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7 Strategies to Stop Your Lhasa Apso’s Resource Guarding Leave a comment

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Resource guarding is a common behavior in dogs, and Lhasa Apso is no exception. Dogs may guard their food, toys, beds, and even people. Resource guarding can lead to aggressive behavior, which can be dangerous for both the dog and the people around them. Therefore, it’s essential to recognize the signs of resource guarding and take steps to address the problem. In this article, we will discuss the signs of resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos and provide some tips on how to prevent and manage this behavior. With the right approach, resource guarding can be corrected, and your Lhasa Apso can live a happy, healthy life.

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 Lhasa Apso’s Resource Guarding

The first step in addressing resource guarding is to identify the specific triggers causing your Lhasa Apso to display this behavior. Observe your Lhasa Apso 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 Lhasa Apso Against Resource Guarding

Desensitization and counter-conditioning are powerful techniques to help your Lhasa Apso 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 Lhasa Apso 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 Lhasa Apso the “Leave It” Command

Training your Lhasa Apso 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 Lhasa Apso.
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 Lhasa Apso the “Drop It” or “Give” Commands

Similar to the “leave it” command, teaching your Lhasa Apso 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 Lhasa Apso

The “trade-up” technique involves offering your Lhasa Apso 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 Lhasa Apso

Punishing your Lhasa Apso 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 Lhasa Apso’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 Lhasa Apso is Resource Guarding

Growling or snapping: If your Lhasa Apso growls or snaps at you when you approach them while they are eating or playing with a toy, they may be resource guarding.
Stiff body language: Your Lhasa Apso may become tense or stiff when you approach them while they are guarding a resource. They may also stand over the resource or position their body in a way to prevent you from taking it away.
Refusing to share: If your Lhasa Apso refuses to give up a resource, such as a toy or bone, even when offered something else in exchange, this could be a sign of resource guarding.

In conclusion, resource guarding is a common problem in many dog breeds, including the Lhasa Apso. It is important to recognize the signs of resource guarding and take steps to prevent it from escalating into more serious behavior. While specific methods of prevention and treatment may vary depending on the dog, there are general steps that can be taken to stop resource-guarding behavior. Working with a professional trainer or behaviorist can be helpful in identifying the underlying causes of resource guarding and developing a tailored plan for addressing it. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement training, resource-guarding behavior can be successfully managed and reduced in many dogs.

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.

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