Stop Resource Guarding Tips Help a West LA Pit Cattle Dog Mix

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 27, 2023

stop resource guarding

For this West LA dog training session we worked with 1 year-old Pit Cattle dog mix Vinny; sharing tips to stop resource guarding in dogs.

Since Vinny is sometimes reactive to people who come to his home, I arranged for his guardians to bring him outside to meet me. I left a trail of treats from his home to where I was sitting on the curb facing the street.

Vinny took a second to figure out that there were treats on the ground, but once he did, he gobbled them up then came over so I could give him some more. There was more to it than what I described here, but introducing a fearful or reactive dog to people outside is a dog behavior tip I wish more people knew about.

Vinny’s guardians were marveling at how he didnt show any aggressive or territorial behaviors with me which ewas highly unusual. I recommended they practice a treat trail a few times with no one at the end and then when the have a new person over to visit, repeat my steps so he meets them sitting on the curb and not trying to pet him until after he has takes multipel treats from their hand and his guardians feel comfortable.

Now that we were buddies, we headed inside to get to work. I started off the session by going over a number of dog behavior fundamentals; how to introduce a marker word and how to use it, a hand targeting exercise to practice using the marker and to guage consent later, dog consent and cut off signals, how to read dog body language, the importance of recognizing and rewarding desired behaviors (celebrating), how to teach dog manners, some creative exercise tips and some mental stimulation exercises like feeding out of a snuffle mat and scent games like cookie in the corner.

I shaed a number of other tips like covering the bottom of the window in the front of the house, getting a dog bed, connecting a lack of exercise or sleep with some behaviors, etc.

Vinny’s guardians had a lot of awesome questions, so I made sure to spend extra time addressing each and every one of them. My primary goal is to train my clients so well that they can replace me, so I always love it when people dig deep and ask me questions about their dog’s behavior. Vinny is lucky to have such dedicated guardians looking out for him.

As LA’s dog behavior expert I have found that when people have a better understanding of the “why” of their dog’s behavior – that knowledge  can be transformative. The guardians quickly put what I shared with them to good use. It was great seeing the wheels turn for them as they made the connections to many of Vinny’s behaviors and what we were discussing.

How to Stop Resource Guarding in Dogs

The main dog behavior problem the guardians wanted me to help with was the dog guarding the kennel. We call this resource guarding in dogs and it comes from a dog fear that something may be taken away from them. Guarding behavior is normal and necessary in the wild. But no one wants a dog who guards things in the home. Resource guarding is a serious problem and a dog who is guarding somehting is likely to bite if you get too close, dont back away or try to take away the object.

The absolute worst thing to do if you have a dog that has a resource guarding problem is take away whatever they are guarding. This is the most common reaction that humans have two dogs who guard things but it will only make it worse as it confirms to the dog that they were right; you do want to take thier stuff.

I pulled out my camera and handed it to one of the guardians so that I could share some tips to stop resource guarding in dogs. If you have a dog that guards anything, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below.

By helping Vinny understand that we are not going to take away his kennel, while simultaneously creating a positive association with our arrival, we can train a dog to stop guarding things. The end goal is the dog is happy when peiple approach when they have things, as our arrival means better things will be added and they wont lose what they have.

I also recommended the guardians practice the leave it and drop it cues. Practicing these with low value items now will come in super handy later. I also suggetsed they pick up some collagen sticks so that if Vinny guards something they can get him to drop, they can give him something of equal or greater value. This ensures the dog doesnt “lose out,” and reinforce the need to guard things from people.

When you have a dog with a resource guarding problem, it looks pretty scary and many people get unnerved. You should absoltely take note at any wanrings, but also recognize the opportunity to work on fixing the problem. I always tell my clients that now that they know the secret to stopping resource guarding in dogs, each time it happens, they should be thankful as it gives them another opportunity to help their dog learn it does not need to guard the kennel.

I recommended that the guardians leave small stashes of treats in strategically placed locations throughout the home. This way anytime that Vinny starts guarding something, they can immediately use this hack to stop a dog from guarding their kennel. Just like any other dog behavior modificaiton need, its all about quality practice.

By the end of the session Vinny was pooped. We had covered so much in this in-home West LA dog training session, I wanted to make sure the guardians didn’t forget anything. I set up my camera and recorded a roadmap to success summary video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr