Resource Guarding – Ginny

Today, my good friend asked me for some advice on resource guarding. There are many different types of resource guarding so I thought I would make this into a two part series.

Meet Ginny, an adorable 6 year old Lhasa Apso, Poodle mix. who her mom describes as “sensitive, competitive, vocal and very bossy, but sweet and snuggly when she’s not feeling pressured.” Ginny lives in a unique situation with 4 other doggy siblings, big and small, a cat, and 3 horses. It is very common for a dog to guard food, toys, and bones, but in this case Ginny is guarding her mom’s attention. When the other dogs come into the room to jump on the bed, Ginny growls and let’s them know that she DOES NOT want them up there. We decided on a technique called Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) to try with Ginny.

BAT, developed by Grisha Stewart, MA, CPDT-KA, “rehabilitates dog reactivity by looking at why the dog is reactive and helping them meet their needs in other ways. This method is a dog-friendly application of ‘functional analysis’ that gives the dogs a chance to learn to control their own comfort level through peaceful means. It is very empowering to your dog, in a good way.” If you are interested in doing some reading about dog training, I highly recommend anything by Grisha Stewart.

We often use BAT for dogs who are aggressive with other dogs or people, and train while on leash, in this circumstance we will be using it for Ginny’s behavior while on Mom’s bed.

  • First, they began with another dog (on leash) slowly walking into the room.
  • Once Mom sees Ginny begin to get agitated (body signals), she distracts her with a “YES” verbal marker and gives her some love while Dad removes the other dog – Remember that if you miss this warning stage and your dog reacts, remove the dog from the situation immediately and start over. The reward in this situation is removing the other dog.
  • As this goes on, Dad brings the other dog closer and closer to the bed until Ginny starts looking to Mom for confirmation on how to react.

Ginny3

This training method can be used in any situation where your dog gets agitated or anxious, ideally you want your dog to look to you for guidance when they get nervous. For example, if they see a rabbit, you want them to look to you to see if they should chase it or not, or confirmation that they will be ok while that kid zips past on his bike.

Do you own a resource guarder? What methods did you use to change this behavior? Let me know in the comments below!

Positive Reinforcement Training

As you know I am working on becoming a dog trainer. To do this I am sitting in on other trainer’s classes (The Noble Hound Training and Obedience) and working with rescue dogs for Manitoba Underdogs Rescue. Becoming a well rounded trainer means observing different techniques and also reading TONS of books and articles by a variety of trainers. Through this blog I will be mentioning some of my favorites if anyone else is interested in learning more about their furry friend. There are two main methods of dog training, one that emphasizes positive reinforcement (setting up your dog for success and rewarding for the behavior you want), and one that is correction-based training (setting your dog up to make mistakes and correcting them using force such as tugging at the leash, tapping with your foot, using prong collars etc). I will be working on becoming a positive reinforcement trainer!

Positive Reinforcement Training is an ethical and humane way to train your dog. Think about it this way, every time your dog does something you want, you reward him, therefore making him want to continue that behavior because he knows he will get praise, a treat or toy for doing it. If you are punishing your dog for a behavior you don’t want, your dog is going to be afraid of you. There are scientific studies proving that correction-based training can cause more issues for your dog down the road, which as a trainer we want to prevent. Click here for a great article on positive reinforcement training and some tricks to ensure success!

http://www.braveheartdogtraining.net/EastBayDogTrainersHome.html

http://www.braveheartdogtraining.net/EastBayDogTrainersHome.html

Here are some of my favorite trainers/authors if anyone is interested! Patricia McConnell, Jane Killion, Grisha Stewart, Suzanne Clothier, Turid Rugaas, and the list goes on! I will be going into more depth on these trainers and their techniques as we go along so stay tuned!