Monday, May 10, 2010

Resource Guarding

Megan asked for resource guarding here's one with a story about a very cute puppy.

I have two board and train puppies. One has exhibited fairly serious resource guarding to another dog over a new 'high value' toy. He made a competent adult dog run away with tail tucked. His future family specified they were concerned this may be an issue and they wanted it addressed. For a few days, we did not use the high value toy if other dogs were around. I monitored other toys carefully. He was fine and happy to tug and play well with others. We started using the tennis ball to fetch on the other side of the fenced yard. My dogs in the yard, watching, puppy fetching parallel and at a distance. Gradually I moved closer to the fence, but continued to throw the ball angled away. I did not want him having to race and grab it before the others did. As my crew lost interest in the activities, we went back to parallel throws along the fence, no problem. Then in the yard, we started 'double fetching. My dog fetching and puppy fetching, each had their own toy, I threw toys in opposite directions and at appropriate distances so they would not arrive to me at the same time. I could move my position if my timing was off. All went well, and we're back to fetching while the others run. If puppy gets a little tense, I'll trade him for a treat and remove the toy from the area for a while and then we'll resume the game.

Is this the end of his resource guarding? No. He might try this again, especially if he's giving "go away!" signals and other dogs are not responding. As he already has poor social skills...he is at higher risk for future difficulties. He will be learning about really high value items in the future...birds. Bumpers will become more valuable. There might be other favorite toys in his world and less well managed settings. We will keep working on this until he goes home and he'll be leaving with specific recommendations for future work.

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