Dogs are natural resource guarders. But as with many behaviors, even modest resource guarding can escalate to unacceptable levels and even aggression. At Camp Basenji, we nip it in the bud before serious problems emerge. Prevention begins with rules, routine, and consistency. For example:
- Provide each dog in the home his own safe place—preferably a crate or pen—where they can eat their meals or treats at their own pace, without bother from children or other pets.
- Take a few minutes at mealtime to teach your Basenji commands like “leave it” and “look at me” to facilitate easy redirection at other times.
- Teach your Basenji to wait to for invitation to join you on the sofa. If he jumps up without permission, eject him with a simple “Oops! Off, please.” When the dog jumps down, provide positive reinforcement for his obedience. “Thank you! Wait, please” and give him a treat.
- If someone approaches the two of you on the sofa and he growls, follow these same steps, making the dog wait until the new person is settled before allowing him to return. (You may prefer to provide him a bed in the sofa area rather than permit him on the furniture.)
Your new Basenji may exhibit resource guarding after retrieving something from the trash. If the item is potentially harmful or for other reasons you feel you must take the object away, offer a treat or a toy in trade, rather than simply snatching the object away. (Better still, keep trash in a cabinet or other inaccessible location.)
In multi-dog homes, sometimes there is one dog that guards or blocks stairs or doorways. This dog may nip at other dogs as they pass. We deal with this behavior by shifting the blocking dog’s focus from the area with distraction or play.
Remember rule number one: when you observe resource guarding, distract and redirect the dog. If this fails to address the matter or the behavior reaches uncontrollable levels, contact a certified behaviorist or trainer. The sooner you make the call, the better.