resource

guarding

Resource guarding is when a dog has something, and they don’t want you or anyone else to have it. It’s best to teach them when they’re young but that’s not always possible.

First, we must understand that resource guarding is a normal behaviour and since dogs live in a human dominated world, we need to teach boundaries and how they can feel safe in this challenging world of human beings. It’s instinctive for all species to guard their possessions. It’s how dogs survived, and we’ll never take away their instincts, nor should we, but we must help them feel safe in their environment in the home and out in the world. Teaching pups early in life will go a long way to mitigate any kind of aggression from resource guarding.
Teach Your Dog A Drop It

Dogs seem to love putting anything and everything in their mouths, and often they grab items that could be quite dangerous to their health. 

Drop It is an important dog training signal to keep your dog safe. You don’t want your dog swallowing inappropriate items that could be toxic or cause an obstruction or internal tissue damage. It’s also an important behaviour to train because it can help prevent resource guarding, as well as help manage and solve resource guarding behaviour. (If your dog guards certain items from you, drop by our drop-in training classes and we can help solve the issue).

Drop It is Different Than Leave It

Drop It is used only when a dog already has something in their mouth that you need them to let go of. If they haven’t picked up an item yet, and you don’t want them to, use the Leave It signal instead. Clarity in your signals means your dog will have an easier time learning them quickly! Read on to see how easy it is to teach your dog to drop things when you ask.

How to Teach Drop It.

You don’t have to start training Drop It only when your dog already has something in their mouth. With this technique, you can start training right away. This technique also doesn’t rely on a bribe, which the lure and trade technique can easily become if you’re not careful. Popularised by world-renowned animal behaviourist Chirag Patel, this method creates a powerful association between hearing the words “Drop It” with something amazing — a treat scatter! — near you. And in the process, your dog begins to spit whatever is in their mouth right out. Think about it – what do they have to do in order to eat food? OPEN THEIR MOUTH! Ta-da — that is the foundation for drop it!

This video from Chirag shows the method in action:

https://youtu.be/ndTiVOCNY4M

Step by Step: How to Teach Your Dog to Drop It

  • Have a treat pouch loaded with high-value treats.
  • Say “Drop It” and scatter a few of those treats on the ground for your dog. Make sure to point them out for your pup as they find them. We want to make our hands near food a good thing.
  • Wait until your dog finishes with the treats and starts to lose a bit of focus on you.

(Tip: Make sure you say “drop it” before you scatter the treats).

You’re looking for an obvious and positive reaction from your dog when they hear “Drop It.” At this stage of training, every time you say the signal, there should be a treat scatter.

Begin practicing this signal in different environments when your dog doesn’t have anything in their mouth, such as on a walk or in your garden. Don’t only practice this in one room of your home. Practice it everywhere!

When your dog is bounding over with joy upon hearing the words “Drop It,” you can begin practicing when they have something in their mouth.

  • Say “Drop It” and scatter the treats for them.
  • Calmly grab the item while they eat the treats on the floor.
  • If appropriate, give the item back to your dog after they finish the treats.

As your dog understands the powerful predictive meaning of the words “Drop It,” you’ll be able to use this signal without the treat scatter happening right afterward. It is helpful to maintain this association and still practice with treat parties every so often.

By changing their discomfort or fear that something will be taken away from them, they will be less likely to feel they need to guard the resource. 

Dogs communicate their emotional state through body language, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the signs that indicate if your dog may be guarding his resources. These signals can be quite subtle and may go unnoticed by owners. At GRCWA, we understand the significance of understanding your dog’s behaviour and offer valuable insights into recognising these initial signals.

Freezing

The dog stops chewing or playing with the toy and freezes. They may stare at you indirectly, keeping their head low and over the item.

Eating faster or playing harder

Instead of freezing, they start eating faster or chewing harder on the toy. They become more intense.

Growling

Growling is another form of non-violent communication. They may freeze, growl a low and steady growl and we need to respect this, so it doesn’t escalate but is a sure sign we have a resource guarder and there are ways to help mitigate any further aggression.

Raised lip & snarling

When they raise their lip, they are showing their teeth as a warning sign and again needs to be respected, understanding that some work needs to be done.

Snapping

Some people call this an air-snap.  Again, this is a warning again, the dog is not trying to make contact but be certain it’s a sign they feel uncomfortable and are letting you know that you are too close. If they wanted to bite you, they would of. This is a warning.

Biting

When a dog bites, they mean to bite. However, some dogs bite but don’t want to do damage. This is called an inhibited bite. It’s usually a single bite and no puncture or damage has been done. We must remember that when a dog wants to bite and do damage they can and will. Keeping this in mind, a resource guarder doesn’t want to hurt you but since you haven’t been respecting them nor trying to teach them that they don’t need to guard any resource, they feel the need to get bigger in their communication and bite.

Have Fun With Your Dog All Year Long!

GRCWA is offering Drop-In Classes run by a Certified Professional Dog Trainer at affordable prices because we believe a dog's training should be fun, convenient and ongoing without breaking the bank!