Resource defense is when a dog snarls or snaps at a human or dog’s approach while having a coveted resource.
Resources can be food, toys, chewing bones, berths, special other objects (sticks) or people, for example.
Defending these things makes sense in nature. If you shield your resources from others, you have more chances to survive.
Dominance and ranking do not play a role here.
So that the dog doesn’t even start, we have put together a few exercises for you.
With these simple tips you can start with your puppy. Even if you are expecting children and your dog is not yet defending resources, these exercises are suitable for prevention.
Incidentally, all family members can and should work on this topic.
Warning: If your dog is already defending resources and is already growling or snapping at you, you should not do these exercises.
Please contact a trainer who will assist you in this case!
Exercise 1 – Swap
Unfortunately, there is still far too often the tip: “The dog has to have everything taken away – so just take the chewing bones or food away from him every now and then””.
Yes – this is how you create a dog that defends its things!
If the dog gives a chew bone, he gets a great treat. If he spends his toy, you can start playing with a second toy as a reward. If you trade with him in 80% of the cases, the 20% where you don’t have an exchange object are not a problem.
Important: The dog should have no disadvantage if he gives something – important for him!
My favorite example: You love chocolate! So I put you a piece of chocolate cake and you just made the first bite of it when I take the plate away. I think you’re pissed off and will be careful the next time I approach you while eating cake.
Same scenario – only I take the chocolate cake away and put a slice of banana instead. Oh, and you like banana slices even more! Great! The next time you ask me if we don’t swap again.
Exercise 2 – The bowl game
There are several variations for the bowl game and you can try out all the exercises.
The most important rule here: The dog always has an advantage if you approach him and the bowl.
The special treats you use here should really be something very special for the dog! Test beforehand whether he really likes the treats you have planned!
The dog eats its portion from the bowl and …
… you stand a few meters away, come up, throw him a special treat in the bowl from half a meter away and then you go away again.
… you walk up to the dog, take a short hold of the food bowl, throw in the treats and leave.
… you go there, gently caress the dog’s flank, throw the treat in the bowl and go again.
… you go there, pick up the food bowl, put the treat in it, put the bowl down again and go again.
The dog does not have his whole portion in the bowl but only a part and as soon as he has finished eating, give him a handful of other food etc. until he has got his whole portion.
Exercise 3 – Touch and Play
While playing with your dog with a tug toy, you can pet him on the head, neck, or chest. He immediately gets used to the touch and also realizes that you won’t take the toy away from him just because you reach out for him.
At the same time, practice cooperatively giving out toys – for example, by swapping or as described in the video by Chirag Patel.
Please learn your dog that hands, feet and clothing are not toys. As soon as they are touched in the game, the game should be interrupted.
What does this have to do with resource defense?
Well, a dog who has bad bite resistance because he learned that it is ok to bite hands and skin and then maybe has a resource defense problem is a very bad combination.
What are we doing with these exercises?
We change the emotion the dog has when a person approaches their resources.
For example, the dog learns: “Oh, that’s great when my person comes here while I’m eating – now there’s something delicious”