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Resource guarding is a common behavior problem in dogs, and Goldendoodles are no exception. Resource guarding can occur with a variety of objects, including food, toys, or even human attention. If left unchecked, resource guarding can lead to aggression and make it difficult to manage a dog’s behavior. Fortunately, there are ways to stop resource guarding in Goldendoodles. By understanding the signs of resource guarding and using positive reinforcement training techniques, dog owners can help their Goldendoodles learn to share their resources and behave appropriately around people and other animals. This article will explore effective ways to stop resource guarding in Goldendoodles.
Note: Resource guarding can be a challenging problem for a dog owner. In addition to the tip below, you may want to consider consulting the help of a professional. Two excellent online courses we reviewed for resource guarding are SpiritDog and K9 Training Institute.
1. Understand What’s Triggering Your Goldendoodle’s Resource Guarding
The first step in addressing resource guarding is to identify the specific triggers causing your Goldendoodle to display this behavior. Observe your Goldendoodle closely and take note of which resources they guard and under what circumstances. Common triggers include:
- The presence of other dogs or pets
- Approach of family members, especially children
- Sudden movements or loud noises near the guarded resource
Understanding the triggers allows you to manage the environment effectively, preventing incidents before they occur.
2. Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning Your Goldendoodle Against Resource Guarding
Desensitization and counter-conditioning are powerful techniques to help your Goldendoodle overcome resource guarding. Desensitization involves gradually exposing your dog to the triggering situations, starting with low-intensity encounters and gradually increasing the intensity. Counter-conditioning, on the other hand, involves teaching your dog to associate the presence of the trigger with positive experiences.
For example, if your Goldendoodle guards their food bowl when approached, start by standing a considerable distance away while they eat. Gradually decrease the distance over time, rewarding your dog with praise or treats when they remain calm. This process helps your dog associate your presence near their food with positive outcomes, reducing their need to guard the resource.
3. Teach Your Goldendoodle the “Leave It” Command
Training your Goldendoodle to respond to the “leave it” command is essential in addressing resource guarding. This command tells your dog to release whatever they’re holding or to stop focusing on a particular item. To teach this command:
- Hold a treat in your closed hand and present it to your Goldendoodle.
- When your dog sniffs or paws at your hand, say “leave it.”
- Once your dog stops trying to get the treat, praise them and reward them with a treat from your other hand.
- Gradually progress to using the command with other objects, such as toys or food bowls.
Using the “leave it” command consistently can help prevent resource guarding incidents before they escalate.
4. Teach Your Goldendoodle the “Drop It” or “Give” Commands
Similar to the “leave it” command, teaching your Goldendoodle to “drop it” or “give” is crucial in managing resource guarding. These commands instruct your dog to release an item from their mouth or willingly give it to you. To teach these commands:
- Start by playing with a toy your dog likes but doesn’t typically guard.
- While your dog is holding the toy, say “drop it” or “give” and offer a high-value treat.
- When your dog releases the toy, praise them and give them the treat.
- Gradually progress to using the command with more valuable items.
5. Practice the “Trade-Up” Technique with Your Goldendoodle
The “trade-up” technique involves offering your Goldendoodle a higher-value item in exchange for the one they’re guarding. This method teaches your dog that surrendering a resource can lead to better rewards, reducing their need to guard. Practice this technique by offering a high-value treat or a favorite toy whenever your dog is guarding a less valuable item. Over time, your dog will learn that giving up a guarded resource is a positive experience.
6. Avoid Punishing Your Goldendoodle
Punishing your Goldendoodle for resource guarding can exacerbate the problem and lead to increased aggression. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and reward-based training to modify your dog’s behavior. By consistently rewarding your dog for desired behaviors, you reinforce the idea that there’s no need to guard resources, as good things happen when they share or relinquish them. Remember that patience and consistency are key when working with a dog that displays resource guarding behaviors.
7. Try an Online Training Program for Resource Guarding
If your Goldendoodle’s resource guarding behavior is severe or doesn’t improve with consistent training, it’s crucial to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. These experts can help identify the root cause of the issue and create a tailored training plan to address the problem effectively. In some cases, medical issues or anxiety may contribute to resource guarding, and a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist can help diagnose and treat these underlying conditions.
Our 2 favorite online courses are:
The Stop Resource Guarding training course, attended by 243 students, consists of 42 comprehensive lessons that teach you science-based, fear-free techniques to help your dog trust you around their treasures and train a solid “Drop It” cue. With lifetime access, step-by-step instructions, and a certificate upon completion, this course will transform your relationship with your dog and eliminate resource guarding behaviors.
More than just a resource guarding course, this more comprehensive training course tackles any behavior problem you might face with your dog.
3 Signs Your Goldendoodle is Resource Guarding
- Growling or Snarling: If your Goldendoodle growls or snarls when you approach them while they are eating or playing with a toy, they may be resource-guarding.
- Stiff Body Language: If your Goldendoodle becomes stiff and tense when you try to take away their toy or food, this could be a sign of resource guarding.
- Biting or Snapping: If your Goldendoodle bites or snaps at you when you try to take away a toy or food, this is a clear sign of resource guarding and should be addressed immediately.
In conclusion, resource guarding is a natural behavior for dogs, but it can become a serious problem if left unaddressed. Goldendoodles are friendly and sociable dogs, but they can also display resource guarding behavior. It is important for Goldendoodle owners to recognize the signs of resource guarding, such as growling, snarling, or biting when approached near food or toys. There are many ways to stop resource guarding in Goldendoodles, and it is crucial to address this behavior as soon as possible to prevent escalation. By implementing positive reinforcement training and seeking professional help if necessary, Goldendoodle owners can effectively manage and prevent resource guarding behavior in their pets.
Note: Resource guarding can be a challenging problem for a dog owner. In addition to the tips above, you may want to consider consulting the help of a professional. Two excellent online courses we like for resource guarding are SpiritDog and K9 Training Institute.