My dog ​​is resources-guarding : why and what to do?

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Resource-guarding is an instinctive and natural behavior of the dog that has enabled it to survive in the wild world for centuries.

This behavior, which results in often aggressive mimicry, is unfortunately frequently misinterpreted by owners who readily confuse it with disrespecting the dog-handler hierarchy.

In reality, this is not the case: the protection of resources is not the prerogative of “dominant” or temperamental dogs, far from it!

I deliberately use the word dominant here because it is too often used to describe this dog‘s type by poorly informed owners. Note that this notion must be banned, your dog is not dominant, and neither are you 🙂!

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To fully understand this behavior of our four-legged friends and learn how to remedy it, here is everything you need to know about resource protection in dogs.


What is resource protection in dogs?

You’ve probably seen an animal growl when you try to remove its bone or take its ball.

This is called resource protection, a normal behavior that owners must learn to tolerate in their animals.

Resource protection is an innate attitude for the dog to show its intention to keep something – the famous resource – for it.

This resource, obviously precious in his eyes, can be a toy, food, an object picked up during a walk, his cushion or even his master, a fellow-creature or a territory.

This instinctive behavior is written into the genetics of each dog, with predators naturally programmed to protect the resources essential to their survival.

Therefore, resource protection is innate, but is not necessarily impossible to control or eliminate in dogs, although it is recommended to let it flow instead.

By adopting the right reactions and relying on the appropriate educational methods, in the vast majority of cases, you will stop or reduce this behavior which can sometimes seem worrying when the dog is a little too virulent.

How to recognize a dog who is protecting resources?

The behaviors inherent in the protection of resources appear in dogs around the age when they reach maturity, that is to say between 12 and 18 months.

He then manifests a certain aggressiveness when an individual or a fellow creature approaches a resource that he wishes to keep for himself.

The means implemented to protect his precious resource can range from a simple appeasement signal sent to his interlocutor to a bite, which generally occurs when the first warnings have not been respected.

In fact, protecting food is one of the main causes of bites by domestic dogs! 

An element is often forgotten in the education process

Educating your animal is good, but it is imperative to think about Doing it the right way.

To do this, consider checking out This High-Value Training Course Here.

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Why does a dog protect resources?

It is important to understand that protecting resources has nothing to do with dominant behavior on the part of the dog.

No need to panic and try to set the record straight by imposing yourself as the chef and punishing your animal when he tries to protect his ball or his kibbles!

In addition to the animal’s primitive instinct, other factors can come into play and cause your pooch to protect his property with a little too much vigor.

The end or the thirst

One of the first causes of the appearance of resource protection behaviors in dogs is quite simply the phenomenon of hunger and thirst.

If these primitive needs have not been properly satisfied at some point in the animal’s life, your doggie may have had consequences that lead him to protect his bowls at all costs , even if it means going overboard.

This may in particular be the case in a dog adopted after a stay in an SPA or in the street, where access to resources will have been complex and therefore important to “protect”.


When the owner regularly takes his toys away from his dog, he can cause a feeling of frustration in his companion that the animal may try to compensate by trying to keep his toys with him when he finally gets to have them. between the fangs.

So do not go overboard by depriving your animal of his ball on the pretext that he did not want to lend it to you!

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It is the same when new animals are introduced into your dog’s environment and steal his resources.

Deprived of his favorite toy, it should come as no surprise to see your dog overreact when he finally manages to get it between his paws and you try to take it back.

If you adopt a new dog for example, be sure to offer everyone their toy, their bowl, even if it means separating them to eat or play so that one does not steal the other’s belongings and thus trigger this protection. .

Boredom or lack of activity

A dog that has energy to expend or time to spare may start to protect its resources just to keep busy.

Boredom is also a factor at the origin of multiple behavioral problems in dogs: exacerbated protection of resources, depression, aggressiveness … So before anything else, ALWAYS make sure that your dog is fulfilled in terms of physical activity (walking), games, fellow encounters and attention on your part. You will avoid some of the worries!

Poor sharing management

Unlike frustration, if your pet has never learned to share his resources with fellow humans or humans, he may have a hard time letting anyone near his property.

This cause is mainly a matter of habit that is prevented by accustoming the puppy to share his toys from an early age, if possible with humans as with other dogs.

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Failure to respect signs of appeasement

When a dog needs to be left alone, he communicates through different postures meant to signal his interlocutor’s discomfort.

These signals are real alarm bells that should alert you to the imminent attack if your pet’s interlocutor perseveres.

In fact, your dog may have kindly indicated to you several times that he does not wish to share his resources.

If you’ve missed these signals, it’s normal for your puppy to take it to the next level and start defending their resources more aggressively.

How to act when my dog ​​protects his resources?

Ending the dog’s protection of resources is quite doable, regardless of the dog’s age, liabilities or temperament.

Depending on the individual, however , this process will require more or less work and perseverance.

First of all, never punish a dog who defends his resources : this will lead him to accentuate the unwanted behavior you are trying to make go away.

Don’t ignore it either  : your dog might get into the habit of defending his resources, because he will simply find it effective.

BONUS : do not do like Caesar Milan by trying to put your dog in a situation of acquired distress by DOMINANT him until he cracks and leaves you the object or the bowl, this is the best way to end with a well deserved bite like him 😉

The best method is to give your four-legged friend something in exchange for sharing his resources.

For example, if he refuses to let you go near his bone, hand him a treat to make him let go.

Once the bone is released, throw the treat to your pooch and take the opportunity to recover the precious resource.

Then immediately throw the bone to your dog: he will gradually understand that you are not trying to deprive him of his delicious resource!

This type of exercise allows him to associate the sharing of the resource with a positive event (the treat) and the game and the fact that his resource is not kept by the master, but used for the to have fun.

We must also accept the idea that the owner does not need to be able to systematically remove his resources from his animal.

For example, there is no point in forcing your dog to drop his bowl by force when he seems to be particularly attached to it.

The establishment of a systematic balance of power between the master and his dog risks on the contrary scrambling their relationship of trust, their interactions and their communication.

Prefer to establish rules of life that guarantee the safety and well-being of all : your dog will eat in his corner away from humans, and no one will approach his bowl until he has finished his meal!

Whether you choose to manage your pet’s resource protection behavior through positive upbringing or letting it run, a few rules apply:

  • Never ignore your pet’s alarm signals : he tries to warn you of his discomfort, you must respect him!
  • Do not confuse domination and aggression : a dog who shows his discontent or protects his resources is in his right and does not deserve to be punished.
  • Do not insist too much : if your companion does not want to share his favorite toy, then it is better to leave it in his corner instead of creating a conflictual situation at all costs.

As long as your dog u is safe and does not attack you spontaneously, there is no reason to violate his instincts in an emergency, so take the time to work gently with him.

Protecting resources is a normal dog behavior, and it is important to understand it in order to adopt the right reflexes.

By identifying the causes of this attitude and by showing pedagogy, it is possible to make the behavior of protection of resources disappear in the dog.

Nevertheless, it is sometimes better to favor a balanced relationship between the owner and the dog, based on mutual respect, rather than forcing things in an attempt to make your pet a real plush.

Does your dog also tend to fiercely protect his resources? Ask us your questions or tell us about your experience in the comments!

Final words and important recommendations

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