I think that once you get into training, it suddenly seems so simple! But sooner or later everyone gets stuck and discovers that given the right skills it is easy, but it is not simple… Follow these three steps to make training more fun and effective for you and for you learner.
Resource guarding (food, toys, etc.) is a common problem among dog owners. In the first post I talked about how we define resource guarding, what does it look like and what are the usual causes. Now we will discuss the options you have if your dog is a resource guarder:
- management – making everyone safe again
- emergency interventions
Resource guarding (of food, toys etc.) is a common problem. It can crop up in rescue as well as purebred dogs, sometimes already when the dog is a puppy. I believe that the better we understand our dog’s behavior, the more effectively we can help them. In this post we will cover the basics:
- What are resources and what is resource guarding?
- What does it look like?
- What causes resource guarding?
- What factors influence the prognosis for behavior modification?
- How can you prevent resource guarding in your dog?
If your dog already guards resources, read how to deal with it in the next post.
Giving food doesn’t have to always look the same. Actually, changing the way you deliver it can make the food more valuable to your dog. It’s a very useful trick if your dog can only eat a few types of food or if they have just done something amazing and you only have kibble on you.
straight from your hand
This is the simplest way of delivering treats, but simple doesn’t mean bad. Giving treats in the same place (for example in front of you or by your leg) and with the same speed creates a predictable pattern and it can help keep the arousal level down. Well-planned reward delivery can make training faster and more precise.
Food is just so very useful! You can use it to…
…figure out how stressed your dog is
If the dog is refusing food they are probably quite stressed! Get out of that situation and rethink your options! (Tip: can you increase the distance from the trigger, lower its intensity or shorten the exposure time?)
…calm them down
Sniffing for food is as natural an activity as it gets (dogs are scavengers first and hunters by necessity!). It provides information about the environment and has an overall calming effect on dogs. Looking for treats also helps them boost their confidence, they find them all on their own 🙂 If your dog is new to this, remember to start with larger, more smelly treats.
If your dog is too nervous to sniff, you can try giving them a chew toy. Chewing also calms them down.