Features August 2015 Issue

Teaching Trade

Tito is a great example of a rehabilitated resource-guarder. Even though he can be fairly intense about guarding (especially balls and food), heís small, has good bite inhibition, and does not live with children, so he wasnít a serious threat to anyone, even before management and modification. The only problem is that heís a whiz at the trade game: Bring a low-value treat, and heíd rather keep his ball. Bring a treat thatís very high-value, and his speedy dive for the snack may frighten you. (His teeth donít hurt, however; that bite inhibition is good stuff!)

Teaching Trade

Itís important to be able to ask your dog to give something to you, especially something he is not supposed to have. If you take away only those things that are forbidden to him, he will learn to play the keep-away game, or worse, he may learn to resource-guard. If your dog already guards resources, you may need to do some behavior modification before it is safe to play the ďtradeĒ game with him. Ask a professional for help with this if you donít think itís safe.

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