video below.

Prior to the video below I dropped treats near Oliver while I was a couple of feet away to make the association between my hand coming near him with a yummy treat. It is important to emphasize that you should trade treats with an object Oliver has and then give that object back to him more frequently than the times you need to take something away from him permanently. By practicing this over and over, Oliver will stop resource guarding.

By the end of the session Oliver had stopped resource guarding and pulling on the leash using our structured walk technique. To continue this positive behavior the guardians will want to continue to use our Petting with a Purpose method to reward Oliver for good behavior. We wrapped up this session with Oliver’s Roadmap to Success video, which you can watch below.

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This post was written by: Sam Kanouse

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