Resource Guarding – What It Is, How to Prevent It

A few simple tips can help you teach your puppy or dog that there's no need to get scary around her stuff.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
August 30, 2010
Episode #038

Page 4 of 4

For Grown Dogs and Newly Adopted Dogs

If you have an adult dog who’s never tensed up around food, great. It still can’t hurt to show up with a leftover piece of scampi from time to time when your dog’s facefirst in her dinner bowl. Try these exercises, too, with a newly adopted dog, as part of getting your relationship on the right track from the very start. Word of caution--if you’re walking up to your dog with that scampi and suddenly realize that, whoah, he does kind of look a little tense there, toss him the scampi, retreat, and then head for the Resources list at the end of this post. With these further resources, you may be able to repair a mild problem on your own. For serious resource guarding, especially if you have children, please get professional help. Meanwhile keep everyone safe--feed your dog in a quiet area of the house and leave him alone to eat. If he guards edible chews, either stop giving them or give them only under carefully controlled circumstances.

I’ll return to the topic of resource guarding in future. Meanwhile, your comments and questions help me shape these articles. E-mail dogtrainer@quickanddirtytips.com or call 206-600-5661. And talk to me on Facebook.


Donaldson, Jean. “Assessment and Treatment of Resource Guarding.” APDT Newsletter [now Chronicle of the Dog], November/December 2002. Available at http://4pawsu.com/Donaldson.pdf.

Donaldson, Jean. “Mine! A Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs” (Kinship Communications/San Francisco SPCA, 2002). This is a standard guide to counterconditioning and desensitizing procedures for resource-guarding dogs.

Miller, Pat. Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog (Dogwise, 2004) includes an excellent short discussion of resource guarding and a protocol for modifying the behavior.

Orr, Joan, and Teresa Lewin, “Resource Guarding.” Especially helpful on the subject of children and resource guarding. Available at http://tinyurl.com/yd5m586

For guidance in choosing a behavior professional, please see my article on the subject

Image courtesy of Shutterstock