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Thread: Resource guarding and how to stop it

  1. #1
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    Default Resource guarding and how to stop it

    I have two dogs, a 2 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Rambo and a terrier mix called Lana, who we think is about 18 months old.

    We've had the cavi since he was a puppy, and we added the terrier to our pack about six months ago.

    The two dogs get along great most of the time, but in the past couple of months I've noticed a lot more fighting over resources - namely dog toys and resting areas. These fights seem to be mostly driven by Lana. She was a stray dog that we adopted from a rescue, so it makes sense to me that hoarding items of value and protecting her favoured sleeping areas are probably ingrained in her.

    Her favourite rest spot is one of our couches we don't use, and I've noticed her guarding it if Rambo is walking around. She'll also bite his ears or leg if he jumps onto the couch and a fight will start. It's the same if he tries to get onto an outdoor bed she favours. With the toys, she'll chase him if he has one, and once she gets it will defend it by lying on it. Sometimes I'll see a few toys on her bed which she's obviously hoarded.

    Rambo likes to go after toys she has sometimes - like most dogs, even when you buy them the same toy, the one the other dog has is always more appealing - but I haven't noticed him protecting toys or even his sleeping spots, so I think it's mainly Lana that's starting this.

    One other thing I've noticed, which I'm not sure is related, is Rambo loves playing fetch, but Lana doesn't. However, when you throw the ball for Rambo, Lana will chase him and try to knock him over. She has no interest in actually getting the toy, just seems intent on stopping him from getting to it.

    Despite all this, the dogs are pretty good friends and get along together most of the time. And the fights have up til now been not too aggressive - mainly lots of mouthing and wrestling. I'm just worried that letting this behaviour go on too long, it will escalate - and worse, affect other dogs if we have to leave them with friends or in a kennel etc.

    Any advice on how to curb this behaviour would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Can you define "fight" for me please.
    As mine "fight" it sounds huge, its all teeth and no bite however. It ends as rapidly as it starts. Sometimes, it actually escalates in volume and movements, but still no biting as such. Biting an ear, im tempted to say, So?
    I would harness the resource gaurding. That dog that is learning, that ball fetching = you have the attention of the thrower, and will posses the ball, means you can throw 2 balls, and get them both racing after it. Only play with the one that brings back the ball, and the other sharpens up nicely!

    with multi dogs and resource gaurding, unless you are there 24/7 with these objects, to control the situation, you cant police it. Let them sort it out. You can manage the behaviour by trumping the resource gaurd, by YOU taking it. But once YOU are not there, it belongs to the resource gaurder once more.
    My 2 fight at night, every night, just before the spoon each other and fall asleep for the night. Its all good.
    They hack each other off now and again, and its get a bit rough. But no broken skin, a few heamatomas, sprains, bruises. Nowt serious.

  3. #3

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    A lot of people will disagree with me .. but IMO, resource guarding is a myth. It's nothing more than a lack of training IMO (flame suit is always ready)

    Edit : My advice is take control of your dogs, don't let them rule.
    Last edited by mymatejack; 05-15-2013 at 02:32 AM.

  4. #4
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    hey mymatejack
    im interested in resource guarding being a lack of training.
    No flames, just interest piqued.

  5. #5
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    mymatejack has some point in what they have written - it can be exhibited mainly due to lack of training and socialisation while the dog is growing up. With some dogs it has a strong genetic component and is harder to get rid of.

    For your dog you need to work on training and control of the resources. If you see your dog guarding a toy, remove them from her and give him some play time without her interference. If you play fetch put her away or tie her up next to you and reward her for sitting quietly while he chases the ball. As for the couch she's only allowed up if you tell her she can and must come down when you ask her immediately. THe behavior crops up because the dog is the one thinking it controls the resources and personality dictates how that is expressed. It takes a little time but some firm ground rules that everything belongs to the humans and there is no protest about it will help it.

  6. #6

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    Hi bernie,

    Nekhbet said it better than I could but that's pretty much the way i've trained my dogs. If I want to give him something I give it to him, if I want to take it away I take it away. I may have corrupted that somewhat by praising the dog for allowing me to take the resource but it's worked very well so far - I would have had absolutely no concerns about a stranger taking a bone of my old dog, my new one, well he's still a pup so time will tell how good my training works.

  7. #7
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    I see now. Thanks for the explanation guys.
    The more social etiquette training. The manners. And that i can take whatever, whenever off you and dog will be fine with that.
    Then yes, i agree. Resource gaurding could well be a lack of training.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the advice guys! Nekhbet, that is really useful and actually makes a lot of sense. We never bothered with controlling stuff like that because our first dog always respected us and would relinquish toys or move from a spot if we told him to. Actually both dogs are quite well behaved, it's just with each other. I think it's definitely a lack of training from a pup, we only got Lana when she was about a year old and she was a stray before then. I see her sleeping on top of toys, which makes me think this was just something she did to protect what she had from other dogs/predators while she was on the streets (or wherever she was living!).

  9. #9
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    I do love an update Meeshoit.

    I'm glad Nekhbet's info is helpful, she should know - she makes her living training dogs.

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