The talk centred on something many of his canine clients suffer from – resource guarding.
Resource guarding relates to the behaviours your dog displays as a warning to others to convince them to stay away from a particular treasure. This could be food, treats, toys, even your sock! Typical behaviours include growling, snapping, freezing, a forward stance, even a bow.
We all resource guard, from getting irate if someone pinches food off our plate, to locking up our houses, and dogs are no different. But what does this look like in dogs and how does it begin?
Resource guarding, according to Oli, can be down to the dogs’ genetics or it can arise from learnt behaviours. But we also have to take into consideration how our own behaviours may be encouraging resource guarding in our dogs.
“We don't cure resource guarding (because it's not a disease; it's a normal behaviour), we manage it.”
Dog owners may choose to work with a trainer or behaviourist for a number of reasons, regardless of whether they have a 10-week-old puppy or a 12-year-old adult. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers can help you find the right trainer for you and your dog. It is useful to look out for words like ‘positive reinforcement and ‘force-free’ on trainer’s blogs or websites, and be cautious of trainers talking about ‘alpha’ and ‘dominance’.
Interspersing clips of resource guarding dogs with photos of people like Daniel Craig and his partner Rachel Weisz (yes, there is a connection!), Oli highlighted the various body language cues that both man and dog give off when resource guarding. Closing the session with very useful ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ in managing resource guarding, Oli opened up the floor to questions from the guests, many of whom came with their furry four-legged friends.
“As a lover and owner of dogs, I found the event interesting, fun and so worth while. I left a better owner. Thank you.”
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