Join Date: Jul 2010
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Guarding is never 'treated' with aggression or confrontations. Dogs guard because they feel they are going to lose what they have, and experience has taught them it is true. Avoid confrontations of any kind, he is feeling threatened and his warnings have been repeatedly ignored - hence the tendency to bite/snap 'right' away. Dogs use 'calming signals' when they feel threatened or uncomfortable in a situation. They may - lick their lips/nose, they will avoid eye contact, turn their head, just their eyes, or their whole body away from you, they may 'freeze' in position, hover over their bowl, look at you out the side of their eyes-, ignore all that, growl, ignore the growl (punish the growl the bites 'without warning') - the dog is forced to bite. He does not WANT to bite you.
Firstly, give him his bowl and walk away. Leave him to eat in peace - he deserves that much. Do not try to take anything away from him that is not life threatening. If he has something he cannot have, try calling him off of it to another room or scattering some high value treats on the floor so that he has to move away from it - so that you can safely pick it up.
Secondly - teach him to TRADE, and teach yourself to trade with him -every time. Start with a very low value item to him, perhaps an old toy that he will take in his mouth, then offer him a high value treat ( meat, cheese, hot dog) when he drops the toy, give him the treat, AND give him the toy back. Repeat repeat repeat. Gradually work up to higher value items.
Thirdly - teach 'leave it' and 'drop it' and reward like crazy when he does.
Highly recommend the book 'Mine' by Jean Donaldson. It deals specifically with resource guarding, and has a protocol to follow using positive reinforcement.