When I try and take Earl’s toy away from him he always tries to bite me, and sometimes he gets me. What gives! Thanks, Roy
Ouch!! Earl is displaying something known as “resource guarding” which, put simply means he is controlling access by anyone else to, in this case, his toy. It’s quite common and although an exact cause may not be known, it is often a result of a dog feeling insecure. They tend to see everyone as a potential threat to whatever resource they are protecting.
Obviously it’s not a very desirable behavior because Earl could hurt someone seriously one day, not to mention how stressful it is for him to be on high alert all the time.
You must never, ever punish a dog for a behavior you are not happy with. It doesn’t work and it’s cruel. Having said that, the good news is there are ways to help him gain more confidence, and in turn allow you to take toys, or anything else for that matter, away from him when you choose.
First you need to find something Earl likes more than the toy, and it’s usually something delicious. The next time he’s guarding his toy approach him but stop well before the distance at which you would typically get a reaction, and throw him a bit of the treat. Then another and leave the room. Don’t give him any if he comes looking, you want it to be only when he’s with his toy.
You’ll keep repeating this, taking a step closer when you’re sure he’s comfortable at the previous distance. Once you’re close to him with no reaction, lean over slightly as though you’re going to take the toy and drop a treat. Keep repeating this and reaching closer as long as he’s not reacting.
If at any point he does, you’ve progressed too quickly.
Eventually you will be able to pick up the toy. How long is impossible to say, just keep up the training nice and slow.
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