BTN 500



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BT 251resouceguarding

Recently, for no obvious reason, one of my adopted Bostons started exhibiting a new behavior, moreover, not a good one. Doing what many busy people are guilty of doing, I ignored it. Thinking it would just go away as it came.

That was until I noticed this new negative behavior developing into a serious problem. “What brought that on?“

 Realizing that I needed to address this behavior that I could no longer ignore, I started reading up this. Before I reacted, I would need to understand; why it developed and the best way to deal with it. I am so glad I took the time.  In the past I would have dealt with this problem differently. This was different, this was inside an established pack. Not a temporary foster arrangement. What was the disturbing behavior that caught my attention?

Resource guarding! 

Resource guarding covers a variety of behaviors, but also a wide range of seriousness. Considered a normal dog behavior to warn another dog away with a look or a lip curl and sometimes a warning growl. This socially appropriate response should normally cause the other dog to abandon the attempt to get hold of the guarded item. If the two dogs generally get along well and such encounters never, or only very rarely, escalate even as far as a quick scuffle, there is no call for humans to intervene.

However, this warning off was escalating to include me too! The tones of the growls were beginning to sound very serious. Now that was not something we could allow. What to do about this?
When I first decided to modify the behavior, I was thinking this should be easy, just find the trigger and remove it. However, when I started reading what trainers and behaviorists had written, I discovered it might not be as simple as I had thought. I also discovered that it was a good thing I had not waited much longer to correct the problem. It takes far longer to repair problem behavior than it does to instil desirable behavior in the first place.

There were warnings too
. "Working on an existing guarding problem can be dangerous. To avoid BT 251teethgetting bitten, don't do any of these exercises without the guidance of a skilled dog behaviorist or trainer." I sure did not like the sound of this... And this one also caught my attention.

"Resource guarding is a major cause of aggression toward children. Children, especially small children, carry around toys and food where the dog can reach them. Children are less likely to understand the importance of respecting the dog’s possessions and are likely to grab for them. Finally, their height means that bites to children often occur on the face or upper body, resulting in more serious injuries"

Unlike what was suggested by one writer that many people might feel offended with their pets negative reaction, trying to guard their resource (food in this case), from the very one that was feeding them. That was not my thoughts.

What was going on that would create the atmosphere that the dog would suddenly develop the need to guard food.

My thoughts were more like someone could get hurt, and it might be me.

Something had changed the dynamics of how the pack (4 dogs) operated, and not for the betterment of any one of us.  I may never know what caused the change, but I sure better get working on modifying the behavior of this one dog.  The more I watch, the more I am convinced there is more going on.. Not sure yet, but it looks like there is a second dog that is pushing the issue... This is getting quite complicated..
Due to the mistakes we make, we often create conflicting situations, which increases our dog’s possessiveness, which is one of the sources of resource guarding behavior problems.

While working on a course of action I have decided to feed this dog away from the rest of the dogs. (Talk about sulking, she is not interested in eating alone, she prefers to eat with the others or not at all. Hmm, wonder what this is all about? Is she becoming a Diva?)


The main tdogbonecookiesrigger seems to hinge around her guarding the homemade treats we recently have made. Should I take that as a complement?
 It is suggested to either stop giving them or give them only under carefully controlled circumstances. Since she only gets them in controlled conditions, we may just have to stop them all together. Especially since I think there is some competition going on with the other dog who is more part of this problem than I first realized.  I guess that will cut down on how often I bring out the homemade treats.




  • Remove potentially guard-able items when the dogs are together. (Done)
  • Your dog may begin to see you as someone who is always taking good stuff away. He comes to view you more as a threat than a provider (you've got to turn this thinking around).
  • Dog food aggression. It just does not seem to make sense that your dog would consider you a threat to his/her food resource. I mean you gave him the food in the first place!    Interesting as the mystery is, although I can see that this might be a part of the issue, but this behavior is only seen when the homemade treats are out.
  • Dog food aggression can be part of the general confusion regarding who the leader is in your owner-dog relationship.
  • It is possible that your dog does not even understand that his dog food aggression is an unacceptable behavior. In such cases, there is an obvious communication breakdown between human and dog.


So odd, the only time I see the aggressive food guarding behavior, is if these homemade chicken treats are out. Any other time there are no signs of guarding. They seem to all be, if not best friends then, very acceptable of each other. Sharing the same beds, passing by each other, eating in the same area.  But I will keep watching. And those treats are all put up for now. Sad because I really enjoy making them.