IMPORTANT NOTE: If your dog is growling and snapping when you approach them and you don’t feel safe to put your hand anywhere near the item that they are guarding, PLEASE get in touch with a qualified behaviourist for more detailed help. The APBC is a good place to find one.
If you have a dog who guards precious things from you, we need to manage access to the things they deem valuable.
The more they practice defending special treasure, the better the behaviour becomes. Plus it hurts your relationship each time – it’s like a horrid disagreement between the two of you.
As a household, make a list of the things your dog likes to guard.
Come up with a plan to avoid them being able to get hold of anything on that list.
Used tissues in open wastepaper baskets in the living room – remove wastepaper baskets
Socks from bedrooms – block access to upstairs with stair gate or keep doors closed
Pigs ear chew – stop giving them whilst working through training plan
Our end goal is a dog who is comfortable with people/ other animals being around them with a treasured item.
But in the meantime, it’s a good idea to train some behaviours which can redirect our dog and avoid a confrontation.
Teaching a solid ‘Bed’ cue can bypass a lot of bad feeling.
Dog is guarding sofa. Instead of pulling dog off the sofa by collar, ask dog to move onto their bed
Watch this video to find out how I train a reliable ‘Bed’ cue.
Change The Emotion
Your dog guards his treasure because he believes you/ other family members are likely to take it from him.