Q & A: Resource guarding

Q: When is a dog’s resource guarding unacceptable?

A: Resource guarding is a natural behaviour and is necessary for survival in any species, including humans. If we didn’t guard our resources, we wouldn’t survive. Dogs may resource guard their food, food bowls, bones, toys, beds, furniture and even people. None of these are unusual.

That said, resource guarding can escalate, become extreme and dangerous, and it can result in harm to another animal or person. It then becomes unacceptable and the reason it is happening needs to be looked at, addressed and managed. Resource guarding is very stressful for the dog.

If Rover is happily enjoying his evening meal and Fido comes along and tries to take it, Rover will probably growl or snap at Fido. Rover has every right to do this. He is protecting his resource, his food – acceptable behaviour. However, if Rover viscously attacks and injures Fido, that is not acceptable.

A situation like this, for example, could be managed and prevented by separating the dogs when they are eating, picking up the food bowls when they have finished, putting the bowls away and only then allowing the dogs to be together.

Resource guarding can usually be prevented, addressed and managed. I would recommend consulting a qualified behaviourist if you are unsure about this and for more specific advice for your situation.

Alyson Kingsley-Hall, behaviourist

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.
On Key

Related Posts

10 cool things about the fossa

Have you ever heard of a fossa? This little creature is totally different and even scientists struggled to categorise him. Let’s find out what is

Q & A: Falling hamster

Q: My hamster seems to keep falling off his solid training wheel, which we bought a week ago. Is there something wrong with him, or

Cat behaviour 101

They say that we’re never too old to learn new things, and I have to agree. As the editor of Animaltalk magazine, I have learnt