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Why Do Dogs Resource Guard?


Dalmatian puppy

Resource guarding in dogs occurs when they perceive certain items or spaces as valuable resources and feel the need to protect them from perceived threats. This behaviour is rooted in the dog's natural instincts and can manifest for various reasons:


  1. Survival Instincts: Resource guarding is a natural survival instinct in dogs. In the wild, dogs would protect their food, shelter, and possessions from other animals to ensure their survival. This instinct can carry over into domestic settings, leading dogs to guard items they consider valuable.

  2. Territoriality: Dogs may view their living space, such as their bed or favourite spot on the couch, as their territory. They may guard these areas to maintain a sense of security within their environment.

  3. Scarcity Mindset: Dogs may guard resources if they have experienced scarcity or competition for resources in the past. This behaviour can develop if the dog has been in environments where food or other items were limited, leading them to feel the need to protect what they have.

  4. Lack of Socialisation: Dogs that have not been properly socialised with other dogs or people may exhibit resource guarding behaviour due to fear or anxiety. They may perceive others as threats to their resources and react defensively to protect them.

  5. Previous Experiences: Negative experiences, such as having their food or toys taken away by humans or other animals, can contribute to resource guarding behaviour. Dogs may learn to guard resources as a defensive response to avoid losing them in the future.

  6. Genetics: Some dogs may have a genetic predisposition to resource guarding behaviour. Certain breeds, such as guarding and herding bred dogs, may be more prone to exhibiting this behaviour due to their history of guarding and protecting livestock or property.

  7. Stress or Anxiety: Dogs experiencing stress, anxiety, or insecurity may resort to resource guarding as a coping mechanism. They may perceive threats or competition where none exist and react defensively to protect their resources.

It's essential to address resource guarding behaviour promptly and effectively to prevent escalation and ensure the safety of both the dog and those around them. Positive reinforcement training, behaviour modification techniques, and management strategies can help modify resource guarding behaviour and promote more positive and cooperative interactions with the dog.


If you're struggling with your dogs resource guarding please feel free contact Alice at Bond Furever Dog Training.

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