Resource Guarding & Aggression in Small Dogs

Lately I’ve had a lot of resource guarding, human aggressive dogs with owners are at their wits end.  Interestingly, these dogs are all toy breeds—less than 15 pounds, all of them very cute, but equally aggressive and disagreeable in temperament. 

Here are a few tips to help you prevent such behavior in your dog, no matter their size.-

Recipe for aggressive/resource guarding dogs:

Too much affection and access to owner at all times.

Too much freedom/free roaming and access to all parts of the home (including bed and furniture).

Negotiating (i.e. dog growls when being put in the crate, so human stops crating the dog.

Manipulation-dog allows humans to pet on its terms, but will growl/bite if not in the mood.

If this sounds familiar, you have a problem on your hands that’s only going to get bigger.  Your dog is becoming a liability, and will eventually bite someone when they come in your home or when you are out on a walk.  That could lead to all sorts of problems, including your dog being labeled as “dangerous.”  

Now is the time to implement rules, teach boundaries and lead your dog down a better path.  Stay tuned for the next installment of how to begin addressing this problem.

Bring back the crate and start kenneling your dog when you go out, when you go to bed and randomly throughout the day.-

Deny access to furniture, replace affection with more meaningful activities such as structured walks and structured play.-

Instead of your dog free roaming, teach him the place command and make him do it every day. Lastly, there have to be meaningful consequences for your dog’s poor choices.  It’s not fun to correct a dog, but it could end up saving its life.  Dogs who bite can become aggressive to the point that owners will put them down.  Instead, train your dog, respect its limitations and be honest with yourself and your interactions with your dog.  Are you part of the problem?  Now is the time to do some self reflection before it’s too late.

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