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Training To Prevent Resource Guarding

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

As an adolescent dog, Yeti was very comforted by being brought out of his field to eat - away from the attention of his partner and his livestock.

Dogs care about what is immediately rewarding; resource guarding is a survival skill. If an animal doesn’t have enough to eat, he may die.

If you think about resource guarding with these facts in mind, it is easy to understand that a dog guarding a resource isn’t “being a bad dog”; instead, he is looking after himself in a way that makes sense to him.

If a dog believes resources are plentiful, he feels less need to protect/defend them. If he believes I will absolutely make sure that he has all the food he needs and that I will not allow any animal to take it away from him, I become even more important to him as a ranch partner.

Resource guarding is a product of a dog’s insecurity. If a dog is scolded for safeguarding something he values, he feels even less control of his world, and he may become more insecure. If he is reassured that he has nothing to worry about, and that you have his back, he’s likely to relax a bit and have some trust.

Realize, too, that LGDs are genetically selected to be resource guarders! The resources owners most appreciate having guarded are livestock and property; this is less narrow for the dog.

The video below shows my feeding strategy for my dogs and, in particular, two of my more challenging dogs. In starting and training pups, it is so easy to teach them to relax and enjoy their meals. It takes a little time and effort on the part of the owner. In my opinion, this is time very well spent!

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