How To Stop Your Dog From Guarding Food & Toys
Like humans, dogs can sometimes feel worried that something precious to them can be taken away. While humans can rationalize these feelings and understand when this is really the case or not, dogs need us to prove to them they do not need to keep their guard up. Guarding food & toys could mean your dog is experiencing some degree of aggression when someone reaches for their belongings.
Here’s how to stop your dog from guarding food & toys.
Show, Not Tell
The dog has a reason for guarding food and toys, albeit humans might not understand this reason very well. Yelling at the pup or taking away their precious items whenever they are acting up won’t do much in helping them let go of this type of behavior, and in some cases, it might make it worse. If you want to teach your dog to let go of this behavior, you need to take a few extra steps to show them there is no reason they should do it:
Be near them
When the dog is eating or playing with their toy, stand a few feet next to them so that they can get comfortable with your presence while they are doing their own thing. Then, engage with them verbally, such as asking them playfully “What do you have there?” but without actually going near them at first. Again, this helps them become comfortable playing or eating while you’re near them, and to understand that your presence isn’t a threat to their food or toys.
Get closer and repeat
The next part requires a bit of patience, as you’re essentially doing the same, every day, while also getting closer and closer to the bowl or toys. It’s important not to touch the bowl or toys yet! Just try to reinforce the idea that you being there doesn’t mean the pup needs to guard their food or toys.
Give some treats
Once you get fairly close to the action, drop some of yournext to the bowl or the toys. Don’t bend over to be too near to the objects, as your pup still might need some time to learn you won’t take his stuff away. Over time, they can start associating your proximity to his foods and toys as good things (treats).
At first, you’ll likely see some signs your dog disapproves of what you’re doing, such as growls. Over time, as you go through the steps, they will disappear, and when you stand close to him while he plays and eats and gets no objections, you’ve successfully taught your dog a new trick!
Is Your Dog Guarding Food & Toys? Contact Our Pet Resort For Help!
Sometimes, the pup might need a little more support to learn that you’re not out to take his food or toys. If you need professional dog training services, our friendly pet resort in Grand Rapids can help teach your dog they have no reason to worry about that! Reach out to Paws & Unwind at (616) 930-4300 for more information.