How to Fix Resource Guarding

GSD Training

This aggressive german shepherd has severe resource guarding behavioral problems. Professional dog trainer Tom Davis walks you through the entire dog training process and how to work with an aggressive dog. The dog in this training video, Jeffrey, resource guards to the point that he is resource guarding his owners to other people. His owners enrolled him in the board and train program at Upstate Canine Academy to address the issue. As you watch the video you will see that this case is very severe to the point where he was resource guarding his kennel entrance and not letting anyone in.

What is Resource Guarding?

Dogs will resource guard anything that is of resource to the dog. It could be food, it could be a human, it could be a toy, it could be a sock. Anything that they feel like is theirs that they may not get again. The dog gets protective over this item-whatever it is- and often exhibits aggressive behaviors such as growling, barking, lunging, and biting in order to guard it. This type of possessive aggression can occur in any dog breed. Some dogs develop this over years by being picked on as a young puppy. There are so many different reasons why resource guarding happens.

Behavior Modification Training: How to Address Resource Guarding

Disclaimer: It is important to remember that Tom Davis is a trained professional. He has specialized in behavior modification and working with dogs like Jeffrey for a long time so please be safe when you’re doing any of this type of work with your dog. If you are new to behavior modification issues, it is very important to hire a professional that specializes in behavior modification and work with that trainer to safely address any aggressive behaviors. The sooner you can address the issue with your dog, the better. We do not suggest to anyone out there to try and do these types of things on their own as it can be very dangerous.

First, it is important to understand that basic obedience is an underlying factor. We can’t stress this enough. All of the training that we’ve done with any dog that’s come through the facility doesn’t matter if it’s behavior modification training like this or if it’s just basic training leading up to advanced off leash training,  foundational obedience is so key in any successful training with any dog. This basic obedience includes commands like sit, stay, heel, and place. With an aggressive resource guarding dog-like Jeffrey, we use these fundamental commands to regain control and correct any unwanted behaviors.

In this video, you can see that Jeffrey has started to resource guard the threshold of his kennel. The first step is to give him some spacial pressure. What this allows us to do is gauge how serious the dog is. Often times if you can go into his zone the dog will start to de-escalate. As you can see with Jeffrey he starts to de-escalate, but not enough to safely enter the kennel. Tom, therefore, had to problem solve and use a catch pole and mat as tools to safely gain entrance and control of the dog. Once Tom broke through the threshold, you will notice how quiet the dog got.

Once in control, Tom used a Dogtra 280C e-collar on the vibrate function so he has the ability to give him some sort of consequence for the aggressive and possessive behavior. As you can see in the video, with just one correction we start to see a big difference in Jeffrey’s behavior. Next, Tom works with Jeffrey using basic obedience commands like place and leave it to work on Jeffrey’s food aggression. By using these basic commands and applying them to the thing he is possessing, Tom is teaching the dog impulse control and how to disengage on command. Essentially Tom is restructuring what food means to Jeffrey. We are also teaching him that he can’t just have whatever he wants, whenever he wants. This applies to any other item he might want to be possessive of in the future, whether it is food, his kennel, his owners, or a toy.

We hope you enjoy these behavior modification training videos featuring our board and train dog, Jeffrey. If you would like to watch more behavior modification training videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you’re curious about how Jeffery is doing and here is the update video for you!