A possessive dog is difficult to manage at home: everything can become a resource to defend! Here are some tips to avoid unpleasant incidents.
One of the main problems I have in managing Argos is its possessiveness. Argos is a possessive dog who likes to control the resources that he considers his: I assure you that living with this kind of dog is very difficult! But as I told you, we try to find solutions to live together in the best possible way: here is how to manage the resources of a possessive dog.
What is a resource?
First, let’s define what a resource is. Food, games, space, bed: everything can become a resource that is worth defending. Making a general ranking of value is hard because each dog will give more value to certain resources than others. For Argos, food is in the first place, followed by space. This is why I follow strict rules both in for food and games (especially those that contain food such as the Kong) and in the management of spaces.
In this context, the relationship that is built with the dog plays a fundamental role. If with some dogs it is possible to work on social positioning (i.e. the position of the dog inside the “pack”) and obtain excellent results, with others the options are much more limited. In any case, learning how to properly manage resources is very useful for working on the social positioning of the dog, making him understand what his social position should be compared to the owner. I’m not talking about dominance, but to play a role of leadership and assumption of responsibility, which on the one hand free the dog from unmanageable responsibilities and on the other hand help him to trust the owner as a fair leader.
Some ideas to manage the resources of a possessive dog
These indications come from my direct experience with Argos. I invite you to evaluate them carefully to see if they can be useful in your case or if they could be counterproductive.
– Food management: Argos eats in a separate room and is not disturbed during the meal. He does not assist in the preparation of the food because this increases his level of possessiveness. Once the meal is finished, I remove the bowl. Argos has no access to the kitchen, where his food is stored, to prevent him from taking wrong initiatives.
– Game management: my approach is similar in terms of its toys. His toys are kept away from him, where he cannot see them and receives them only when he’s alone. When I come back home, I remove them only when he proves he is no longer interested: I avoid any conflict. To remove the games it may be useful to exchange resources (for example with a snack) or transfer the dog (take him for a walk, invite him to another room or in the garden).
– Space management: I prevent Argos from accessing freely to all the rooms, especially to the kitchen. He cannot sit on the bed or on the couch, two positions that unleash his possessiveness. If there are prohibitions for him, there are also for humans: the tranquility of his room must always be respected, as well as his bed and kennel.
Don’t give up! It took years to get to the balance (sometimes precarious) to which we arrived. Try to get advice from a dog behaviorist expert in behavioral rehabilitation or a veterinary behaviorist who understands your dog’s particular needs: with the conflict, you can’t go far. Is better to learn how to prevent, to understand your dog and his needs and to find a meeting point with yours. It’s not that difficult, sometimes you just need to want it.
Do you have a possessive dog? Tell me how you handle him, leave a comment below!