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Resource guarding in dogs is a common behavioral issue that can lead to conflicts and aggression. Chinese Cresteds, like other breeds, can develop this behavior if not addressed early on. It’s essential to recognize the signs of resource guarding in your Chinese Crested and take appropriate steps to manage and correct the behavior. While there are several ways to address resource guarding in dogs, it’s important to understand the underlying causes and triggers that may be contributing to the behavior. This article will explore some general strategies and techniques that may help prevent and address resource guarding in Chinese Cresteds.
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 Chinese Crested’s Resource Guarding
The first step in addressing resource guarding is to identify the specific triggers causing your Chinese Crested to display this behavior. Observe your Chinese Crested 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 Chinese Crested Against Resource Guarding
Desensitization and counter-conditioning are powerful techniques to help your Chinese Crested 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 Chinese Crested 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 Chinese Crested the “Leave It” Command
Training your Chinese Crested 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 Chinese Crested.
- 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 Chinese Crested the “Drop It” or “Give” Commands
Similar to the “leave it” command, teaching your Chinese Crested 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 Chinese Crested
The “trade-up” technique involves offering your Chinese Crested 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 Chinese Crested
Punishing your Chinese Crested 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 Chinese Crested’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:
1. SpiritDog’s “Stop Resource Guarding” Course
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.
2. K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass”
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 Chinese Crested is Resource Guarding
- Growling or snarling: One of the most obvious signs of resource guarding in Chinese Crested is growling or snarling when someone approaches their resource.
- Stiff body posture: When a Chinese Crested is resource guarding, they may stand stiffly over their resource or tense up their body, as if trying to protect it.
- Biting or snapping: If a Chinese Crested feels threatened or challenged, they may resort to biting or snapping in order to protect their resource. This behavior can be dangerous and should be addressed immediately.
In conclusion, resource guarding is a common issue that many dog owners face, and it can manifest in various ways in different breeds of dogs. It is important to recognize the signs of resource guarding in your Chinese Crested and take action to prevent it from escalating into a potentially dangerous situation. Consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist can be helpful in developing a personalized plan to address your dog’s resource guarding behavior. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, it is possible to modify your Chinese Crested’s behavior and create a safe and harmonious environment for both you and your beloved pet.
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.