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  • Writer's pictureCarla

HELP... my dog likes to steal/play keep away!

HELP, MY DOG...


Likes to steal and run away with things!🐾


WHO?


You LIKELY have a...

Spaniel?

Labrador/Retriever?

Pointing breed?


Resource gathering is a NATURAL BEHAVIOUR amongst most dogs. It is a SURVIVAL instinct that holds stronger in some more than others.


Resource guarding is also a NATURAL BEHAVIOUR that is triggered when a dog feels insecure about the prospect of that item being removed from them or access being denied.


🧦It all starts with a sock or a slipper...🧦

Gundog breeds have been bred BY HUMANS for centuries to be excellent at:


➡️ Searching

➡️ Retrieving

➡️ Working with humans

➡️ Having stamina and robustness


So, on his first day home, your 8 week old Golden Retriever puppy picks up his first sock, mistaking it for a play object. What do you do?


1. Ignore him, hoping he'll get bored of it?

2. Catch him, make an Ah Ah noise and remove it?

3. Praise him for retrieving an object, and swap it for a treat?


3.

3. 3. 3.

Every time. 3.


🤔Why?


Picking up objects is a task they are bred to do so are LIKELY to develop. The best case scenario is that you teach a SOLID retrieve and that your dog feels confident and comfortable bringing items to you and approaching you with items that may be harmful to them rather than keeping them/ingesting them. Don't aim for taking the item straight away, but praise and stroke your tactile dog first so they relax, then swap the object for a treat or tug!


You can still play Chase Me, Chase You. So long as the praise and play is the focus, not the item.


If you opt for ignoring them, it's a wasted opportunity to practise relationship building 💗


Option number 2.

This is where Resource Guarding starts.

Scaring/intimidating/shouting at/hitting/leash jerking a dog for exhibiting a behaviour that is as natural to them as breathing, will destroy your relationship and leave space for insecurity. If you fight an insecure dog for an item, you will inherently increase the insecurity and further solidify their fear about humans approaching the item.


⚠️If you are experiencing Resource Guarding in any form, please contact a Behaviourist as the behaviour gets worse if left unresolved⚠️


🐶 Dog's offer a whole multitude of stress signals BEFORE growling even starts. If you feel that you'd like to learn more about stress signals, order yourself a copy of Doggie Language by Lili Chin🐶


Stop removing food bowls while dogs are eating. I'd bite you if you took my pasta away mid forkful💗

Play play play💗

Make tuggy and retrieve with you the most fantastic game ever 💗

And hold the urge to raise that voice💗

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