Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is a dangerous and scary behaviour to deal with. With the right training methods, there is hope.

What Is Resource Guarding?

Resource guarding refers to when a dog displays protective or aggressive behaviour in order to defend or control access to a particular resource. This resource can be food, toys, treats, bones, beds, furniture, people or any item the dog perceives as valuable. 

The behaviour and body language of resource guarding can include some of the following:

Resource guarding is one of the most dangerous behaviours for dog owners to have to deal with.

Resource guarding is a learned or genetic behaviour which puppies will try when they are young. Depending on the result of that attempt, the behaviour will either be reinforced or shut down.

Some breeds are more prone to resource guarding (retrievers, beagles, rottweilers, livestock guardian breeds & chihuahuas), and some dogs have an anxiety induced resource guarding problem that is similar to OCD in people. Either way, resource guarding can definitely be (at bare minimum) safely managed, or at best eradicated with the right training tools and techniques.

Dog Training Toronto | Hairy Tales | Award Winning Dog Behaviorist

When I am working with a dog that has resource guarding, I always take the human clients safety in mind first and foremost. This behaviour is dangerous, and so many precautions and management tools need to be put into place before we begin to tackle the resource guarding head on. 

The Hairy Dogmother

Most owners are shocked when their precious puppy growls or bites them for the first time over a toy or bone. Unfortunately, this fearful reaction will encourage the behaviour in the future because the puppy got exactly what it wanted. 

Other reactions such as taking the toy away reinforces the behaviour because the puppy learned that their humans take yummy things away from them, and so they should resource guard it in the future. 

Resource guarding is one of the most dangerous behaviors’ a dog owner will have to deal with. Because of this, when dealing with dogs over 15lbs who are resource guarding and have bitten a person and broken skin, e-collar training is the only recommended route in order to handle this in the safest way possible for everyone involved.

Since resource guarding is almost always a relationship problem, the first most important step to any dog training, is improving the relationship with your dog.

This is where I come in, to help you understand what you might be doing to send your dog messages stating that the dog is in charge. I help you communicate with your dog clearly and effectively to help them understand that they are not the leaders of the household, you are. 

So what does Resource Guarding training look like?


Improving Communication & Relationship

Through teaching you how dogs communicate, Kristina will be helping you how to clarify your interactions with your dog so you are sending them the right messages.


Learning Techniques

You must learn from Kristina how to communicate what is and is not acceptable. Then you must apply this and teach your dog the rules and boundaries clearly and consistently. 


Practice, Practice, Practice!

Once you have the knowledge, skills and tools from Kristina to improve your dogs behaviour, you are to practice every single day. Practice makes perfect!

What kinds of training tools do you use?

This really depends on the dog and human involved. Again, we don’t use a one sized fits all method, and so each dog and human duo will need something different depending on the behaviour and how intense they are. What is common, is we often need to use e-collar training for dogs who are more than 15-20lbs as this is the safest, gentlest and least confrontational way to get the behaviour under control.  E-collar training is also a great way to reinforce other rules and boundaries consistently.

***PLEASE NOTE: Do not try e-collar training without a professional trainer. E-collar training takes special technique and understanding in order to be used properly and effectively. 

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  • We've been working with Kristina for about one month now and completed two sessions. After our first session, we've seen so much improvement in our little rescue's confidence and obedience. Dobby is really reactive to other dogs and people outside, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage him when we had to take him out for walks because he would bark or try to lunge at dogs or people even if they were across the street. He was also barking and protective of the home. Kristina has been really helpful with providing us with the tools to help us succeed and build a stronger relationship with our dog. She is really knowledgeable in dog behaviour and not only provides you with the training tools, she explains why the dog is behaving or reacting a particular way. Our relationship with our dog has become so much stronger since we've started, he really is much happier and less anxious. Kristina also provides detailed homework that you can refer back because there are so many things you need to remember. I highly recommend her! She is our second trainer we've worked with and we probably learned more in one session than we did in our previous 3 sessions with our last trainer. We plan to work with Kristina for as long as we can. Thank you!

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  • I called Kristina shortly after bringing home my new puppy, a 9 month old rescue from Egypt. When I felt overwhelmed, she helped me to better understand his behaviours (and their underlying motivations) in order to help us live a happier and more balanced life together in a new environment. I really appreciate her check-ins and detailed "homework" to keep us on track and continuing to work on our bond. Kristina's guidance and expertise has transformed my relationship with my dog.

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  • We are so very happy to have found Kristina, for us and our very exuberant boxer puppy Lucy ! Walking her has been a challenge because of her endless energy and love for everyone. Kristina has helped us correct our reactions to her and encouraged us how to respond correctly ! After two sessions we have seen a huge improvement with Lucy, even with the 2 week quarantine after her spay. ! Her professionalism shines, she is a competent and most reliable trainer, I would and have highly recommended Kristina as a dog trainer .

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  • Kristina saved our dog Gigi’s life. Being a first time dog owner we were very overwhelmed with our dog’s aggressive behaviour. Kristina gave us the skills and tools we needed to work through the behavioural issues. Through our training sessions we learned how to care for Gigi so that the aggressive behaviour was avoided. Thank you Kristina for all your help and professional advice. We cannot thank you enough!

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  • My 1 year old Chihuahua has been working with Kristina at Hairy Tales Training for just over a month now. It's incredible to see the progress he is making though practicing his clearly listed homework duties that Kristina provides for us. She is quick to respond to any questions I have had throughout my dogs training and is true pleasure to work with.

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  • Kristina was super knowledgeable and helpful in working with me and my dog to concur her resource guarding and reactivity. Her clear homework instructions were easy to follow and she was always available to help whenever I needed it. Forever grateful for her expertise!

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  • As a first time dog owner, Kristina gives me all the tools I needed to best support my pup! She is super knowledgable and understanding of my pups needs and has so many helpful resources. She is also great with humans - professional, kind, and easy to work with. She has checked in with me throughout my training journey making me feel very supported!

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  • My favourite thing about Kristina’s training style is her supportive/interactive nature, articulate and honest communication. I started working with Kristina on my dogs leash reactivity/aggression ~1month ago, and I have seen tangible and consistent improvements in my dogs obedience, engagement, and our relationship in general. This was previously a big source of stress in my journey as an owner, and something I have struggled immensely for quite sometime. If you are having difficulties with your dog or maybe you have a dog with behavioural issues that is above your current skill level, she’s your gal!

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  • I have a super reactive dog that has so greatly improved through working with Kristina! Now we are able to pass other dogs where she does not react (except for the very few times, but we’re still working on those lol). So happy to have found Kristina to help me and the family have a much more happy and fulfilling life with our love Muffy 💜

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  • Kristina is a very experienced trainer who also provides thorough notes after each session, which is one reason I find her fee very good value. After just one session, I was able to make substantial progress with my two-year-old rescued terrier. She also checks in between sessions, which I appreciate. Overall, she obviously has a deep love of dogs and is very conscientious about helping their humans understand their pets’ behaviour and how best to change it where necessary. Call me and my dog very satisfied customers!

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