Why resource guarding can be a problem.
Resource guarding can be a problem because it can lead to aggression.
If your dog feels the need to defend you from perceived threats, they may start to view other people and animals as a threat. This can result in bites or other forms of aggression.
Resource guarding can make it difficult for you to have normal social interactions with other people. If your dog is always on guard, it can be difficult for either of you to relax and enjoy yourselves.
Additionally, resource guarding can be dangerous for your dog. If they become so aggressive that they are deemed dangerous, they may have to be put down.
Signs that your dog may be resource guarding you.
One common sign is when a dog growls or snaps if someone comes too close to their owner.
Other signs include body blocking, such as when a dog stands in front of their owner to prevent someone from approaching.
Dogs may also show signs of stress, such as panting or pacing, when someone is near their owner.
If you see these signs, it’s important to take action to help your dog feel more comfortable.
When Is Resource Guarding a Problem?
Resource guarding is normal dog behavior. Dogs have evolved as opportunistic feeders, and it’s natural for them to protect what they consider to be “theirs” from potential takers. The displays of growling and related body language are the dog’s way of saying, “Back off! This is mine, and I don’t intend to give it up.” In most cases, of resource guarding involving two dogs, the dogs are simply communicating and one dog will back down. The situation is resolved quickly and without conflict. However, if one of the dogs is exhibiting signs of stress or they are actually fighting over resources, remove anything of potential value when the dogs are together. Only allow items such as food, bones, or toys when the dogs are safely separated by a barrier, such as a closed door or baby gate.
That said, resource guarding can be a serious problem if a dog threatens to bite his human family when they try to take something away. Dogs must be willing to give up things they would rather keep, like that plastic bag or turkey bone. Resource guarding is a major cause of aggression toward humans, particularly toward children. Children, especially small children, carry around toys and food where the dog can reach them. Children are less likely to understand the importance of respecting the dog’s possessions and are likely to grab for them. Finally, their height means that bites to children often occur on the face or upper body, resulting in more serious injuries. For this reason, it is important that a child is never left alone with a dog. If resources are present, the child and dog should be separated by a barrier, even if an adult is present. Situations can escalate in the blink of an eye and you never want to have to say “I wish I had…”
When Your Dog Resource Guards YOU
I often hear people ask, “How to stop my small dog from guarding me?” but big dogs will also guard their owners.
From his owner’s arms, the dog continues to growl at anyone who tries to get too close. He might not even “allow” anyone else to sit on the couch next to his owner.