The Story of Effie: Managing Resource Guarding
October 30, 2013 | By Mellie Test
A couple of weeks before this latest incident, I'd asked Abby about possessiveness because Ronan seemingly increased his food guarding, and I'd notice Effie occasionally growling at Ronan while she was sitting on my lap.
Abby consulted her trainer friend (again — thankfully!), who said that relationships surrounding resources depend on the individual dogs and their temperaments, as well as how important the resources are to them at any given time. Age, gender, size, and breed do not and should not determine which dog defers, and who controls what resources.
She said that dogs communicating (such as growling or turning away) about resources (such as a toy, or even a person's lap) is fine, and that it's a good sign if they can work out differences through communication and without conflict. Effie's growling as a warning and Ronan's deferring would be considered "without conflict" as long as Ronan always continues to defer.
Abby recommended an article about different kinds of resource-control situations in multi-dog households. "As long as the pattern repeats itself, you needn't worry. You just need to stay calmly observant and take note if the pattern changes...If you see subtle signs of increasing tension, however, or if you see Scenario 2 behavior, where Dog B is bullying Dog A into giving up the resource, you have potential trouble brewing."
We’ve all grown accustomed to the many fundraisers and charitable events that the pet industry produces for homeless pets. From pet food companies… more ›