Great Tips for Training a Big Dog to Stop Guarding His Owner

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: August 3, 2017

Tucker is a four-year-old Weimaraner who lives in Omaha with a Shipoo, Bentley and a Cocker Spaniel named John. Their guardian set up a dog behavior training session to help Tucker stop resource guarding his guardian and get the dogs to start listening to commands better.

Before I arrived I spoke to the the dogs’ guardian on the phone and she asked me if she should use the dog training technique that she learned from a previous dog trainer when I came to the door. The trainer had taught the dogs to lay down on their beds when someone was at the door. However, as you can see in the video the dogs spent a lot of time not listening to her command “place” to to go their bed and testing their guardian’s boundaries.

I taught the dogs’ guardian our method, Claiming the Door, which allows guests to come to the home while the dogs stay behind an invisible boundary but can move freely around the house. This teaches the dogs to have self control and gives less of an opportunity for the dogs to disagree with their guardian and test boundaries.

The guardian’s main dog behavior concern was Tucker resource guarding her from other family members in the house. I taught her our technique, Petting with a Purpose, which is when you pet your dog for good behavior. If Tucker is guarding his guardian and they pet him to attempt to soothe him, he will think that they are rewarding his resource guarding. Remember: each time you pet your dog you are telling him that he is being a good dog.

I used positive dog training, Counterconditioning to help Tucker start making associating people approaching his guardian as a positive experience. You can watch the video below to see how I did this.

The most important part of the video above is to use counterconditioning with Tucker anytime someone is approaching or about to pass in between Tucker and the guardian. You will want to be diligent about using this method to help Tucker overcome his resource guarding.

By the end of the session Tucker was comfortably allowing me to pass by his guardian while I gave him treat rewards. His body was nice and relaxed and he was starting to anticipate that he would get treats when people were approaching his guardian. I give several tips on how to keep up this good behavior in Tucker, Bentley and John’s Roadmap to Success video below.

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This post was written by: Sam Kanouse

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