How to Stop a Dog From Resource Guarding a Person

How to Stop a Dog From Resource Guarding a Person

Resource guarding is a common behavioral issue that some dogs display, where they become possessive and protective over certain items, such as food, toys, or even people. When a dog starts resource guarding a person, it can be concerning and challenging to address. However, with patience and consistent training, it is possible to stop this behavior and create a harmonious relationship with your furry friend. Here are some effective strategies to help you stop a dog from resource guarding a person:

1. Identify triggers: Observe and note down the situations or objects that trigger your dog’s resource guarding behavior. Understanding the specific triggers will help you address them more effectively.

2. Counterconditioning: Gradually desensitize your dog to the trigger by associating it with positive experiences. For instance, if your dog resource guards when you touch them while they have a toy, start by offering them a treat while reaching towards the toy. Over time, they will learn to associate your approach with something pleasant.

3. Teach “drop it” and “leave it” commands: These commands are invaluable in redirecting your dog’s attention from the guarded resource to something more appropriate. Consistently reinforce these commands during training sessions and everyday interactions.

4. Trade-up method: When your dog has something they are guarding, offer them a higher-value treat or toy in exchange. This teaches them that relinquishing their possessions leads to even better rewards.

5. Establish boundaries: Set clear rules and boundaries around the guarded person. Teach your dog to respect personal space and not to interrupt or invade their personal bubble.

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6. Consistency is key: Ensure that everyone in your household follows the same rules and training techniques. Inconsistent training can confuse your dog and hinder progress.

7. Seek professional help if needed: If your dog’s resource guarding behavior persists or escalates, it is advisable to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide tailored guidance and support to address the issue effectively.


1. Why is my dog resource guarding me?
Resource guarding of a person can occur due to a variety of reasons, including insecurity, fear, possessiveness, or past negative experiences.

2. Can resource guarding be cured?
With proper training and management, resource guarding can be significantly improved, if not completely eliminated.

3. Is punishment an effective way to stop resource guarding?
Punishment can worsen resource guarding behavior and damage the trust between you and your dog. Positive reinforcement and reward-based training are far more effective and humane approaches.

4. How long does it take to stop resource guarding?
The duration to stop resource guarding can vary depending on the dog, the severity of the behavior, and consistency in training. It may take weeks or even several months to see significant progress.

5. Can resource guarding be prevented in puppies?
Early socialization, positive reinforcement training, and exposure to a variety of people and situations can help prevent resource guarding behaviors from developing in puppies.

6. Can neutering or spaying help with resource guarding?
Neutering or spaying alone may not directly address resource guarding behavior, but it can have positive effects on overall behavior and reduce aggression in some cases.

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7. Can medication be used to stop resource guarding?
Medication may be recommended in severe cases of resource guarding, but it should always be used under the guidance of a professional veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist.

Remember, addressing resource guarding requires patience, consistency, and a positive approach. By understanding your dog’s triggers and using effective training techniques, you can help them overcome this behavior and build a stronger bond with them. Seek professional help if needed, and remember that with time and effort, positive change is possible.