Whole Dog Journal Tips October 9, 2012

(Resource Guarding # 4) - Give-and-Take: A Good Game for ALL Dogs to Learn

You can help prevent resource guarding in a dog who does not display signs of the behavior by teaching him a give-and-take game. NOTE: Do not do this if you dog lunges and aggressively tries to grab treats out of your hand.

Start by offering him a toy that he likes (but is not extremely valuable to him). When he opens his mouth, say “Take it!” When he does, tell him he’s a good boy, then offer him a treat.

When he opens his mouth to take the treat and drops the toy, say “Give,” (or “Trade,” or “Share”) and let him nibble at the treat while you pick up the toy. The nibbling part is important. If you let him eat the treat and then try to pick up the toy he will race you for it, which may actually encourage resource guarding.

While he is nibbling, slowly and calmly pick up the toy. Let him finish eating the treat, then offer him the toy again and say “Take It!” as he puts his mouth around it.

Practice several times a day, a few repetitions at a time, this game will teach your dog the very useful behavior of “Give” on cue. He will also learn that if he gives something up for you, odds are good that he’ll get it back again, or something even better.

For more details on this game and other training techniques to reduce, eliminate and prevent resource guarding, purchase and download Resource Guarding.