Resource guarding between dogs in the same household is really common! Here are some steps you can take to prevent or manage it:

  • When one dog is getting attention, they get to keep it! Don’t switch who you’re giving attention to if another dog tries to interrupt.
  • When you notice one dog giving stress signals to the other, make sure the other dog is responding appropriately by stopping, moving away, or getting less intense.
    • If the other dog doesn’t listen within just a few seconds, they will need your help!
    • You can call the dog away, cue them to Go to Spot, or gently remove them by picking up the leash that they’re trailing. (If using Go to Spot, feed your treats to their mouths, rather than on their mats.)
    • Give them a break from each other if you find that they are having a hard time.
    • Resist the urge to “punish” or yell at the dog who is stressed. This can make the guarding worse.
  • Provide quality alone time for each dog. This is so important for everyone’s wellbeing!
  • Avoid creating competition. (For example, if you’re training one dog, the other shouldn’t be so close the dog you’re working with feels pressure to get the treats faster!)
  • Feed dogs separately and pick up dishes before they are released into each other’s areas again.
  • When giving treats, use one of these two methods:
    • Treat both dogs simultaneously, one from each hand, with your hands a good distance apart.
    • “Name the treat” by saying the name of the dog the treat is for before delivering it. (Some dogs will need this trained with a barrier like a gate first. Let your trainer know if you’re not sure what your dog needs.)

There’s so much we can do to help reduce guarding between dogs. Let your trainer know if you have questions!