A dog that guards food and/or toys is exhibiting an instinctive behaviour. In the dog world they don't tend to just let another member of their pack borrow or take what they are currently enjoying. In a domesticated dog though this natural behaviour is unacceptable and can potentially cause injury.
To prevent a dog from feeling the need to resource guard we need them to understand that we are not a threat and that when we come near them it is a good thing and not something that they need to worry about.
It is important to be extremely careful when working with a dog that resource guards. Make sure that you obtain the necessary assistance and have the supervision of a qualified trainer (where appropriate) when undertaking the training.
Here are some points to remember
- Avoid making eye contact
- Don't approach the dog head on
- Reward the dog when they have a resource by throwing pieces of high value treats onto the floor near them
- As the dog becomes more comfortable with you around while they have the resource begin to move closer while continuing to throw treats onto the ground
- Ultimately you want the dog to not be bothered if you are around them when they have resource. You want them to think that it is good thing that you are around when they have a resource as they get extra treats!