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Resource guarding can be a concerning behavior in dogs, including Pekingese. This occurs when a dog displays aggressive or possessive behavior over an object, space, or person that they perceive as valuable. It can lead to potentially dangerous situations for both the dog and its owner. Understanding the signs of resource guarding and how to prevent it is essential for any Pekingese owner. While resource guarding is a natural behavior, it can be modified through training and management techniques. In this article, we will explore ways to recognize resource guarding in Pekingese and effective strategies for addressing this behavior.
Note: Resource guarding can be a challenging problem for a dog owner. In addition to the tips 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 Pekingese’s Resource Guarding
The first step in addressing resource guarding is to identify the specific triggers causing your Pekingese to display this behavior. Observe your Pekingese 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 Pekingese Against Resource Guarding
Desensitization and counter-conditioning are powerful techniques to help your Pekingese 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 Pekingese 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 Pekingese the “Leave It” Command
Training your Pekingese 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 Pekingese.
- 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 Pekingese the “Drop It” or “Give” Commands
Similar to the “leave it” command, teaching your Pekingese 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 Pekingese
The “trade-up” technique involves offering your Pekingese 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 Pekingese
Punishing your Pekingese 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 Pekingese’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:
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.
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 Pekingese is Resource Guarding
- Growling or snarling: If your Pekingese is growling or snarling when you approach them while they’re eating or have a toy, it could be a sign that they’re resource guarding and feel threatened.
- Stiff body language: A Pekingese who is resource guarding may show stiff body language, with their ears back, tail straight or slightly tucked, and a tense or rigid posture.
- Nipping or biting: If your Pekingese is willing to nip or bite in order to keep their resources, this can be a serious issue and should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent any potential injuries.
In conclusion, resource guarding behavior in Pekingese dogs can be concerning and may cause problems for their owners. Recognizing the signs of resource guarding, such as growling, snapping, and biting, is crucial to addressing the issue before it escalates. Preventative measures, such as proper socialization, training, and management of their environment can be helpful in reducing the likelihood of resource guarding behavior. However, it’s essential to work with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to develop an effective plan to modify this behavior. With patience, consistency, and the right approach, it’s possible to help your Pekingese overcome their resource guarding tendencies and live a happier, healthier life.
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.